Editorial Dept.'s picture

The Topsail - Cape May Brewing Co. - 98 Rating

Responses from head brewer and "Barrel Wrangler" Brian Hink.
Brian Hink: Head Brewer and "Barrel Wrangler" for Cape May Brewing Co.
Brian Hink: Head Brewer and "Barrel Wrangler" for Cape May Brewing Co.
BC: Who came up with this beer’s recipe?
When we first started our barrel aging program, a lot of the wort was pulled from core brands as we slowly started building up our barrel stock to house 60 wine barrels worth of souring beer. The Topsail was the first beer to go into barrels that we'd used before, so I had a little more play and time to figure out what I wanted to do with this one. Prior to blending The Keel and emptying the barrels, I brewed up a simple golden base beer with an expressive yeast characteristic. The base beer for the Keel had a firm malt backbone, but very little in the way of esters and phenolics, so I wanted the beer going into these second-use barrels to be on the opposite end of the spectrum: let the yeast do all the talking and see what kind of flavor interaction we'd see with the Brett and friends. 
 
BC: What’s your favorite aspect of this beer (flavor, aroma, etc.)?
I love how vinous and fruity the beer is despite being bone dry. It finished below zero degrees plato, so almost wine levels of dryness -- yet you would never know that based on the mouthfeel and flavor profile. It's also wildly complex, going from tart and sour, to fruity and vinous, to refreshing and enticing all in the matter of a few sips.
 
BC: Where does this beer’s name come from?
When we first started our Barrel Aged Series, we wanted the first round of releases to tie together and build off one another. With The Keel laying the foundation, followed by The Skeg and The Scupper -- we were constructing a ship. The Topsail is the most important sail on large schooners, and this last release of our initial lineup of releases felt like a culmination of everything coming before while steering us to the future.   
 
BC: Is this your “desert island beer”?
As much as I love this beer and would drink it all the time if I had an endless supply of it, I don't think a 9.9% ABV would be the ideal beer to be sipping every day while baking under the sun. If this was closer to a 4 or 5%, it absolutely would be my desert island beer.
 
BC: What's a good food pairing for this beer?
Sushi and expressive cheeses, hands down.