As I was brewing last week, it struck me that we were brewing a kind of “Greatest Hits” lineup. We’ve got our original IPA, Dank Fruit Double, and All the Hops Triple IPA in the fermenters now.
Every time we brew IPA, it’s like greeting an old friend that you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s crazy to think that it was almost 3 years ago that we brewed the first batch. At the time, hazy IPAs hadn’t really taken off in the craft beer world to the full extent that they have in the time since. I remember thinking that if we released a high quality example of the style in our first round of beers that we would hit the ground running. Back then, as a new brewery opening in a small tourist town, there was plenty of room for skepticism from potential customers about our beer. We wanted to do everything we could to overcome that skepticism by showing our dedication to quality. We opted to use the highest quality floor malted Maris Otter and we hopped the beer heavily with Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo. Almost 3 years later and the recipe is same as that first batch, only now we have access to hand selected, premium hop lots and it remains our best selling beer. It’s also the beer that jump started all of our other hoppy beer production and the things we were excited about in that first batch are still featured in almost all of our other hazy IPAs.
Dank Fruit Double is another kind of throwback beer. Our first batch of Dank Fruit was brewed just a few months after the release of IPA. After brewing a double IPA in our second round of brewing, we wanted to go bigger with our hop rates and make something more intensely aromatic. All of our hop additions were bumped up by 30% and we used hops with the highest oil content we could find. There was no name for the beer when we were brewing it, but on the brew day I smelled the aroma from the whirlpool hops and thought “That smells like what would happen if pot grew on fruit trees and we juiced the dank fruit.” While Dank Fruit has dank components to the aroma, it is at least equally fruity with huge peach aromas to accompany the mango and blueberry resulting in one of the double IPAs I enjoy brewing the most. The complexity of the hop aroma seems to evolve with every sip.
Lastly, All the Hops Triple IPA was the first triple we brewed in Tombstone. When we got this year’s hops pelletized, I wanted to put them on display with a series of single hop beers, then a series that combines all of our contracted hops. I was a little skeptical about brewing a triple since they have a tendency to be cloyingly sweet and blur the line between an American Barleywine and a Double IPA, but by eliminating all specialty malts and creating a highly fermentable wort to go along with a very large pitch of highly active yeast, we are able to create a 10% ABV beer that doesn’t have any of the burning fusel alcohol or syrupy sweet flavors that detract from the extreme hoppiness of the beer. Using 10 lbs per barrel of the highest quality Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, and Mosaic available to us, All the Hops Triple manages to leave no doubt about what style this beer falls under.