Big Ideas Series 25
IPA brewed with English hops and heritage barley; refreshingly bitter with tart apple fruitiness.
Celebrate variety. Reflect a sense of place. Brew modern takes on traditional styles. Brew contemporary styles with a twist. Avoid overused hop varieties. Full flavour spectrum brewing.
This is the Big Ideas Series, the first set of releases from the brewery. The beers are all unfined, vegan friendly and conditioned in package: bottle, keg and cask. We love our beers and hope you do too... let us know!
Description and Tasting Notes
A modern take on the historic Burton IPA style, brewed with the heritage Chevalier barley variety and heavily hopped with East Kent Goldings and Archer. Pours a hazy amber with creamy white head. Honey sweetness is a feature of both Burton IPA and Chevalier malt and it’s the backbone of this beer, dominating the flavour along with tangy apple and tangerine fruit. Hints of plum, peach and thyme develop as the glass empties; full but rounded bitterness and a dry, tart fruity finish keeps you coming back for more.
What The Hell Were We Thinking?
Having been a brewery for almost two years without brewing an IPA, we thought it was about time we turned our attention to the style. When US brewers began producing IPAs with big, intense hop varieties they pretty much single-handedly revived public interest in beer that wasn’t pale lager and sparked the craft beer revolution. A few decades on, hoppy IPAs are so ubiquitous we can find them easily everywhere from supermarkets to corner shops and as a brewer, it’s tricky to find a new, interesting angle. That’s why we didn’t bother for so long - there are plenty of other styles to explore.
But IPAs are popular for a reason! They taste great. And having brewed more than 20 different beer styles since opening we thought that it was about time we got involved. What better way to mark our second birthday than with two very different IPAs? We chose Burton and West Coast IPAs, highlighting the variety that it’s possible to achieve within the style and celebrating these superstar brews that changed the face of beer so significantly.
The IPAs produced in Burton upon Trent during the Victorian era gave rise to a brand new type of beer, with the characteristic water profile and generous hop additions proving wildly popular with drinkers in Britain and across the empire. We opted to use 100% Chevalier malt, a heritage variety popular back then and recently revived by Crisp malting, mashing overnight to extract as much flavour and fermentable sugar as possible. From the very first drop to run off into the kettle, the wort had an incredible, intense honey sweetness. East Kent Goldings hops were the Citra of their day, and especially popular in these early IPAs, so that was an easy decision. This was never about making a faithful recreation of a historic style though; we strongly believe there’s always room for a contemporary twist, so we added a pretty hefty dry hop of Archer, a relatively modern English hop with a fruitiness that compliments the malt and EKG perfectly, somehow accentuating the apple notes that are a noted feature of this style.
These British IPAs with their assertive bitterness and intense hop aroma served as a copious inspiration to the pioneering craft brewers of the US - home brewers and small commercial operations at first, eventually becoming some of the largest producers in the business largely on the back of their own versions of the style. American hop varieties such as Cascade and Centennial took things up a notch compared to the milder European versions and propelled the fruity drinkability even further; beer drinkers fell in love once more with the combination of bold hop aroma and sweet malt balanced with a powerful bitterness. We wanted to highlight the flavours contributed by the hops from this early period and selected a handful that would give an indication of the floral - resinous - citrus profile that became the hallmark of the style. It’s not uncommon now to find West Coast IPAs hopped with Citra and Simcoe, and it was very tempting to reach for those, but by avoiding them we hope to offer a glimpse of how a few of these IPAs might have tasted before these behemoths came along.
A third chapter of our IPA story is still to come - we filled a wooden cask with some of the Burton and plan to allow the wild yeast culture to mature the beer further in the same way as would’ve occurred as the beer was stored or transported, giving rise to further complexities and flavour twists. In the meantime, take a dive into the two fresh versions and let’s celebrate the delicious variety of flavours offered by this fantastic style.
Can conditioned, vegan friendly
Hops: East Kent Goldings, Archer