Cold IPAs are having a moment, and there’s success in store even if it’s only because the hybrid style combines the sweetest words to any craft brewery bookkeeper.
“IPAs continue to be the market leaders so attaching those three letters with another style of beer such as lager will certainly get attention, and with the surge in popularity of craft lagers it is certainly timely,” said Jonathan Downing, brewmaster at the Niagara College Teaching Brewery. “Calling any beer cold will similarly garner attention. Cold aged, filtered, hopped, brewed have all been used in the past by brewers when marketing their beers.”
And who can forget ice beers?
Cold IPAs are billed as IPAs for lager lovers. They are hop-forward yet crisper than the familiar New England IPAs. The “cold” label comes with use of lager yeast that’s traditionally fermented cold. The “IPA” part of the name has become the most succinct way of telling consumers a beer is hoppy.
At Niagara College, students have brewed a sister style crossover dubbed India Pale Lager with fruity and bold hop character from German hops such as Huell Melon and Mandarina Bavaria, Downing said. And they’ve brewed hopped lagers with Galaxy and Amarillo.
Cold IPAs started in Oregon and have arrived in Ontario at Refined Fool in Sarnia, which has introduced two as part of its Tiny Batch series this month.
First up was For A Variety of Reasons We Call Him Trevor, which in addition to being an early-in-Ontario cold IPA, might also set a record for longest beer name. Refined Fool used a Canadian-grown hop, Sasquatch, from the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, along with Sabro, the workhorse of IPAs. Sasquatch was chosen for its orange mint flavour, Sabro for its stonefruit-peach.
Another Cold IPA released within a week of Trevor is christened Swedish Prison, with label art that looks like it came from a Sims game. The brew team emptied the storage room for this one, using all but one of the American Cs. There’s Chinook, Centennial, Cascade and Columbus. Somewhere, Citra is crying. The combination created a piney, seven per cent alcohol beer.
But the hops combination isn’t the full story. Swedish Prison used ale yeast, six-Row malt and corn flakes for a light body.
Both Swedish Prison and Trevor are in 650 ml bottles for $8 and $8.50 respectively.
Is style-blurring new for craft brewing? Nope. The experimentation and fiddling are key to keeping change-craving customers content. Variety is the spice of a craft brewer’s life.
NEW AND NOTED
Jobsite in Stratford released a four-pack of single hop beers that showcase the differences each variety delivers to beer. The Smashed Nail series includes Citra (with its taste of passionfruit), African Queen (banana bread meets tangerine), XJA2-436 (lemon zest) and Talus (melon).
Tweaked and back at London Brewing is Urban Quince, a sour. It’s made with quince — a fruit that tastes like a cross between pears and apples — grown in an urban garden. London Brewing describes the new batch as more refined. It’s 7 per cent alcohol and available at the brewery or online in 500 ml bottles for the quirky price of $7.04.
Also back at London Brewing this fall as a fundraiser, is Norfolk Red. Charities Soldier On and the Legion Poppy Fund will get a share of sales. The popular caramelly beer is brewed with hops from Norfolk County.
Gamer and Goodbye Gravity fan? Imperial City Brew House in Sarnia should be your destination on Nov. 26 when the brewery hosts a 24-hour video game marathon starting at 2 p.m. Trapped in the Taproom is a fundraiser for St. Clair Child and Youth Services.
One of the four stouts now available at Walkerville Brewery in Windsor is doing double duty as a fundraiser for the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation and the Grow On Windsor campaign. Grow On Chocolate Milk Stout will have you thinking of espresso and fudge.
Wayne Newton is a freelance journalist based in London.