Beer Buzz IPA

When Jonathan Mullins recently invited me to an IPA brew day at Broad Ripple Brewpub, his timing could not have been more perfect. 

At that moment I was making my way through Dick Cantwell’s Brewing Eclectic IPA: Pushing the Boundaries of India Pale,published by Brewers Publications.

Cantwell, a nationally known expert on IPAs, provides a  retrospective on the origins and evolution of the IPA. Spoiler alert: the story most of us believe about India Pale Ale is more romantic than accurate.

“Like many other styles, it is clear that IPA did not arise as a single, fully-formed idea,” writes Cantwell, “but developed over the years on an empirical basis.”

A long ocean voyage in a barrel required developing a Pale Ale that could age over time for brightness and conditioning, and arrive with layers of intriguing tastes. IPAs gained worldwide favor, and then stuff happened—temperance movements, laws regulating alcohol strength, economic downtowns, rise of Lagers.

IPAs dropped off the radar for a half century until U.S. homebrewers began to uncover alternatives to the big brewery monopoly of bland lagers. San Francisco-based Anchor Brewery is credited with brewing the first multi-layered, strong American IPA, turning the original process on its head with the admonition to drink this newly devised IPA beer fresh so as to tilt taste to the bolder hops grown along the West Coast.

It’s been consistent innovation ever since.

At Broad Ripple Brewpub, Mullins is partnering with Mike Hofferman of Grand Junction Brewing Co. Together, they are collaborating on an IPA “as proof you can get a beer as juicy as a NEIPA/Hazy IPA and get it to drop bright.”   

#DidWeDoItRight will debut at the Broad Ripple Beer Fest in Opti Park on Oct. 27.

Seven different varieties of hops, added in varying combinations at different times during the brew, “lend a fruity (citrus, pineapple, tropical fruit) resin flavor that lingers just long enough until your next sip,” says Mullins.

“The abundance of the lightest pale malt stands up wonderfully to the amount of hops we put in this beer, and gives just enough sweetness to allow the hops to dissipate on the palate for that perfect balance of juicy-ness without the haze.”

Other local brewers are bringing IPAs to the Broad Ripple Beer Fest as well, promising a more eclectic field than usual.

Nick Banks says Bloomington Brewing’s “It's Always the Rye-t Time for Beer” started as a take on an American IPA, infused with bold, spicy rye flavors and complimented the rye malt with roasted malt flavor that pushed the envelope on what an IPA can taste like using unique ingredients combined with strict brewing techniques.

“Balance is the most important aspect of this beer. We didn't want to have extreme over the top flavors from any one ingredient. We have made small changes to this recipe over the years to dial in flavors and get them to all work in harmony.”

Black Acre’s newly released  “Buzz Words” features LOKI yeast along with honey from New Day Meadery that “plays on a bevy of hops with citrus and tropical fruit characteristics,” reports Brewer Steve Ruby. “Voss Kveik Norweigan farmhouse yeast pushes the citrus even more and produces a lot of orange character during fermentation.”

Wes Martin at Great Fermentations explains, “LOKI yeast is a version of a traditional Norwegian Kveik, or farmhouse yeast used in much the same way as French and Belgian farmhouse yeasts, but largely remained out of the world's eye until fairly recently.”

Great Fermentations’ foray into eclectic IPA is "Devil May Cryo,” a Black IPA featuring  “Cryo hops, a relatively new pelletized hop with a lot of the plant material removed. This allows the aromatic, flavoring and bittering compounds to be concentrated, typically about double the strength of regular pelletized hops,” explains Martin.

Also look for:

Upland’s seasonally be-loved “Teddy Bear Kisses.”

Indiana City’s “Sumo Mermaids,” the 5th beer in their Craft Brew Doodle Crew Series of hazy, juicy, New England Style IPA's. Heavily double dry hopped with Lemondrop and Calypso hops, along with Citra Lupulin Powder for big citrusy herbal hop flavor and aroma at a very low level of bitterness. “It's juice in a glass,” promises Ray Kamstra.

Triton’s  “The Hempire Strykes Back” juicy IPA is infused with hemp flour from Sipp Industries and features Falconer's Flight, Summit, Liberty, and Citra hops.

Bloomington Brewing’s “Krampus Imperial Black IPA” with Citra, Simcoe, Falconers Flight, Lemon Drop and Mosaic.”

What else in Indiana qualifies as an ‘eclectic’ IPA?

Consider Black Acre “Original Intent”; St. Joseph “Confessional”; Mad Anthony “Mosaic Moon”: Sun King “Grapefruit Jungle”; Thr3e Wisemen “Golden Zoe”; Blind Owl “None the Wiser”; Deviate’s trio: “hop supremacy,”  “hop extremely,” “lactating extremely.”