Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Weyerbacher's IPA Project
It was announced earlier this month that Weyerbacher would be replacing Hops Infusion with a new and hopefully improved IPA for their year-round lineup. It was a welcome surprise when their NJ Sales Rep Natalie broke the news at the February ALEiens Homebrew Club meeting. Weyerbacher is up there among my favorite American breweries, I think they are a rock solid company with some fantastic brews but I've always found Hops Infusion to be their red-headed step child. Their Double Simcoe IPA (especially unfiltered) is top notch but their standard IPA was never up to snuff in my book so I was thrilled to see that they would be doing something about it and they are calling it their IPA Project.
They will be releasing six new experimental IPA's over the next six months to the Philly area for thirsty drinkers to sample and critique. Each new brew will be available on draft in very limited quantities, they're only doing 15 barrels per batch once a month from now until August. Participating watering holes will have comment cards available for patrons to fill out and score each IPA. You'll also be able to go to Weyerbacher's website and give them feedback that way. Once all six IPA's have been released, drunk, and pondered upon Weyerbacher will take into account what their fans felt about each and replace Hops Infusion with the most popular (and hopefully the most deserving) IPA. I for one love the idea and give them kudos for shaking things up (I'm also looking forward to their rebranding but that's a different story altogether).
The first in this series they are calling Batch #3743 has been released upon the masses. I grabbed myself a pint yesterday at The Hulmeville Inn (a full list of participating locations can be found here) who also had a pin of Old Heathen "dry-hopped" with chocolate and coffee which was pretty intense. I must say that the test IPA didn't leave as strong of an impact on me. It's a great looking beer, hazy golden straw with clean white head and pleasantly hoppy and grainy aroma. It was an enjoyable brew but lacked a hop profile that I look for in an IPA, seemed more like a standard American pale ale to me reminiscent of Yards' Philadelphia Pale Ale actually. There were some great citrusy hop flavors there with enough maltiness to balance it out taking away any sort of bite, really smooth and refreshing but not what I'd hope to see become their new IPA. I'm not saying I need something outrageous or exceptionally strong when it comes to an IPA, I love a great sessionable IPA but I think Weyerbacher can do better than this batch and I look forward to next in the series.
I'm sure this is going to be a tough experiment because a lot of IPA's would look like red-headed step children when they stand next to Double Simcoe!
The future is in our hands...get out there...drink...vote...cheers!