Last summer, I had the idea to talk to a bunch of the other local brewers to see if they were interested in having a triple IPA fest of sorts. We’d each make our own version of the style and serve them all together at a series of events around the area. From there, Blimey That’s Bitter and the Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow were born.
Blimey was the first time we've ever brewed a triple IPA - either as a homebrewer or a commercial brewery - and we were excited for the challenge. According to the Brewers Association definition, a double IPA tops out at around 10% ABV, so a triple needs to surpass that.
We wanted Blimey to be an intense hop bomb of flavor and aroma, but still be very drinkable. It needed to be an IPA at it's core, not an American Barleywine. To make this happen, we kept the body of the beer relatively light and used almost 50 pounds of hops for a batch that yielded 8.5 barrels. Ninety percent of our hops (predominantly Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra) we were added in the last 10 minutes or later of the boil. The brew stayed in the unitank (fermenter) twice as long as our usual beers to allow a longer, slightly cooler, slower fermentation, long diacetyl rest and three rounds of dry hopping.
We really liked how this beer turned out and apparently you did too! Our kegs of Blimey were the first to blow at each of the first three Roadshow events. Thank you to everyone who came by to celebrate with us and the other awesome Washington breweries at the Roadshow!
Since this is a hop thirsty and time-intensive beer to make, we’re planning to brew and bottle it once a year every February. So keep an eye out for the return of Blimey next February. However, we've had a number of requests to brew it again before then so we've been working on a plan to brew an additional batch this summer. We thought it would be awesome to be able to share the beer at the Washington Brewers Festival this summer, so we're planning on making a special batch that coincides with the festival. We'll take some of this beer to Marymoor Park for the festival, and have a limited amount in the taproom also available from mid-June.
Elsewhere on the IPA front, it's interesting to think that we've never brewed a standard IPA since we've opened. We've brewed a Summer IPA which will be released later this month (previously called our Wheat IPA), imperial IPAs, triple IPAs... But never a "standard" IPA. That's because if we were to brew a American IPA it had to be really good, something a little different. I've been working on that recipe for some time, and it's coming closer to reality. Expect the first batches this summer. This summer we'll also be brewing full scale batches of what we called our "Experimental IPA" - an IPA with southern hemisphere hops. The test batch was really popular and validated that we needed to brew a lot more! So expect that too these summer months. And finally, I am close to finalizing our session IPA recipe which will be coming in these summer months as well. Lots of recipe development with hops!
And for those who aren't hop lovers, we are planning to have our Cream on tap all summer, a batch of Kolsch is in the schedule for July, American Rye is on the brew schedule to keep on tap and Roggenbier has returned last week.
Cheers everyone, and thank you for your support.