It seems we are coming out of the haze into a new beer trend: the Brut IPA. You’ve probably seen them on tap lists around town and unlike the Hazy IPA, this beer is true West Coast hop-forward. While the style is called Brut, a champagne yeast isn’t required. The characteristics that define the Brut IPA are an overly dry finish, a light body, a low ABV, and higher than normal carbonation levels. We teamed up with Sasquatch Brewing to concoct a recipe, going after a little more body for our version of the beer.
In doing a Brut you risk making hop water: beer lacking any body whatsoever. We settled with a 5% addition of Carapils/dextrin to the mostly Pilsner base while also achieving the dry, crisp character the style calls for. Then we added Amino Amylase to drop the terminal gravity to 0.00, which stripped away a fair amount of the body of the beer, but we felt that it still accomplished what we wanted.
We had thought about classic hop pairings with champagne, mimosas and citrus being quick connotations. But we went the New Zealand direction, using Azacca as our primary hop during the boil process and dry hopping with Motueka to bring out the lime and citrus flavor on the nose of the beer.
An awesome aspect of this beer is its simplicity. The grain bill and hop schedule are straightforward and to the point. The Hazy IPA craze is exceptionally expensive; the Brut IPA is gives the wallet a break. However, it requires some precision: creating a well-balanced and well thought out recipe is key to making this beer fly. Any technical flaws will be nearly impossible to cover up.
The high carbonation level and dryness give this beer style a uniqueness that reminds us of the session IPA craze from a few years ago, but hopefully with a little more staying power. The Hazy IPA opened the door to an entire category of drinkers that shied away from the over-the-top bitterness that West Coast IPA’s came with. The Brut IPA is not void of bitterness, but seems well rounded in relation to the rest of the beer’s attributes. Our We Vibin’ Brut IPA clocks in at a whopping 27 IBU, and based on what we are tasting, you wouldn’t want to go any higher than that without risking a punishing bite.
Initially, the marriage of champagne and IPA seems unlikely, but bold hops with a bone-dry finish, our We Vibin’ Brut IPA collab with Sasquatch turned out a lot better than we'd imagined. Come by the pub soon; they’re going fast.