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Kevin Davey doesn’t understand why Wayfinder’s “Cold IPA” has gone viral in brewing circles. As a proponent of genre-bending approaches to brewing that respect traditions but recombine them in effective ways, he’s been vocal in the past about what they’re doing—making “IPA” in a way that respects the flavor while twisting the technique. They haven’t been hiding anything. So why the hubbub now?
The beer at the center of the “beer Internet’s” latest furor is Relapse, a beer they’ve dubbed a “Cold IPA”—much to the chagrin of those IPL advocates and style-guide purists who insist nothing of the sort can exist. It’s definitely not “traditional”—mashed with a grist of 30 percent rice, fermented with 34/70 lager yeast, and kräusened with pils or helles wort when dry-hopped, it doesn’t appear on paper to be connected to the broader school of West Coast IPA. But taste it and you’ll understand how these curious methods produce a beer that feels perfectly aligned with the conceptual ideas that have driven West Coast IPA for the past two decades.
It’s worth noting, of course, that the beer in question—Relapse Cold IPA—was a Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine Beer of the Year in 2020. The quality and technical execution of the beer is beyond reproach, and the creativity in process is, of course, just icing on the cake. In this genre-busting episode, Davey discusses:
- The impact of step-mashing on yeast health and effective fermentation
- Using American malt for higher enzymes to work with rice and corn adjuncts when cereal mashing
- The benefits of brewing with rice
- Importance to flavor and aroma of boiling hops (and not just dry hopping)
- Balancing fruitiness and bitterness in hoppy beers
- Fermenting during dry hopping to encourage hop creep and to dry out the beer, and kräusening with pilsner or helles wort
- Finding language that does justice to the intent of a beer in a way that connects with consumers
“I loved California West Coast IPA when I first started in the industry,” Davey says. “And so I’m like, ‘What if we just take that further? Let’s make it even clearer. Let’s make it even less caramel-y. Let’s make it even drier.’ That’s why—on the can—we say it’s ‘wester than West Coast,’ because we’re taking all the things that are already West Coast and we’re just pushing them a little bit further.”
This episode is brought to you by:
G&D Chillers – As the brewing industry’s premier choice for glycol chilling, G&D Chillers has set the standard on quality, service, reliability and dedication to their customer’s craft. New this year, Redundancy meets Efficiency! G&D’s Micro-Channel Condensers are built with all aluminum construction which eliminates galvanic corrosion. Using half the refrigerant of conventional condensers with fewer brazed connections, translates to a lower GWP and less opportunity for leaks. Call G&D Chillers today to discuss your project or reach out directly at GDChillers.com
This episode is brought to you by Rahr North Star Pils. A new base malt to set your compass by. Rahr North Star Pils is crafted for brewers looking for a domestic pilsner malt with low color and low modification. North Star Pils carries overtones of honey and sweet bread, supported by flavors and aromas of hay and nutty character. Suitable for any beer style, but particularly craft brewed versions of classic lagers. Let Rahr North Star Pils guide your craft by visiting bsgcraftbrewing.com, or contact us at 1.800.374.2739.
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