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Creating a sense of unique character and difference within a popular beer style like hazy IPA can be a challenge for brewers, but for Jeff Hardesty and Narrow Gauge Brewing, the answer is nonstop experimentation and testing on their small 6 bbl brewhouse. In this episode, he discusses how they move beyond the “easy button” hops (Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy) and blend hops for unique flavor expressions, how trial and error led them to ditch expensive hops in the whirlpool in favor of less expensive bittering hops, using a less-common British ale strain for fermentation that provides an alternate to more standard London Ale III or Conan flavors, the ways they use different base malts to achieve flavor goals and create differentiation, how they construct complex recipes that delicately balance acidity, sweetness, hops, and fruit in sour fruited IPAs, and more.
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