Yes, we are all still crazy about Indian Pale Ales (commonly known as “IPAs”). Why? I dunno, maybe because they are so dang delicious. But regardless, whether you are on the IPA-train or not, it is undeniable that you can’t find an authentic beer establishment that doesn’t stock a slew of them in their coolers.
Did you know that the style was coined in a newspaper article in the Syney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in August, 1829 (ref. http://zythophile.co.uk/2013/05/14/the-earliest-use-of-the-term-india-pale-ale-was-in-australia/). Yes, the same dudes who came up with Foster’s Lager were into the “IPAs” it seems! The term is a reference to the route in which the beer was shipped from England to India and identified the beer as having a higher alcohol content to preserve the tasty elixir for its’ long journey.
New to the IPA-world, however, are beers dubbed as “NE-style” IPAs. The “NE-style” refers to New England or Northeast (depending on who you ask) and is a new sub-style of Imperial IPA that is getting a lot of attention. Currently, the #1 IPA on both Rate Beer and Untappd is Julius, a NE-style IPA from Tree House Brewing in Massachusetts (which, incidentally, is both in New England and the North East). Other brands dubbed “NE-style” include Marz NE MDW Chi-PA, Hailstorm Stratus and the new Reply Hazy Try Again 16 oz can.
The distinguishing characteristic of NE-Style IPAs are their earthy, woodsy hop profile (a la Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA) versus the citrusy, piney, dank, resin-y hop profile of Pacific Northwest hops, like a Sculpin IPA. NE-Style IPAs use fruity, tropical hops (lots of sweet grapefruit, mango, and pineapple type flavors), combined with the addition of oats and wheat to the recipe, and then leave it unfiltered. The oats and the wheat create an incredibly soft palate that allows the hop flavors to be expressed as extremely juicy. They also create a lot of haze in beer — hazy to the point that it looks milky, kind of like pulp-rich orange juice. The haze comes from two things: i) it’s unfiltered, and ii.) the oats and wheat have a lot more protein than typical barley and those proteins create a lot of haze. The Marz NE MDW Chi-PA is the best example that we’ve seen of how hazy it should be. Anyway, that’s your quick synopsis on NE-style IPAs. They’re all the rage right now, so expect to see them more and more and go try one! Now you know.
Beerhead Bar & Eatery
Sometimes we just like to talk about beer (a statement that is purposely understated for emphasis). There is no shortage of cool beers to talk about but there are some that are on our radar as especially cool and timely choices, at least at the time of this blog given that the craft beer market is oozing with innovation. So here are a few that we have showcased at our venues (Beerhead Bar & The Beer Market) that we find particularly interesting and worth a trip to anywhere that may have the good fortune of scoring these not-so-common brews.
A really cool beer to be tapped at The Beer Market Schaumburg is Zut Alors by Two Brothers located in Warrenville, Illinois. It’s Domaine Dupage aged in Cabernet barrels. Domaine Dupage is a Biere de Garde, which is also known as a French farmhouse ale. While France as a whole hasn’t given much to the beer world, northern France gave us the Biere de Garde. “Zut Alors” is a French phrase that is used like we would use “Darn!” (also purposely understated to be sensitive to sensitivities). Anyway, a Biere de Garde is a malt-forward beer with sweet malt flavors with earthy undertones that are achieved through aging. Domain Dupage won a gold medal at GABF for French Farmhouse Ales, so it’s one of the best in the country already. Those earthy flavors will pair perfectly with the oaky flavors from the Cabernet barrel. We are really looking forward to tapping this one this December.
We get our “undies in a twist” waiting for February to come for our Big, Bad Beer Night to arrive at The Beer Market Schaumburg. On the list for this annual tapping are Goose Island’s (Chicago, IL) Proprietors Bourbon County Stout, Prairie Artisan Ales’s (Tulsa, OK) Prairie Bomb!, Founders Brewery (Grand Rapids, MI) Lizard of Koz, Hoppin’ Frogs (Akron, OH) Rum Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S., Revolution Brewery’s (Chicago, IL) Hellalund, Tighthead Brewery’s (Mundelein, IL) Chocolate Malty Balls, and Crystal Lake Brewery’s (Crystal Lake, IL) Barrel Aged Barleywine … to name a few.
Here are some “deets” on these tasty, rare, wonderful brews:
Proprietors Bourbon County Stout is the rarest of this year’s variants – Imperial Stout aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels with ancho chilies;
Prairie Bomb! is an Imperial Stout with coffee, chocolate, vanilla and ancho chilies. It’s not barrel aged, but it’s one of the best stouts in the country;
Lizard of Koz is an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon barrels with blueberries, chocolate and vanilla;
Rum Barrel Aged B.O.R.I.S is one of the most highly respected Imperial Oatmeal Stouts, aged in rum barrels – definitely a cool alternative to bourbon-aged barrels;
Hellalund is Revolution’s Batch 1000 beer, an Imperial Brown Ale at 13.5%, aged in bourbon barrels with orange zest. We tried this one in the taproom, it tastes just like an Old Fashioned cocktail and it’s absolutely incredible; and
Chocolate Malty Balls is an Imperial Stout with chocolate, aged in Buffalo Trace barrels.
Barrel Aged Barleywine is made with barleywine brewed when Crystal Lake Brewery first opened about a year ago. We are ready to try this Imperial stout resting in bourbon barrels for the past year ready for release!
If all this (and more) doesn’t make you think “yum,” check your pulse! And check back here for more about the wonderful world of delicious craft beer!
Beerhead Bar & Eatery / The Beer Market