Eclectic IPA Is In Season!

Over the past year or so I’ve been working on a book for Brewers Publications on what we’re calling Eclectic IPA—that is, IPA augmented with other ingredients such as fruit, vegetable, herbs, spice, etc. Their plan is to have a whole series of books—monographs, really, since they’re not super-long—each treating a particular sub-style: American, British, Imperial, whatever, since these days IPA is so popular among brewers and beer drinkers. I’ve actually recommended Magnolia founder Dave McLean for the British book, since he’s a specialist in English-style beers. In any case, my book came out a few weeks ago, timed for the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, at which I had a couple of signings and gave a talk related to the book.

The book has around 25 different recipes for Eclectic IPA, covering pretty much every category I’ve mentioned above, as well as coffee, chocolate, tea, and sour treatment in wood. There’s even a recipe for IPA infused with active THC and weed, since even though professional brewers aren’t allowed under their federal licenses to mess around with such supposedly controlled substances, as 20% of the US population now lives in places where weed has been legalized—and probably a greater proportion than that of home brewers, given the states involved—it’s simply a public service to make such information available.

Over the past few weeks we’ve been brewing some of these recipes—and more—in anticipation of a book signing event slated for June 9th at the Magnolia pub on Haight Street. I’ll be hanging out and signing books from 3 to 7 pm. We’ll be pouring five distinctly different IPAs made with some pretty interesting ingredients, hopped with varieties that play off the specialty ingredients. That’s kind of the gist of the book, really, that the essential oils, or terpenes, in hops in all their proportional variety correspond with their occurrence in fruits, and vegetables, and herbs and pretty much everything organic and grown, suggesting flavor combinations both intuitive and otherwise. With IPA being a style so dependent on hop character, it just makes sense that ones suggesting grapefruit or guava or thyme or plums might go well with some of those precise materials. Anyway, on to the beer…

We’ll be releasing one of these beers each day next week as we head into the event on Saturday. There’ll be Cranberries for Sal, a hazy, New England-style IPA made with cranberry and orange peel, hopped with Cascade and Citra; Cucumber Squeeze, an IPA made with cucumbers, Meyer lemon and Citra; June of ’66 Rosemary IPA, with rosemary branches in the mash and needles in the whirlpool, finished with Nelson Sauvin; Hot Guava Monster makes its return (it was one of the beers for Strong Beer Month back in February), a guava-habañero double IPA hopped with Motueka and Mosaic; and one that wasn’t in the book, Wild Island, an IPA made with Tangerine and Soursop and hopped with Amarillo, Citra and Cascade. Of course tasters and flights of all these beers will be available.

The very next day, June 10th, is the Haight Street Fair, and we’ve brewed a couple of beers for that as well. They’re both pouring now, actually. One is a Fest Lager called Haightfest, kind of along the lines of a German-style Marzen, a 6% abv beer brewed with noble hops and the Augustiner lager yeast. The other is a beer we intend to keep making, and in larger batches over at the Dogpatch as (we hope) it catches on. It’s a 5.8% abv red ale brewed in honor of and in conjunction with the Haight-neighborhood Fire Station #12, whose logo borrows liberally from Grateful Dead imagery (though ours doesn’t). The beer is called Station 12, and part of the proceeds from its sale will go to the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program, a massive toy drive that the SF firefighters’ union conducts every year. It’s actually the biggest firefighter toy program in the country. The beer is lightly roasty with a solid but not overbearing hop character; both beers are a perfect foil to the riotous flavors and aromas you’ll enjoy in the Eclectic IPAs.

Come out both days to check out the beers, the book and the fair!