There’s a Certain Eclecticity In the Air…

Visitors to the Magnolia pubs are well aware of our propensity to put a lot of crazy stuff in our beer.  Oh sure, we like the classics, too—within the past couple of weeks we’ve offered as many as four old-timey recipes from the archives—but especially when it comes to IPA, we just can’t resist combining various hop characters with fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and whatever else.  Especially in November, when Eclectic IPA month rolls around. We had such a good time last year teaming up with our friends at 21st Amendment for a whole raft of innovative and delicious IPAs that we’ve decided to do it again.  Many of the beers are already underway, awaiting further treatment and the addition of radical ingredients.  In fact I’ve just been texting with Shaun O’Sullivan about watermelon. But I’m getting ahead of myself.  

A sample of ingredients from my kitchen.

A sample of Mr. MacGregor’s IPA ingredients from my kitchen.

Like last year we’ll be staggering the release of the beers, tapping three on November 1st and another each week, including—for the first time—a canned collaboration. We’ll have punch cards again, but this time around the reward will be a party with the brewers on Dec 2 at 6pm for everyone that’s completed all 11 stamps on their card. This will be at Dogpatch in Magnolia Hall, but onward to the beers…

Remember Shiso Fine from last year?  Well this time around we’re putting out a hazy double version we’re calling Shiso Thicc.  That’ll be out at the beginning of the month along with Mango Chili Rok, a Mexican candy IPA brewed with Mango purée, fresh Fresno chilis and dried guajillos. What we’re shooting for is the effect of those mango Mexican popsicles— palitos de Michoacán—dusted with chili.  Joining those two will be a beer I’ve been dying to make ever since I came up with the recipe for my Brewing Eclectic IPA book, Mr MacGregor’s IPA, combining Cascade and Mandarina hops with carrots, parsnips, ginger and turmeric. As I write this, in fact, I’m working on the proportions of those four ingredients—too gingery so far, but that undefinable, peppery contribution from the parsnips is pretty amazing.


The following week, on November 7th, we RELEASE THE HOUNDS, er, the cans of The Pink and the Green, a 7% abv IPA made with watermelon and cucumber.  We figured it was kind of cute to offer a nod to a couple of beers for which both breweries have become somewhat known—more than somewhat for 21A’s Hell or High Watermelon—and our Cucumber Squeeze.  In fact, the main image on this post is of the brewers from both companies “relaxing” after pitching cucumber purée into the fermenter. We’ve got our guys at Gamut Design working on some groovy can art for the 16-ouncers we’ll be offering for sale in 4-packs alongside the draft pouring at all of our pubs.

On the 14th things will get all trippy with Acid Test, a kettle-soured, Session-esque IPA of 5.5% abv finished with lots of Citra.  This beer was inspired by a sour IPA I enjoyed with my friend Ron Jeffries at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. And on the 21st we’ll round out the offerings with Uncle Jo, an IPA inspired by Vietnamese coffee—Jo, Jo, Jo Chi Minh!

It’s a fairly pleasant bike ride from Magnolia Dogpatch up to the 21A pub, once you’ve negotiated the construction on Illinois and skirted the bay past Chase Center (Go Dubs! And Dubs Golden Ale!) and dealt with a little iffiness on the 4th St bridge just before Oracle Park.  I’ve ridden it more than a few times, and I plan to again, in order to check out the brews that Jaron and Dogger—no doubt with very close supervision by Shaun and Nico—have coming up to correspond to ours.  I like our lineup, of course, but the variety they’ve got on the horizon is riveting. Nitro Hazer is a hazy IPA on nitro; Brut Punch brings mango, papaya and tangerine peel; and the obvious choice for brunch, Michelada IPA, with tomatoes, citrus and salt.  Those are the offerings for kickoff on November 1st.  They’ll be co-releasing the collab on the 7th, and then following up with Pumpkin Spice Latte IPA on the 14th and Global Cooling, an IPA lager with adjuncts on the 21st.

Okay, so I think I’ve got the proportions right for the Mr. MacGregors.  We’ve got six cases of cucumbers and 20 cases of watermelons coming in next week for The Pink and the Green.  We had a little trip-up when the produce company sent shishitos instead of shiso, but that’s been straightened out now.  We’re thinking we’re going to stem and seed the guajillos and then steep them in hot wort before puréeing them up in the blender; the Fresnos will go in chopped at the same time. Seth will be coming in this week super-early to make sure the pH on the Acid Test doesn’t go too low, and the coffee…  Coffee is easy.

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