May is Hop Slice Month!

Posted on: May 5th 2016

Warmer weather is here!!! And so is the return of summer seasonal beers. After about three years of research and development, we bring you the newest addition to our seasonal line-up: Hop Slice Session IPA.

Flavor – Grab Life By The Lemons:

A crisp, refreshing, lighter take on an IPA…this beer packs a ton of citrus and hop flavors/aromas in a tidy, sessionable, 4.5% ABV package. About 18 months ago, we narrowed down the flavor profile to include lemon. Brewmaster Veronica Vega says: “We experimented with lemon peel, peel puree and natural extracts to find that slight lemon bitterness we were searching for. We ended up liking Meyer Lemon extract the best as it had a slightly sweeter lemon aroma. We then found some hops we liked that had lemony characteristics.”

What’s In A Name:

If you’ve been to our Bend or Portland Pubs over the last few years, you may have tasted one of the test batches for this beer. Do you recognize any of these names??

Bend Pub – Hop Punch ISA, Knockout ISA, Lemon ISA, Le Mini ISA

Portland Pub – Session Diesel ISA, Birdshot ISA, Session Obsession ISA, Granch ISA

(ISA = India Session Ale = Easy Drinkin’, Lower ABV, IPA)

Brewing Challenges:

Fermenter Hop Dosing – Taking the recipe for this beer from a small pub batch to production scale has been a fun challenge for our brewers. The process of adding copious amounts of late addition hops (725 lbs per 725 bbl batch of Azacca and Amarillo hop pellets) to the fermenter (big stainless tank – see below), to give the beer its unique hop character and aroma, was not ideal, causing inefficiencies and vessels clogging up.

One of our core values is to “Do our best, and next time do it better,” so we are constantly experimenting to make our processes more efficient. Since this beer is still so new to our production facility, we’re currently running trials with hop pellets and a combined Azacca and Amarillo hop slurry. Our goal is to loop our large fermenters together, to smoothly dose all of the beer with these amazing hops to make your drinking experience, HOP-TACULAR!

Our assistant brewmaster, and one of the leads on this program, is Sean Garvin. He says: “Although this is a challenging process for our brewers, it’s forcing us to come up with a inventive solution to make our beers better and our brewery more efficient.”

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Beer Body – Another challenge for any brewery is to get a bold flavored, low ABV beer to have BODY! Body is basically how the beer feels in your mouth. As Goldilocks would say (if she was of legal drinking age, of course), “I want a beer that is not to thick, not too thin, but perfectly just right…on my tongue! After several trials, a variety of mash adjustments (right amount of grain and water), and sampling/tasting (we like this part the best), we got the body and the ABV just where we wanted it!

Cooking With Beer:

Beer and food pairings are very important to us here at the brewery with our brew pub roots. If you are unable to visit us at our pubs to try our suggested combinations, we offer recipes on our website that combine delicious culinary treats with our tasty beers! Give our Session IPA Seafood Ceviche a try with homemade tortilla chips or if you’re craving something sweet, how about Beer Lemon Bars!!

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Grab A Slice Of Summer!

Are you thirsty yet? With the long hot days almost upon us, be sure to grab a 6-pack or 12 pack to share with your friends and SQUEEZE all you can out of your summer adventures with Hop Slice Session IPA!!