January saw the launch of Taiheke:Citra, a 6.6% West Coast IPA and the first of our new Surf Line series of Pale Ales and IPAs. As alluded to in the first blog, this series was conceived and launched in response to the question of ‘who are we and what are we about?’ In the fast-moving, creative and exciting craft brewing market, it’s very easy to get pulled in 100 different directions. Trends come and go, collaborations are discussed and implemented and before you know it you’ve got sours, fruit beers, barrel-aged curiosities and all sorts of weird and wonderful beers in your product range. Experimentation and pushing the boundaries isn’t just accepted, it’s required to stay relevant. The aim of an experiment should always be to learn and inform the design of future experiments. We are wary of experimenting for experimentations sake, every beer we release should help our learning process and inform our future direction. Otherwise, you become a jack of all trades, turning your hand to a myriad of styles, following the latest trends and never quite nailing them down.
We love to try out new techniques and ingredients, with some weird and wonderful results – how else would we have arrived at our ever-popular Big Raspberry Dog Chew! Most of all though, I love beers that taste primarily of malt and hops (crazy I know)! Pale Ales and IPAs are my first love and arguably the beers we do best (Chew Chew fans might disagree). They are the styles that I come back to all the time, keen to explore their potential. The lip-smacking juiciness of the malt, well-balanced bitterness from the hops and the downright drinkability of a well-executed version just can’t be beaten for me.
Which brings me back to the Surf Line series. This is an exploration of the myriad hop varieties that are now available to craft brewers. Some will say that this has been done before (and they’d be right), but every brewery has a different interpretation, different processes and different equipment which will always result in unique beers.
The Surf Line series is inspired by our time living in San Diego so the beers will have a very West Coast feel. The features will be; ‘crisp and clean’, ‘juicy but not overripe fruit’ and ‘solid, refreshing bitterness’. The IPAs will be 6.6% and the Pales will be 4%. Both styles will maintain a consistent malt base and an ever-changing hop-duo selected from the best and freshest varieties we can get hold of from the hop merchants. This gives us an avenue to satisfy our curiosity for new flavours, ingredients and techniques, while staying true to our ethos.
In terms of exact specifications, we’re aiming for a colour of 10 EBC for the IPAs and 6 EBC for the Pales, a bitterness of 60 IBUs for the IPAs and 30 IBUs for the Pales. The malt backbone will be based on Extra Pale, Caramalt and Carapils (with some Dextrose added to the IPA to dry it out a fraction) and we’ll use US-05, a classic West Coast yeast. Pales will launch monthly and are primarily destined for cask, whilst the IPAs will come out bi-monthly heading mostly for keg and can. The first IPA, Taiheke:Citra, was launched in January and sold out in double-quick time with a current Untappd rating of 3.93. The first Pale, Idaho 7:Simcoe, is just about to be released, with great uptake on pre-orders. The March releases will be El Dorado:Waimea IPA and Amarillo:Centennial Pale so keep a look out for these launching on our social media.
Later in the year, and better late than never, we’ll be looking to launch an East Coast series as well. We’ve stubbornly resisted the urge to follow the trend for East Coasters but the time now seems right. Also, we’re all about balance and what’s West without East!
Thanks for reading
Paul and The Fallen Brewing Team
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