We have listened to the hopheads who want a hoppy beer on tap at Hop Angel Brauhaus. Fitting an IPA in while remaining true to having just German style beers (imported and domestic) on tap is hard. Hard but not impossible, if you think outside of the box, and have some capable friends. Well, we do and we do.
What's an IPA?
For those who aren't familiar with what IPAs are, here is a little background. (Those who are all too familiar can skip the rest of this paragraph). IPA stands for India Pale Ale; the name refers to extra hoppy beers that originally were shipped from England to India during the 19th century. The extra hopping helped to keep the beer fresh during the voyage between England and India. The style sort of vanished until American microbrewers resurrected it in the 1990s.
Part 1: Out of the Box Thinking
First part of our German hop bomb problem will be solved by some outside of the box thinking.
What if a 6% ABV black IPA was brewed with lager yeast? Well then you'd have a German style hoppy black lager. Problem solved, or at least 1/2 solved.
While it will sort of be a schwarzbier (German black lager), we think it is actually a new style of beer. It will be hoppy but definitely not an IPA.
So if it's not an IPA, what is it?
- First off, this beer is not really India, except in that will be super hoppy. It's sort of Germany and definitely America.
- Secondly this beer will not be pale; it will be black. Actually the name Black IPA is sort of stupid now that I think on it. The style should have been called India Black Ale. But that is what it is and there's probably no changing Black IPA as a style name now.
- And lastly the beer will not be an ale but a lager.
So how about Germany-America-India Black Lager? A GAIBL The first ever!
Part 2: Having Capable Friends
So we had 1/2 of the puzzle solved. Since this style didn't yet exist, we couldn't just buy some. We needed some brewed just for us.
Happily we have friends who can (and, mostly importantly, will) do that for us. I asked Ben Potts, Dock Street's head brewer. He ran it up the flagpole to Rosemarie Certo, Dock Street's president. She, like Ben and me, loved the idea.
So off we go! Ben started brewing it this morning.
And It Gets Even Better
A beer this unique will need a cool name. We have that covered; the name will be Hop Angel Hop Fuel.
Hop Angel Hop Fuel will be on tap at Hop Angel Brauhaus in Fox Chase, Northeast Philadelphia, and at Dock Street Brewpub, West Philadelphia. If a few kegs wind up at other local accounts, we don't mind - beer is meant to be shared. And Ben is always willing to brew some more.
And It Gets Still Even Better
The recipe for Hop Angel Hop Fuel will evolve based on customer responses. We will ask our customers what they think and tinker with the recipe until we have a beer that Hop Angel customers love.
Hop Angel Brauhaus
7980 Oxford Avenue
Philadelphia PA 19111
Dock Street Brewing Company
701 S. 50th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143