In the land of craft beer, the India pale ale still reigns supreme. The ever-growing trendiness of the IPA keeps craft breweries across the world constantly on the lookout for new ways to improve the bitter, hoppy ale and turn out something they can call their own — something that stands out from the pack as just a little bit different.
After releasing the Pinner Throwback IPA over the winter, Oskar Blues is ready to roll out a new metamodern-style IPA, brewed using a unique variety of Australian hops, for another fresh take on the IPA formula.
“IPAs 10 years ago were superbitter,” says McLean Hart, a lead brewer at Oskar Blues in Brevard. “Total bitter bombs. A good IPA tasted like a big, sticky bitter hop. If it was extremely bitter, it was good.”
Over the years, IPAs have slowly, subtly shifted in flavor as competition between breweries created demand for differences in the formula.
“We’re going for a more noticeable, but not overpowering, bitterness [in the Oskar Blues IPA],” says Hart.
The Oskar Blues IPA is one of the first U.S. production beers to use the Enigma hop, a descendant of the Swiss Tettnang hop, that “imparts a true down-under terroir of white wine and red berries,” according to a press release from Oskar Blues.
The Enigma, Vic Secret, Ella and Topaz hops grown in Victoria and Tasmania were hand-chosen by Oskar Blues brewers for the new ale, and the result is an IPA with an aroma and flavor uncommon to the United States.
Even the name of the new beer is a little bit different from what Oskar Blues has been known for in the past. Old Chub, Mama’s Little Yella Pils and Dale’s Pale Ale (named for founder Dale Katechis) are all evocative of Oskar Blues’ typical naming conventions, but, this time, they’re keeping it simple.
“People keep asking what the name of this beer is,” says Anne-Fitten Glenn, head of public relations for Oskar Blues. “We just decided to call it Oskar Blues IPA. Part of that is — people all think we work for Dale’s brewery. Which, it is Dale’s brewery, but the name of the brewery is Oskar Blues. So we thought it would be a good way to showcase just the name and keep it simple.”
Oskar Blues IPA is in full production, rolling down the canning lines in Brevard and shipping out to all 44 states where OB beer is sold right now. Six-packs will be available in stores in the next couple of weeks, but those looking for an early taste can head down to Oskar Blues Brewery on Thursday, Aug. 13, from 5-8 p.m. for the release party, featuring live music from Nikki Talley at 6 p.m. and grub from the Oskar Blues CHUBWagon.