The ultimate reward for every brewer is seeing someone enjoying their beer. Watching faces light up when they try a new creative recipe or taste fresh hops for the first time. Jim Hill and Matt Dudley are veteran homebrewers who have seen the smiles on friends, family, and their Bellville brew club faces when they shared their homebrew. But on September 9th, they will get to see an entire community try their winning recipe brewed on a professional system.
The Phoenix Brewing Company Century IPA 2018 competition invited homebrewers to submit their take on what the Century should taste like. Every batch of the Century IPA uses the same malt bill but the hop combinations and brew techniques can vary. Homebrewers were given the recipe, the exact grains, and yeast if needed, but needed to provide their own hops to finish the beer. Inspiration for a recipe can come from lots of places.
“Originally we designed it differently based on hop varieties we had used before and liked in some of our favorite beers but we changed it at the last minute and ordered some El Dorado,” Jim said. “I had a beer the week before that was brewed with El Dorado and loved it. Matt at the same time was traveling for work and sent me a beer that he said was amazing. What was funny was it was brewed with El Dorado as well. We knew it was a sign, so we made the last-minute change. We did decide to keep the cascade hops which we grew in the garden and froze to add a fresh hop flavor and aroma.”
Incorporating fresh hops commercially has its challenges. The brew must be scheduled at the same time as the harvest to ensure the peak freshness of the hops. Local hop farm, For the Love of Hops, hand-delivered Cascade hops within hours of picking to the brewery. Brewing large scale has its differences too. Matt said “It was interesting to see the commercial side of things. We had a blast! We brew with an all in one (system) so it’s much simpler to brew. With the big system, it was much more complex. it’s so cool to have our beer commercially brewed and released. “Both Matt and Jim have been brewing for over 4 years and love IPAs because of their aroma and bitterness. Although Matt admitted he loved stouts in the winter season too.
Sometimes referred to as Harvest IPAs, fresh-hopped IPAs are limited by season. Fresh hops impart a different flavor and aroma to a beer. The Century IPA batch 006 releases Sunday, September 9th at 3:00 pm. Come out and enjoy a beer with the brewers.