For our second Challenge of 2016 we wanted to explore the world of hops a bit. What’s the hoppiest beer style? Why, American Pale Ales and IPAs, of course! Rather than having your brew your go-to IPA recipe, we changed things up a bit by requiring that whatever hops you chose came from Europe. No Citra, no Simcoe, and no Amarillo. We did carve out a niche for the locally-grown Cascade hops but only one brewer opted for this approach.
Not as many brewers answered the call and only a few followed through and delivered the beer. Still, five entries makes a competition and this one was won by Brian Dohm and Nick Wagner of Swampscott, MA. Their Belgian IPA was appropriately bittered, yet restrained in both the hop and yeast character. “We wanted to keep [the grain bill] simple, then balance it with noble hops.” Rather than let their preferred Belgian yeast muck up the works with a bubblegum character, Brian and Nick opted for a cooler fermentation on the lower side of the usual range. Not bad for a first time experimenting with the style!
So congratulations Brian and Nick, you have won an autographed copy of “Tasting Beer” by Randy Mosher!