Face it, hard seltzer is here to stay. We almost dismissed it as an odd summer trend a few years ago, and now the seltzer industry is valued over $4 billion dollars. Alpha Water is one of the newest boozy water brands hitting the market and it’s worth checking out.
Atlanta-based New Realm Brewing opened in early 2018 with a state record-breaking 20,000 barrel annual capacity. That same year, New Realm purchased Green Flash Brewing’s Virginia Beach location, renovating as New Realm Virginia Beach early that fall. Within the first year, the brewery was operating at near capacity across the board.
Taking tanks away from beer to make anything else would have seemed like a bad business move, but you can’t ignore hard seltzer anymore.
“I didn’t know what the heck I was doing,” Mitch Steele, brewmaster & co-founder says, mid-chuckle.
That’s pretty much the response we’d expect from Mitch. His brewing has had such an impact on craft brewing in America and the last thing we thought we’d be asking him about is fermenting fruity dextrose water. The man literally wrote the book on brewing IPA.
New Realm Brewing’s foray into hard seltzer wasn’t just done because it’s a hot new trend.
“Demand for something that wasn’t beer was in high demand in the restaurant, but Georgia law prevented us from selling anything else but what we make,” Mitch says. Ultimately that means you have to make a cider or a seltzer.
So how do you switch gears from IPAs and pilsners to hard seltzers? Well, when Google didn’t help, Steele asked around. “One of our suppliers had an employee that worked in hard beverages in Wisconsin for years,” he tells us. “After a 2+ hour phone conversation with him, I had enough direction to get started.”
From there, it was test batch after test batch, trying to get the yeast right and the flavoring on point. Plus, figuring out what flavors to run with. All in all, New Realm tested over 15 different hard seltzer flavors. The most popular, which was the first chosen to be packaged, is Acai & Blueberry, along with Citrus Punch, Cucumber and Lime, and Black Cherry.
Lemon Hopburst, while loved by the brewers- apparently failed to impress amongst taproom attendees.
Unlike some seltzers, these flavors are quite memorable. The cucumber doesn’t walk a fine line with tasting like pickles, the blueberry aroma is fresh and bright, and the Citrus Punch over ice is simply a win. Honestly, that flavor could and should be in its own 12-pack.
Hard seltzers were a weird notion from the start, but as we have come to find out, are here to stay. Just like IPAs, hard the seltzer world is becoming the “wild west” of flavors.
Alpha Water gets it right.
Oh yeah, we took it to Vegas too. PICS: Beer Street Journal
I’ve missed draft beer. That’s a phrase I never thought I would say unless I accidentally stumbled back in time to 1930.
Now, there is nothing wrong with packaged beer. But a pint fresh from the taps is a thing of beauty I had probably taken a little for granted until COVID-19 basically killed draft beer in America for a while. New Realm Brewing’s Hazy Like a Fox IPA was a staple during quarantine, and sitting down at a bar this week finally have a fresh pint felt a little bit like a hoppy Christmas.
Except that’s not what I got.
Every beer drinker has had that internal debate whether to say something to the bartender about a miss-poured beer, and look a little pretentious in the process, or say something. If you say something, the beer will just be poured down the drain. Such a waste. What was sitting in front of me wasn’t Hazy Like a Fox, but equally if not more delicious. It’s been a shit year, so I decided to stay the course and be grateful I’m sitting in a bar and not on a Zoom call.
As it turns out, it was New Realm Hoptropolis. This “juicy” IPA debuted back in 2018, and honestly, that was the last time I had it. As of late the beer has been popping up everywhere. Jeff Chassner is New Realm’s VP of Business Development and a good friend, so I asked him what was up. As it turns out, New Realm is “leaning in” on Hoptropolis as spring and warmer weather sets in.
“Hazy Like a Fox is now our number one selling beer both inside and outside of the brewery, and Hoptropolis isn’t far behind,” he says. “We figured it’s time to remind folks don’t forget about our other favorite IPA.”
It’s built on Loral, Citra, El Dorado, and Azacca hops which are all headliners in juicy IPAs in these days. Georgia is lucky to have an IPA god like Mitch Steele working his brewing magic with Tyler and team.
Covid lulled me into a bit of a rut. Same safety beers during a turbulent time – until the wrong pull of a tap. I very literally proved New Realm’s point without even knowing it.
On the same topic, that’s another unintended problem beer has dealt with during the ongoing pandemic. It’s not just a loss of volume to every brewery in America. It’s the loss of the variety and exploration you get sitting down in front of a tap wall. Trying something new by the pint is much less daunting than 6 pack commitments. A notion I nearly forgot after playing it safe so many months now.
New Realm Radegast Triple IPA returns to the Atlanta brewery’s lineup on January 14th.
When New Realm opened its first facility in Atlanta just over a year ago, brewmaster Mitch Steele celebrated with a big imperial IPA known as Radegast. The 11.5% alcohol by volume “triple IPA” features Warrior, Citra, Mosaic, and El Dorado hops, plus a touch of Dextrose sugar. New Realm has since added a second location in Virginia.
This boozy hop bomb is back for a third time this month- a pretty epic imperial IPA that is nostalgic of a time when IPAS didn’t need candy and lactose and flour to make you love it. This is an old school, west coast IPA and it’s glorious.
Expect huge citrus, resin and peach flavors plus mild malt character in both nose and taste. Radegast is aggressively bitter and full-bodied due to its alcohol content, but it’s not sweet.
New Realm Radegast Triple IPA is available on-site at the brewery on starting January 14th. (Atlanta)
Style: Imperial IPA
Hops: Warrior, Citra, Mosaic, El Dorado
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. Limited Release.
Latest Return: 1/14/20
Image: Beer Street Journal
New Realm Tyrannosaurus Flex, a new hazy imperial IPA debuts Halloween week 2019.
This imperial can of haze is rocking a sweet 80’s vibe and one of the largest land predators to ever exist. The brewing team used all New Zealand hops for this release – specifically Moteuka, Wai-ti, and Rakau.
Brewed exclusively with hops from New Zealand…combined with Norwegian Kviek yeast gives this monster DIPA a cretaceous amount of juicy, fruity notes such as mango, pineapple, peach, apricot, and citrus.
New Realm Tyrannosaurus Flex is available in 16-ounce cans and draft at both the Atlanta and Virginia Beach locations for a limited time.
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft. Limited Release.
Debut: Late October 2019
8.5% ABV, 35 IBUS
Atlanta gets hot, and popsicle maker King of Pops is always there with frosty, cold, unique flavors. Incidentally, New Realm Brewing does the same thing – with cold beer. Fusing the innovative flavors of the two just makes sense now summer is here.
King of Pops and New Realm sat in the brewery’s barrel-room tasting their way through popsicles and pairing it with beer. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. According to Carey Falcone, co-founder of New Realm, found the Blackberry Ginger Lemon pop paired beautifully with their Belgian-style ale.
“The clear favorite was their Blackberry Ginger Lemon pop with our Belgian style beer, so we put together a recipe that would allow for the popsicle base to blend excellently with beer. What our brewers came up with is a cool beer with a refreshing fruity character.” – Carey Falcone
The result is BGL Belgian Ale, a fusion of ginger, blackberry and lemon pop flavors with the esters of a Belgian-style blonde ale. This first of this series debuts today, June 25th, in 12-ounce cans and draft, available in limited quantities in Georgia.
Style: Belgian Blonde Ale (w/ Ginger. Lemon. Blackberry.)
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Limited Release.
7.5% ABV, 18 IBUs
New Realm Lime of the Party, the brewery’s first canned sour ale, debuts this weekend.
The first appearance of this kettle sour was in the fall of 2018, hitting taps at New Realm’s Atlanta location. Lime of the Party is a gose, with fresh lime juice added during fermentation.
“We found a supplier of really fantastic Key Lime Juice and after bringing in a sample, we knew it was the way to go for our first major Gose release. It truly is like enjoying Key Lime Pie in a glass.” – Mitch Steele, Co-Founder & Brewmaster
New Realm Lime of the Party is available in 12-ounce cans and draft, at the brewery’s Atlanta and Virgnina locations this weekend, with distribuiton to follow shortly after.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Debut (Cans): 3/29/19
New Realm Hazy Like A Fox