What was one of my worst regrets from 2020? Joining the Nextdoor app. Sure, it seemed like a good idea for safety awareness. But then you read it. The stream of self-entitled complaints, and the constant stream of self-righteous posts. It started as “Can I speak to your manager” haircut and memes, and ultimately becoming “Karen.” You can probably chalk this phenomenon up to a Dane Cook stand-up bit from years ago.
Nextdoor is full of Karens, as Scofflaw Brewing found out the hard way when your brewery is next to a neighborhood. Honoring that love/hate/can’t stop reading the comments relationship is Scofflaw Karen From Next Door IPA.
There have never been more Karens our lives…so in honor of Mother’s Day, and for moms protecting their children from vicious servers everywhere, we tip our hats to you, Karen.
The hazy India pale ale speaks for itself, or to the manager directly. To our calculations, “Karen” has been released at least twice by the brewery in the past year, selling out fast each time.
If you missed it last time, Karen From Next Door IPA is back stirring up shit at the brewery. No mute button needed.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Brewery only
Latest Return: 5/6/21
Creature Comforts Brewed for One – now an annual release returns to the brewery this month.
This beer started as Cellarman’s Spirit, brewed to commemorate the loss of an employee and cellarman, Bob Weckback. The profits from that release were used to create a college fund for his son.
Starting in 2019, the beer became “Brewed for One,” growing into an initiative to honor a different, deserving individual in a life-changing way. Creature Comforts worked with two local agencies this year to support an individual who really needed it.
…to do for one what we wish they could do for all.
Brewed For One is a single-hop IPA brewed with Idaho 7. Hailing from the state with the second most hop acreage in the U.S., Idaho 7 is huge on tropical and pine notes.
Creature Comforts Brewed For One 2021 will be available in 16-ounce cans and draft at the brewery starting May 7th.
Hops: Idaho 7
Availability: 16oz Cans, Draft.
St. Louis, Missouri-based Schlafly Brewing is releasing Hoptic Visions, a variety pack featuring four different India pale ale styles.
This is the second release of the mixed pack, which includes three new Schlafly creations:
- India Pale Ale (5.0% ABV): Schlafly’s sessionable IPA is a classic hop-forward, golden-hazed beer that features notes of citrus and tropical flavors.
- Hazy Grapefruit IPA (5.0% ABV): This juicy IPA adds pounds of real fruit for an added complexity. Schlafly amplifies the grapefruit with complementing Cascade and Simcoe hops.
- Low Cal IPA (ABV 4.0%): Clocking in at 110 calories, the new Low Cal IPA sways to the lighter side but is still packed with juicy hop flavor.
- West Coast IPA (6.0% ABV): A throwback IPA that sparked the love of hops, Schlafly’s West Coast IPA packs a bitter citrus and pine punch.
The Low Cal IPA is Schlafly’s first foray into the lower-calorie IPA category, while the Hazy Grapefruit IPA is brand new for 2021.
The Schlafly Hoptic Visions IPA Pack is available at all brewery locations, across their distribution footprint for $17.99.
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.
This week, Paso Robles, California based Firestone Walker Brewing Company has released three new IPAs, including a new edition of Luponic Distortion.
The first two IPAs – El Dorado, and Motueka, were both born in Firestone Walker’s Propagator pilot brewery in Marina Del Ray. Both pilot beers are simply named for the spotlighted hop in each IPA.
- El Dorado IPA – West Coast IPA with a next-generation hop variety from the Pacific Northwest that offers soft stone fruit flavors with notes of tropical melon and pear. (5.6% ABV)
- Motueka IPA – Hazy IPA with a New Zealand-grown hop that delivers punchy flavors of tropical fruit, white grape, and lemon zest. (5.6% ABV)
The latest Luponic Distortion IPA is the 15th entry in the ongoing series. This edition features emerging hops hand-selected by Firestone Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. Per Brynildson, Luponic Distortion #15 “offers explosive fruit flavors of kiwi, lychee, and feijoa.”
Pay attention, because where to find these IPAs gets a little complicated (and we are pretty sure this is correct):
Motueka IPA is available exclusively in Firestone Walkers ‘Crafted Thru Hops’ mixed CAN packs, alongside Mind Haze, and Union Jack.
El Dorado IPA can be found in the ‘Craft Thru Hops’ mixed BOTTLE packs, with Easy Jack IPA, Luponic #15, and Union Jack.
Luponic Distortion #15 is available in 12-ounce cans, 12-ounce bottles, and draft for a limited time.
Hops: Varied By Beer
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Limited Time Release.
Debut: Late February 2020
Bell’s Brewery’s Two Hearted Ale is known epically as one of the best (if not the best) India pale ale in America. Double Two Hearted Ale, which is is basically Two Hearted turned into the hoppy Incredible Hulk, was bottled last year and brewery fans couldn’t’ get enough. Then it was revealed that the “Hearted Ale” series had a lesser-known, lovable lighter side – Light Hearted Ale.
The 110 calorie, 8.7 carb, 3.7% alcohol by volume “light” ale has been a Bell’s General Store exclusive release, showing up on social media as early as last summer.
Gearing up for a wide-scale release, Bell’s has overhauled Light Hearted’s artwork. This lighter approach to one of America’s most popular India pale ales utilizes two hops – Centennial and Galaxy.
A light IPA Success
As 2020 gets underway, this beer joins the ranks of a growing segment of lighter, lower calorie, lower alcohol by volume creations by craft brewers. The category is growing every month, but much like any India pale ale, the light IPAs are not created equal. Without naming names, some of the releases are either too thin, low flavor, or even worse – tastes like hoppy water. You might be saving the calories but you’ve also thrown flavor out the window. Bell’s solved the calorie over flavor equation, and they did it beautifully.
Light Hearted Ale is born of the same creative expertise that pushed Two Hearted Ale to elite status in American brewing. Centennial and Galaxy hops walk hand in hand through each sip, bolstered by an actual malt backbone (a term brewers hate) that his been missing in a string lactose and adjunct heavy IPAs hitting shelves coast to coast. Those looking to make a more health-conscious beer choice, look no further.
Bell’s Light Hearted Ale will be available year-round in 12-ounce cans and draft starting in late-January
Image: Beer Street Journal
There are a handful of lower alcohol by volume, lower-calorie beers in the craft brewing segment. Some of the most notable recent releases include One-y IPA by Oskar Blues, Slightly Mighty by Dogfish Head, and Swipe Light by Southern Tier. Soon, Monday Night Lay Low IPA is joining the category soon.
Early details are pretty simple. Lay Low is an India pale ale that is 3.2% alcohol by volume, instead of 3.5% as previously reported and just 95 calories. Starting in 2020, the brewery has ceased using 6-pack rings and has shifted to the box format.
Monday Night Lay Low IPA is slated for 12-ounce cans and draft starting January 24th.
Style: IPA (Session Beer)
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. GA, TN, AL.
Image: Monday Night Brewing