Triple C’s New England IPA, “All the Cool Kids Are Doing It”
Like football like beer, New England-style IPAs are winning by doing something ‘wrong.’ But in this case, it’s easier to understand that if it’s wrong, you don’t want to be right. After all, brewers nationwide are experimenting with it.
Beauty — and Flavor — In the Flaw
Wednesday, April 27th, Triple C will release “All the Cool Kids Are Doing It,” a hazy IPA in the style of so many New England breweries that in beer trading circles have quickly become the most sought-after IPAs in the country. From Treehouse (MA) and Trillium (MA) to Tired Hands (PA) and many more, these seemingly defective IPAs have become their own style. It’s not even the first in Charlotte. Heist’s Citraquential has already made waves, so keep an eye on their tap list for it, too.
Brewers typically seek to create clear, crisp IPAs. Some are more hoppy and dry, while others are sweeter with more of a malt backbone. In Charlotte, NoDa’s Hop, Drop ‘N Roll and Triple C’s 3C IPA are two great, award-winning examples of different IPAs on a [now] traditional spectrum. But West Coast IPAs were at one point new, too.
What makes an IPA a New England IPA? The first thing you’ll notice is that a NE IPA can almost look like orange juice (hence the name of one popular NE IPA, Treehouse’s Julius). Appearance is typically a judged criterion in competitions, so you won’t see these IPAs winning awards, but that appearance — the result of yeast, hop haze and other constituents left behind in the brew process — does indicate things to come. Part of this comes from the use of English (instead of American) ale yeast. Plus, while 3C uses some flaked oats, this take on NE IPAs uses more, plus naked oats and wheat.
Before you even taste a NE IPA, you’ll notice the nose is one of the juiciest ever to hit your nostrils. Sweet citrus bomb. Instead of the Citra, Centennial and Chinook hops used in 3C, Triple C is using Citra, Amarillo and Mosaic. And Triple C’s NE IPA uses three times as much hops as 3C IPA but still results in half the IBUs (32 for the NE IPA; 5.36% ABV).
Triple C’s Scott Kimball holding up his NE IPA
Throw it back. The mouthfeel is just what you’d expect from the look — creamy, smooth. Much more sweet juiciness than bitter dryness. That is perhaps one source of the allure for these NE IPAs — they are much more accessible to the public that might not have acquired the affinity for bitter IPAs. But especially for summer, while milk might be a poor choice, slightly milky IPAs are not. That is an important distinction noted by Triple C’s Scott Kimball, however. The goal is to create a haziness from hop oils and some other constituents but not necessarily from an overabundance of residual yeast. That can be the fine line between a great NE IPA and just a yeasty IPA.
King of the IPA Mountain
And if you know anyone in the northeast, try to get your hands on these sought-after beers. While Russian River’s Pliny the Elder was for a while the most revered [distributed] IPA in all the land, New England firmly holds that crown… for now. Until something probably called ‘Hop-Gate’ involving Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, a poor bunny rabbit and Outkast.
Make sure you enjoy these fresh. The nature of these IPAs also means they can change with age. Draft is best. If getting NE IPAs from New England, try to make sure they’re not too much more than a month old. It won’t get any fresher than Triple C’s Wednesday pilot batch and any Heist Citraquential releases.