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The Original ‘Cold IPA’ is Coming to Tavour!

From the West Coast hopbombs that emerged in the ‘90s to the New England-style Hazies that have dominated the past several years, IPAs have helped bring craft beer into the mainstream. According to the Brewers Association, they are so popular that they make up between 24 and 33 percent of all craft beer! Now a new kind of IPA is on the rise, and it’s poised to start another chapter in the world of hop-forward brewing.

Meet the Cold IPA. While not yet widely available — or officially recognized by the Brewers Association — the style has already appeared multiple times this year on Tavour. This is fitting, as the app-based craft beer retailer is known for featuring obscure styles, limited batches, and other hard-to-find brews people can’t get at local stores. In mid-November, the app will carry a fresh batch of Original Cold IPA from Wayfinder Beer, the brewery credited with introducing the style.

“We were shooting to make something to contrast the NEIPA,” says brewmaster Kevin Davey. He and his team characterize the Cold IPA as having “a strong punch of aromatic hop intensity and high bitterness, but finishes crisp and clean leaving the drinker craving another sip.” Whereas most IPAs use an American Ale yeast for a malty base that plays well with hop fruit notes, the new style calls for a lighter, cleaner base.

To make the initial beer, the Oregon brewers opted for Lager yeast. Lager yeast is traditionally fermented cold — hence the name “Cold IPA.” However, the brewers used warmer temperatures to ferment it more quickly and keep the yeast’s fruity esters low. The result? A crystal-clean canvas for the hops to shine through.

Three years after their first foray into the style, Wayfinder’s creation has spurred other brewers to try their own hand at Cold IPAs. And while some may compare the Cold IPA to the more established India Pale Lager, recent iterations on Tavour show otherwise.

“The intention behind Cold IPA is to streamline some of the 'clunkiness' behind IPL,” says Second Sin head brewer and co-founder Jake Howell, whose White-Eyed Lightning Guy appeared on the app in early October. “There are some great IPLs out there, but many of them are just IPAs brewed with Lager yeast, rather than a Lager built from the ground up to accept that level of hopping.”

According to Howell, the Cold IPA “is more about subtraction — stripping away everything that can stand in the way of pure hop expression.” For their rendition, Second Sin used a neutral grain bill of American Pilsner malt and rice, then started with cold Lager fermentation and progressed to warm. Like Wayfinder’s recipe, the higher temp suppressed the yeast’s stronger character and created a blank canvas for “unadulterated hop flavor and aroma.”

Interestingly, the style isn’t limited to just Lager yeast. Tavour also recently featured Ice Köld from Colorado's New Image Brewing, who warm fermented Kolsch yeast with rice to achieve a crisp body. Then they hopped it with Nelson and Galaxy for flavor.

According to the brewers, “the result is a beautiful fusion of a crisp, clean Lager-like profile that still boasts a bright floral hoppy profile.” The New Image team also cited Wayfinder Beer as their inspiration.

For curious tasters, Wayfinder is bringing back their initial recipe (aptly titled Original Cold IPA) due to popular demand. Non-local craft fans will be able to find the beer on Tavour in November.

Even so, the Cold IPA is still so new, the Brewers Association doesn’t yet list it as a style. This isn’t surprising considering the “Juicy or Hazy” IPA category wasn’t added until 2018, after years of popularity.

But the Cold IPA’s rise may spike sooner rather than later — Davey says brewers from Poland, Japan, Spain, and even Florida have already reached out to him about making it.

Howell may know why. “Overall I think today's beer drinker wants variety above all else,” he says. “So Cold IPA is definitely a nice change of pace.”

In the meantime, those who want to be at the forefront of this emerging style can get it on Tavour!


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