I’ve been waiting for this one to drop, and nearly jumped out of my pointy gnome hat when I heard the news that we were finally going to get a chance to try the long talked about Shoptalk Double IPA that Braxton crafted this summer along with Widmer Brothers. This big new addition to Braxton Brewing Company’s Garage series is coming very soon, but first let’s talk a little shop of our own so you understand what’s behind this beer (aside from the usual ingredients).
When Braxton first went to the StartUp Challenge that Brewbound presented, they were still in the planning stages. Founding member Jake Rouse stood in front of the panel in December of 2013 and presented what was then only an idea for a brewery that did things differently, but in a way that made perfect sense. Quality, consistency, a love for pushing the boundaries for technology, and all of it rooted from the garage. The panel loved the idea, but didn’t feel the brewery was far enough along in the process to win the challenge. The story was a little different when a smiling Jake Rouse took the stage in June of 2015. This was a Jake Rouse that had a brewery that people had already fallen in love with. He brought with him Storm a beer that showed who they were (a move the judges called bold…bringing such a delicate style). Jake could finally talk about bringing the garage to Covington in a way that people could relate to… he showed pictures, he told about the people that were now customers, and fans, and it worked. The panel this time referred to Braxton as ‘polished’.
Part of the ‘polished’ nature of Braxton is their naming of their beers. When you walk by their taproom window if you just glance at the tap listing and keep journeying down 7th street without a second thought, it might seem simple and like clever marketing. Sure, fun garage names. But when you dig into each name, and you really have conversations about them, there is nothing less than genuine about choosing a name for a beer, and Shoptalk is no exception to that.
This is a beer that is as much about the process as it is what is going to be poured into your glass. When Braxton won the startup brewery challenge they won the opportunity to spend some time in Portland, talking to the brilliant minds at Widmer Brothers… learning… sharing ideas… growing. For a brewery that at the time of their visit in September was a hair under six months old – this is significant. Talking shop became a bigger story than an a Double IPA could ever hope to be. That being said…this is going to be a hell of a Double IPA.
If you’re interested in their trip, you can see episode 01 of the Brewbound series “Learning Curve” over at Good Beer Hunting (a fantastic website too if you aren’t familiar with it)
Braxton Brewing needed a big Double IPA. But with the personality that they possess, they couldn’t just brew your standard DIPA and move on to the next thing, and I’m so happy to see that the folks at Widmer seem to have understood that. Using the buying power of the Craft Brew Alliance and Widmer they created a recipe that utilizes some fantastic new experimental hop varieties guaranteeing that this should be an IPA unlike any you’ve tasted before.
- Experimental 468
- You might have experienced this one locally with Warped Wing’s Exp468 session IPA – this hop has some citrus and fruitiness to it.
- Originally named ‘Pinefruit’ – that’s exactly what you find from these… piney and fruity. To me, I get more fruit aroma, and a little piney burst in the flavor.
- Falconers Flight
- Developed in 2010, these hops have some of my favorite hop aromas… the wonderful grapefruit, lemon and floral aromas that lend a fresh “summery” aroma to an IPA.
These hops all come together in a package of a big 10% 100 IBU monster that from what I’ve heard doesn’t drink like some of the boozy, overly bitter Imperial IPAs that you’ve most likely had before. I’m literally sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to get my hands on my first glass of this!
Here’s the description of the beer from the brewery themselves to give you an idea of what is in store for your taste buds:
Good things happen when you have a good time with good people. In The Garage, we call this “shoptalk” — sharing stories, ideas, and dreams with our friends. That’s what we did with Widmer Brothers in Portland, Oregon to collaborate on this Imperial IPA. Shoptalk features a bigger body, more alcohol and more overall bitterness than a standard IPA. While working with the Widmer Brothers team, we decided to use a hop combination of new and experimental hops to create a pungent tropical fruit aroma and flavor including grapefruit, tangerine, currants, and a slight hint of pine. Unlike our other beers, this beer was not meant to be balanced – the focus is all on the hops.
When Can You Get It?
The beer is tapped on 12/12 at 12pm in their taproom. You can make your way down to get your first taste then. They also have Elk Creek playing in their taproom that evening to entertain you while you sip away at this beast. If you’re one of the people who already has plans that day, don’t worry… this one is going to see a little bit of distribution as well. Shoptalk will make it’s way around both Northern Kentucky and the Cincinnati area to some of Braxton’s tap accounts soon after it’s debut (starting next week).
The beer media hypes stuff. I’m sure that’s blatantly obvious to you as an educated beer reader, but I don’t want you to think that’s what I do. I’m not talking about this beer because it’s new…or that it’s a big trendy fun DIPA. I’m not writing about this beer because I want a bunch of people to make their way over here to my little beer blog to read my egotistical beer thoughts. I believe in this stuff. This beer is different, even without a drop of it hitting my lips. I believe in growing Cincinnati’s beer community, and beer’s like Braxton’s Shoptalk are going to do that.