Why another IPA?
There’s a strong argument that would suggest that Last Best already has a popular IPA and there are hundreds of other great styles that we could brew for our “featured beer” section, and this is a good point. But, we like IPA. We really like IPA. The wonderful thing about IPA is that now there are several sub-styles and regional interpretations of IPA and sometimes we just need to answer, “What if?”
The last few decades have done a tremendous job splintering beer styles into smaller and more specific sub-genres/style requirements. Perhaps the IPA category has been subject to this more than its peers. We’ve seen all sorts of varieties (and not limited to these examples) such as White IPA, WestCoast, RyePA, UK or English IPA, ISA, Black IPA, and so fourth… each new sub style offering a unique twist to the original judging criteria. Sometimes that recipe is altered by ingredients or by volume or delivery of an ingredient, but all seem to remain IPAs at some level.
So… What if our IPA was more similar to an IPA sub style that we’ve grown to love, like the ones coming out of the North American West Coast? or what if it conformed more to the traditional “English” IPAs that are still revered in the UK? For us, committing to a second IPA gives us the flexibility to play around* without compromising our current flagship IPA. It also gives our friends/patrons the ability to taste and appreciate new variations of beers. Our responsibility as a local brewery is to grow the local beer community by providing the highest quality and freshest beer possible but also to leverage the trust that we’ve built and encourage the collective beer community to take risks and try new variations on current products.
Introducing IPA #2 – AKA The Contender – featuring Galaxy, Citra, and Simcoe hops. The work-in-progress sequel to our flagship IPA. Keep an eye out for changes as we tweak this recipe over the coming months. Notes of tropical fruit, pine, and dank earthiness.
Last Best IPA was never designed to conform to any traditional IPA style, but more uniquely as a modern IPA that is balanced and showcases the hop Mosaic. Mosaic is a relatively new hop varietal that conjures flavours of tropical fruit and stone fruit rather than the medicinal, piney and dankey flavours more commonly associated with hops. Comparing our flagship Last Best IPA to other examples of IPA is a common practice, but they really don’t present a true “apples to apples” comparison.
By brewing an IPA that is more representative to other more traditional styles we control all aspects of the beer, therefore enabling us to compare two beers in an “apples to apples” manner. IPA #2 and Last Best IPA share a lot of DNA, they use the same yeast strain, the same brewing standards and they are hopped by the same method. Comparing the two products really showcases how specific ingredients and recipe can affect the final product and how versatile the IPA style of beer has become.
There will undoubtedly be groups who prefer each example of IPA, but hopefully, through continually exploring new examples of IPA (as well as variations on other beer styles) we can identify a collective Calgary beer palate and it will help all local brewers develop beers and contribute to the ultimate end goal, a truly Albertan beer identity.
* all of our ‘Here to Play’ section are beers that are continuously being manipulated according to seasonal relevance and the recipes are tweaked from brew to brew in the ongoing pursuit of excellence. We encourage everyone to give us honest feedback so that we can deliver on our promise, Calgary beer for Calgarians.