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It’s not uncommon for a winery guest to think, “I want to live here forever.”
While a vintner would probably object if you tried to take up residence inside the cellar, a number of wineries do offer the chance to sleep over at on-site hotels. We find pretty much every winery is beautiful in its own way, with its rows and rows of idyllic vines, but a few choice wineries around the world truly blow us away with gorgeous scenery, exquisite accommodations, luxurious amenities, and, of course, glass after glass of excellent wine. Every vino lover should stay the night in one of these five stunning winery hotels.
With the third-largest vineyard in Poland, Mierzęcin Palace specializes in a number of white varietals like Kernling, Riesling, Solaris, and Seyval Blanc. Take a workshop to learn more about winemaking after a guided wine tasting. Or enjoy a barrage of other activities like horseback riding at the Stud Farm, kayaking, bowling, and golf, all with nearby Drawieński National Park as a scenic backdrop. If you prefer indoor activities, direct yourself to the spa for a wine bath.
On the Mornington Peninsula outside of Melbourne, a massive abstract sculpture of a jackalope guards the cool-climate Willow Creek Vineyard and achingly chic Jackalope Hotel. Check into one of the Signature Suites to receive daily champagne, caviar, and massage services. Then explore the vineyard, grab a drink in the historic Edwardian McCormick House (now the Flaggerdoot cocktail bar), or sample the wood-fired fare from the stylish Rare Hare restaurant.
The land speaks for itself at this island winery off the coast of Sicily. Part of the Tasca d’Almerita family of vineyards, Capofaro sports a complex of 27 minimal, elegant rooms (including several in a picturesque lighthouse), with whitewashed walls framing the incredible views of the vineyard as it meets the sea. Located on the Aeolian Island of Salina, Capofaro invites guests to relax in the Mediterranean’s natural splendor, taste the local bounty, and drink of the vineyards. Like the signature Malvasia wine produced here, a stay at Capofaro is sweet.
Villa La Coste exudes elegance at every turn. The hotel, which sits on the grounds of the Château La Coste winery, is home to a world-class art collection with works by many artists. As you tour the grounds on your way to one of the 28 stone villas, you’ll appreciate sculptures by Alexander Calder, a music pavilion by Frank Gehry, and a walking path by Ai Weiwei. It’s almost enough to make you forget about the wine—almost. The winery (designed by Jean Nouvel) produces a dozen biodynamic wines that are best enjoyed at the on-site restaurant, which is helmed by chef Francis Mallmann.
The historic grounds of Hacienda Zorita predate the other wineries on this list by a few hundred years. Most notably a 14th-century monastery (and lodging for Christopher Columbus in 1485), the estate fell into decay after a fire in the 1880s. The Haciendas Company restored it to its former glory in 2000 and planted the Tempranillo vines that are used to make the estate’s two signature releases. Skip the villas and opt for one of the suites in the historic Casa Grande. Then book yourself a private cruise down the Douro or time at the spa inside the oldest building of the hacienda, a watermill built in 780.
Buttered popcorn, PB&J, smoked salmon… these aren’t the usual flavors you would expect to see in the vodka aisle.
Since the boom of mixology in America, restaurants and bars have completely changed the way they create their menus. Because consumers demanded more from their drinks, the vodka world was quick to respond. The competition to find the most innovative flavor profiles is a fierce one, which means there are some truly delicious flavored vodkas on the market. Here are the eight expressions you need to try right now.
With a century and a half of practice, the Nemiroff distillery has crafted a honey pepper vodka using old Ukrainian traditions. It’s not overly sweet—you’ll get the spice of the pepper in the back of your throat, with the warmth of the honey coating your palate. This is the perfect vodka to sip on the rocks at the end of the night. Its complex flavor profile finishes more like a scotch than your typical vodka.
Made in small batches for quality control and distilled 10 times for smoothness, Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka has truly captured the essence of the citrus fruit without tasting bitter or harsh. The flavor profile has a mix of sour lemon with a slight candy sweetness at the end. It’s an amazing spirit for the summer on its own or mixed with lemonade or iced tea.
Although Belvedere Vodka is one of the most popular Polish spirits in America, this traditionally purist vodka producer took a while to jump on the flavor train. When the company did finally decide to craft a few, like the Ginger Zest, it created robust flavors with almost no sweetness. The grapefruit and ginger in this vodka hit your tongue like an explosion, but with none of the syrupy consistency you expect to find in flavored vodkas. This could be because of Belvedere’s maceration technique, which uses extracted oils from real grapefruit, lemon, and ginger instead of the artificial stuff.
From its Rosé Vodka to its Loopy Vodka (which tastes like Froot Loops), Three Olives is not afraid to experiment with unique flavor profiles. Relatively new and one of the few English vodkas available, Three Olives has wasted no time making a name for itself in the United States. Its Coconut Water Vodka has a light tropical essence from the coconut with a warm and buttery finish. Try mixing it with regular coconut water (in equal parts) and topping it with soda for a perfect beach refresher.
Not since Absolut Peppar was released in 1986 (one of the first flavored vodkas in the United States) has there been a pepper vodka so perfectly crafted for the Bloody Mary. St. George Spirits Green Chile Vodka—which is made with five different California-grown peppers, lime, and cilantro—has a REAL kick. St. George’s artisan distillery is famously located in an airplane hangar on the former Naval Air Station Alameda. With a strong focus on quality in small batches, you can taste the fresh California ingredients in every sip.
The unusual combination of grapefruit zest, cannabis, cured olives, and green peppercorn make up the flavor profile in Nue Grapefruit Vodka. Nue created a corn-based vodka with a very unique taste. It starts with a slight sweetness, and the finish dissipates into a grapefruit tartness with a few peppery last notes. This successful combination led to a Double Gold Medal for Nue Grapefruit Vodka at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2015.
Western Son created an instant fruity tidal wave with the addition of South Texas Prickly Pear Flavored Vodka to its flavored line. With a candied melon nose, this vodka hits you right away with notes of kiwi, strawberry, and cactus fruit. The sweetness is balanced with a slight tartness that comes through on the finish. Distilled 10 times for smoothness, this vodka has very little bite.
Western Son South Texas Prickly Pear Flavored Vodka
You can’t talk about flavored vodka without talking about Stolichnaya. Stoli released one of the first fruit-flavored vodkas in the United States in the ‘80s, Stoli Citros, and since then has created one of the most successful flavored vodka lines in American history. Stoli Cucumber is the first new flavor the company has introduced since 2012. You can taste the slight bitterness of the cucumbers, which is balanced with a mild hint of sweetness. There’s no syrupy viscosity, and it has a perfect finish for those who want a fresher, lighter flavor for their vodka.
I’ve always felt that the heart of tiki is rooted more in herbs and spices than in tropical juices.
The combination of them with strong spirit elevates and balances a drink. A close friend, the “Captain” in this case was getting married and I was inspired by his mixing of spiced rum and Italian amaro in his wedding cocktail. The spices from both ingredients and the bitterness of the amaro worked together to be both intensely tropical and well balanced.
The result was named The Captain’s Bride.
The drink starts with a split base of sprits starting with Mezan X.O. Jamaican rum for its luxurious aromas and funk typical of fine aged Jamaican rum combined with Stroh 160 for that spice and pop of strong spirit. For the amaro I chose Campari for its grapefruity bitterness and additional herbs and spices that play delightfully with the grapefruit and lime juice in the cocktail. Finally, for a little heat and chili pepper flavor I added some of my Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice, an extract of fresh whole serrano chili peppers. The drink is a complex balance of bitterness, acidity, sweetness and heat that both refreshes and invigorates.
*The Captain’s Bride is dedicated to Courtney, missed by me and all your friends.
The Captain’s Bride
Photo by Ram Udwin
The Captain’s Bride
By Ram Udwin
1 oz. Mezan X.O. Jamaican Rum
.5 oz. Stroh 160
.5 oz. Campari
.5 oz. Demerara Syrup (equal parts raw sugar and water)
.75 oz. Lime Juice
.5 oz. Grapefruit Juice
1 ml Boy Drinks World Serrano Cocktail Spice
Preparation: Shake hard and strain onto crushed ice and garnish with cinnamon and grapefruit.
I am Ram Udwin of Boy Drinks World Cocktail Products, creator of specialty cocktail bitters and extracts. As a spirits expert, educator and professional craft bartender, I bring classic cocktail techniques and flavors to modern trends driving the industry. Our products reflect my journey in the craft cocktail movement and are inspired by the amazing local produce available around our southern California production facility.
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we say it’s much more fun when served with a morning cocktail.
These delicious drinks include ingredients like fresh fruit, marmalade, bacon and avocado to help you ease into your day. The next time you’re throwing a breakfast party or have something special to celebrate, mix up one of these delightful breakfast cocktails.
Preparation: Chill a coupe or wine glass well. Mix gin and marmalade in a shaker, until the marmalade has dissolved. Top with lemon juice and lots of ice, shake well, and strain. Garnish with an orange twist.
Preparation: Fill a shaker tin with liquid ingredients. Fill with ice and then shake vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Squeeze and drop a circular orange swath into the middle of the glass. Place freshly a warmed half slice of bacon on the edge of the glass.
*Slater’s 50/50 Bacon Washed Bourbon
1 750mL Bottle Bourbon
.25 cup Warm Bacon Grease
Preparation: Remove approximately .25 cup bourbon from the bottle. Pour in warm bacon grease. Cover and let stand at room temperature for four hours, shaking the bottle periodically. Fasten lid and chill for 3-7 days. Pour chilled bourbon through a wire-mesh strainer lined with a coffee filter into a bowl. Make sure the bottle has been properly cleaned, and pour the washed bourbon back into the bottle to store. Bacon Washed Bourbon can be stored at room temperature for up to six months.
Preparation: Make the toast-infused simple syrup the day before by combining 50/50 sugar and water and letting it infuse with dark toast for 2-3 hours, then strain and refrigerate. For the cocktail, combine whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake hard and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Place half an avocado in a bowl, top with Grand Hops Amaro and muddle until semi chunky. Spoon muddled avocado on top of drink. Sprinkle chili and sea salt on top, then garnish with toast points.
Preparation: Add ingredients to a shaker tin with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. If desired, rim the rocks glass with crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal before pouring in the cocktail.
With scenic, gently sloping hills leading to one winery after the next—not to mention historic attractions, lavish accommodations, and fine food—Charlottesville, Virginia, is the ideal destination for those seeking a wine-centric experience.
Nestled between Richmond and Washington, D.C., it’s a perfect road trip destination for East Coasters looking for an easy and fun adventure (or for anyone looking to take in Virginia’s gorgeous forests and scenery). These five wineries in the Charlottesville region offer exceptional wines, along with vibrant character and rich history.
Once the property of Revolutionary War veteran Lieutenant Joseph Early—who served under General George Washington at Valley Forge—Early Mountain Vineyards stretches across the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and produces classic, Bordeaux-style varietals like Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The vast tasting room, which was voted #1 in America by USA Today, offers both high-end dining and casual lounging for sampling wines from Early Mountain and other vineyards throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Also a premiere wedding venue, Early Mountain can surely turn a dream party into a beautiful reality. Virginia is for lovers, after all.
Sitting at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the family-owned and -operated King Family Vineyards. The winery specializes in luxurious vinos that showcase the remarkable quality and terroir of the Monticello AVA. Beginning with carefully selected estate grapes, winemaker Matthieu Finot creates wines inspired by old-world offerings that are also well-expressive of Virginia, like Viognier, a staple of the state’s white wine bounty. This summer, tasting room visitors are invited to join in fieldside to watch polo, happening every Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to mid-October. Gates at Roseland Polo open at 10 a.m. for folks to tailgate or picnic before the match begins at 1 p.m. In fact, after founders David and Ellen King moved to Virginia from Houston in 1995, their search for a farm had one requirement: Twelve acres of relatively flat ground for a polo field. The thought of wine came later.
Winemaking is a family affair at Stinson Vineyards. The estate winery in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is helmed by father-daughter duo Scott Stinson and Rachel Stinson Vrooman, along with Rachel’s husband Nathan. They take inspiration from “garagiste” wineries of France in both their winemaking methods and the winery itself, which is built into an old three-car garage. The small-lot wines carry a distinct French influence, mainly from the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions, that emphasize subtlety rather than ripeness. Visitors can shop the tasting room that also doubles as a local farm store that sells grass-fed beef, farm-raised pork and chicken, free-range organic eggs, and garden-fresh herbs. Inquire about an overnight stay at Stinson’s historic inn that’s nestled among the vines, or at The Townsman, a boutique hotel on Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. The Stinson family owns several accommodations to help you customize your summer travel plans.
Back in 1999, founders Andrew and Patricia Hodson planted five acres of grapes as a passion project. Today, Veritas occupies more than 50 acres of vineyards and produces classic, Old World wines using modern technology to capture varietal and regional character—from its barrel-fermented Chardonnay to its award-winning seasonal Flying Fox sweet vermouth
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is unique among the growing number of fine wineries in the Charlottesville wine region. It is a culinary vineyard that not only makes distinguished wines, but also pairs them with artisan cuisine from an on-site farm. The six-acre vineyard is situated on a southern-facing hillside, flush with rich soil and a climate suited for varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc and Petit Verdot. Both the vineyard and surrounding gardens are part of Bundoran Farm, a sustainable community dedicated to Virginia’s countryside. Pippin Hill encourages guests to roam the gentle grounds and take in the health and beauty of the state.
The chilled, concentrated coffee is everywhere, and its popularity has shown no signs of waning. Really, there’s only one thing that could make this caffeinated beverage better: booze. In honor of the warmer weather moving in, mix up one of these five cold brew cocktails that are sure to put a pep to your step.
Preparation: Add the first three ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. Garnish the sides of a Highball glass with cocoa syrup. Pour the milkshake into the glass. If desired, add a floater of banana liqueur to the drink. Garnish with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Prince William County, Virginia, is home to 20 craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, and tasting rooms, all conveniently located near Washington, D.C.
Visitors can check them out while in the area by exploring the Steins, Vines & Moonshine Trail. For the beer lovers out there, these are the seven best Virginia craft breweries to visit in the state’s beautiful countryside.
In Woodbridge, you’ll find this warm and inviting taproom, where you can relax and enjoy the fruits of the craft beer industry. Children are also welcome, where they can sip on root beer that’s brewed in-house. In addition to craft beer and great food, Brew Republic offers events that include live music, trivia, music bingo, and many other fun ways to pass the time. The brewery also offers complimentary tours on Saturday afternoons or upon special request. If you happen to stop in during the winter months, be sure to try the Beer Nog, made with homemade eggnog and a delicious seasonal oatmeal stout.
The team at this microbrewery in Lake Ridge is truly bringing craft beer closer to people by placing a taproom experience in a local shopping center. All of the beer is made in-house and sold only in Water End’s taproom. Whether you’re a craft beer enthusiast who wants to discuss the latest industry trends, beer recipes, and local Virginia ingredients, or someone who just wants a beer, this is the brewery for you.
Since 1998, this has been a busy working farm in Haymarket, Virginia. Its initial project was to construct several greenhouses to grow annuals and perennials to sell in its on-site landscape design center and use in its commercial designs by Community Landscape Services. As the market for naturally grown fruits and vegetables increased, the farm added crops of fruit trees, berries, heirloom varieties of tomatoes and squash, melons, and peppers, and even built a chicken house to harvest fresh eggs. The harvests from these crops are now used for its seasonal food and drink creations. The newest addition to the farm is the BrewBarn and Pavilion Beer Garden, which also includes a hop yard. This 15-barrel brewhouse produces an assortment of beer styles that change with the seasons and crop rotations. The brewery also propagates its own exclusive yeast strains. Come for the beer, enjoy the music, and stay for the bucolic setting—because “Life is Brewtiful!”
Tin Cannon Brewing Company is a microbrewery located in Gainesville that serves nine to 12 beers on tap every weekend. While it doesn’t serve food, it does periodically host food trucks and other specialty providers and also allows guests to bring in meals or order from neighboring businesses. Tin Cannon brews and serves its own nonalcoholic root beer on draft, and yes, root beer floats are available. The brewery also hosts live entertainment and performances weekly, and provides a platform for local musicians with open mic nights. It’s a very family-friendly place, with a ping-pong table, corn hole, and multiple board and card games available to all guests. When the weather is nice enough, you can relax and enjoy brews on the outdoor patio.
This brewery is located on the eight-acre Farm Brew LIVE at Innovation Park campus in Manassas. 2 Silos is committed to promoting craft beer culture by making its selections the finest in the Northern Virginia region. It’s a place to bring family and friends together while enjoying craft beer, delicious food, and live local music. It recently added a double-decker ice cream truck to the brewery campus that serves sweet treats for the kids and boozy libations for the grownups. During the winter months, you can reserve your very own igloo that seats up to eight guests for a unique and memorable group brewery experience.
Eavesdrop celebrates its craft by embracing collaboration. Its goal is to provide a unique experience through partnerships with local chefs, farms, and brewers from across the nation. The brewery and tasting room are located on Route 28 in Yorkshire and is also home to one of the largest urban hop gardens in the Mid-Atlantic. Along with hops, Eavesdrop grows apple trees, berry bushes, and other ingredients, all of which are used in its beer and food. Events happen frequently and range from beer dinners to concerts and everything in between. The tasting room is housed in a former racing pigeon loft (hence the logo) that features a spacious interior that seamlessly blends a farmhouse feel with a contemporary influence. There’s also an on-site rooftop bar for enjoying views of the gardens below.
Opening this year in Nokesville, Cedar Run Brewery sits on the same property as Evergreen Acres Farm. Patrons will be able to experience a true farm brewery vibe upon arrival, visit the farm’s pumpkin patch in the fall, and cut down their own Christmas tree in the winter months. It’s a quiet and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Jägermeister, the No. 1 selling imported liqueur in the United States, announced the launch of the Jägermeister COOLPACK—the first-ever non-glass line extension from the brand.
Perfect for various outdoor activities where a glass bottle is not practical, the flat, light-weight COOLPACK is the ultimate essential for occasions like festivals, concerts, barbecues, picnics, hiking, camping, fishing, beach parties, après ski drinks and more.
The new packaging is inspired by a freezer pack and cools more quickly than a glass bottle, allowing the herbal liqueur to chill to ice kühl perfektion of -18°C faster. Serving as a packaging-extension, and not a replacement for the iconic green glass bottle, the new freezer pack design provides Jägermeister fans with the opportunity to take their beloved spirit on-the-go, wherever the adventure takes them.
“Not just a clever name, the new bottle iteration is cool in every sense of the word. When creating the COOLPACK bottle design, we wanted to create something that allowed our Jägermeister fans to enjoy the beloved herbal liqueur on-the-go, no matter the destination. Now, the possibilities are truly endless for where and when you and your friends can enjoy Jägermeister. Prost!”
– Jack Carson, Jägermeister Director of Innovation
While the COOLPACK packaging may be a new look, the classic herbal liqueur remains the same. Enjoyed ice cold, Jägermeister’s complex blend of 56 natural herbs, blooms, roots and fruits tastes best at -18°C, which is why the COOLPACK is made for the freezer. The new packaging combines the design of the classic Jägermeister bottle with traditional freezer packs made out of lightweight PET material in the brand’s signature dark green color. After storing in the freezer, the COOLPACK can be thrown in a backpack or cooler to help elevate any outdoor occasion.
The 375ml sized Jägermeister COOLPACKS are available at local alcohol retailers nationwide at an SRP of $12.99.
After a long, blissful day drinking your way through the wineries of Sonoma, you might want to return to your hotel to rest and recover.
But those staying in downtown Sonoma will find it hard not to spend the evenings exploring the town’s own nightlife venues instead. Tasting rooms are great, but you get enough of those during a wine-soaked tour of the region. So we picked out a few bars and restaurants where you can find yourself a stool, hobnob with locals and tourists, and enjoy wines from all over the world along with cocktails and beer. Here are the five best bars to visit in downtown Sonoma.
A visit to SIGH. is an absolute must during any stay in Sonoma. The champagne bar specializes in all things bubbly, including enviable bottles of growler champagne that are worth seeking out. It moved into its current space in 2017, and there you’ll find a marble bar surrounded by gold accents with many bottles waiting patiently on ice, along with a row of taps ready to dispense supreme sparkling wines. Since opening, SIGH. has also expanded into still wines, beer, and a few snacks in case all that bubbly starts to go to your head. On any given night, this is the place to be. But the bar doesn’t take reservations, so pop by early and set up camp for a long night of champagne toasts.
Like the French-leaning food menu at this bar and restaurant inside the Sonoma Hotel, the drinks at the girl & the fig lean on Rhône varietals from vineyards both local and global. The proprietor, Sondra Bernstein, leverages her experience at nearby Viansa Winery to fill out the bar’s wine list with all sorts of tasty Grenache, Syrah, Carignane, Picpoul, and Mourvèdre. The cocktail list features rotating drinks with seasonal touches to match the garden-driven food, and it usually includes a few options with French ingredients like Lillet, Pineau des Charentes, or absinthe.
While better known for its sit-down service restaurant, the El Dorado Hotel also boasts a small bar where you can take advantage of the excellent drinks program. On the bottle list, direct your attention to the sections for “interesting” reds and whites, where you’ll find Viognier, Roero Arneis, and Nebbiolo di Barbaresco. The cocktails are equally worthy of investigation, so don’t leave without exploring the entire menu, and then maybe stick around for dinner, too.
One of Sonoma’s few bars dedicated to mixed drinks, The Starling turns out quality cocktails from classics to originals, all featuring seasonal ingredients from a patio garden. With weekly specials like tiki Tuesdays, vinyl nights, and live music, there’s always a reason to stop by and see what’s going on, even if it’s just to hang with the exceptionally chill staff behind the bar. Check The Starling’s Instagram for the latest buzz, and do not miss the excellent patio on a warm summer night.
After a grueling day of drinking wine in the sunshine, head to HopMonk Tavern to give your taste buds a break from all the tannins. The local hotspot for craft beer, HopMonk provides a wide variety of styles and flights. It’s a solid selection, but don’t expect anything to knock your socks off. This is a perfect place to relax with a cold pint and hopefully catch a show from the bar’s stage.
An IPA is typically categorized as an East Coast-style beer that features a hazy body with tropical and citrus aromas and flavors, or a West Coast-style beer that is more malt-forward with prominent piney and earthy characteristics.
Even though the majority of IPAs fall into one of these two categories, this can’t be said of the newly crafted Brut IPA, which features a crystal-clear, light body and flavor that’s as dry as the desert air.
“Brut” is a French word meaning “raw, rough, or very dry.” This term is applied to very dry champagnes and sparkling wines that are categorized as brut, extra brut, or natural brut. These champagnes and wines contain less residual sugar. During fermentation, an enzyme called “amyloglucosidase” helps yeast feed on the sugars and break them down, which results in a drier-style wine. This same enzyme is used in higher alcohol beers like imperial stouts and IPAs because the yeast consumes more of the sugars during fermentation, which results in beers with a higher ABV that aren’t syrupy, thick, and sweet.
Brewers seek to get the residual sugars, which are measured in degrees Plato, to the desired point within each style. With this enzyme, brewers are able to lower the degrees Plato to meet the needs of imperial styles. When this same enzyme is added to an already dry beer style, the gravity—aka the sugars that will be converted to alcohol during fermentation—becomes lower and the beer becomes drier. That is how the Brut IPA came into being.
The mastermind behind this intriguing style is brewer Kim Sturdavant at the Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco. Curiosity led him to play around with amyloglucosidase with a traditional American IPA to see what would come from it. He knew that it would lower the gravity and produce a drier-style IPA, and the result from his experimentation was the first-ever Brut IPA.
According to the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines, a traditional American IPA should have a final gravity in degrees Plato somewhere between 2.5 to 4.1, compared to its original gravity of 14.7 to 17.1 degrees Plato. What happened with Sturdavant’s experiment is that the enzymes brought the finished gravity to a flat line of 0 degrees Plato, making it “spritzy, really light-colored, all-fruity hops, and super crisp.”
This super light-bodied ale is counter to what a traditional American IPA should be—a medium to low-medium body—according to the Brewers Association Guidelines. To better shed light on the tantalizing style, it helps to look at what the enzymes accomplish with an imperial IPA’s finished gravity compared to its original. The original gravity is around 17.1 to 23.7 degrees Plato and finishes off at 3.1 to 5.1. This drastic drop in gravity is what helps the imperial IPA not finish off too sweet or thick, as the enzyme helps the yeast eat away at the excess sugar.
Rahr & Sons Brewery
More breweries across the nation have been catching onto the style by brewing their own versions, like Rahr & Sons Brewing Company out of Fort Worth, Texas. “The owner had a few around the country and was really into them, and wanted us to make one for the anniversary party last year,” says Rahr & Sons head brewer Austin Heisch. “So [I] made one up and he really enjoyed it, as well as all the customers that came in and tried it themselves.”
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
When it comes to understanding the technicality behind the brewing process of a Brut IPA, Heisch explains how much they can differ—not only in their flavor profiles, but in their final gravity as well. “Our final gravity went into the negatives, which made it super dry, light, and crisp,” he says. “Most of our beers finish around 2.5 Plato for the final gravity, so this was definitely an interesting endeavor for us.”
As far as when to put the enzyme in during the brewing process, it varies with little effect on the finished product itself. “You can do it in a lot of different places, with a lot of people throwing it in the mash tun,” Heisch says. “We’ve personally done it in the fermenter, which so far has given us great results with no issues arising.” The Brut IPA continues to intrigue consumers while providing brewers with a new opportunity for experimentation. What that could lead to is up for speculation, with an exciting future for the brewing culture.