Posted June 22, 2018

The Brut IPA has arrived in Ontario; Here’s an overview

Move over West Coast-style IPAs, New England-style IPAs, and Milkshake IPAs  – the Brut IPA has landed in Ontario (and other parts of Canada, too).

The Original Brut IPA (Sociable Kitchen and Brewery/Instagram)

In May, Hamilton’s MERIT Brewing Co. launched One For Us Brut IPA – the province’s first iteration of the style. This month, Great Lakes Brewery – long regarded as one of Canada’s best IPA makers – takes on the style with their Brutalism IPA release.

So what’s a Brut IPA?

Of French origin meaning “raw”, brut has traditionally been used in the world of wine to describe very dry or unsweetened wine varieties, especially Champagne.

In beer – IPAs in particular – brut is being used to classify extremely dry beers void of residual sugars. It’s a beer style with low bitterness, effervescent carbonation, a light body, and generously hopped with varietals offering fruit-forward or wine-like notes and flavours.

One For Us Brut IPA (MERIT/Instagram)

The Brut IPA was born not long ago (late-2017) in Northern California, credited to Kim Sturdavant of Social Kitchen & Brewery Brewing in San Francisco (SFGate, Jun 2018).

To produce this beer, amylase enzyme is addedx during fermentation (The Sacromento Bee, Apr 2018). Although brewers can utilize highly attenuating yeast – that is, a yeast that excels at converting most of the malt’s sugar to alcohol and CO2 – there is still residual sugar left. This is where amylase enzyme comes in – breaking down those few remaining residual sugars for a bone-dry final product.

Some say it’s California’s answer to New England’s hazy IPA (Vinepair, Mar 2018). And now it’s in Ontario.

(Great Lakes/Instagram)

For MERIT, “One For Us is bone dry, expresses soft fruit (mango, tangerine, peach) flavours & aromas, displays subtle minerality and sauv blanc-esque grassiness, is quick rinsing, and hopped aggressively with Citra, Ella, Mandarina Bavaria, & Hallertau Mittlefruh,” they write.

At Great Lakes Brewery, they’ve opted to use Citra, Mosaic, and Simcoe hops in their Brutalism IPA.

Perhaps we’ll see breweries employ the elusive (and expensive) Nelson Sauvin hop – this New Zealand-native hop is regarded as producing primarily white grape and gooseberry notes. Even it’s name is derived from Sauvignon Blanc grapes.

Ontario’s newest beer trend for the latter half of 2018 could be here…

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