Bike Dog | Nameless Brut IPA
Summertime in Sacramento is hot. This coming weekend, it’s going to be triple digits and everywhere from the industrial park of West Sacramento, through the highway 50 corridor, up into the foothills, beer lovers will be flocking to their favorite brewery to find some shade and enjoy a brew or two.
If you find yourself at Bike Dog, you may notice a new subset of the ever-loved IPA, their Nameless Brut. Compared to the loud, bold and anything but subtle juicy IPA’s that have been all the rage for the past couple of years, the Extra Brut IPA is a super dry, clean-cut IPA that is crisp, clear and offers the perfect blank canvas to feature the almighty hop.
This specific variety of IPA was created by Kim Sturdavant at Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco as something different from the hazy IPA. Brewers, including John Gillooly of Drake’s Brewing, started to notice this counter-culture variation and soon they started to produce their own version. After Drake’s posted about on their blog, the people at Bike Dog took notice and reached out.
According to the aforementioned blog post, “reducing the amount of residual sugar in beer….gives the beer an ultra-dry, brut champagne-like body, that’s a great platform for hop aroma and flavor.” For a brewery that loves hoppy beers and uses hops in a variety of ways, this is just another way to showcase the hop. “As a brewery, we lean toward the West Coast, dry-hopped style. It’s not like we always do this, but if we make a pilsner we say, well let’s dry-hop that a little bit,” said Bike Dog partner and brewer A.J. Tendick.
With that in mind, Nameless fits in perfectly with what Bike Dog likes to do. It resembles more of a traditional West Coast IPA with a clear golden appearance. Extremely approachable, the essence of the hop is there, but the dry finish smooths out some of the rough bitterness normally associated with the style. “Someone will come in and say ‘oh I don’t really like hops but I really like that’ and we’ve been getting that a lot with this one,” Tendick said. It would be easy to crush through a few of these day-drinking or at a small gathering of friends enjoying a hot summer’s evening, however coming in at 7.5%, taking an early and often approach could leave you with quite the hangover.
Comparing this Brut IPA style with the hazy Northeast-style IPA, the two are completely different, which was the intention for the beer in the first place. “I think there was definitely a subset of the drinking populous who was over some of the hazy stuff, over some of the milkshake-y fruit stuff,” commented Tendick, “and they just really like crisp, hoppy beers, and this is that. It just finishes super dry, and it’s what they want. It’s so easy to drink that, then they want two.”
After that first collaboration with Drake’s, the roadmap was in hand, but Bike Dog is far from done with this style. “We’re definitely excited to be one of the early ones to try it,” Tendick added. “We’re not done playing with [this style] yet. We brewed one at 8.5%, one at 5% and this one, but we’re not done. I’d like to come up with something closer to the West Coast style.”