Cerebral Brewing | Elegant Solution: Foeder Cold IPA
Cold IPAs and clean foeder-aged beers are two styles that have recently grown in popularity. The former offering a cleaner crisper take on American IPAs and the latter imparting a slightly woody and light vanilla characteristic to Lagers, these are exciting takes on well established styles. While no natural overlap between these is apparent, Cerebral Brewing thought otherwise and created a new style, Foeder Cold IPA, an innovation first expressed by Elegant Solution.
So what exactly is a Cold IPA?
First off, it’s not an India Pale Lager. While both are hoppy beers that use lager yeasts, Cold IPA is an ale fermented at warm temperatures and made to finish extremely dry. Pioneered by Wayfinder in 2018, Cold IPA is a style that is catching on in popularity due to its imminent drinkability and expressive hop flavors. With the rise in craft lagers, it makes sense that there would also be interest in easy drinking beers that still present big bold flavors, and that is exactly what Cold IPAs offer. Wayfinder says it best when describing what they sought to create with the new style – they “were trying to make something with the elements of West Coast IPA but taken to the extreme… something drier with excessive hoppiness but a cleaner finish.” The focus is on the hops with little to no malt presence or other heft to distract.
And foeder aged beer?
Foeders have been used to age beer for centuries and wine for even longer than that. Since the advent of stainless steel fermentation tanks, foeder aging has been primarily utilized in sour beer. Ever in search of innovation, a surge in foeder aging clean beer has occurred in the past couple years as a method to add depth and complexity. While maintaining the overall profile of a clean beer, the foeder can add flavors from the wood which often includes a light vanilla quality. It helps to smooth any rough edges of the beer and add an extra dimension that enhances the underlying taste.
Now Foeder Cold IPA
Cerebral took these elements of Cold IPA and foeder aging and combined them in Elegant Solution. Using a traditional adjunct lager malt bill and a West Coast IPA hop bill, the beer went through primary fermentation using their house lager yeast in an oak foeder. Cerebral’s foeders are equipped with oversized chill plates allowing warmer fermentation temperatures compared to their Lagers. After primary, the beer is transferred into stainless and dry hopped with Citra and Simcoe. The whole process is a three week affair which is similar to their other ales yet much shorter than the 6-8 weeks for their foeder lagers.
The end result is “a beautiful expression of hops without the associated sweetness” says Sean Buchan, owner and head brewer at Cerebral. Elegant Solution pours clear, very true to the Cold IPA style. The beer is resinous West Coast IPA on the nose with some underlying fruit. Bright fruit flavors are very apparent on the first sip – think grapefruit and melon. As the taste lingers, strong peach makes itself known and stays around for the finish. This beer is a fruit bomb but not in a Hazy IPA way as the clean and crisp body allows the hop profile to really shine. Elegant Solution is also a certified crusher at 6.4% making it perfect for drinking outside during the upcoming warmer months.
Perhaps the highest praise for Elegant Solution was offered by my wife – “it’s refreshing which you don’t typically get in an IPA.” That’s a perfect description for what makes Cold IPAs in general and this beer specifically such a special thing. Elegant Solution offers the flavorful elements of a West Coast IPA along with a crisp and clean body, something that lends itself to all day drinkability.
A future path for Cerebral
When asked if we can expect more on this innovative front from Cerebral, Sean said “we’ve made some fun discoveries in our IPAs recently, and those hopping techniques will be making their way into future lagers.” Suffice to say that hoppy lagers and easy drinking clean IPAs will be featured prominently in Cerebral’s future beer offerings. They have seen the trend towards increased drinkability in craft beer and are exploring new ways to offer that to their customers. Foeder Cold IPA might be a brand new beer style, but we have not seen the last of it and other offshoots that offer big flavor in an easy drinking package.
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