Introducing Tart ‘n Juicy Sour IPA
There’s no two ways about it, bacteria are fickle, funky little bugs and getting them to work hard is hard work itself. The brewers at Epic spent over 18 months developing their latest offering, Tart ‘n Juicy Sour IPA, a unique fusion of puckering tartness and an abundance of juicy, citrus-driven hops.
Tart ‘n Juicy is a 4.5%, fresh, kettle soured, India Pale Ale with bright notes of grapefruit, agave, tangerine and passion fruit. Normally “sour” and “India Pale Ale” would be contradictory terms because the flavor combinations can be tough to bring together in just the right way. Traditionally, sours are aged for a very long time, whereas hops should be enjoyed as fresh as possible. Plus there’s the fact that sour producing bacteria, like Lactobacillus and Pediococcus, don’t usually thrive in hoppy environments due to the hops’ natural antimicrobial properties. What does all this mean? Just that Tart n’ Juicy was a challenge to create and the beer is probably like nothing you’ve ever tasted before. In order to harmonize the flavors in the beer, Epic’s team had to turn its attention to beer souring bacteria.
“We spent a lot of time working with different strains and understanding their strengths and limitations,” said Kevin Crompton, Brewmaster at Epic Brewing, “Bacteria strains are like sheep, they need a lot of care and looking after while brewer’s yeast is much more robust and aggressive - they’re more like a Velociraptor.”
Tart ‘n Juicy Sour IPA is the latest addition to Epic’s growing sour beer program. Their facility in Denver now house 12 foeders and over 2000 oak barrels to produce traditionally soured beers like Sour Brainless on Peaches, but Epic also sees the power of innovation and a role for kettle soured beers.
“Kettle souring is an emerging technique in sour beer and we see it as another tool in our arsenal,” said Kevin Crompton. “It produces a different, cleaner, more lactic flavor profile than the bigger, more complex flavors of barrel-aged souring. We want to use both to create unique beers that push the boundaries of peoples’ palates.”
Whether it’s the slow and delicate art of aging and blending or cutting edge techniques of kettle souring, Epic has a passion for style even if it means crafting its own.
The first kegs of Tart ‘n Juicy Sour IPA are making their way onto taplines across the country this month and 6-packs of 12oz cans will be available at the beginning of April.