Hopheads rejoice, we've got a killer new IPA launching today: Botanical Imperial IPA. From the garden to your glass, Botanical Imperial IPA bounds with springtime flavor, just in time for the winter thaw. For this first release in our draft-only 2016 Hop Kitchen series, we paired botanicals found in gin with some of our favorite hop varieties…by using science (science!).
"Back in 2014 we had our hop chemist run a bunch gin botanicals alongside different hop varieties, and then we started beta-testing how those different herbs and spices played with the hops,” says New Belgium pilot brewer Ross Koenigs.
The process of finding the right botanicals to match the right hop varieties goes well beyond a simple smell-and-match sensory test. We employed a few super-cool pieces of equipment that can isolate chemical compounds in herbs, spices and hops, giving us the ability to pinpoint shared compounds in each. It’s all very technical, so best leave it to Ross’s explanation in the video above.
So what are these herbs, spices and hops? Basil (citrusy and floral), sage (lemony cedar) and juniper greens (piney) were added into the kettle along with bittering Bravo hop. Then, Cascade, Sterling and Willamette hops were added after fermentation for an aromatic blast of citrusy, floral and spicy notes. It’s a super-complex surge of hop notes from sniff to swallow.
So, now that Botanical Imperial IPA’s out in the wild, look for it on tap near you to experience some cutting-edge botanical-hop pairings.