10 November 2016
A trophy is something you work hard to earn, whether it is in a soccer match, a homebrew competition, or even at the Great American Beer Festival. The activities you undertake while working for a trophy are endless, however there is always one common theme — they require dedication, hard work, and no room for cutting corners. The same is true with beer brewing and quality control — you must aspire for perfection, always give 110%, never cut corners, and always be proud to stand behind your finished product.
The segway here comes with our stance on quality and our Give Back Pale Ale — Trophy. Trophy is our single hopped pale ale that is typically a quarterly release on draft and in bottles. Throughout the year, we donate 5% of all proceeds back to our community. For the fourth quarter of 2016, we had selected Mandarina Bavaria as the hop selection, and we couldn’t have been more excited. This hop is known for tangerine and citrus notes and would stand out well in the Trophy series. We brewed this beer and unfortunately, it never made its way to being packaged.
Trophy: Mandarina Bavaria made its way all the way through the process to the brite tank where the team and I decided, after being carbonated, it had failed to meet our quality standards and therefore would not be released to packaging. The beer had no off flavors, was not flawed, and was very clean, but fell far short of the target profile of the Mandarina Bavaria hop that we had come to know and love. The beer came across as toasted garlic or onion, almost reminiscent of onion bagel; it is a well known characteristic that can surface depending on the year and specific lot of hops, but also due to the over-abundance of certain sulfury compounds (thiols) difficult to predict. We collaborated across our entire team, and we all agreed…we could not package and sell this beer.
This issue arose right after some of our brewers and I had flown to our suppliers for hop selection. While there, we were introduced to a new hop, Idaho 7. This hop is known for tropical and juicy fruit notes and was newer to the market. We couldn’t stop thinking about the description of this hop and wanted to get our hands on some. The perfect scenario arose…we had an opportunity to rebrew Trophy using Idaho 7. Despite being released draft only, using this new and exciting hop would still allow us get our Give Back Pale Ale into your hands in the last quarter of the year.
In summary, we had what we deemed a quality issue and we reacted appropriately. Does it pain me to see all of that hard work go down the drain? Absolutely. The beer was not flawed, but was not something that we would be proud to put our name on. It just wasn’t Trophy-worthy. But with that difficult decision, something good did emerge, an opportunity to use a hop that our brewing team is very excited about. We think you will be very pleased with our choice. This quarter’s release will not be available in bottles, but we will still donate 5% of all proceeds back to local community based projects. It will be available beginning on Friday, November 11th.
What’s next for Trophy you ask? We are hashing out the details, but you likely won’t see it in a bottle next year, stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks with some very exciting news!