All the Hops – Our Approach to IPA
If you know anything about Cerebral, you know we have a profound love for IPAs. For us, IPAs are the best vehicle to highlight and showcase the dynamic and versatile nature of hops. Region, temperature and terroir all combine to create unique varietals, and learning how to use those effectively in beer pushes us creatively.
Inspired by the intensely fruit-forward aromas and juicy mouthfeel of IPAs from the New England region, we began brewing the first Cerebral IPAs in a similar style. We were one of the first breweries in the area intentionally making IPAs this way – unfiltered and juice-like in appearance, much to the intrigue (read: skepticism) of our earliest customers. Nowadays, the most commonly asked question in our taproom is which IPA is the “haziest.”
Though we were a little ahead of the hazy trend, we’re glad we committed to this style early on. Over the last 7 years, we’ve brewed hundreds of IPAs with different hop combinations or grain bills.
This constant experimentation has evolved into part of our ethos. As hops change and brewing techniques develop, we embrace them and explore how they could fit into our beer philosophy.
We created the Continued Learning series as a specific platform to showcase our experiments with new hops, yeasts and techniques. Now on our sixth Continued Learning release, we’ve been using our findings to expand our repertoire of techniques across our IPA portfolio.
In Continued Learning 01, we explored adding Incognito, a liquid hop product, to the fermenter instead of the kettle. Delighted with the results, we now use this method on about 90% of our beers. Continued Learning 03 was our first experimentation with Spectrum, a new dry hop product that we now utilize in about a quarter of our beers.
The newest and sixth addition to the Continued Learning series is our introduction to β-glucosidase, a dry-hopping enzyme, which unlocks additional aromatic compounds. We also utilized chit malt, a very lightly malted grain which adds body and mouthfeel. Chit malt is also high in thiol precursors. When combined with the thiol yeast strain we used, it creates intensely fruity flavor and aroma combinations.
Brewing gives us the opportunity to try new things, push ourselves forward, and evolve in our craft. Each iteration of IPA we brew gives us a new perspective, and we hope tasting them is able to do the same for you.