A brew that is light on the liver, but still packs a flavor punch
In the vast land of IPAs, there’s a lot to love. With the number of substyles that have been created, it’s easy for beer lovers to continue to be excited by the IPA experience. Unfortunately, it’s not a perfect world– and sometimes it’s not so easy to crush more than a couple without feeling the effects. It’s an ABV (alcohol by volume) thing…
Luckily for hop enthusiasts, there exists the session IPA. This substyle encompasses all of the complex, delicious qualities of an IPA, without the elevated alcohol percentage.
Being that our beautiful patio is perched on top of the brewery, our brewers have always understood the importance of creating options that are crushable. Particularly going into the summer, as people are spending the day basking in the Raleigh weather. Thus, Business Time!, our new session IPA, was born.
According to Greg Winget, Director of Brewing Operations, a session IPA has to be hoppy enough to identify as tasting like an IPA or pale ale, while being easy to drink. It should be dry and very aromatically hoppy. To keep the IBUs (International Bitterness Units) low, fewer hops are used in the whirlpool. It is then hopped more extravagantly on the dry-hop side, the way a regular IPA would be. So, the body of Business Time! Is still pretty robust.
“To me, the most important thing is balancing IBUs vs. ABV. It’s like a mixing board– like a sound board at a concert,” Greg said. “You can think about ABV as the bass and IBUs as the guitar. Everything has to line up.”
For a session IPA, careful hop selection is the most important component. The chemistry involved plays a giant part. You have to make sure the beer finishes dry instead of sweet– otherwise, it will not be sessionable.
Business Time! was the result of our brewers’ love affair with New Zealand hops. They wanted to try out a unique experimental proprietary New Zealand hop blend, NZH-214.
“This is a great vehicle. We’ve used hundreds of different hops between the three of us for different beers. We’re mixing different hops and finding what combinations we like,” Greg said. “But, if you want to try something out that’s brand new, you have to use it on its own. Which is always kind of a gamble, if you don’t know what it tastes like.”
The brewers were confident in New Zealand hops, having experience with the quality.
“It’s about the oils that are in the hops, so when you’re selecting for that, you just have to see the balance between aromatic oils and bitter oils,” Greg said.
Using a lower Alpha Acid hop allows for a hop assault during brewing. But, it still staves off bitterness, because the oil content is the right balance for a session.
Initial flavors from the hop blend yielded a lot of guava and papaya, which is a bit unusual. Ultimately, Business Time! gives more citrus, underripe mango and bright tropical fruit flavors.
A high concentration of oats, wheat and the emulsification of oils (stable haze) adds to richness of mouthfeel– the pillowy quality you want in a hazy IPA.
Named after a song by another New Zealand treasure, Flight of the Conchords, Business Time! is poised to become your summer go-to sipper (or crusher). The ABV is tiny, but the flavor is mighty.