LUMINOUS BEINGS– CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH with our HAZY PALE ALE

06.17.2024

By
Melanie Wiesen

06.17.2024

News Post

SCIENCE AND SENTIMENT collide to create ONE OF OUR MOST BELOVED BREWS

Since its debut, Luminous Beings– our Thiolized Hazy Pale Ale– has become the most decorated beer on our roster. Most notably, it took home the gold medal for Best Juicy/Hazy Pale Ale in the country at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival in 2022.

The beer itself has proved to be an unstoppable favorite among guests, and the Luminous Beings label art has gradually become a metonym for boundless love. It perfectly encapsulates how much Pride Month means to us at Wye Hill Kitchen & Brewing.

A State of Being

At the point of Luminous Beings’ conception, “thiolized” beer was just beginning to emerge in the industry. There were breweries doing it, but not widely within the Triangle. Our brewers played with the use of thiolized yeast in several IPA batches prior to landing on Luminous Beings.

“Thiolization is the replacement of an alcohol group within the beer with a sulfur group. So, there are compounds like monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes that come from hops that, during the fermentation process, end up getting a couple of ‘free alcohols,’” said brewer Owen Harrison (whose background is primarily in chemistry). “Those get rebound to the sulfur, which gives you those fun flavor compounds of passionfruit and things like that.”

Thiols are compounds found in malt and hops that elicit coveted tropical/citrus flavors, be it grapefruit, guava and passion fruit. Essentially, genetically engineered yeast strains have the ability to biotransform thiol precursors in hops and malts, unleashing these tropical (juicy) aromas.

“Basically, in layman’s terms, there are flavors in the hops and– to a lesser extent– the malt that are in the hops or end up being created throughout the brewing process that you wouldn’t normally perceive,” said brewer Nick Weber.  “But, by allowing the yeast to metabolize some of those compounds, they get reconfigured in a way that you can taste and smell them. It basically unlocks the secret flavors inside of the beer.”

He added, “It’s a big component of the beer, but it’s not everything. It’s another tool in the toolbox. It makes the beer shine, but even without it, it’d be a great beer.”

The flavors unlocked within Luminous Beings include citrus blossom, white peach and passion fruit. 

“You still do have a bit of the ‘lemony and piney’ of the traditional hop flavors, but they’re very balanced. They are just providing the backbone for everything else to be in your face,” Owen said.

While hazy IPAs are insanely sought after in the craft brewing universe, a hazy pale ale is a lesser produced style (with a very similar vibe). It is inherently less sweet, less hoppy and less strong. According to Owen, Luminous Beings drinks very much like an IPA– it just sits at a comparatively mild ABV of 5%. Essentially, it is a wildly-happy medium between two of the most popular styles in the industry– a hazy IPA and a regular pale ale.

Live Luminously 

At Wye Hill, we celebrate Pride Month (the recognition of the importance of the LBGTQIA+ community) with absolute fervor. Luminous Being has become synonymous with that celebration.

The label art for Luminous Beings was taken from the portfolio of illustrator and graphic artist Sadie Tynch. For Wye Hill, the imagery has come to represent the inclusivity of love.

“I like the fact that it is two beings holding hands that don’t have any defining characteristics– they’re just in love,” Owen said.

He added, “Everybody deserves love– and everyone deserves a good beer.”