What the Ale! Brut IPA is the Real Champagne of Beers

Green Cheek’s Amy Hanawalt Enjoys a Fresh Brut IPA (with Anchor tattoo) – Used with permission by Reyn Hiskey

I’m sure everyone reading this has sipped an Anchor Steam at one point in their lives. For me, it was my gateway into craft beer back in 1980’s high school where my buddy Tommy somehow pimped a couple six-packs in front of a local store. We drank each of the copper-colored beers while trying to recreate The Smiths Bigmouth Strikes Again on his parent’s old church-style organ over Bossa Nova beats. I recall tripping out on the label touting, “made in San Francisco since 1896…now I know how Joan of Arc felt…now I know how Joan of Arc felt!”

Over 120 years later, San Francisco is back with its second homegrown beer style: the Brut IPA. Created by the brewmaster at SF’s Social Kitchen & Brewery, Kim Sturdavant, the style will soon (hopefully) take over the haze craze that was just officially recognized as an official category by the Brewers Association.

Locally, I got a chance to hit up IPA master Evan Price of Green Cheek Beer Company (who makes a damn tasty one) to see what the style is all about.

How does a Brut IPA differ from West Coast IPA? West Coast IPA has left over sugar after fermentation. That sugar (as well as alcohol) is what creates body. In WC IPA, the goal is to have a medium bodied beer with lots of bitterness and hoppy flavor and aroma. For Brut IPA, it’s all about a bone dry beer that’s extremely light bodied with very little bitterness but lots of hoppy flavor and aroma. In brut, the body should be as perceptively light as possible. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever made! It’s like a hoppy brut champagne.

What inspired you to make one locally? Tim Sciascia at Cellarmaker up in the bay area is the inspiration behind ours. That dude makes some of my favorite hoppy beer and he was an integral part of what has become our Brut IPA.

Are there calorie differences between Brut and West Coast IPA? A 12 oz glass of our last batch of Brut IPA was 159 calories, 7.6 carbs whereas our Radiant Beauty West Coast IPA is 195 calories and 16.7 carbs. They both have the same ABV around 6.7%.

When does your next Brut IPA come out? Ours will be out 6/22.

Follow Green Cheek Beer in Orange on Instagram to learn about their latest releases: @greencheekbeer 

Green Cheek Beer Company, 2294 N Batavia St. Ste C, Orange, (714) 998-8172; www.greencheekbeer.com

Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest. When not writing about, photographing or filming beer, cocktails, and food, he can be found talking trash while playing Battlefield V under the name “OCBeer.”

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