The other day at Cask Fest we were talking to our friend Terry from Bellingham. He’s our go-to guy for all things beer in Whatcom County. Who better to ask about the newly opened Kulshan Brewing Company – the newest brewery on the Bellingham beer scene. Having heard that people were freaking out about the IPA, I asked Terry if he’d tried it. “I’m not normally much of an IPA guy, but I drank five pints of it the first night,” he said. “It was that good. That first night, The Copper Hog blew through a keg of it in a matter of hours. I did my part.”
Kulshan Brewing Company’s beer has been flowing in Bellingham for almost two weeks now. As far as we know, it has yet to make it beyond the Bellingham city limits. We understand that some of it will be getting as far south as Seattle in the very near future. The Beveridge Place Pub (blog sponsor) tells us they are on the short list and expect to have it soon. We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, we just learned that Kulshan Brewing has teamed up with The Copper Hog to produce a new beer. Here is the press release we received yesterday.
Note that yesterday was April 1st and the press release is an April fools joke. But it is true that Kulshan is brewing beer and it is being well-received by all who’ve been lucky enough to drink it.
KULSHAN BREWERY AND COPPER HOG GASTOPUB
COLLABORATE ON GROUND-BREAKING BEER STYLE
BELLINGHAM, WA – A Bellingham pub owner and a local brewery have collaborated on a beer that is pushing the envelope on beer styles.
“It’s just like an IPA,” Kulshan Brewery owner Dave Vitt says of his new Full 90 IPA. “But it’s pale!”
Aaron Matson, owner of the Copper Hog Gastropub approached Vitt about doing a commemorative beer for Bellingham’s new minor league soccer team, Bellingham United. “I’m getting all the local breweries to make a Bellingham United beer,” says Matson. The Copper Hog is the home pub for the team. “I wanted some kind of an IPA, but I had no idea he would do something like this. I mean, I’ve had red IPA’s on tap, black IPA’s, even a white IPA. I’ve had Belgian IPA’s, session IPAs and I even ordered a keg of the new zero IBU IPA. But a pale IPA? Who knew?”
The style is not completely without precedent, according to Charlie Papazian of the Brewers Association, a Boulder, Colo-based trade association for brewers. “There are tales of British brewers making an IPA that was pale back in the Nineteenth Century,” he says. “But no one has seen one for years. It just shows the creativity and ingenuity of the American craft brewer.”
Vitt didn’t set out to create brewing history. He was just trying to follow Matson’s wishes. The publican wanted a pale beer with about six percent alcohol by volume. But he wanted it boiled for 90 minutes (the length of a regulation soccer match), and he wanted it hopped throughout the boil. Finally, he wanted a healthy dose of hops at the end of the boil, in the hop back and during dry hopping.
“For me, it’s all about the nose,” Matson says, taking a big whiff of the beer.
“When the beer was finished, we realized it tasted just like a good IPA,” Vitt said. “But it was pale.”
The brewery is petitioning with the Brewers Association to have the new style included in style guidelines for the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup. “We can’t decide whether it should be called ‘Pale India Pale Ale (PIPA) or India Pale Pale Ale (IP2A),” says Vitt.
Matson lobbied for calling it a Cascadian Pale Ale in a blatant attempt to suck up to Cascadian Beer Sheriff Ezra Johnson-Greenough, but was thwarted when his accountant threatened a trademark infringement action if he used the acronym CPA.
“Because it’s ‘triple-triple hopped,’ with nine hop additions, I thought about being clever and calling it a Kascadian 9-hopped Pale,” Matson says. “But I don’t know if K9P sounds very appetizing on a taphandle.”
No matter what it’s called, the response has been terrific, Matson and Vitt agree. “We can’t make it fast enough,” Vitt says. “We may have to get more tanks just to keep up.”
Even local beer critic Terry Urbanic, who reviews beers under the handle Beertunes on the Beer Advocate website, gave it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. “I was really impressed. Even the aroma is very pale. The malt/hop balance is just right and it finishes like you would expect a pale IPA to finish. I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5.”