Elysian's Manic IPA Series: Behind the Brew

In late January, Elysian Brewing announced the launch of their rotating Manic IPA series (full press release at the end of this post). Matt Thompson, Director of Sales & Marketing at Elysian, was kind enough to give me some behind-the-scenes insights into the new series.

Why did you launch this new IPA Series?

Matt Thompson:  We wanted a vehicle for showcasing our brewer's creativity and our love of hops. That led to the development of our Manic IPA series.

How long have you been serving Idiot Sauvin, Prometheus, and Valhalla at your pubs? 

MT: We first brewed Idiot Sauvin in 2010.  Dick Cantwell, our owner/ head brewer, had come across Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand so he ordered a box and we brewed it up to showcase the unique flavor of these hops. Prometheus is a longtime favorite that we've been brewing for over 12 years.  It’s got a beautiful hop aroma and embodies the essence of what is typically referred to as a "Northwest-style IPA".  Valhalla has been around for about five years.  It started out as a Christmas release and has evolved over the years.  It is reddish in color and showcases Sorachi Ace hops.

Is Manic IPA replacing any of the beers in your core lineup?

MT: No.

Will these be distributed to the same locations as your other beers?  Will they be priced similarly?

MT: Yes, it will be broadly distributed. The pricing is about $1 more than our standard 22oz. 

Do you expect the Manic IPA series to continue into 2013 with different IPAs?

MT:  I do expect it will continue into 2013. We're not sure yet about brewing other IPAs, but yes, probably.

On a different note, you also recently launched the 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series with some very unique brews.  How did that get started, and did the first release meet your expectations?

MT:  The 12 Beers of the Apocalypse came about one evening back in September (after I had had a few pints).  We really wanted to push the envelope when it comes to creative brewing.  Since the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar, is December 21st 2012, it seemed imperative that we celebrate what could be our last year with beer.

One beer release per month on the 21st of each month, each very limited in 22oz and draft. We collaborated with our friends at Fantagraphics to find an artist who's work would pair with our concept. Charles Burns' graphic novel "The Black Hole" features artwork that is absolutely perfect for the series. He was kind enough to allow us to use his art. So far the reception has been beyond our expectations.  Nibiru, our first release, a Belgian Tripel brewed with Yerba Mate was very well received.  Bars and bottleshops are getting into the spirit of it all.  What would you brew or drink if you knew it would be your last beer?

The IPA is a great style that allows lots of room for creativity. Last year, Widmer Brothers eliminated their full-time Broken Halo IPA and replaced it with their “Rotator IPA” series. Currently in its 4th release, Rotator has been a big hit for Widmer Brothers and I expect Manic IPA will be the same for Elysian.  A big thanks to Matt for taking the time to provide the background!

Have you tasted Idiot Sauvin or Niribu?

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We Are Hopping into 2012 with an Exciting New Line-Up of IPAs!

January 23, 2012

So many IPAs, so little time... Elysian Brewing Company is planning to make brewing life a little more challenging by kicking off its IPA Specialty Series in February of 2012 with Idiot Sauvin, an IPA both fiercely fruity and floral, made with New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops. The beer has appeared before only at Elysian's pubs, and will be issued in both 22 oz bottles and draft. 

Then in June will come Prometheus, an aggressively aromatic blend of Northwest classic Chinook, Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops fondly familiar to Elysian regulars. 

Rounding out the year will be Valhalla, a reddish fall-into-holiday IPA using Sorachi Ace and Citra hops, scheduled for release in October. Too many IPAs?  Bah, humbug!

- Dick Cantwell

Idiot Sauvin: FEB - APR
Prometheus: MAY - AUG

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