“Bitter End” Imperial IPA

“Bitter End” Imperial IPA

On February 25th, 2013, Cape Cod Beer will release its newest Specialty Beer, Bitter End Imperial IPA, named for the nautical term “bitter end” which refers to the innermost end of the anchor rope, which was traditionally secured to a set of bitts or large pillars of oak, bolted and fixed upright to the deck.  The beer’s name is also a double entendre given the fact that Imperial IPAs are some of the hoppiest beers made.

India Pale Ales (IPAs) historically have a nautical connotation, given that the development of the style resulted from the 18th century challenges of keeping beer fresh for the long journey from England to India.  The additional hops and malt added to traditional IPAs helped to boost the natural preservative qualities of both alcohol and hops, securing IPAs in both maritime and British history.  While IPAs are a British invention, Imperial IPAs appear to be a completely American concept, developed on the West Coast in 1994, where hops are abundant and big hoppy bitter beers are the norm.

Bitter End Imperial IPA was brewed in the tradition of the great Imperial IPAs of the West Coast, packing  massive amounts of hop flavor and aroma into a medium-bodied, unfiltered brew. Using a blend of five different malts (Pale, Cara Pils, Vienna, Wheat & Munich) and four different hop varieties (Chinook. Columbus, Falconers Flight, & Cascade), the Cape Cod Beer brewers have crafted a very drinkable and unique beer.  At 8.0 ABV and 90 IBUs, it also packs a bit of a punch!

We used some classic American IPA hops, including Cascade, Columbus, Chinook, and Falconer’s Flight. Falconers Flight was the hop we really chose to lean on to shine through on this batch. Falconer’s flight is a proprietary blend of  various northwest hop varieties that was made to honor the legacy of northwest brewing legend, Glen Hay Falconer. The end result is a slightly hazy beer with an orange hue, and an intense tropical fruit aroma brought on by the Falconer’s Flight.

“Everyone gets excited about making new beers – the brew crew – the customers – everyone.” explains the Brewmaster, Todd Marcus. “This was a great experience for everyone, as it helps them to understand that making a new beer isn’t just about the recipe, it’s also about sourcing the hops and malt, coming up with a cool name and developing the marketing around the beer.  Sometimes making the beer is the easiest part!”  Given the growth of the craft industry and recent hop crop issues, sourcing hops that we don’t use on a day to day basis can be challenging.  Several of commercially available hop varieties we wanted to use for this beer were unavailable.  This remains one of larger challenges to craft brewers who want to try things outside their normal range of styles.  Bitter End Imperial IPA is available at the brewery and select locations on draught.