AC Golden Brewing will unveil a new beer today at Colorado Old Chicago restaurants as part of the beer-centered restaurant chain's latest Mini Tour. The brew is an India Pale Lager, or IPL, made from four kinds of hops (Chinook, Centennial, Cascade and Simcoe) typically found in IPAs, but with yeasts that are used in lighter lager beers.
"We are big hops fans. We like hoppy beers, but we like lagers as well" says AC Golden head brewer Jeff Cornell. "So, it was a natural thing to think, 'What if we took the good things from an IPA and added a lager yeast and really balanced it out?' It gives us a clean platform to layer in all the hops flavors on top of it."
AC Golden, which is a small, Golden-based brand incubator for MillerCoors, experiments with numerous types and styles of beers; it is releasing three sour ales in bottles next month. It also makes and packages Colorado Native, Herman Joseph's Private Reserve and Winterfest, all of which are sold only in Colorado.
The brewery made sixty barrels of IPL, which translates into 100 to 120 kegs, all of which will go to the 27 Old Chicago locations in Colorado. Old Chicago has worked with half a dozen other breweries, including Oskar Blues, Ska, Breckenridge, Boulder Beer and Tommyknocker, to make exclusive, limited editions beers like this.
"This is an improvement over an IPA," says AC Golden president Glenn Knippenberg with a laugh. "We will see how things play out at Old Chicago...but if the consumer response is anything like the internal response, there is a lot of prospect for this beer."
In other words, IPL could possibly become AC Golden's next bottled beer; MillerCoors also has the rights to buy any of AC Golden's beers for wider distribution.
The unfiltered lager weights in at 6.8 percent ABV, higher than most lagers, and pours a hazy golden color. It was made with Munich and pale malts. "If you are someone who enjoys IPAs, it will be natural to try this," Cornell says.
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And the beer violates the typical style tenets by mixing up IPAs and lagers, something that will make it difficult to enter contests like the Great American Beer Festival, but also something that will make the beer stand out, Knippenberg says.
IPL will be on tap at Old Chicago through March 18.