Upslope Brewing will introduce its newest canned beer, Thai Style White IPA, this month -- but only in mixed twelve-packs sold in liquor stores.
The tactic of selling beers only in mixed twelve-packs is becoming more common in Colorado and elsewhere as a way for craft breweries to test new beers -- and to encourage fans to try new things and buy more beer.
Thai Style White IPA, which was first brewed a couple of years ago in collaboration with Euclid Hall, is a hopped-up wheat ale made with more than six Thai spices. And although you'll have to buy the twelve-pack for now, the Boulder brewery plans to begin selling the beer in its own six-packs this fall as a new seasonal.
"It was a fun one to brew," says Upslope head brewer Alex Violette, recalling that former Euclid Hall beer director (now the beverage director at the soon-to-open Argyll Whiskey Beer) Ryan Conklin came to Boulder, ordered Thai food and helped come up with the idea. "We kept re-brewing it and tweaking it over the years."
A "textbook white IPA," the beer was brewed with a malt bill that would be found in a traditional German-style wit, but with a dose of American and Southern hemisphere hops more common to an IPA, Violette says. And then there are the spices, which include cinnamon, cracked pepper, ginger, lemon grass, lemon peel and Thai basil.
Upslope, which debuted its mixed twelve-packs late last year, plans to include an off-season seasonal in each one. So while its Belgian Style Pale Ale is on store shelves in six-packs, the twelve-packs will contain three Thai Style White IPAs. Then, when the Thai IPA is in six-packs, the twelve-packs will contain Upslope's Foreign Stout.
"People want to show up to a party and have a variety of of beres," Violette explains. "Doing it this way is not a big of a risk for them. Consumers might know they like one or two of our beers and this gives them a chance to try some of the others."
New Belgium, Oskar Blues, Ska, Tommyknocker, Breckenridge, Odell, Wynkoop and others have all introduced mixed twelve-packs over the past two years.
Odell has been including new bottled beers in its mixed twelve-packs that you can only buy that way as a chance to test them in the market. For instance, Loose Leaf, a low-ABV pale ale, was included last year. It is now available in six-packs of its own.
New Belgium has taken a similar tactic, although its bonus beers are usually throwbacks to older varieties that it no longer brews or sells on a regular basis.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Westword's Beer Man on Twitter at @ColoBeerMan and on Facebook at Colo BeerMan