The Evolution of Snag & Drop
Triple IPAs are a fickle thing. The industry kind of keeps moving the goalpost on them, setting it just slightly farther out. Consumer’s tastes are constantly evolving, and CMBC is resolved to stay at the forefront.
Thankfully, Snag & Drop falls into that category.
“It’s not really a style,” explains Head Brewer Brian Hink. “Triple IPA is really the big brother of the Double IPA. Not everyone goes for those kinds of beers. The ones that are out there are pretty aggressive and we’ve had to keep up.”
Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm agrees.
“The basic tenet of Snag & Drop is the same,” he explains. “However, people’s tastes, as well as our own, for what they want in their IPAs has changed a bit, so we decided to throw in a little bit of the newer-school fruity hops varieties as well as some resurgent old-school varieties as well.”
We first brewed “Andrew’s Snag & Drop” back in November of 2014 as part of our old Staff Series. As Brewer Andrew Ewing explained last year, it was his concept to throw as many hops as humanly possible at it.
“When Snag first came out,” Brian explains, “West Coast DIPAs were still all the rage, so the focus was on being dry and bitter and the IBU wars had just recently ended. Around this time, the hops focus started to shift the from early, bittering hops kettle additions to late kettle additions, focusing more on the flavor and aroma attributes the hops offer and really pushing the limit for whirlpool/late kettle additions.”
In the years since, the focus has shifted almost entirely to dry-hopping, with many breweries putting out “zero IBU IPAs” to really showcase the intense aroma that hops can provide. We’ve continued to tweak our flagship IPAs — Cape May IPA and Coastal Evacuation — but with gradual changes.
“It’s really an evolutionary process so each individual change hasn’t changed the respective brands too much at any one time,” Brian says. “But if we were to brew IPA and Coastal to the exact recipe from 2014 they would be extremely different and the consumer would think we brewed the wrong beer. For Snag & Drop, it’s only released once a year, so the changes have been more intense changes.”
The incremental improvements we’ve made to Coastal throughout the years have necessitated the need to tweak Snag & Drop.
“Each year, I’ve shifted hops from the hot side over to the dry hop,” Brian explains, “and each year it’s been in an attempt to stay a step ahead of Coastal.”
Snag & Drop began its life as our once-a-year hop-bomb. Since Coastal Evacuation was a full-time offering, we needed to be a little more restrained on the hopping since it was always around.
“A year would go by, we’d make process improvements to Coastal and that would be tasting great and at its peak, and then it’d be time to brew Snag again,” Brian explains. “What was once our big, massive hop bomb that only comes out once a year was slated to be less hoppy and intense than our full-time DIPA, so tweaks were made. Then we’d go through another year and make gradual tweaks to Coastal, increasing the hop flavor and aroma and making it the best we can and it’d be time to brew Snag again, and it was then slated to be less hoppy and intense then Coastal.
“We keep making our year-round flagship DIPA better and better, so we’re just going to keep on making our once a year massive hop bomb better yet to keep up.”
Since we’ve gotten Coastal Evacuation about as perfect as it can be — for now –, we figured it was time to package Snag & Drop. As you may have noticed, we’ve been expanding our packaged brands as of late. Snag & Drop was a perfect candidate for packaging — it’s a fan favorite and it’s our only Triple IPA. However, it needed a little bit of work before we canned this one up.
“Oftentimes, one is hesitant to change a beer that people have grown fond of,” Jimmy says, “but with the cans, now we know we’ll be reaching more people who haven’t ever had this beer before. No matter what we do, it’ll be new to them, so if there was ever going to be a time to tweak this beer, now is it.”
Snag & Drop is available now on draft in the Tasting Room and in 16-ounce four-packs in the Brewtique.
“I think our fans that have been with us for a while will dig this beer even more than they did in the past as well, it really is a killer one,” Jimmy says. “I love it, the beer is a new-and-improved version of itself, like when Modest Mouse added Johnny Marr to their lineup.”
Oh. Exactly like that.
Come down and see for yourself.