A lot of the time around here, we’ll brew a beer and absolutely love it but think in the back of our heads, “This could still be better if we….”
And that’s the fun thing about this business. We always get a second chance. While we strive for perfection in everything we do, with almost everything, hindsight is 20/20 and almost always involves more hops.
Take Always Ready, for example. By all accounts, Always Ready is an unbelievably good beer. It’s well-balanced, juicy, floral, and has an ABV that isn’t going to have you dancing on the table after two pints. (Unless you really want to dance on the table. In which case, live your best life. We won’t judge.)
Either way, our philosophy around here is that anything can be made better. In fact, it’s one of our Core Values: Make It Better.
So, when the occasion arose to pump up the aforementioned awesomeness that is Always Ready, we took it by the horns and dialed it up to 11. What was once Always Ready has become that much readier.
Extra Ready, if you will.
“Ever since we first concocted Always Ready,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm, “I’ve been looking forward to a double dry-hopped version. We’ve done a couple as pins and one-offs in the Tasting Room, but having a proper double dry-hopped version has been a long time coming.”
Always Ready has always been sort of an anomaly. It is unabashedly a hop-bomb. You could plant a can of Always Ready and grow a bine of Denali. (Not really. Trying this at home is not recommended.) Believe it or not, Always Ready has more hops than our ultra-hoppy double IPA, Coastal Evacuation.
“That’s what gives Always Ready its intense aroma and makes it so crushable,” says Head Brewer Brian Hink, “all in this neat little 4.8% body.”
But, hindsight being what it is and variety being the spice of life and so many other aphorisms that we could wedge into this blog, we wanted to kick it up a notch.
“Always Ready was designed specifically for heavy dry-hopping of tropical and fruity hop varieties,” Jimmy says, “and pushing that even further is always a fun thing to do. Push that envelope!”
And we definitely pushed the envelope with this one.
“How to #MakeItBetter?” Brian asks, rhetorically. “Double the hops. The double dry-hopped version of Always Ready, Extra Ready, rolls in at over six pounds-per-barrel, which might just be crossing the line into irresponsible territory for this beer. It’s stupendously aromatic and quite delicious.”
Always Ready already has a killer lineup of hops: Calypso, Denali, El Dorado, Citra, Ekuanot, and Zythos, all combining to create this impossibly fruity concoction of a brew. So, to fruit it up even more, we’re tossing some more Citra at it, as well as some Nelson Sauvin.
“Nelson Sauvin has this great, unique white grape and gooseberry character that isn’t really found in any other hop variety,” Jimmy says. “It’s really going to add a new depth of character to the fruity notes in this beer in a whole new way.”
Citra is already chock full of citrusy goodness, and Always Ready already has a bit thrown in.
“Adding in some more just felt natural to make that citrus fruit character really pop,” Jimmy says.
This beer has practically been asking for some Nelson since we first brewed it.
“Add Nelson to the pineapple and melony finish of Always Ready,” Brian says, “and I think we have a cornucopia of fruit forward flavors that pushes Always Ready to whole new level.”
Regardless, it seems like everyone around the brewery is really looking forward to this one.
“Nelson isn’t a hop that we use too often,” says Laboratory Manager Lauren Appleman, “but it has great character to it. I think the fans, as well as myself, are really going to enjoy this as a hop bomb, but with the lower ABV be able to drink more of these.”
Brian’s been looking forward to it for a while.
“Variations on a theme are one of my favorite approaches to brewing,” he says. “Take the known, mix it with an unknown, and the result is partially expected and yet wholly unique.”
And you’ll be able to know the unknown this Friday in the Tasting Room. It’ll be out for distribution, as well, but you should taste it from the source if your travels and plans allow.