We’re really over-the-moon about this beer.
In fact, you might say that we’re… Irrationally Exuberant about it.
And for good reason. Irrationally Exuberant is the latest in a long line of excellent releases in our Barrel Aged Series.
“I wish we did more of these beers,” says Packaging Operator Dominick Morgenstern. “The “Z” Is Silent was delicious. We don’t have it on tap anymore and I’m sad it’s gone. We’ve really been killing it with the sours lately.”
When designing this beer, our Innovation Director Brian Hink was inspired by one of our most award-winningest brews to date, The Topsail. Released back in 2017, The Topsail ended up being named Beer of the Year by Beer Connoisseur.
It was a pretty big whoop.
Brian’s always had a soft spot in his heart for The Topsail. Up until we released it, each barrel-aged sour we released was his favorite. However, once The Topsail came out, he knew he’d have something to gauge each subsequent release against.
He wanted Irrationally Exuberant to be something along the same lines.
“The Topsail was our first sour release that used a really expressive yeast on the base beer,” he says, “and I really liked what it brought to the table, and wanted to try something similar on this base beer that eventually became Irrationally Exuberant.”
There are weird little collisions between all of the beers in our Barrel Aged Series. Irrationally Exuberant brings together The Topsail, Lady in Room #10, Phantom Crew, The “Z” Is Silent, Fleetingly Anchored, and Higbee, as well as many brews down the road.
“We got our initial Bug Country Blend of yeast and bacteria from our friend Al over at East Coast Yeast in November/December of 2013,” Brian tells us, “which was used in our first sour project, eventually becoming our sour starter blending stock. These sour starters were then used to inoculate entire batches on their way to barrels two years later, and, in Irrationally Exuberant, this is the third generation of this blend.”
With a complementary malt profile of pilsner, wheat, and melanoiden malts, we hopped this one with a single, traditional German Noble hop, Saaz, which lends an underlying bit of spice and earth: just enough of a hops presence for a sour.
“In sour beers,” Brian says, “you’re not really looking for typical hop contribution because the hops are doing a lot more in the background.”
A strong hops presence will temper the growth of Lactobacillus growth, resulting in Pediococcus being the primary souring agent.
“With both Lacto and Pedio souring the beer,” Brian explains, “we’ll get a much more rounded sourness with a richer depth to the brew. Hop presence also contributes polyphenols, which helps lend an almost tannic like quality to the finished brew, helping to enliven the mouthfeel which would otherwise come across as thin or watery.”
We were able to get together with Vice President of Operations Brandon Greenwood and Brewers Andrew Ewing and Kevin Kately as they cracked their first cans of Irrationally Exuberant, capturing their very first impressions of this stellar brew.
“Ooh, that’s alright,” Brandon said, much more awestruck than his simple words may imply. “That’s tasty. Good job, Brian. As far as ruining perfectly good beer by souring it, you’re excellent at it.”
“Oh, wow,” Andrew said. “I like it. A little bit of funk, but very drinkable. Delicious.”
“It’s well-balanced,” Kevin said. “Not too acidic, fruity. Satisfying. It’s what I like to drink when I’m looking for a sour beer.”
And Brian thinks it’s the best of this year’s barrel-aged sours.
“And not because it’s the newest!” he protests. “It’s very well balanced and has a ton of complexity to it. I like that, at 7%, it’s not crazy high ABV like our sours tend to be, and I feel like the sourness is at just the right level.”
Irrationally Exuberant releases this Saturday, August 24th, only from the Tasting Room, at 11am. $9.99 a can, one case per-person. Don’t miss it!