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“Merry & Brite is piney, malty, with a subtle floral quality. It's a definite throwback.”

Merry & Brite

As the holiday season draws near and the year comes to a close, there are a few things you’re simply not going to be able to avoid.

You’re probably not going to be able to avoid Yoko Ono caterwauling her way through an otherwise lovely John Lennon Christmas tune, “Happy Xmas (War is Over)”.

You’re probably not going to be able to avoid those time-consuming holiday tasks that have become your least favorite: whether it’s wrapping presents or hanging lights or baking cookies.

And, in all likelihood, you’re probably not going to be able to avoid becoming introspective. Nostalgic. At some point, someone’s going to break out a photo album — remember those?!? — and you’re going to start thinking about your old Dalmatian, or bike riding with all of your best friends from middle school, or that time you broke your arm because you were stupid enough to believe that a Superman cape actually bestowed flying abilities upon the wearer, and, at some point, a flood of memories will come back to give you a smile, or a laugh, or a tear.

It’s unavoidable.

Luckily, this holiday season, we’ve brewed up a beer just as nostalgic to help get you through all of those memories. We went old-school with our newest IPA: Merry & Brite.

“There’s no school like the old school,” says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman.

And we definitely went old school with this one. We drew our inspiration from some of the classic West Coast IPAs from the 90s to devise a drinkable, well-balanced beer. So, we looked backward to move forward, bringing you the classic West Coast IPA flavors that first made you fall in love with IPAs.

“Merry & Brite is piney, malty, with a subtle floral quality,” Brian says. “It’s a definite throwback.”

Lauren agrees. 

“This strays away from some of the IPAs we have been cranking out recently,” she explains. “The color is a beautiful copper, and the beer is crystal clear. It is a pretty big contrast to our other recent IPA offerings like Swinging the Lamp and White Caps. There’s no mistaking this beer for a glass of OJ, that’s for sure.”

And, to stay true to the classic-ness of this West Coast IPA, we went back to the classic C hops: Centennial, Cascade, and Chinook.

“Since we were designing a classic West Coast IPA, we needed to use the classic C hops,” Brian explains. “They bring that subtle citrus, floral, resiny pine — all characteristics you’re looking for in a West Coast IPA, so of course we were going to use them here.”

We put together a malt bill to emphasize the classic nature of this IPA: Golden Promise, Pilsner, Red X, and C65. We covered Golden Promise and C65 in previous blogs, but this is the first beer we’ve brewed with Red X — and it pretty much does what it sounds like: brings a nice, reddish color in a relatively neutral malt.

“It’s a base malt that is kilned to a slightly higher degree to bring out a red color in the wort,” Brian explains. “It’s a really interesting grain because it tastes mostly like a neutral base malt: more Pilsner or Pale 2-row malt than Vienna or Munich, but it has a higher SRM than any of them, so the color contribution is significant without imparting a ton of malt character.”

Add in our house London Ale III yeast, and the result is a classic, amber-leaning, red-hued West Coast-style IPA, with a modest 7.5% ABV and an aggressive hop profile: a distinctive brew with a profile similar to IPAs of yesteryear, yet modern enough to celebrate the season in all its glory.

“It’s very drinkable,” Brian says. “Like way back in the day when IPAs were balanced and not simply the hop juice of today’s world or the dry, bitter hop-bombs of the late aughts — you could slug ‘em back all day without your palate getting blown out.”

Lauren is looking forward to cracking open a can this holiday season.

“I’m probably going to insist on drinking this while my husband asks me to help finish the Christmas decorations and the cookie baking and the present wrapping,” she says. “Seriously, they’re my least favorite things to do and he calls me a grinch every time, but Merry & Brite is going to make these holiday tasks actually be merry and bright.”

Be sure to swing down to the Brewtique on Saturday to grab a four-pack of Merry & Brite at $12.99 + tax. We still have Boughs of Barley 2019 and Coquito available, so you’ll be able to stock up on all of our holiday favorites. 

See you then!