Oh, That Corrosion….
That’s Corrosion, “the beer geek’s dream beer.”
Like many things in life, Corrosion’s story begins with a happy accident.
Way, way back, many years ago, in the early days of CMBC — December of 2014, to be precise — we had the problem of having too much Tower 23 on our hands. We were halfway through fermenting a 15-barrel batch, yet we’d brewed a batch in May and still had some once September rolled around.
We knew we wanted to enter it into the Best of Craft Beer Awards — which, it should be noted, it brought home a bronze — but we couldn’t brew less than a 15-barrel batch.
“So… Chris, Ryan, and I were thinking of things to do with the excess stock of a Berliner Weisse in the middle of winter in South Jersey,” recalls Head Brewer Brian Hink, “and after spit-balling some ideas we thought it would be fun to blend it with Coastal, make it a sour-ish IPA.”
They did some small-scale trials to come up with the perfect ratio of sour and hops, ended up pulling half the batch of Tower 23 and blending it with an equal amount of Coastal Evacuation, then dry-hopped it with some Citra to bring it all together.
“The result was better than we could’ve expected, and it was super well-received,” Brian reports.
That following summer, we moved production over to HQ and the Sour Brewery with its 15-barrel brewhouse became Brian’s — and lactobacillus’s — playground.
“I started brewing up a variety of beers over there,” he says, “and for the first time having the luxury of extra tank capacity, I brewed up a full-scale batch of Corrosion, hoping it would be at least close to as good as the initial blend was. Much to my delight, it was better.”
At the time of its conception, sour IPAs were few and far between. They’re barely a thing now, but in early 2015, they were essentially non-existent. Dry-hopped golden sours are relatively commonplace, but a tried-and-true sour IPA is a diamond in the rough.
“Corrosion was the first time I found that combination of tartness and big hop character in one beer,” says Director of Brewing Operations Jimmy Valm. “It was one of those moments where I said, ‘Wow! I didn’t know beer could taste like this!’ I love sours and IPAs, so I was hooked right from the start.”
Since its first batch, the recipe has been tweaked once or twice — an increase in dry hops here, a hot-side change there — but these most recent iterations have seen the most significant changes.
“We wanted to make sure the beer was better served to hold up in packaging for the first time,” Brian says, “so a few tweaks were made, including upping the dry-hop relatively significantly, adding a few complimentary hops like Denali and Amarillo, and we upped the ABV to 6.5% — get a little more bang for the buck.”
Brian has been pushing to package Corrosion since the first time we brewed it.
“It’s been a no-brainer in my mind,” he says.
“Since Day 1, this beer has been begging for tall boys!” he says. “The problem with kegs is that it’s hard to tell your story with them as you’re dependent on what each bar decides to say about your beer, and with a complicated Sour IPA like this, we’ve been waiting for the day to can this so we can tell the story and really get across what this beer is all about.
“Plus, like it says on the can, it’s a beer geek’s dream, so we damn well better get it into cans so more beer geeks can enjoy it!”
So… what is it about Corrosion that makes it a beer geek’s dream beer?
“Beer Geeks are all about pushing the boundaries of what beer is, combining styles and experimenting to discover new flavor combinations,” Jimmy says. “That’s really what gets Beer Geeks’ eyebrows curling, and especially when this is done with sours and IPAs.”
Brian’s a little… cagier… in his response.
“It’s an extremely complicated equation, but an oversimplification of it would be Sour + IPA = dreamy.”
Regardless, it’s one of Jimmy’s favorite CMBC brews.
“It’s so refreshing and perfectly balanced between the tart, the bitterness, and the hoppy goodness,” he says. “All of these aspects come together in a harmonious blend. As much as this is a Beer Geek’s dream, I also think others will enjoy it, too, because of that balance.”
Brian is a big fan of the complexity of Corrosion.
“Up front it’s all the bright tartness: really waking up your senses, the subtle bitterness plays a really nice background note,” he says,” and the aroma is just brilliant — total fruit juice. It’s a very lively beer, really dances around your palate.”
And Corrosion is perfect for the imminent warmer days.
“Despite the inconsistent weather you know nicer days are ahead,” Brian says, “and those warmer spring like days just scream for a refreshing hoppy offering. Corrosion is exactly that.”
Jimmy thinks Corrosion is a particularly refreshing brew.
“With that crisp tartness and the hop-bite, that it’s really going to be good any time; hell, I think it’ll make a great breakfast beer!” he says.
Since spring is the perfect time for home improvement projects, Jimmy will be stocking up before he gets to work on his in-laws’ house.
“After all that construction (and de-construction), sitting back in the evening pulling from a can of this is already making me feel rejuvenated.”
However you intend to enjoy it, Corrosion is on tap in the Tasting Room and available in 16-ounce 4-packs in the Brewtique and at better liquor stores throughout South Jersey and Philadelphia. Get some before it’s gone!