There once was a brewery from Nantucket
Whose beers we wish came in a bucket.
Cisco’s the name
And beer is their game
So we decided to collaborate with them and not mention the obvious rhyme to this limerick!
“Cisco’s an extraordinarily well-respected brewery,” Ryan says. “They’ve been around a long time and they’re making great beer. And I’ve always loved Nantucket — it’s a beachy, seaside resort that reminds me a lot of Cape May.”
Once we decided to collaborate with Cisco, Innovation Director Brian Hink and Ryan went up for a visit to brew up there. Brian noticed the similarities, as well.
“It was a pretty cool, quaint, cute little island town,” Brian said, “very similar to our town. I was expecting it to be really hoity-toity and stuck-up, but I really enjoyed myself.”
One of the cool things about Nantucket is that, much like New Jersey, they were at one time known for their cranberries — they still have two “rather large” commercial bogs. Adding cranberry to a beer seemed a logical point to start, and something we have a little experience in doing.
“IPAs are king of the beer world,” Brian says, “so it made sense to brew an IPA. Since we were going to add cranberry to it, we didn’t want to go old school West Coast or East Coast IPA on it, so we opted for a New England IPA, letting the softer mouthfeel and ‘juicier’ flavors balance off the tartness of the cranberries.”
A cranberry IPA, you say? A cranberry New England IPA?!? There was some uncharacteristic skepticism amongst the Brew Crew on this one: something definitely out-of-the-ordinary. Usually, we trust the Bri-Guy, even at his more, erm, shall we say “innovative” moments.
However, after tasting the brew, the haterz were eating their wordz.
“It’s a rather delicious beverage, if I do say so myself,” Brian says.
The reticence of the crew may come from the fact that we already have two incredibly delicious cranberry brews on our roster: The Bog, and That Cranberry Good Good. However, those two brews are wildly different from Roped In.
“The difference between Roped In and the other two is that, while they all have a distinct cranberry characteristic, this one lacks the sweetness that the other two have,” says Lab Manager Lauren Appleman. “Being that it is an IPA, you have the bitterness from the hops backing the tartness of the cranberry.”
For Roped In, we went with Citra and Cashmere hops — two varieties with a decidedly distinct citrus quality.
“Cranberry-orange is a great combination,” Brian says, “flavor combinations we’ve played around with before, so I knew it would work conceptually.”
However, the combination of Citra and Cashmere was a little new for us, something we’d never tried before. Regardless, Brian is certainly pleased with the result.
“It was beautiful,” he said. “The beer prior to the cranberry addition was phenomenal. To be honest, considering how pretty the base beer was, I was a little bummed to have to add the cranberry to it. So, don’t be surprised if you see a future New England IPA with Citra and Cashmere.”
We’re going to hold you to that, Brian.
We began with a relatively typical grain bill for a New England IPA: pilsner, wheat, and oats. It’s a combination that’s always good to serve up some fluffiness in the mouthfeel.
“Gotta balance out that cranberry tartness,” Brian said, “and a light and fluffy grain is just what the doctor ordered, if doctors ordered grain bills.”
Good ones do, man.
Our London Ale III yeast provides its natural, fruity esters, complementing the hops “very nicely,” according to Brian.
The result is a juicy and fluffy New England IPA whose citrusy orange undertones pair perfectly off the natural tartness the cranberry brings to the table. Lively and aromatic, Roped In is a festive New England IPA that’s sure to bring you and your loved ones holiday cheer.
“It’s super tasty!” Brian says.
Cisco’s version of Roped In was released last weekend, just in time for Nantucket’s Christmas Stroll, and we’re releasing our version on draft and for growler fills in our Tasting Room this Saturday, just in time for our Open House. Don’t miss it!