This Flavor is Anything But Fake: Introducing Fake Palm Tree!
Fake Palm Tree is new to the family this year, but fans of our fellow tropical IPAs will have something new to obsess over this week.
Fake Palm Tree also follows the route of darling draft favorite this year, Cococabana, by featuring prominent coconut notes.
There’s a lot of tough work that goes into this brew to get it just right, and this week, we sat down with Brewer Emily Siddall to get her perspective!
“I milled it in,” Emily said. “There were hundreds of pounds of maltodextrin, and Sabro hops were also added in.”
All of that maltodextrin gives Fake Palm Tree its slightly sweet notes and full body.
“It’s fun, carrying all those bags up the stairs,” Emily says with a grin. “Six stairs up right to the kettle, and we pour them in during the boil, so they get mixed up pretty well. The idea is that you’re getting higher sugar content for the yeast to create more alcohol and also give it a nice, full mouthfeel.”
“Those brews are memorable, when there’s a lot of bags to carry up,” she says, laughing.
When we asked Emily about the differences between the two, you know, besides the obvious style differences, Culinary Ops, Soda Guru, and Cellarperson JP chimes in from across the room: “It’s the same damn thing.”
(Ed. note: ba dum, tsss)
Ok, but one’s a coconut pale ale and one’s a coconut IPA…so, what’s the real difference?
“Alcohol content,” he says, with his characteristic dry delivery.
There you have it, folks!
Of course, there’s a bit more to the story, so we explored what else you should know about this new brew.
It’s true, for those wanting more of a punch, Fake Palm Tree clocks in at 6.6% ABV.
And for those of us who enjoy coconutty, tropical goodness, there’s a lot to love about this one as well!
The hop bill is fun, too.
“They were pretty excited about using Sabro and BRU-1,” she says. “I haven’t seen much use of them yet since I joined last September, so it was neat to see. They smelled awesome. The idea was to compliment the coconut, so they have tropical, fruity notes.”
Emily really enjoys this brew, and it even appeals to those of us who aren’t big fans of actual coconuts.
Emily admits that she’s not a big fan of coconut milk or coconut in general because of the consistency, but this brew is the perfect combination to get your taste buds some coconut goodness. If you enjoy the flavor of coconuts, make sure to try this one out!
“It’s a hoppier, higher ABV version of Cococabana. A tropical, summery, good time,” Emily says.
Fake Palm Tree is also brewed with Golden Promise, one of the malts we used. “It has a nice biscuit-y taste, almost like an English muffin. I like to try the malt while it’s being milled in if I haven’t tried it before,” she says. “So I took a piece out to test it. The description for that one says that it’s really good for traditional Scottish and English style beers. So it would also work well in an English-style bitter. It creates a nice mellow malt profile to help the coconut and hops come through.”
“The malt use can be down to the color,” Emily says. “Especially with a potential one-off, we look at what we’re trying to go for in terms of color to help make it consistent later on as well.”
To get that ideal, golden color for this brew Emily said a large percentage of the malt bill was Golden Promise. “I don’t have the actual percentage on hand, but I remember there being a lot of bags that went in,” she said, laughing.
A lot of the fruit flavors, like papaya and over-ripened pineapple, come from the hops. “Dry hops are specifically for getting some of those notes,” she shares. “Imagine steeping tea. When you steep hot tea, you get your extract quickly, but you might get some tannin or stripped flavor. But it’s different if you make sun tea, or steep it at room temperature. So, that’s the idea. Different types of hop oils can be extracted at different temperatures. The hotter the liquid, the more alpha acids you get, and those tend to be present when you think of a hoppy, bitter beer, like Coastal Evacuation or Always Ready. The earlier you add hops contributes to the bitterness of the final beer.”
Indeed, alpha acids are complex, hexagonal molecules that make up the main bittering agent in hops, so they’re what you need to get that nice hop character going.
“Some of the beers have a first wort edition. That’s where, when you’re halfway filling the kettle with wort during the runoff process, you add just a little bit of hops for an extra kick. Whirlpool is great because the wort is just done boiling, so it’s still pretty hot, but it doesn’t stay at that temperature. It’s in there for a limited amount of time before cooling the wort down. You get to control the amount of time that the hops are exposed to this hot liquid. Then you can send it into the fermenter to do its thing.”
Whirpooling hops involves pumping the wort into a whirlpool vessel (or using the kettle) and spinning the liquid rapidly. This process helps capture some of the awesome aromas you can appreciate in many brews.
“And with the dry hop, you’re going for certain fruity or floral flavors,” she says.
“On the hot side, with a pale brew, it smells good to me, but it’s actually an acquired smell,” Emily shares. “When I started homebrewing, I thought it smelled weird. But it was mostly extract that I was working with, since that’s easier when you’re homebrewing. A pale brew is a nice sweet, a bit like baking bread.”
That’s a lot of different ways to utilize hops to help a beer come together! Emily’s no stranger to tackling brews quickly and efficiently, though.
“On a typical day, you come in and hit the ground running, especially now,” she says.
Emily points to Coastal Evacuation and Always Ready as relatively breezy brew days because of how quickly time can fly by. On the days that we’re brewing Always Ready, it can be a mad dash to prepare different batches and coordinate timing during the brewing process.
“That’s the day in the life of a brewer, here especially, is time management. You have five minutes before you have to end a boil, so you go see what you can get done in that time frame,” she says. “It can even be something as simple as closing one valve and opening another. It’s fun, though, I really enjoy it. I’m always going and the days go by really fast.”
The opening and closing crews often work together to complete all of the different brew elements.
“We work so well together, so we can coordinate if something needs to happen towards the end of shift that we didn’t get to yet,” she says. “It’s such a great team here. We try to help each other out as much as we can.”
Emily’s been brewing professionally for the past several years now, but the work she does never ceases to amaze her.
“I think about that everyday. I get to make beer for a living? Wow, that’s pretty sweet. It’s crazy.”
Ok, we know you’re probably interested in getting your hands on some Fake Palm Tree this weekend, so here’s what Emily had to share with us after cracking open a can this past weekend!
“I really enjoy the tropical notes from the hops we used, and I think the coconut flavor goes nicely with those. I’m a pretty big fan,” she says.
Fake Palm Tree, with its neon-light inspired design, will be available in our Tasting Room starting today, Friday June 4th, for a limited time. Grab a pint to try from one of our beertenders, or take our word for it and grab a 4-pack to go from our Brewtique to start your weekend off right!
It’s supposed to be gorgeous this weekend after all this rain we’ve been getting, and Fake Palm Tree is dying to go to the beach with you.