IPA is one of those categories of beer that continually finds new ways to evolve. There’s the classic West Coast IPA, the juice bomb NE IPA, Brut IPA, Double or Triple IPA, and the list goes on. But now we have a new style to add to the list, thanks to some crazy brewmaster’s in Portland. It’s the Cold IPA.
But what exactly sets a Cold IPA apart from the crowd?
First, let’s be clear that a Cold IPA isn’t about the temperature you drink it at, despite the name; it is about process and ingredients.
Cold IPA first starting popping up in early 2020 thanks to the brewmaster at Portland’s Wayfinder Beer. “Cold IPA” is a newer term, and the style aims to feature a crisper IPA. As Wayfinder began to evolve the style, they partnered with other breweries to find the right mix. John Harris, Ecliptic’s Owner and Brewmaster teamed up with Wayfinder’s Brewmaster, Kevin Davey, to create Ecliptic’s take on the style. Their beer is brewed with Pilsner malt and lager yeast and features Pacific Sunrise and Talus hops. “Cold IPA is our attempt at making a ‘Wester than West Coast’ IPA’, but it’s not a lager… it’s more of a crossover style” said Davey.
What does that all mean?
Well it means a Cold IPA heavily features the hops that go into the beer. It’s a clear drinking IPA, that looks more like a lager but has the heavy hop profile of an IPA. It’s clean, crisp, and light bodied that provides a great stage for the hops to really express their character. Isn’t that just a dry-hopped lager you say? Well no, not really. Dry-Hopped Lager/Pilsner uses a traditional lager recipe but uses modern dry-hopping methods and modern hops. Here, we’re taking an IPA recipe and using pilsner malt and lager yeast. It seems like a minor detail, but it produces vastly different results.
Since Wayfinder created the style, there have been several other breweries that have started experimenting with it. While it’s not quite a style that has hit the mainstream consciousness yet, as more and more breweries start to produce their own variations, expect consumers to be more interested in this new take. Especially during the summer months where a Cold IPA with its clean drinking nature will be very much appreciated.