In the ever-evolving world of craft beer, there’s a new contender that’s stirring up a storm of opinions: the Cold Black IPA.
This intriguing beer style, a fusion of traditional and contemporary brewing methods, is challenging the norms and exciting beer aficionados and beer-fluencers.
The Black IPA, a style that has carved its niche in the beer community, owes its legacy to an era of unbridled exploration in brewing. It’s a style that, while not universally adored, has garnered respect and earned a place, albeit sometimes on a rotating, seasonal basis, at the beer table.
Enter the Cold IPA, a style that’s recently ignited debates reminiscent of the early reactions to New England Style IPAs. The contention, however, is more about its name than its brewing process or ingredients. This suggests that these brewing skirmishes might be more easily resolved than those of the past.
Firestone Name = Legit
Firestone Walker, a brewery synonymous with innovation in the craft beer industry, played a pivotal role in popularizing the Black IPA in the last decade with their renowned Wookey Jack.
They’ve also embraced the Cold IPA trend with their 2022 release, Hypnosis. Despite its IPA label, Hypnosis is distinct in its use of lager yeast. Firestone Walker further legitimized the Cold IPA style through educational efforts, including a Cold IPA Primer.
Now, Firestone Walker is blending these two worlds with their latest creation: Arctic Wookey, a Cold Black IPA. In an industry where new style names often provoke skepticism, Arctic Wookey stands out, especially when coming from a brewery of Firestone Walker’s caliber.
This innovative beer could easily have been dubbed a “New School Black Lager,” but its title of Cold Black IPA is sure to turn heads.
The openness of Firestone Walker’s Propagator Brewer, Sam Tierney, especially on platforms like Twitter, has added to the intrigue. His posts and the ensuing discussions among brewers provide a glimpse into the creative process behind Arctic Wookey.
The creation of Arctic Wookey is a testament to the dynamic and ever-changing world of craft beer. It represents a bold step in blending traditional styles with new brewing techniques, sparking curiosity and debate among beer enthusiasts.
As the craft beer landscape continues to evolve, beers like Arctic Wookey challenge the status quo and invite beer lovers to explore the unknown.
Arctic Wookey, a Cold Black IPA, represents a bold revival and reinvention of the Wookey Jack, a fan favorite since its debut in 2012. Brewmaster Matt Brynildson’s statement, “The Wookey never dies – it just hibernates,” encapsulates the spirit of this revival.
This newly imagined version boasts a crisp lager fermentation process, accompanied by a hint of rice, enhancing its already prominent dank and resinous hop profile, thanks to the liberal use of Citra and Strata hops.
This combination takes the beer’s flavor profile to new heights, offering a unique and intense experience.
Available on draft and in cans, Arctic Wookey can be found in Firestone Walker’s Venice taproom and is expected to reach their Buellton and Paso Robles taprooms soon.
This seasonal offering is a must-try for enthusiasts looking for a distinctive twist on the IPA genre, promising a unique beer experience that stands out from the crowd.
For more information and user experiences regarding the original Wookey Jack, the beer that laid the groundwork for Arctic Wookey, the Untappd page for Wookey Jack offers insights and reviews from a wide range of beer enthusiasts.
If the Cold Black IPA where a BJCP beer style, which one would it be?
Obviously, it a fusion of a few different styles – So let’s break it down:
- Black IPA: This style is recognized by the BJCP, specifically categorized under “Specialty IPA.” Black IPAs are known for their dark color, typically from dark malts, and have a strong hop character like a standard IPA. They combine the roasty flavors of darker beers with the bitterness and aromatic hop profile of an IPA.
- Cold: This term isn’t standard in BJCP categorizations. It could refer to the serving temperature or a brewing process similar to a Cold IPA. Cold IPAs are a newer style characterized by a clean, crisp profile often achieved by fermenting at colder temperatures, similar to a lager. This process can emphasize hop flavors without additional ale yeast character.
Combining these concepts, a Cold Black IPA would likely be categorized in the BJCP guidelines under “Specialty IPA” due to its IPA characteristics and unique twist with the use of dark malts.
If the “cold” aspect refers to a lager-like fermentation process, it adds another layer of uniqueness, combining the clean, crisp attributes of a lager with the dark, hoppy profile of a Black IPA.
A New Category Emerges
For speculation purposes, if we were to categorize a Cold Black IPA within the BJCP style guidelines, it would likely fall under:
Category 21B: Specialty IPA – Black IPA
- Black IPA (Category 21B): The Black IPA is the closest existing category for a beer that combines IPA hop characteristics with the dark color and malt flavors of darker beers. It captures the essence of the hoppy, bitter profile along with the unique dark malt character.
- Specialty IPA: The Specialty IPA category (21) in the BJCP guidelines is designed to accommodate various IPA sub-styles that don’t quite fit into the traditional definitions. A Cold Black IPA, with its unique cold fermentation approach, would fit well here.
The “cold” aspect, which implies a unique fermentation process (potentially similar to lager fermentation), isn’t specifically addressed in current BJCP categories. However, the Specialty IPA category is broad enough to encompass such variations.
Remember, this is a hypothetical placement since, as of my last training data, the BJCP does not have a specific category for a “Cold Black IPA.