If you had blindfolded me, allowed me to smell, taste, then asked me to name the brewery I would have rattled off a half dozen west coast brewery names and maybe even one from Florida. Head Brewer Hollie Stephenson of Highland Brewing Company is reaching back to her west coast brewing roots with this West Coast-style IPA. For those hop heads out there; Chinook, Citra and Centennial, 64 IBUs and 7.0% ABV.
This IPA is important though, not just due to it’s characteristics, which we’ll return to in a minute, but also because this marks the first of 12 new beers that Highland Brewing Company will debut in 2016 which includes 2 other year-round beers, 3 new seasonals, 2 new Warrior Series beers and 4 Kinsman Project beers (specific beers noted in the press release below).If this IPA is any indication of things to come, we’re in for a great ride with Highland in 2016.
As I cracked the bottle I immediately got wafts of grapefruit, orange peel and flat out hoppy goodness. When I poured the beer tropical fruit was immediately noticeable, the color a nice medium gold with an appropriate head. Honestly I was reminded of opening a big bag of Starburst with all the scents combating with one another. On the tongue this beer brings forth the citrus in a very pleasant way, sweet, coating the mouth and bittering nicely as it lingers on the palate.
Final snobs: YES! This beer hits all the right marks for what we’ve come to expect from a West Coast-style IPA. Seriously well done IPA that will not disappoint.
This beer will debut at Highland Brewing Company’s release party on New Year’s Eve before we see it throughout their distribution footprint.
Cheers to the team at Highland Brewing Company and Happy New Year!
New IPA Complements Highland Brewing Company’s Beer Line-Up
West Coast-style IPA is first of 12 new beers debuting in 2016 from the North Carolina brewery
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 8, 2015) – Highland Brewing Company today announced it will release its new, year-round West Coast-style IPA on Jan. 4, 2016. It is the first of 12 new beers the 22-year-old brewery will debut in 2016. Highland will release two other year-round beers, three new seasonals, two new Warrior Series beers and four Kinsman Project beers in 2016.
“Our vision for intentional growth and our talented team inspired the additions of a West Coast IPA and other exciting styles to our portfolio,” said Leah Wong Ashburn, president of Highland Brewing Company. “At the same time, I see Gaelic growing. It’s our workhorse and my go-to beer. The combined strength of classic and new styles, done well, is our future.”
Developed by Head Brewer Hollie Stephenson, the West Coast-style India Pale Ale features American Chinook, Citra and Centennial hops from the Pacific Northwest. A sturdy malt bill frames hints of tropical fruit, lemon rind, grapefruit and dank hop notes. Brilliant and golden in color, the beer finishes resiny, citrusy and dry.
“Highland IPA will be my favorite in the Southeast,” said Stephenson
. “There are some good specialty IPAs in North Carolina, but as a year-round offering that is drinkable and edgy, I think Highland IPA is unique. It is assertively bitter, but not overwhelming. The ABV is higher than what you see in a lot of new IPAs, but not so high that you can’t go back for another. For me, Highland IPA is a pint or bottle of what defines a West Coast IPA.”
Highland will debut the IPA at its official launch party on New Year’s Eve at the brewery before the beer is available to the public. Sold in six-packs, 12-packs and on draught, Highland will release the IPA in January 2016 with distribution expanding throughout the year.
“We’re rolling out an ambitious number of new styles in 2016,” said Ashburn. “The excitement running from the Brewing to Packaging to Quality teams is palpable, let alone Sales and Marketing. We can’t wait to share them with customers.”
Highland Brewing Company’s 2016 additions to its portfolio includes:
Three Year-Round Beers
o IPA (January) is a hop-forward, West Coast IPA with hints of tropical fruit and citrus from Pacific Northwest hops.
o Pilsner Blanc (May) is a classic pilsner, but dry hopped with finely nuanced German Hallertau Blanc hops.
o Mandarina IPA (July) is a lower-gravity IPA that is hop-bursted with five pounds of hops per barrel for intense aromas of melon, strawberry and tangerine over a balanced malt body.
Three New Seasonals: Every Highland seasonal is named after a land feature or species protected by the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.
o Saw-Whet Saison (February) is named after a tiny owl found in the higher elevations of the Southern Appalachians.
o Early’s Hoppy Wheat (April) is named after Early’s Mountain, which frames Sandy Mush, a vital agricultural corridor.
o Lost Cove Kolsch (June) is a crisp and refreshing German-style kolsch, and is named for a Prohibition-era hide-out-turned-ghost-town in the Nolichucky River Gorge.
Two Warrior Series Beers: Bold and high gravity, the Warrior Series pushes boundaries.
o Tasgall II Scotch-style ale (February) is an updated version of Highland’s highly lauded vintage Scotch-style ale.
o Rye India Pale Lager (May)
Four Kinsman Project Beers: The Kinsman Project is an exploration of infusions of year-round styles with all-natural ingredients.
o Black Mocha Stout (January) infused with vanilla beans, freshly ground cinnamon sticks, dried chipotle peppers and cacao nibs.
o St. Terese’s Pale Ale (April) infused with blackberries and raspberries.
o Highland IPA (July), infusion ingredients to be announced at a later date.
o Oatmeal Porter (September), infusion ingredients to be announced at a later date.
About Highland Brewing Company
Highland Brewing Company has crafted the highest quality beer with North Carolina mountain water since 1994. Family-owned and Asheville’s first legal brewery since Prohibition, it is a local favorite for beer fans, music fans, and families. Highland’s name honors the Scots Irish who settled in the Appalachian Mountains in the 18th and 19th centuries. Adding to the tradition of honor, Highland’s seasonal beers are named after protected features of the North Carolina and Tennessee landscapes. The flagship beer, Gaelic Ale, and other styles of Highland beer are available in nine states and Washington, DC. For details on tours, special events, concerts, sustainability efforts, the new event center and more, visit www.highlandbrewing.com.