I just wanted to write a few words about Vida, our Brut IPA collaboration with Siren Craft Brew. The inventor of Brut IPA, an American brewer named Kim Sturdavant, had spent some time working with us at Thornbridge about 9 years ago, so when Darron from Siren suggested we make one, it seemed an appropriate opportunity to give it a go.
For those of you though that don’t know, a Brut IPA is a bone-dry, aromatic, bright IPA, with no residual sweetness, mimicking some of the character of Champagne. Typically, an enzyme is added to break down sugars that would not normally ferment, so the fermentation can go further and you end up with an extra-crisp mouthfeel. No early addition hops are used, with a gentle bitterness coming from the hopback additions. It’s a pale, clear, effervescent style with lots of fruity dry hop the order of the day.
For our version, we used the AMG enzyme in the mash, for two reasons – one, so the enzyme was denatured during the boil, so we had a fixed point of attenuation and also Darron suggested that they had found that adding the enzyme later might be affecting the hop profile. We used 95% low colour Maris Otter and 5% wheat malt to keep the colour super-pale with good head retention, and a combination of Crystal, Amarillo and Chinook in the hopback. For fermentation we used our neutral, attenuative yeast strain and dry hopped heavily with Chinook, Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc. We then matured the beer at -1C for an extended period, to allow the beer to drop as bright as possible prior to centrifugation – generally speaking, the brighter the beer goes into the centrifuge, the brighter it will come out. It would have been easy to throw the heavy hitters of Galaxy, Citra and Mosaic at this beer, but I wanted something in the aroma that would complement the hopback additions, particularly the Crystal, and produce a beer with a fruity, appealing hop character. By using the Huell Melon and Hallertau Blanc, two of the newer Germanic varieties, Vida has this strong aroma of clementines and freshly-cut melon, which makes this beer quite special.
It was obviously great fun having Darron up from Siren to work with us on this – often it can seem that collaborations are just an excuse for inter-brewery mates to mess about together for a day, but we’re really pleased with this beer and I think it represents both our breweries’ values of innovation and quality. It’ll be available in bottles and keg from our taproom, online shop and all good bars later this week and I hope you like it as much as we do.