Brew Review: Having Fun, Going Retro in IPA Series

​Lakewood Brewing started ​its Small Batch Can Series ​in 2019​ for a few reasons​ said founder Wim Bens​.

​​First​, it was​ to have fun.

​”​We make seriously fun beers here at Lakewood and the SBCS is a way for our brewers to be creative, explore and innovate​,” he said​.

​But with the ​consumer ​market always looking for what’s new it allows ​the Texas brewery to have something new for ​the ​sales​ staff​ to talk ​up and stay relevant in a very crowded marketplace​, he added​.

​”It’s an incubator for new seasonal beers​,” Bens added​. ​”​Muy Importante which was part of the SBCS series last year has graduated to a seasonal this year and if it does well could find its way into the year-round lineup.​”​

Lakewood had a small batch series since it started with a Legendary Series lineup.

“Those were usually big beers and available in bombers only,” Bens explained. “With the market really embracing cans we pivoted to the SBCS series.

“This is our second year to do the SBCS and we intend on keeping it going for a while. We will continue to change up the styles of beers and have a new artist for every series. We hope the series grows, but the intent is to keep it small and use it as a testing ground for new longer lived beers.”

The first release ​this year ​is Level 1 – Jungle Run​ — a​ 6.5% ABV, unfiltered IPA brewed with a variety of tropical fruits including soursop, mango, pineapple, and pink guava. It was also dry-hopped with Citra, Meridian and Amarillo hops.

The beers are divided into four levels, not unlike an old video game with a boss fight at the end. So all the beers ramp up in hop load and in ABV until the fourth release. Jay Roeder is ​the artist for the series this year​. Bens noted that he has done work for companies like Nike and Starbucks.

​”We grew up in the 80s and 90s and I think that retro culture is very in-vogue right now,” Bens said. “So by grabbing that nostalgia and cool factor of retro games, we made the series intentionally collectible this year.”

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