​Brew Review: Rotational IPAs a Necessity — Block 15​ Brewing

​From the time Block 15 Brewing opened ​its brewpub in 2008, ​the Corvallis, Oregon brew​ team​ was​ constantly striving to expand the ​brewery’s ​portfolio of styles throughout the year.

​Now more than a decade ago, most brewpub tap lists featured a familiar lineup of ​five to seven​ static styles​, explained Marketing Director, Seth Steiling.

​”​To accommodate our vision for an expansive offering of both traditional and experimental beers, we developed a diverse lineup of seasonal offerings​, often on a monthly basis,” he explained as the brewery recently announced the release of its first fall seasonal in a can, Flicker IPA.

​​”While more common now, this was quite unique at the time​,” Steiling said​​.

​​As ​the brewery has grown into a ​7,000-barrel ​production brewery with self-distribution around the ​Pacific Northwest, brewing a high volume of rotating seasonals and one-offs was just a natural extension of the foundation ​Block 15 laid ​out ​when ​it was just a small neighborhood brewpub​. ​Steiling​ said it hasn’t really been​ a strategy that ​the team pivoted into to remain competitive​; the ideas were already in place​.


​Block 15 brewers draw on all sorts of inspiration when designing a beer​. At times ​it means ​building a recipe around a seasonal theme, a flavor profile from some other drink or food, a particular ingredient, or pretty much anything that captures their imagination.

​Steiling said ​Flicker emerged from a few of these sources of inspiration coming together into a cohesive vision​.

“​First, ​it was ​an ingredient that ​we really grew to love, followed by how its character tied into a seasonal theme that we wanted to key off of​,” ​Steiling said.

Flicker was born first out the discovery of a hop varietal that had a unique expression ​founding brewer Nick Arzner and the brew team really dug, which then transitioned into a recipe that they felt could be seasonal without falling back on overused fall motifs like pumpkin spice or falling leaves.

The signature varietal in Flicker’s dry-hop is German Hallertau Blanc​. It’s a hop that ​Block 15 first featured prominently in a dry-hopped ​Pale ​Ale called Hopfen Pale,​ ​Steiling​ said. It was brewed with 100% German ingredients and now released annually for ​the brewery’s Bloktoberfest celebration.

​”​We were struck by how unique and flavorful this varietal was when showcased prominently in a dry-hop​ ​—​ ​in particular, a delightful white wine​/​grape note which emerged when we were especially generous with the dry-hop​,” ​​Steiling​ said.

Arzner was drawn to that grape note in particular​ when it came time to create an autumnal IPA.

“[It was] both for its delicious character and its thematic tie-in to the fall wine​/​grape harvest here in the Pacific Northwest​,” ​Steiling​ said​​​.​

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  1. How Block 15 Strategizes Its Seasonal IPA Portfolio

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