Cider Corner: Making a Cider with Hazy IPA Crossover Appeal

The Hazy IPA is an incredibly popular style of beer these days, but is it possible for a cider company to make a cider that could potentially score high with Hazy IPA beer drinkers, potentially claiming a new audience?

Stem Ciders is taking a shot at doing that with its newest experimental cider release, CAPSTONE. The hoppy cider with raspberry and Meyer lemon was created in collaboration with Advanced Space, a Colorado-based company that supports the exploration and settlement of space and eventually aims to help return humans to the moon.

Stem Ciders’ Director of Liquids Patrick Combs said he didn’t want to create just any cider for the collaboration —  it needed to honor the work done by Advanced Space by pushing the boundaries of possibility for cider the same way that the CAPSTONE satellite is doing for future lunar missions.  

“All of our liquids use the same base of fully fermented and filtered dry apple cider,” Combs said. “The natural apple acidity really accentuates the fruit notes in most modern hop varieties, which for the average fan of IPAs is a new angle on what they know to be hop character. 

“I think your average craft beer fan is going to be right at home with the flavor profile. It has a ton of tropical fruit and citrus on the nose with just enough dank resinous pine to balance the overall profile.”

To better capture the full hop essence associated with true Hazy IPAs, Combs first created a hop tea to help replicate the controlled heating process that takes place in the whirlpool hop addition. From there, the cider is conditioned on Meyer lemon, lemon zest, and raspberry puree to help complement the natural berry notes found in the use of Mosaic hops, along with its apple cider base.

“Every dry hopped cider I’ve had always seems to be missing something. I think recreating the “hot side” flavor that cider is typically lacking is the key to making more complex hoppy ciders,” Combs said. “Precise control of steep time, temperature, and filtration was key to nailing exactly what we were going for. Too hot or too long of a steep, and you destroy a lot of the flavor and end up with a bland vegetal profile. The end result is layers of hop character, instead of a more blunt grassy hop character from dry hopping alone.”

A perfect balance of sweetness and acidity is essential for the hop profile to work, Combs noted.

“We used a touch of organic cane sugar in this cider to take the edge off the natural apple and raspberry acid profile, which really lets the hops shine,” he said. “The result is what I call the ‘lemonade’ balance — not too sweet, not too tart, just right.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.