How Pike Brewing Catered to Sun Lovers

The groundhog saw his shadow this year, so he’s not quite ready to start ignoring the winter releases just yet.

Pike Brewing Company in Seattle went with a two-headed approach with its releases for the year’s coldest season, wrapping up January by putting out their Long Dark Barrel-Aged Stout and their Short Days Double Hazy IPA.

A Double Hazy IPA? In January? Touted as “Sunshine in a Can,” it may not make sense when you first hear that, except Head Brewer Leslie Shore said that was precisely the point.

The beer, which will be available through March in six packs of 12 oz cans and on draft, is made using Centennial, Simcoe, Mosaic and Cascade hops for a fruity profile that Shore described as having flavors of orange, cantaloupe and honeysuckle.

With an ABV of 8.2%, it may not taste like a winter warmer, but it has the firepower for it.

“Not everyone wants a heavy beer in the middle of winter, especially here in Seattle, when it’s typical for some to flee to a sunny spot for a quick getaway,” Shore told Brewer Magazine. ”Looking forward to the eventual return of the sun and nicer weather is aspirational, specifically when the available daylight is swinging away from eight hours with overcast skies and 3 p.m. sunsets. 

“Because both of these beers are produced in small quantities, it is less about one selling better than the other and more about speaking to different audiences. If all goes well, they will both sell out.”

Fan input helps drive the seasonal process. Pike’s Ballard Taproom has a pilot tap for folks to try more experimental offerings, and also provides a QR code on the table tent cards, which allows guests to access a simple-yet-defined sensory evaluation.

“From there, we’re able to aggregate the data against our internal sensory on that product, and take it from there; either full-scale for a seasonal or a one-off with wide distro, or scrap altogether,” Shore said. “Our seasonal releases are planned over a year out, which also allows the opportunity to brew another pilot batch to nail the sensory and style expectation.”

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