How This Blonde Ale Is Getting Ahead of Market Expectations

Greater Good’s portfolio skewed “very IPA” heavy, explained Colleen Quinn. Heading into 2023, the Boston-area brewery’s CEO wanted the brand to diversify.

“[It’s] so that we have a style or beer for everyone, but in our own imperial way,” she said. The Worcester-based brewery prides itself on making all its beers over 8% ABV, which is a challenge for some styles that are typically lower ABV.

So a new year-rounder that has debuted is Bombshell, an Imperial Blonde that features a mild maltiness and notes of melon, pineapple, and zesty tangerine.

Bombshell, the brewery says, is an integral part of the story that Greater Good plans to tell this year around innovation in imperializing traditionally low-ABV style beers.

“As the only all-imperial brewing company we have a goal of pushing the envelope on what imperial beers can be and setting the bar for the segment in terms of innovation & quality,” Quinn told Brewer Mag. “We also wanted to do something unique and impactful for our first-ever Imperial Fest hosted at the brewery so we started brainstorming styles and landed on an Imperial Blonde.”

READ MORE: Where ​Greater Good is Looking to Grow its Niche

Quinn pointed out that with true innovation it wasn’t like the market was specifically demanding this style.

“Because few, if any exist,” she said. “But we knew Blonde Ales were growing and Imperial beers — ours especially — were growing, so it was a natural intersection for us to explore.”

When it comes to creating the malt-forward flavors of a Blonde but expanding on the ABV, there are considerations made when creating the recipe?

The “true north” during recipe development was that the Greater Good team would stay “true” to the style they were creating while still amplifying the ABV to “imperialize it.”

“Very malt-forward or very hoppy beers can be seen as easier to increase the ABV overall given the more overt/strong flavors that can be amplified alongside the ABV to mask a level of booziness and keep our imperial beers very drinkable,” Quinn said.

The GG brew team has gotten good at determining the malt and hop varieties along with quantities to gear the recipe towards a targeted ABV along with matching a flavor profile to deliver on the consumer’s expectations for the style, but at an imperialized ABV, Quinn said.

For a Blonde, the challenge is that it’s a very balanced, light, and crisp style.

“It has some pale malt sweetness and lower IBUs,” she said. “But it shouldn’t be a malt or hop explosion. Because our brewers specialize in high ABV beers, they are canny at translating mash temps on our brew system to produce just the right amount of residual and fermentable sugars to achieve a drinkable, smooth product at an imperial ABV percentage.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *