Why it’s Key to Round Out an Entire IPA Portfolio

It’s been said that IPA isn’t just a style anymore in craft beer, it’s a category with multiple levels, be it in flavor, strength, aroma and even in looks.

Rounding out an IPA portfolio of this one category, which can be anywhere from 25-60 percent of a breweries output is vital for consumer-driven success. Even veteran breweries are catching on by releasing all types of this style with different varieties available in different formats.

For Asheville, North Carolina’s Highland Brewing, the final step was adding Daycation in March. It’s a 4.9 percent ABV offering that adds to the brewery’s IPA lineup of the small batch King MacAlpin Double IPA, a West Coast-style, year-round Highland IPA and fellow year-round Mandarina orange IPA.

Originally sold in six-pack bottles and on draft, Daycation became available in all of Highland’s distribution areas beginning March 6, 2017. Cans followed and have been well received according to the brewery’s Molly McQuillan.

Daycation 800x300“They are helping us reach new audiences, new venues and new events,” she said. “Certain styles certainly seem to be more well received in cans, although availability of style per container isn’t the same, so that is difficult to accurately quantify.”

Beyond the name, creating the right low-gravity IPA came with months of targeted recipe trials. Daycation is a small beer with a big grist bill, because the desired balance and body is a mix of six different malts.

“It’s hard to make a beer this small that doesn’t disappear,” said head brewer Hollie Stephenson. “We wanted some body and mouthfeel and got the right mix by adding small percentages of wheat, rye and flaked oats.”

From that base, the brewery’s Brewing and Quality team created three rounds of dry hop trials. Using variable quantities and combinations of hops – Mosaic®, Citra®, El Dorado®, and Azacca® – a dry hop sensory panel twice determined the best combinations for a third pilot before the winner was sealed and the final recipe was scaled up for full production.

This beer packs in tropical, lemony, pineapple leaf flavors and aromas, perfectly balanced with a bready, bright, sessionable body.

Highland is able to access certain retailers with cans and the beers have been able to fit into more of what not just the staff does, but what beer fans do as well, from dinner party or a camping trip.

“Retailers by the beach are very excited about cans, and much more likely to carry those styles available in cans versus bottles,” McQuillan said. “Some golf courses, pools, and bars carry cans exclusively. We’ve even offered can sales at large events in our meadow to decrease our bar lines.”

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