Why New Image Feels Thiolized IPAs Are Evolution of Hazies

A little more than a year ago the buzzword in IPA circles was “Phantasm.” Brandon Capps pointed out that many breweries — including his brewery New Image — jumped on the agricultural byproduct’s bandwagon. Many, though, jumped off quickly after not seeing the effects they expected.

New Image, like in the early days of Hazy IPAs, jumped down the rabbit hole even further. Finding ways to use both Phantasm better than before and coupled with thiolized yeasts (like Cosmic Punch), New Image is building many series of beers and even a year-round brand to show that they feel it’s worth the effort to put production time and money into a merging subculture of IPA.

“The one-off ones that we [sold] have still been relatively steady as we’ve produced them,” he told Brewer. “But the interest really seems to shift towards a genuine interest and a more full-time version of this is more refined, which to me says that this is a longer-term trend that we’re developing if we’re doing it right.”

New Image, along with breweries like The Veil, Other Half, Cerebral, and WeldWerks have worked to push boundaries in Thiolized IPAs.

Capps feels that New Image was one of the first to have successful results that they were a fan of.

“I remember everybody else just sort of being like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know, it’s pretty expensive. We didn’t really think it blew us away, we probably won’t do it again,'” he said. “I think there’s something here to be figured out and I’m gonna keep going as hard as I can on this until I figure it out.”

Being one of the first breweries to make hazy IPAs Capps remembers many people ‘literally laughing me out of their bars when I was bringing them samples.’

“I heard, ‘This beer looks like shit, you should quit your job, get out of this industry, go back to being a home brewer,'” he said. “No, honestly, I think this is different. And it’s very intentional, and you may not see it, but I see what this could be.”

Now, Capps doesn’t feel that thiolized IPAs are necessarily going to eclipse Hazy IPAs, but it is an evolution.

READ MORE: All the Smells!: WeldWerks Experiments ​with Phantasm Powder in DIPA

“Some people love it, some people hate it and some just don’t even know how they feel about it,” he said. “Well, there were a handful of people who loved Hazy IPA when it came out. There were a lot of people who were trashing it. So if anything, I would say people are more open to this one. It’s being received even better.

“If you’re questioning the long-term viability based on the initial polarity of it, look at the last beer trend and if anything, polarity should be an indicator that this is going to get even more attention in the long term.”

Doing a series of one-offs, New Image has created a few different series. The Phantastic series has been Phantasm-focused with double-dry hopped IPAs, while Levels is a series that has been exploring thiolized IPA without the use of Phantasm and instead looking at other substrate precursors as the predominant contributors.

Phanny Pack is made with Phantasm and Capps believes the new brand launched just a few weeks back is the first dedicated year-round Thiolized IPA brand in production.

“I feel like most people are still in the, like, ‘Hey, we’re trying this new thing out’ phase with Phantasm,” he said. “We’re in the, ‘we’re ready to scale this and start making it every day.'”

This new core beer just launched full-time a few weeks ago, he said. and it’s already a high-performing SKU.

“It’s not our top SKU yet, but it’s gonna be in the No. 2 or No. 3 spot here pretty quickly,” Capps said. “It’s coming up against beers that have been in our core lineup for five-plus years, and it’s already starting to put up numbers that compete with them, and repeatedly.

“A lot of times with stuff that’s just a flash in the pan trend, like Cold IPA, we’ll sell one and it’ll do well for the first batch. But then we’ll go to sell another one, and it won’t really deplete that well. And then, if we even bother to do a third, it’s just going to eke out slowly and painfully over time.”

Capps said the Level series has been a great vehicle for exploring different types of Thiol production.

“It’s not just pigeonholed to add Phantasm to a beer,” Capps said. “It’s really building each of these individual pieces one layer at a time.”

Level one, New Image focused on just modifying the T90 hops that were in the whirlpool. Level Two beers will have New Image start to experiment with extracted hop products and still focus on similar variations to see if the extraction process makes any of those precursors or free thiols more readily available.

“Level Three, I think, is when we’re going to start actually playing around with Phantasm again,” Capps said. “By that point, they should have their new products that are even more concentrated and even more soluble.”

Photo courtesy New Image Brewing

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