​Why Wild Heaven Switched its Flagship IPA This Year​

​It took about a year of development and experimentation, but Wild Heaven launched its new flagship IPA in March, and Brewmaster and co-founder Eric Johnson shared those insights to Sunburst IPA, a blend of Talus, Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, Amarillo, Cascade, and Chinook hops.

“We were always proud of the IPAs we had put into the market,” Johnson said. “I think that we all had a vision for a more universal beer that would excite a broader audience and it just felt like that needed to be the flagship.

“There’s so much space now to create so many cool variants and sub-styles with our West End location. Narrowing our focus to really pin down the perfect daily drinker for the craft beer lover became an obsession and we were able to take so much of what we had learned from making IPAs over the years and distill it into this one amazing beer.”

The Sunburst project spans over a year and involved many trial beers, Johnson explained.

“We started with hop blends that included as many as 16 different hops,” he said. “In time the number was narrowed down to our favorite five, which are mostly late additions.”

Johnson’s new favorite hop was discovered when they were trialing for this flagship brand and brewed a series of ‘Next Big Thing’ with numbered hops that were all single-hop IPAs.

“692 emerged as a front runner that was ironically officially named Talus the day we launched the ‘692 Next Big Thing,'” Johnson said. “Talus has played heavily into this beer with a backline of classics like Mosaic, Citra, and Galaxy.

“I definitely feel like Talus is one of the outliers that bring so much to the table and is truly unique.”

READ MORE: Wild Heaven Launches New Flagship, Sunburst IPA

Johnson said the vision was to create the ultimate IPA that honors the best of two branches — West Coast and Hazy — while avoiding the tendencies many have to drift into overly extreme expressions of flavor.

“Instead, by capturing what we love about those styles, we found our path,” he said.

Wild Heaven is bidding farewell to its twin IPA flagships, Wise Blood and Altair at the same time.

“Beer is always about progress and moving forward, and Sunburst IPA represents that move,” the brewery wrote in a press release.

Johnson added that the current paradigm is certainly not easy on breweries that make big changes.

“That was certainly part of our thinking but was never more important than the task of building a durable, iconic, modern beer that we were truly proud of,” he said. “Even if you’re not an IPA fan you will love Sunburst. That, in and of itself, sets it apart from every other beer.”

Head Brewer Josh Franks ​added in a release, “The first sip of the final version of Sunburst IPA off the tank proved that the effort and time spent on this project were completely worth it because we had captured magic in a glass.”

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