Back in September 2014...
Belgian breweries have added sugar to their brews for centuries. Some of the biggest craft breweries in the United States have, in more recent recipes, added sugar to their extremely hoppy IPAs and Double IPAs. Why sugar? Additions of simple sugar well increase the ABV of a beer without adding non-fermentable long chain sugar and proteins that add body to the beer. If you want to make a stronger beer that finishes dry without being cloyingly sweet you can pair an aggressive yeast, monitored temperature control, and a variety of different sugars.
We worked with our friends at Cerveceria De Mateveza (part of Woods Beer Co.) on 18th and Church in San Francisco CA to do a West Coast IPA recipe with a sugar addition that would fit their taproom.
Woods Beer Co. is known for supplying the Bay Area with some of the most unusual and exciting beers do to their use of fruits, vegetables, and spices. They are equally known for selling delicious empanadas to pair with their creations.
In the spirit of those South American dough pockets filled with savory meats and cheeses we added piloncillo sugar (aka panela sugar), an unprocessed brown sugar packed into cone molds and often sold in Latin markets.
The finished beer had all the aromas of an IPA thanks to the addition of Citra and Chinook hops, the delicious toasted bread character on the tongue from the use of Marris Otter malt, and a dry finish with notes of caramel and nuts thanks to the panela.
Watch the video from our release party and make sure to check out the fine folks from Mission Graduates who received a donation in the name of our friends at Woods.