From the Beer Writer: A few years back, I headed the Naming Committee at Stone Brewing. This was at a time when that company was releasing more beers per year than at any time in its 20-year history. New beers need new names and while there is always a certain amount of fun in developing monikers, these days that process is downright challenging, particularly if you’re coming up with a call-sign for a hoppy beer. With thousands on the market, nearly everything has been done…and many of the names have been trademarked. Many were the moments at Stone where we had brainstorms; short-lived a-ha moments that were quickly killed by Internet searches revealing we’d been beaten to the punch for a potential beer name. Puns are the most popular outlet for aspiring hoppy-beer namers and most play off words like “hop”, “dank”, “pine” and, these days, “hazy”. Rather than beat their heads against a brick wall etched with trademarked names, the folks at Carmel Mountain’s Second Chance Beer Company have settled on a clever solution, releasing a series of hop-driven beers under the catchall handle “Clever Hoppy Name”. The series started with a pale ale and moved on to an IPA followed by a rye-infused IPA that is the current Beer of the Week: Second Chance Clever Hoppy Name #3. Infused with just enough rye to add complexity that goes beyond a standard San Diego-style IPA, but not enough to render the beer a spice-bomb, numero tres allows a citrus-rich hop-bill to shine through on the palate. And thanks to balance and its 7% alcohol-by-volume figure, one can enjoy three of number three while pondering what Second Chance has in store for number four.
From the Brewers: “Clever Hoppy Name #3 is part of our Revolving Hop Series. We started this series to allow myself and our brewers the freedom to make a new hoppy beer every batch. We have a lot of great hop varieties, and it is a shame to not try different combinations and amounts. Sometime we even play with the dry-hopping technique or the amount of time the hops spend in the beer to see what will happen, always in pursuit of getting that perfect extraction of hop flavor and aroma! Number three is a rye IPA. Rye has always been an interesting ingredient for me, as it can come on strong if overused. But in the right amount, it can impart a great, rich and spicy malt character that can play really well with lots of hops. We used Amarillo, Citra and Centennial hops in this beer to impart citrus and tropical fruitiness, a perfect match to the rye. As my wife (fellow Second Chancer Virginia Morrison) would say: ‘It tastes like sunshine!’ As I sip on one while writing this, I have to agree.”—Marty Mendiola, Co-Founder & Brewmaster, Second Chance Beer Company
From the Beer Writer: Dark beers—your porters and stouts, imperial and lower-octane—are splendid canvasses for dark-roast coffee infusion. The rich roastiness of the beans and the dark-malts play well together and make for a very robust flavor experience. But what if a brewer wants the coffee to merely be an accent rather than the primary flavor of their beer? That’s when it’s time to opt for a low- to medium-roast variety of coffee and inject it into a lighter beer style. A perfect example of this technique is offered via Seize the Coffee IPA from Second Chance Beer Company. Brewmaster Marty Mendiola selected light-roast Ethiopian beans from fellow Carmel Mountain company, Mostra Coffee, so their mild flavor could complement a mix of earthy, citrusy hops rather than match or, worse yet, overpower them. The result is a beer that drinks every bit like an IPA but features a big, tantalizing morning-Joe nose and accents of java from front-palate to finish.
From the Brewer: “Seize the Coffee has its genesis in our flagship Seize the IPA, of course, but the idea came about years ago when my wife, Virginia, and I were traveling in Colorado and came across our first coffee-infused pale ale. It was a bit more coffee than beer for my taste, but it piqued my interest. After we opened, and we dialed in the Seize the IPA recipe, I started experimenting for what was supposed to be a ‘tasting-room-only’, small-batch coffee IPA. For the coffee, like our beer, my standards are high. I wanted to work with a local roaster and we selected Mostra, a close and highly-respected neighbor here in Carmel Mountain. It took some time before we found the right roast and the exact recipe we liked, but it seems we have ‘seized’ on something special. Shortly after it was tapped in our tasting room, the demand for it in distribution was such that we had to figure out how to make it in larger batches, which was another challenge. But we rose to it, and now are looking forward to canning it soon due to popular demand.”—Marty Mendiola, Brewmaster, Second Chance Beer Company