It sounds extremely complicated but it isn’t. Four Colorado brewing aficionados of the sometimes hazy, always fruit-forward or tropical style of IPA that was popularized in New England are bracing themselves for a craft beer collab of epic awesomeness. Robot Librarian is the output of the brain activity of Lafayette’s Odd13 Brewing Company owner Ryan Scott, along with brewers Brandon Boldt and Eric Larkin, who beckoned the input of other CO breweries who are also embracing the style with much success. WeldWerks Brewing (Greeley), Fiction Beer Company (Denver) and Cerebral Brewing (Denver) accepted the invitation to collaborate on the first-ever NE IPA Collab of its kind brewed in Colorado.
The culmination of the group’s efforts will make its way to the Odd13 Brewing taproom in Old Town Lafayette on June 16 for a rare taproom event…to be held for ONE NIGHT ONLY. Drafts will not only pour tasty hazy beers including Robot Librarian, but will also be flowing with juicy offerings from the additional 3 breweries involved, so you’ll be able to fill an entire flight of fruit bursting IPAs, and will be able to compare notes of 4 breweries at one time in one convenient place. And for that, we thank you!
So what is Robot Librarian? What is NE IPA? It all goes back to hops. From tropical mango and passion fruit to lemon verbena, brewers aren’t getting their juicy characteristics from adding fruit to the mash; it’s all hops. (That is why we have so many fruit and tropical IPAs on the market these days). And Odd13 was the first to bring their version of the sub-style to market, having packaged and sold cans of Codename Superfan 1.0 as early as October of 2015. And fans continued to line up for releases of the beer in each of its iterations.
“I think a lot of people are converging upon the same idea” Odd13 Brewing’s Brandon Boldt said about the rising popularity of the beer, whether due to the steady flow of transplants from the East Coast, or as owner Ryan Scott mentioned, through online trading and beer communities who hold lively discussions on the topic daily. “Even though we were the first (in Colorado), I wouldn’t say that other people are doing it because of us. We just might have been the quickest to get it into the fermentor,” Boldt added.
Owner Ryan Scott explained the idea for Codename Superfan arose not out of creativity, but more out of necessity.
“I was skeptical of some aspects of it, but we weren’t able to grow our hop contract at the rate we wanted to grow them to continue with the Double IPA as a year-round beer. (Brandon) brought it to me and I saw the promise in it. (That’s when) the idea to package it came to me. ‘It’s good, why not package it?’ People will like this, and it is half the hops the Double IPA was (60%).” (Ryan Scott – Odd13 Brewing)
So what exactly is NE IPA and what makes it hazy? This New England or Vermont style of IPA is nothing new, in fact brewers on the East Coast have been making these hazy American style IPAs for years, and the direct origin is often attributed to The Alchemist’s Heady Topper (which is one of a few beers this brewery makes), but it doesn’t matter because drinkers are proving the beer is widely sought after and is here to stay for a while. (See more about why we love fruit IPAs so much and how popular they are becoming.)
“It’s not one thing that we do to just make the beer; it’s like this combination of effects (we use) to get a certain flavor profile that we like,” explains Cerebral Brewing’s Chris Washenberger about the origin of the haze. “At this point in the game, we don’t know exactly what’s causing (the haze); it’s not a pinpoint-able thing due to the research we’re doing.” Cerebral has been brewing their hazy Rare Trait beer since opening doors six months ago, but add the concept of fruit-forward flavorful IPAs has been around for a decade.
“(Brewers are) Utilizing an aspect of the hops that is not traditional; I think the haze is a sidepoint. We don’t care if six months from now our process is even more refined, which is the goal, and our beer is crystal clear and tastes the same…Even better! We’re not doing anything to intentionally cause haze without any other benefit.” (Sean Buchan, Chris Washenberger – Cerebral Brewing)
Brewing techniques used in Robot Librarian include precise hop selection, as well as selective yeast additions which will “blast fruit flavor and fruit aroma into the beer,” Washenberger explained.
“That’s what we’re doing. We’re not making a hazy beer – we’re making a big, crazy fruit-forward IPA, Pale Ale, whatever – but utilizing these varied chemical techniques in relation to hops, yeast and water.
“We’re giving you fruit – and I love it! It’s such a different feeling overall to a traditional IPA.” (Chris Washenberger – Cerebral Brewing)
Here’s what you can expect on tap at the June 16 Release of Robot Librarian:
- Odd13 Brewing Collab: Robot Librarian (generic can description) is a Double IPA brewed with Cerebral Brewing, Fiction Beer Co and WeldWerks Brewing. A soft mouthfeel complements ambitious hopping with Citra, Mosaic and El Dorado Hops. Haze is expected.
- Odd13 Brewing: a selection of hazy beers including Codename Superfan
- Cerebral Brewing: Rare Trait (A showcase of the finest flavor & aroma hops we could get our hands on, featuring powerful notes of tangerine, mango, and candied peach with restrained bitterness.)
- Fiction Beer Company: Cosmic Unity (Cosmic Unity is a tropical hop experience. With over 4 pounds of hops per barrel. This beer produces a dank aroma of papaya, mango, guava, and chardonnay grape.)
- WeldWerks Brewing: Juicy Bits (Our version of a New England-style IPA featuring a huge citrus and tropical fruit hop character from the Mosaic, Citra, and El Dorado hops, a softer mouthfeel, and the characteristic New England haziness. The end result is a beer reminiscent of citrus juice with extra pulp, thus the name Juicy Bits.)
Robot Librarian will be canned and available for sale at the Odd13 taproom (100 cases) and through its distribution network (less than 400 cases), which will hit shelves a week after the release party. Don’t miss this one – it will parallel the equivalent of gold in the craft beer trading community!