As far as I'm concerned, a Cold IPA is one you took out of the fridge. I'm not a brewer; I can't even home-brew successfully. So I've decided to reach out to a head brewer to ask what this new style is all about. UK based brewery Two Tribes' Christoffer Tuominen spills the tea, on a beer.
So for those who didn't google 18 articles to know, what is a Cold IPA?
So a cold IPA is an IPA that's cold fermented with lager yeast. It has a super refined malt bill of pilsner malts that sometimes contain rice or maize to make the beer even crisper, kinda like a refined West Coast IPA fermented with lager yeast. Because it's cold fermented you get different flavours out of your hops and can build different flavour layering to what you would get in a "normal" IPA.
How does that really differ from an IPL?
To me personally the name "Cold IPA" is a bit misleading as the A in IPA stand for Ale, which is top-fermenting while lagers are bottom-fermenting. I also don't buy into the whole thing of "it's called an IPA because it's stronger than an IPL", there really isn't a definition on how strong an IPL could be. If you want to be really pedantic the best name for this style would be IPB, where the B stands for Bock. Ultimately, a Cold IPA to me is just a super hoppy higher alcohol IPL which is crisp and has high drinkability.
What is your personal feeling on the new style? Is it just a marketing tactic or something new?
Personally, calling it a new style is going a bit far for me. I think it's a clever way of selling delicious hoppy lager in a craft market place that tends to be very anti-lager. A lot of craft beer drinkers just see lagers as evil macro beer even though there is a lot of evil macro IPAs and delicious craft lagers out there. If you look on rating sites, lagers never rate as well as IPAs even if they sell better.
I know Two Tribes has a strong Session IPA and Pale Ale selection. Will Two Tribes be joining the Cold IPA train?
I don't think we'll necessarily jump on the Cold IPA train. We already do a single hopped IPL, called Feeling Groovy, it's released once a year and the hop changes with every vintage. We brew a lot of different lagers that are really popular and I think that's where we want to be, championing great tasting innovative craft lager. We have a Kellerbier and a Mexican lager in our core range and we've just launched two specials; a delicate and rustic Spelt Lager single hopped with Slovenian Aurora and a hoppy Kölsch brewed with some maize and a huge addition of Belma in the whirlpool.
Speaking of the selection within Two Tribes, which is your favorite?
Oh wow hard question, making me choose between my babies! From our core range it must be our Kellerbier "Powerplant". It's a unitanked, unfiltered lager that we brew with German malts, Czech and German hops and Austrian lager yeast. It gets a tiny dry hop with Hallertau Mittelfrüh to give at nice fresh herbaceous flavour inspired by Birrificio Italianos excellent Tipo Pils.
I'll have to get my hands on Powerplant soon! What’s your favorite beer from another brewery?
Favourite beer from another brewery is such a hard question as it really depends on what I'm in the mood for. Lately I've really been enjoying Oskar Blues Dales Pale (what a classic!), Rothaus Tannenzäpfle and can you ever be disappointed by a bottle of Orval? When the pubs are back open, I'll never turn down a pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord or Fuller's ESB on cask. Favourite beer is so hard as I enjoy all good beer equally, so let's say that my favourite beer is the last one I had and the one I'm going to have next.
I love the ending of that question, it really is so hard to pick a favorite among so many amazing beers I'm sure you have regularly. And final question...what color makes you happy and why?
The colour green makes me happy! Reminds me of summers and lush forests back home in Finland :)
Although Tuominen won't be announcing a Cold IPA, Two Tribes has other news. They're launching a new taproom in Kings Cross, London sometime during the spring. It'll be called Campfire and it's housed in repurposed shipping containers. Imagine having an open fire kitchen serving delicious vegetarian and meaty BBQ...perfect, right?! Campfire will feature open air cooking mastered by live-fire chefs accompanied by performances by the UK’s top musical talent. Touminem explains the vision as "part community hub, part entertainment space, Campfire will bring together quality food and excellent entertainment from some of the most exciting names in the thriving entertainment community – many of whom are resident at the recording studios and record labels located nearby." Two Tribes has all the beer and food covered but they've assigned the musical direction to Peter Herbert. Herbert is the former resident DJ of the mythical Cafe Del Mar in Ibiza and the legendary venue in Southeast Asia, Potato Head Beach Club. If you're trying to figure out where to go when the world opens back up again, you've just found your answer.