IPAs are arguably the hottest type of craft beer on the market right now, and in Atlanta alone, there are dozens of popular choices. Creature Comforts’s Tropicália. Three Taverns’s A Night on Ponce. Scofflaw’s Basement. In a market so saturated, how can any new offering compete?
That’s exactly why Eventide‘s brew master, Geoffrey Williams, took his time in perfecting the brewery’s latest release, The ‘A’ IPA. The A will be Eventide’s first year-round offering since 2014, and will join the brewery’s other canned year-round options: the Kolsch and the Pale Ale.
“We’re trying to give a little love back to the city we love in turn,” Williams said of The ‘A’s name. The beer launches on tap tonight at Eventide’s Grant Park tasting room and will be available at the brewery through the weekend. Williams said the cans should start appearing on shelves around March 20. Below, he chats about the beer’s flavor profile, why he had to bring his A-game with this brew, and what else Eventide is up to:
Describe The A. What can we expect to taste?
It’s an American-style IPA. I took some flavor components from various American IPA styles: the West Coast hop profile, an East Coast malt body and balance, and a little bit of the haziness of New England style. What you get is a 7% (alc/vol) IPA that is very hop-forward, lots of big tropical fruit and bright citrus notes, and lots of herbal pine to bring out the West Coast profile. It’s nicely balanced, and those flavors persist throughout the beer itself. There’s a firm, bitter pop at the end, just to let you know that it’s an IPA. That’s a big thing I wanted to do with this beer—we (already) have an American Pale Ale, and the lines between those two styles (Pale Ale and American IPA) have become so blurred. I wanted you to be able to pour a glass of each and be able to differentiate one from the other.
Why did you decide to make an IPA your next year-round offering?
It rounds out the series of what we have available now. It’s been requested almost daily in the tasting room. I actually would have liked to have had the Dry Irish Nitro Stout in cans first, but the issue there is getting the proper equipment to can nitro. We’re experimenting with that this year, and (hopefully) later this year or early next year, we will be able (to can it as a year-round offering).
How do you plan to compete in such a saturated local IPA market?
If you’re going to launch an IPA, it has to be above par. You can’t just come in with a middle-of-the-road IPA; it has to be able to set itself apart from all the other IPAs. I knew I had to bring my A-game, and that’s why it took so long to get to this point. We tried this IPA out as a spring seasonal last year—it was about 80% complete at that point. The foundation was there, but I was still working out the hop and malt profile. I think ours is different because of instead of pulling from one style, it pulls from several different styles to make something better than the sum of its parts.
What else is coming up for Eventide?
We’ll be canning all of our seasonal beers this year, starting this summer with Citrus Grove, our lemongrass Hefeweizen, followed by our fall seasonal, Red Headed Haley. Highlander, our strong Scotch ale, is actually available now in bombers. And we’ll have our next Twilight Sessions concert in April.