Brut Squad: Behind the Beer

Brut Squad, our bone-dry IPA is on shelves in Minnesota now!

What is a Brut IPA? Think dry, aromatic IPA with very little residual sugar. We’ve stripped down the malt bill on this one to really let the hops shine.

Head Brewer Niko Tonks, on his decision to brew a Brut IPA:

Really, with this one, I just wanted to try out making a Brut IPA. Most beer trends, to me, seem to come with one downside or another (usually related to the overuse of adjuncts or the reliance on sweetness), and Brut IPA, to me, is just exactly what I’d want in an IPA, to begin with, so it’s cool to have it be a thing people are seeking out. It’s a fun beer to brew, also, which helps. I think one of the interesting, and sometimes frustrating, thing about IPAs is that the style has expanded to be an entire category, and new things are always coming and going. Oftentimes these new trends take the form of “more is more”— the attractive thing about Brut IPA is that it seems more interested in stripping things away and providing a sensory experience more focused on the hops themselves. Dry, effervescent, and aromatic are things that I would always hope to use to describe an IPA (or really, a beer in general), so getting to focus on them is fun for us.

Our goal with Brut Squad was to produce a beer that’s primarily recognizable as a killer, super aromatic IPA. We stripped the malt bill down as far as we could, and added a whole bunch of Citra Cryo and Idaho 7 hops, which make for a tropical, citrus, lemon-y beer that’s easy to crush.

 

“Brut IPA and Light beer have a lot in common”

 

One really fun thing about Brut IPAs is that they are the lowest sugar, lowest carb, lowest calorie IPAs out there. A 12oz serving of Brut Squad has something like 0.5 grams of carbohydrates more than a Bud Light, for example. Brut IPA and light beer have a lot in common — trying to drive down the finishing gravity/residual sugar in a beer as much as is humanly possible, using a specialized enzyme which is much more effective than the enzymes naturally present in malted barley at turning starches into simple sugars. Yeast are only able to eat certain forms of sugar, and with most beers and most yeast strains they will hit a wall after a while, and be unable to completely digest all of the available sugar. When you add this special enzyme to a fermentation, it moves ahead of the yeast, breaking all of the sugars in the beer down into their simplest forms. This means that yeast can completely digest the sugar that is there, and produce the driest, highest alcohol environment possible, given the starting sugar concentration. In practice, what this means is that your typical Brut IPA will be dry as a bone, with zero residual sweetness, which means that bitterness is pushed towards the fore. We’ve intentionally kept the bitterness level in Brut Squad to a low level, which allows for a balance between dryness and hop aroma without being a punishingly bitter beer.

 

Read More about the birth of Brut IPA’s in this article from Punch.