Brew Gen­tle­men

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents -

Early adopters and brew­ers of the softer, juicier New Eng­land–style IPA, the “gen­tle­men brew­ers” at Brew Gen­tle­men in Brad­dock, Penn­syl­va­nia, live by kaizen, a man­u­fac­tur­ing term for con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. And their IPAS and pale ales show it. By Emily Hutto


those who don’t like strong and bit­ter IPAS to a dif­fer­ent cor­ner of the style: soft and ele­gant ones,” says Matt Katase of Brew Gen­tle­men in Brad­dock, Penn­syl­va­nia, just out­side of Pitts­burgh. He’s shar­ing what many New Eng­land–style IPA brew­ers ex­pe­ri­ence in their tast­ing rooms. Th­ese softer, more del­i­cate IPAS are sur­pris­ing beer drinkers who dis­like the bit­ter­ness, dank­ness, and bold­ness often as­so­ci­ated with the IPA style. The idea of a fruit­for­ward, juicy IPA with sub­tle haze and low bit­ter­ness isn’t ex­actly new to the beer mar­ket (think The Al­chemist Heady Topper and Tril­lium Brew­ing Com­pany Sleeper Street IPA), but the term “New Eng­land– Style IPA” is novel and so hot right now.

Brew Gen­tle­men Founders Katase and his busi­ness part­ner Asa Foster, along with their Head Brewer Zach Gor­don, were early adopters and brew­ers of this softer, juicier IPA. “Our IPAS are ele­gant,” he says. “We’re shoot­ing for creami­ness and soft­ness, beers that are highly drink­able and re­peat­able. Mouth­feel is a big part of that.”

Most of Brew Gen­tle­men’s IPAS are brewed with oats to help cre­ate pil­lowy, creamy mouth­feel. Other than the ad­di­tion of oats or maybe some Cara­malt, Gor­don says they like to keep their grain bills ex­tremely sim­ple with 2-row bar­ley to cre­ate a light, clean plat­form for the hops to stand on.

“We keep it very sim­ple on the hops, too,” says Gor­don. “My gen­eral rule is never use more than three hops in a beer. That doesn’t count bit­ter­ing hops, for which we’ll usu­ally do a first ad­di­tion of Mag­num, Colum­bus, or what­ever we have a lot of. From there, only three ad­di­tional hops are used in whirlpool and dry hopping.”

Many Brew Gen­tle­men beers have Mo­saic ad­di­tions, one of their fa­vorite hops be­cause of its in­tense blue­berry/straw­berry char­ac­ter lay­ered over pine. Th­ese in­clude Over­growth, a spring sea­sonal pale wheat ale; Mam­moth, a win­ter DIPA; and Momo, a sin­gle-hopped Mo­saic pale ale and a Brew Gen­tle­men tap­room fa­vorite. Gor­don also likes Nel­son Sau­vin hops (also in Over­growth), but be­yond per­sonal pref­er­ences, he chooses hops for their trop­i­cal and fruit-for­ward fla­vors.

Brew Gen­tle­men fer­ments their IPA with a mu­ta­tion of an English ale strain. Gor­don notes that it fer­ments fast, floc­cu­lates hard, leaves be­hind balanced es­ters, and adds to the pleas­ant mouth­feel.

The key to fer­men­ta­tion of Brew Gen­tle­men’s soft, re­fresh­ing IPAS is time. “Even though it is a quick-turn­around ale yeast, there’s still time needed for it to fin­ish fer­ment­ing,” Gor­don says, ex­plain­ing that time en­sures that the haze cre­ated by dry hopping isn’t muddy. “We give our beers the proper time, usu­ally around 17 to 21 days in the tanks.”

Brew Gen­tle­men’s flag­ship IPA, Gen­eral Brad­dock’s, is an aro­matic 6.8 per­cent ABV beer with fresh notes of grape­fruit zest on the nose, a vel­vety mouth­feel,

and a vi­brant, res­onat­ing fin­ish. Gor­don reg­u­larly uses this recipe as a base beer for ex­per­i­men­ta­tion, which yields an ar­ray of one-off, tast­ing room-ex­clu­sive beers. “Right now, one of the philoso­phies we live by is kaizen, a man­u­fac­tur­ing term for con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment. We come out with new IPAS, but that all plays into a larger story. All th­ese other beers rep­re­sent ad­just­ments, hops sub­sti­tu­tions, and other sub­tle tweaks in ef­fort to make Gen­eral Brad­dock’s even bet­ter.”

From pa­tience to process, the Brew Gen­tle­men founders are com­mit­ted to brew­ing beers “like gen­tle­men would.” The col­lege room­mates and life-long friends were in the Sigma Al­pha Ep­silon fra­ter­nity to­gether at Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity. About half­way through col­lege, they de­cided they wanted to start a craft brew­ery, so they changed their ma­jors and wrote the busi­ness plan for their 3.5-bar­rel brew­house. They named their new brew­pub with a nod to their col­le­giate brother­hood, whose creed is en­ti­tled “The True Gen­tle­man.”

In ad­di­tion to Gen­eral Brad­dock’s IPA and Brew Gen­tle­men’s fre­quent one-off releases, a se­ries of oc­ca­sional IPA/APA spe­cial­ties ro­tate through the tap­room: Leg­endary Weapons (IPA), Cer­ti­fied Public Ac­coun­tant (pale ale), Re­cer­ti­fied (DIPA), Momo (pale ale), Foshomo (DIPA), and Lou (DIPA). They’ve also de­vel­oped a fol­low­ing for their sea­sonal dou­ble IPAS: Al­ba­tross in the spring (with Gal­axy hops), Aka­mai in the sum­mer (with Ci­tra/sim­coe/chi­nook hops), Kab­uto in the fall (with Ekuanot hops), and Mam­moth in the win­ter (with Ci­tra/mo­saic hops). “Four huge beasts—a gi­ant bird, an oc­to­pus, a rhi­noc­eros bee­tle, and a pre­his­toric mam­mal,” says Katase. “On one hand, it’s all part of this fic­tional leg­end that ex­ists in our heads, four be­he­moths bat­tling it out, but in re­al­ity, it’s a great way to build a brand fam­ily, keep things fresh and fun, and make the hops-con­tract game a bit more man­age­able.”

Be­yond their ded­i­ca­tion to hops-for­ward styles, the Brew Gen­tle­men team has in­vested heav­ily in their pro­duc­tion of oak-aged farm­house beers, known as their Mise en Rose col­lec­tion, and the in­tro­duc­tion of lagers isn’t too far off. It’s not all hops down in Brad­dock.

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