Ne­braska Brewing Com­pany Head Brewer Tyson Arp talks about beers that in­spired him as a home­brewer, early in his ca­reer and to­day.

For his 6-pack, Tyson Arp of Ne­braska Brewing Com­pany (Papil­lion, Ne­braska) thought back to his days of home­brew­ing and beer dis­cov­ery and picked beers that in­spired him at an early stage in his ca­reer. By John Holl

Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine - - Contents -

TYSON ARP, THE HEAD brewer at Ne­braska Brew­ery, swears that the first beers he drank were Bass Ale and Fat Tire and that even when he was a young drinker, macro-brewed lagers never passed his lips. He started drink­ing beer in 1996 and got into home­brew­ing in 2002. It was at that point that he started buy­ing beers that he could re-cre­ate at home. Ne­braska wasn’t known for a lot of beer di­ver­sity in those days, so he and his wife would travel out of state and pick up bot­tles to bring home and even used to a few mail-or­der beer ser­vices to fur­ther branch out. “I’m a beer op­por­tunist. I like the one that’s in front of me,” he says, not­ing that de­spite hav­ing ac­cess to his own beer, he still walks the aisle of the store on week­ends look­ing for new beers to try.

Ska Brewing Modus Hoperandi IPA

(Du­rango, Colorado) “I don’t have a first mem­ory of my first IPA, and Ska’s Modus Hoperandi cer­tainly wasn’t the first one I had, but it is the first that grabbed my at­ten­tion and kept me com­ing back for more. I re­mem­ber back in the early 2000s, and here in Omaha our mar­ket­place was start­ing to blos­som. Un­til that point, we had the big San Diego, West Coast IPAS and then the maltier English-style IPA from the East Coast. I re­ally liked that Ska was do­ing some­thing that rep­re­sented the mid­dle of the coun­try, the Rocky Moun­tains. Modus Hoperandi wasn’t too bit­ter; it wasn’t too malty; it just had great hops fla­vor on that cit­rusy side. When I was tasked with re-in­vent­ing our IPA at Ne­braska Brewing Co., Modus Hoperandi is the beer that I kept in the back of my mind for in­spi­ra­tion. I like the piney for­ward­ness and the bal­ance and have sought to do that with our IPA. It’s di­verged a bit over the years, and I brought it into a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, stripped it down to the hops honed with a good bit of malt, and get­ting those two fla­vors to work to­gether was thanks to Ska and the beer they make.”

North Coast Old Rasputin

(Fort Bragg, Cal­i­for­nia) “Old Rasputin was an easy beer to pick out. It’s one of my all-time fa­vorites. In my early days of craft-beer drink­ing, there wasn’t a lot on of­fer in Ne­braska, so in ad­di­tion to go­ing to far-flung lo­ca­tions and bring­ing beer home, we started mail or­der­ing beer. Old Rasputin was in one of our ship­ments, and I was just blown

away the first time I had it. If not the first, it is one of the first im­pe­rial stouts I’ve ever had, and the hops for­ward­ness of the beer is what makes it stand out among the oth­ers. And be­cause I loved that beer but couldn’t buy it in my own mar­ket, it’s one of the first I ever cloned as a home­brewer. I love that recipe, and it still kind of ex­ists in Black Betty, our im­pe­rial stout.

“Old Rasputin is dif­fer­ent from a lot of im­pe­rial stouts and def­i­nitely shaped my view of the style. So many are sticky and vis­cous and higher ABV, and that doesn’t do it for me. Nine per­cent ABV and hoppy—that’s

what I want. I also want it in the bot­tle. Re­cently the brew­ery started do­ing it on ni­tro, and it kills the hops char­ac­ter, the one thing I re­ally love in the beer above all else. On ni­tro, it loses its hoppy edge and mel­lows out. I can see where more peo­ple will like it that way, but not me. It’s the bot­tle ver­sion all the way.”

Ro­den­bach Grand Cru

(Roe­se­lare, Bel­gium) “Ro­den­bach Grand Cru is an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to my list be­cause any­one who knows my beer tastes well knows I don’t like sours too much. Most of that opin­ion is based on con­tem­po­rary ex­am­ples of the style, where brew­ers seem to make sour beers for sour’s sake. It’s not un­like how we used to have the hops arms race with ev­ery­one try­ing to do 1,000-IBU beers just be­cause. But Grand Cru isn’t like that. It’s amaz­ing and com­plex and, even all these years af­ter try­ing it, still bog­gles my mind.

We have ad­ven­tur­ous beer friends who go into bot­tle shops and just buy beers based on the la­bel. This Ro­den­bach stood out to them so they bought it on a whim in 2007, not know­ing any­thing about it. It’s like how you used to go into a record store and buy al­bums based on the cover art not know­ing any­thing about the band. Some­times you got some great ex­pe­ri­ences. Well, they shared this bot­tle with us, and I just re­mem­ber we sat around stunned at how good it was.

It’s a lit­tle bit acidic, with the lac­tic acid, and has soft caramel malt. It’s so ap­proach­able, and then you just keep com­ing back for more. Our lo­cal im­porter got into a dry patch with the brew­ery for a few years, so I wasn’t able to have it as much as I’d like, but it’s just amaz­ing. It has to be a huge pain to make, but it’s al­ways a de­light to drink.”

Surly Brewing Xtra-ci­tra

(Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota) “When I first smelled Surly’s Xtra-ci­tra, I thought they had copied us be­cause we make a pale ale with Ci­tra hops (I’m Gonna Git You Ci­tra) that tastes al­most ex­actly the same. Ob­vi­ously, it’s co­in­ci­den­tal that we make beers so sim­i­lar to each other. I’ve been mak­ing mine for six years or so, and there are dif­fer­ences.

Theirs is a lit­tle more hops-for­ward; mine is a lit­tle more re­strained. So, this hits all the right notes for me as a drinker, and it’s on my list be­cause they can the beer and we don’t can. We’re reg­u­larly out camp­ing, and we’ll get a 12-pack and go out kayak­ing. It’s low ABV and tasty; this is my lawn­mower beer if ever I’ve had one.”

Wasatch Ghostrider White IPA

(Salt Lake City, Utah) “Re­mem­ber when White IPAS were a thing? Ghostrider White IPA was an early ex­am­ple of the style and the one that re­ally stands out in my mind be­cause none of the oth­ers I’ve had are mem­o­rable. I love wit beers, and I love IPAS, so bring­ing the two to­gether makes sense—it’s like choco­late and peanut but­ter. I’ve tried mak­ing one sev­eral times, and it just never comes out the way I want. It’s a hard beer to make well be­cause of the num­ber of fla­vor com­po­nents. From the orange peel to a spicy yeast strain, wheat, hops, and more—it’s chal­leng­ing to get the bal­ance right. This is a beer I buy 6-packs of reg­u­larly. It’s soft on the palate, and it’s ac­tu­ally in the hazy IPA fam­ily, but un­like the ones pop­u­lar to­day, this is more put to­gether. For me this was a love-at-first-sight beer. It’s a beer that stood out as unique when it first ap­peared, and I’m glad they are still mak­ing it, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer­time be­cause it’s re­ally re­fresh­ing.”

Fire­stone Walker Pale 31

(Paso Robles, Cal­i­for­nia) “I wanted to pick a Pil­sner for this list, and I know Pivo gets picked quite a bit, but I kept fall­ing back to Pale 31. I love Amer­i­can pale ales, and we have one here—our flag­ship, called Car­di­nal. Pale ales don’t get the at­ten­tion they de­serve in the beer world; they get over­shad­owed by IPA and by the lat­est trends. Years ago at the Great Amer­i­can Beer Fes­ti­val, Pale 31 beer just dom­i­nated. Fire­stone Walker would just crush ev­ery­one in the cat­e­gory, so I knew its rep­u­ta­tion but never had a chance to try it. Then I was in­vited to their an­nual in­vi­ta­tional beer fes­ti­val. When I got to the brew­ery, Pale 31 was on tap, and it’s the first beer I had. I re­mem­ber get­ting the beer into my mouth. I was so happy. My taste buds felt at home.”

Be­low » Tyson Arp of Ne­braska Brewing

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