For the Love of Dry-Hopping

If you’re like me, the first thing you do when trying is a new beer is dive right in nose to embrace the aromatics. That might sound pretty standard for hop-heads like myself, but I truly believe the aroma of a beer is what really drives home a fresh and exciting experience when trying new products.   

With the IPA being one of the most purchased style of beer across the U.S, it is particularly challenging to catch people off guard anymore. Foundational IPAs like Bell’s Two-Hearted or Dogfish Head’s 60, 90, and 120 Minute IPAs are what sets the standard for new hop-forward beers because they exemplify what makes a balanced product exciting. New IPAs in the market are geared toward massive flavor and aroma with minimal bitterness such that of a New England IPA and even more so for Brut IPAs. These new styles that have been making waves across the U. S., imparting aggressive hopping methods like hop-bursting and dry-hopping because they add a unique characteristic of robust flavor and aroma with no bitterness. At Center Ice, we like to dry-hop our beers with a liberal dosage of hops at different stages of conditioning and fermentation. For instance, our Beauty Brut IPA is dry-hopped twice to integrate a huge aromatic kick to compliment the orange zest. Many people have asked what “dry-hopping” is, so I’m going to lay it out for you in the coming paragraphs.

Dry-hopping is a technique that includes introducing hops during fermentation and/or conditioning to build a unique aromatic profile that compliments the balance of flavor, aroma, and appearance. During this process, the beer is absorbing even more of the essential oils from the hops and continue to evolve the product based on the characteristics of the hops that are chosen. Although this process is geared primarily towards the aromatic aspect of the beer, there are some flavor attributions involved with this technique, which is why it tends to be focused on IPAs. This  is mainly used on very hop driven beers, but can technically be used on any style to build in a hoppy characteristic if you deem necessary, hence why it’s my personal favorite technique to experiment with. This has become even more popular due to the fact that the market is slowly shying away from very old-school bitter IPAs and trending more toward minimal bitterness with more emphasis on the flavor and aromatics. In order to impart bitterness into a beer, the acids in the hops must be boiled, which means that dry-hopping imparts no bitterness to the finished product if it’s dry-hopped instead. In a nutshell, dry-hopping is a way to add that extra punch of excitement to a beer.  

Some of my favorite examples of dry hopped beers in the St. Louis area include DDH Fallen Flag from Narrow Gauge, Loose Particles from 4 Hands, and Brewligans from 2nd Shift. Next time you checkout a local brewery’s beer menu, be on the lookout for some dry-hopped goodness.

Cheers,

Brewer Bill   


Steve Albers
"Stay in Your Lane"

If you are reading this, odds are you have an interest in beer, hockey, or maybe it’s Steve’s entrepreneurial videos. Maybe you’ve been a follower since day one, or maybe this is your first encounter with the Center Ice brand. Either way, I'm glad you are here.

As the writer behind this blog, it is my job to put out fresh content that provides badass value to the end user in some way, shape or form. I've recently been doing some digging, or soul searching, as I ask myself "why do people read blogs?". For me, the answer was easy. I love to learn. I love diving into different theories surrounding hopping techniques, high gravity brewing methods, or even new twists on old styles of beer. Either way, it's probably pretty noticeable how much I love creating beer.

It's probably quite evident that my wheelhouse is beer, but maybe yours is creating videos, or learning how to plan events, or rock climbing. Maybe you’re simply a fan who has been here a few times and wants to take in our content and doesn't know what your wheelhouse is yet. Regardless of what you want as a reader, the point is that you're here because you are curious to some degree for either entertainment, education, or insight. It is now my job to quench that curiosity.

My vision for this blog is to provide fresh and personable insight to who we are and what we do as part of the Center Ice family. It's also important for me to keep that insight new and exciting through different avenues such as project announcement, information on events, or even just some sneaky give-a-ways where you can win some free stuff. Either way, I want to provide you value in some shape or form.

Now it's time to take a little dive in....

What does Center Ice Brewery do that makes it unique? Well, simply put, we don't limit ourselves to solely making beer. Does that put us above other breweries? Absolutely not. It's simply a process of carving out our own little niche in the vast world of craft brewing. St. Louis is one of the most unique brewing hubs in all of the U.S as breweries like 4 Hands, Perennial, Side Project, Narrow Gauge, and about a million others are all pumping out unbelievably unique beers that hit on all cylinders. As a professional brewer in the St. Louis area I can comfortably say that every brewery has their own niche. Maybe that niche is German style lagers, or maybe it's massively Juicy New England style IPAs, or even a blend of a few different things, but at the end of the day everyone has a little somethin’ somethin’ that they consider their wheelhouse or as I'd like to call it, their "lane". More on that in a minute. Center Ice is still in the midst of finding our niche. I can dive into the logistics and dynamics of that rabbit hole another time but what we know, for a fact, is that we will find it. Whether that niche is solely focusing on hockey, or solely one style of beer, or maybe it's our merchandise, but we're actively trying it to find it through engagement and creativity. Of course, brewing up crushable, delicious, and mouth-watering craft beer is an integral part of our current status and future, but we also have variability within our skill set as a staff. We know we will go through some bumps and bruises to searching for it but we know that it's looking for us just as much as we are looking for it and that's where you come in.

We, as a brand, have the opportunity to do something big, something fun, and something unique as the first hockey-centric brewery in St. Louis. The best part about it all is, is that we want to take you guys on our journey. We know that our plans are huge will eventually move mountains and in the end that’s all that matters. Stick to the plan and you can achieve anything. A true opportunity for you as a reader and hopeful fan, to interact with us on all of our social media platforms in a way that allows you to get a glimpse into our world as we grow. It's not to boast or brag about our products but to simply put our best foot forward in engaging with our support system and bringing you along on this journey. I personally believe that our niche will be shown to us through our customers like yourself, which is why I find it extremely important to write this content.

 

 “If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.” - Tim Ferriss

 

By now, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Stay in your lane" or something along the lines of that in regards to a person's strengths or specialty. This is no different. Center Ice Brewery's lanes include family, philanthropy, craft beer, entrepreneurship, hockey, and personal growth. Plain and simple. Our team includes people that have their own lanes and those lanes have integrated themselves into Center Ice's culture through different skill sets, experience, and personal goals which is why we blend so efficiently. For me, as the head brewer, I create and manage all operations regarding not only brewing, BUT also huge philanthropic aspirations for when it comes to community building and raising awareness for issues throughout the city and even world. And just like me, the rest of our team includes people who want to achieve different goals in their life through their lanes and that makes everything all the better. The best thing about it is that everyone's lanes are a little different, so although I LOVE brewing, that doesn't mean that everyone else has to. Some of you might have had the pleasure of meeting our GM, Katie Means, or our owner, Steve Albers, or one of our bartenders such as Taylor, Alicia, Matt, Dylan, Brett, and Ryan so hopefully you've seen how we all mesh as a team. We don't all have to the be the same kind of person for all of us to sync and thrive within our own little culture but what we do have to do together is grow. The reason why we are all able to have these different lanes and still remain this tightly knit is because at the end of the day we want to help build each other up. That is why we succeed and that is why our culture remains to be such a web of positivity. That's why I truly believe that Center Ice is far more than just a brewery, it really is a culture. Maybe that's our niche, maybe we are the ultimate stepping stone to build those looking to identify their lanes as individuals. I'm sure we'll find out soon.

CIB Team Member, brewer, and now blogger,

Bill McFarland

Steve AlbersComment