IPA Tour: Q&A with Head Brewer & founder Jordan Mower
As we approach the end of our ambitious IPA Tour project, with the penultimate beer on the horizon, we wanted to reflect on the journey and the different IPA’s that have formed the series.
We sat down with Jordan, Head Brewer and founder at UnBarred, to get his insight and thoughts on the tour, beers and the creatives we have been lucky enough to collaborate with in the last 12 months.
What attracted you to focus on IPAs as the style for this year’s tour?
I believe IPA’s will always be at the top of the craft beer tree in terms of volumes being drunk. With 4 ingredients you can brew a wide variety of beers delivering a plethora of different flavours. There is always a new version of an IPA being showcased.
Working with IPAs has given us the opportunity to shine the light on different ingredients in each iteration. The Belgian IPA, for instance, showcases the incredible, true to style yeast we used and how it complimented the hop pairing we used whereas the New England IPA is all about showcasing the hops with a sweeter full-bodied mouthfeel from the malt and water chemistry.
If you could have had more beers in the series which other IPAs, would you have liked to of brewed?
Black IPA. I love the style when done well and true to style. Gentle roasted malts and richness combined with a big hop character define a well done, balanced and flavourful Black IPA. A hybrid of a black lager and a New England style would be my approach to the style. Though it wasn’t a part of the IPA tour series we embarked on for 2022, that isn’t to say that an UnBarred Black IPA may not come to fruition in the future.
There have been some innovative takes on IPAs this year, some of which people might not be familiar with could you tell us a little more about each of the styles we have brewed?
Something categorically different than IPL or other IPAs before it. IPA with lager yeast: recipes in this fashion employ a clean IPA recipe and we used Pilsner yeast, fermented at ale temperatures. High fermentation dry-hopping with additional cold dry-hopping enabled us to create a hybrid of an IPA and Lager style. Lagered for a longer period on the second dry hop, we have been able to maximise the flavour profile without losing what makes this a truly special beer.
KVEIK (pronounced like K-VIKE) means yeast in Norwegian local dialect, it is not a style, but a multitude of unique Norwegian farmstead yeast strains used in beers for their distinctive characteristics. There are some common traits amongst this family of yeast such as they ferment very fast, have an ester flavour profile and they are incredibly robust. Most ales ferment between 18-22c and take up to 7 days to ferment but Kveik ferments over 30c and ours finished fermentation in just 2 days!
We took some of our favourite hops to build a base IPA and used Belgium Ardennes yeast to bring the continental element to this light, bright & tropical fruit bowl of an IPA. Our hop bill included Cashmere, Enigma & Idaho 7, fragrant citrus leads the way complimented with mild Belgium esters of banana & clove from fresh Belgium Ardennes yeast.
No Coast IPA
The intention was to develop a beer that didn’t adhere to either the citrusy-heavy, bitter beers of the American West Coast or the opaquely juicy equivalents that emerged on the East Coast but somewhere in-between. Our No Coast IPA had equal amounts of juicy tropical notes and bitter, clean pine needles for a perfectly balanced hybrid of an IPA.
An American IPA that is known for its intense, tropical fruit centric, hop aroma and flavour. Dry Hopped, hazy and full bodied, the distinctive traits of a NEIPA are smooth flavours and less perceived bitterness than a traditional West Coast IPA. We have taken all the knowledge and experiences we learnt from last year’s NEIPA series to create this year’s New England IPA for the tour.
We achieved a super soft & velvet-like mouthfeel with mouth-watering grapefruit, tangerine & lime followed by pine & floral tones all coming from the electric hop combination of Citra, Galaxy & Mosaic.
The artwork this year has been created by some talented local street artist, what drew you to choose this style?
We worked with some truly amazing local photographers last year. This year I wanted to showcase more of Brighton from another medium. “Street Art” or “Graffiti” or “Wall Art” depending on who you ask. Brighton has many areas that people travel to and take pictures of the latest pieces of art.
We have a great scene of artists here with a range of styles, so we wanted to capture this artistic element that makes up so much of being in Brighton and share it to a wider audience. Whilst some names will be familiar to people who follow the scene, such as Snub23, we also wanted to afford the opportunity to artists who are beginning to make a name for themselves such as Snapclicker.
For the last IPA of the year, it’s going to be an English IPA – What makes it English and what should we expect?
For me there has been a blurring of lines to describe what an IPA is since I started brewing. IPA used to mean, copper in colour, crystal clear, bitter with a good aroma. To showcase an English IPA, I’ve used all English hops, water treatment, malts and yeast. In terms of the profile, we are aiming for a clean and gentle bitterness, some colour, clear appearance with a good aroma but not a hop bomb to create a very drinkable IPA. This will be packaged into cans, keg & cask.
Looking forward to 2023 when UnBarred & AudioActive will host an auction to raise funds for AudioActive how did you come to aligning with the charity?
I met Adam from Audioactive when we first opened. His passion and their projects have always inspired me. Audioactive support young people who need support. They have recording studios, training courses and direct their energy in a positive way. Creativity, giving back and passion is at the heart of what they do.
We have tied all the aspects together by showcasing local visual artists and will be auctioning all the canvas’s created to raise money for the foundation
Finally, if you had to choose one IPA from the year to drink again and again what would it be?
For the best of both worlds, I would go for the “No Coast”
English IPA is the last in the tour and will be available mid-December with our auction to follow with AudioActive early 2023 – more details to follow!