Monday is here, and it’s time to start another week. Pick of the Weekend is our weekly post where we recap our favorite brews of the weekend past.
There was no shortage of beer sampled this weekend, but the Bruery’s inventive Humulus Palm made an impression on us that won’t soon be forgotten.
Coconut is a polarizing flavor even before you add it to beer. People seem to love or hate the oily flesh of the tropical fruit, and I’m thankfully one who loves the unique flavor. Coconut is no stranger to the brewhouse, and there are a few established craft beers that feature the drupe. Maui Brewing Co’s CoCoNut Porter is perhaps the most well-known, and one of the best examples of how a balanced addition of coconut can lend a delectable complexity to beer.
Recently, Stone Brewing Co even produced a collaboration IPA that featured coconut in the recipe (and the name of the brew: R&R Coconut IPA). Tropical hop flavors and oily coconut sounded like a perfect pairing in my mind and I was extremely excited to try this new IPA. Unfortunately, the beer fell much further towards the “balanced” end of the spectrum, and nearly every taster I spoke to complained that the coconut presence was far too understated (directly contradicting the brewer’s own tasting notes on the beer). It’s a delicious beer, and the subtle coconut aroma and flavor adds a nice extra dimension to the IPA, but the flavor is very subtle – far more subtle than the Maui CoCoNut Porter.
The Bruery’s new Humulus Palm – a Tasting Room exclusive beer – takes the coconut IPA idea and knocks it out of the park. There is no doubt you are drinking a coconut beer from the minute the glass arrives in front of you. The nearly 8.5%ABV beer is light-in-body and extra hoppy, and it is redolent of the tropical fruit. On the palate, the flavors land between coconut water and a mouthful of fresh shredded coconut flesh and is accompanied by plenty of dank and pungent hops.
I spoke to Rich Ruelle, the Bruery brewer who developed the recipe at home:
“It came about, because I was just thinking of different flavors that would work with a dry, bitter, hoppy base beer. Coconut worked so I brewed it again and again, making small tweaks to the recipe each time. I brewed it at The Bruery on the pilot system and people liked it, so we brewed it again.”
Humulus Palm is unrelated to the Bruery’s more well-known Humulus Lager – the “humulus” series simply denotes a hop-forward beer from the often avant-garde brewery. Ruelle explains that the base beer for Humulus Palm is a high-test rye pale ale (“call it a double or imperial or whatever you like – its 8.3% ABV. I don’t get hung up on category definitions” he adds) before heaps of shredded unsweetened coconut are added during secondary fermentation. Around 2 pounds of coconut are used per barrel of beer, and you can taste it all!
If you’re a fan of coconut and hoppy beers, and especially if you were disappointed by the Stone R&R Coconut IPA, you gotta get down to the Bruery tasting room to try Humulus Palm. It could be LA’s next Naughty Sauce.