I hate to admit this, but when I first started drinking beer I couldn’t stand IPAs.
You can shame me all you want, but keep in mind my first introduction into the brew scene was in Germany. I started off drinking characteristically smooth, malty and wheaty beer.
Brewery: Dry County Brewing Company
Alcohol by volume: 7.5%
Style: New England IPA
Overall: A little bitey for a New England IPA, but still a solid beer.
Going from consuming beer with centuries worth of perfection to drinking sharp bitter West Coast IPAs, I experienced a tastebud culture shock.
After becoming friends with a brewmaster who prided himself on brewing IPAs, I decided to give them another shot. I would drink at least one IPA a week, hoping to train my tongue to enjoy hop-centric beer.
I almost gave up hope until I got my hands on a New England IPA in 2016. After that my craft beer world changed.
This style’s smooth and juicy characteristics make it more approachable than its West Coast brother. I like to call this style a gateway into hoppier IPAs.
Dry County Brewing Company offers a prime example of an IPA that exemplifies juiciness, tropical flavors and a little haze with its Juice County beer.
This beer is packed with fruit-forward hops including Citra, Mosaic, Azacca and El Dorado.
Its aroma imparts strong pineapple, mango and citrus scents.
Steve Anderson, brewmaster at Dry County Brewing, said he aimed to make a New England IPA that was low on bitterness and haziness.
“We wanted to capture more of the juice from the hops without actually putting juice into it,” Anderson said. “It’s super refreshing and approachable, even if you don’t like most IPAs.”
By not purposefully creating a haze in Juice County, Anderson was able to brew a New England IPA with a longer shelf life. This style of beer is notorious for declining in quality once it hits the shelves. Hazy brews are best stored in fridges and consumed as close to their release as possible.
If people want to assure that their New England IPA hasn’t diminished in flavor, Anderson recommends drinking this style of beer straight from the tap.
To impart as much juicy character as possible into Juice County, Anderson dry-hopped the brew two times. The first dry-hop happened while the beer was still fermenting to allow an early interaction with the hops and yeasts.
“That utilizes biotransformation,” Anderson said. “This is where the yeasts change some of the chemical compounds of hops from more of the danker and floral aromas of hops into tropical.”
Going off of first sniff, I expected a burst of sweet fruity notes, however I was taken off guard with a bitter explosion.
Disclaimer: I’m sensitive to bitter flavors, so what’s bitter to me, might be inoffensive to you.
Luckily, the bite smoothed out after a couple of seconds, making for a juicy, refreshing IPA.
This is the kind of beer that would pair wonderfully with spicy and savory foods like hot wings, barbecue, chorizo or anything Sichuan.
All in all, Juice County makes for a tasty, year-round drinking brew.
For those who typically turn their noses up to IPAs, give this juicy brew a shot. It might become your gateway IPA.
Dry County Brewing is located at 1500 Lockhart Drive NW in Kennesaw. For more information about the brewery visit drycountybrewco.com.