“Galactus, Devourer of Worlds” is one of my all-time favorite Marvel Comic villains. In the Marvel mythos, Galactus existed before and after the Big Bang, a concept I find fascinating. I thought Galactus would make for a great code name for the beer I helped develop with brewers Jason Stockberger and Paul Deras at Mike Hess Brewing: Solis Batch 72.
In the realm of beer you have ales and lagers, and everything is, essentially, a subcategory of these two. Innovations in beer are, in reality, different approaches to existing styles. Hazy IPAs, for example, are still, at their core, IPAs. IPLs, or Indian Pale Lagers, actually have no set style guidelines and are essentially intensely-hopped lagers. What I’m saying is that before these innovations there were essentially two categories of beer, and after these innovations lose their luster there will still be two categories of beer. Solis has existed in 71 different versions before, and will continue to evolve through the next batches. But it was always be beer, just like Galactus will always be the Devourer of Worlds.
According to brand’s marketing, Solis is “like a new sunset every evening, each batch of Solis is unique—a new and interesting combination of malt and hops. This bone-dry, hop-forward, dynamic San Diego–style IPA allows us to keep our creative juices flowing and your mouth watering.” The beer I helped design will be somewhat hazy, but this is not my attempt to join the haze craze. On the contrary, the grain bill consists primarily of 2-row American Malt, but I also have a large percentage of wheat for flavor as well as mouthfeel (a byproduct of this just so happens to be murkiness). In development, I had a flavor profile in mind, including the aromas and even the look of the beer I wanted to brew on their 30-barrel system.
When I showed up to the Grim Ave. brewery at dawn I was wide awake, because I was about to realize a dream of mine. Six years ago, my then girlfriend and now wife and I used to drive to a nano-brewery off Miramar Road. Very rarely were these trips for beer though! In actuality we would go there to get spent grain for our chickens. As the years passed the brewery’s popularity grew, as did their footprint and reputation worldwide as they became Mike Hess Brewing Company. Parallel to this I began writing about beer, one of many who chronicled their journey. When I was placed in charge of our beverage program at La Bella Pizza in Chula Vista I had an opportunity to support my longtime friends in a new way. Now, after years of hard work, we had an opportunity to collaborate on a recipe with the intent of not just making a beer, but a beer infused with an amazing history of friendship and support in a town whose reputation for friendliness in the beer community is as world-renowned as our IPAs.
Opportunity, however, only takes you so far. The rest comes with a healthy helping of sweat, and so it was that day in North Park. Weighing out salts for pH, weighing out hops and prepping them for exact addition times, monitoring temperature and the sequence of events, all while maintaining a level of cleanliness and hygiene. It’s no easy task, but one I was up for. Unlike some collaborations the brewers spoke of, I was there to work, not to supervise or merely give my blessing. Seven hours and two batches later I was dead tired, but I smelled amazing! Those amazing aromas came from the Galaxy hops, which fits in perfectly with the name. An Australian hybrid developed in the 1990s, Galaxy hops have distinct characteristics which can range from passionfruit and peach to clean citrus aromas. Galaxy, in tandem with other other hop additions such as whole cone Citra, will remind people of a fruit salad. The flavors and aromas are what I wanted to give drinkers: a bright and refreshing Summer IPA, which isn’t a style at all, but why can’t it be? It’s just beer, always has been, always will be.
The beer was canned and kegged on June 1, and the launch party is tonight! Check out the bottom of your can for a package date and batch number for Solis Batch 72 with Dr. Q’s code name: Galactus.