From the Beer Writer: An abundantly hoppy lager. What could be so hard about that? A lot. Most India pale lagers (IPLs) can’t help but go one of two ways…too bitter or too sweet. It makes sense. Lager yeast accentuates malt characteristics, so IPLs aren’t the slam dunks they seem like they should be on paper. So, coming across one that makes good on its mission to showcase lager-yeast character while also unobtrusively showing off big hop aromas and flavors is special. Enter, Kilowatt IPL, a balanced version of the style from Kearny Mesa-based Kilowatt Brewing. This beer wrings all the character out of Mosaic, Comet, Pacifica, Motueka and Wakatu hops, translating to a bouquet of blood oranges, lime zest and nectarines, followed by flavors of citrus, stone fruit and red berries so flavorful it’s almost evocative of a juicy IPA. At 7% alcohol-by-volume, it makes it a nice stand-in (or outright replacement) for an IPA that won’t leave you pining for that everyday style.
From the Brewer: “One of the best parts of being a small brewery is getting to experiment with a lot of different styles that you otherwise might not be able to brew at a large production facility. I’ve always liked the idea of brewing an India pale lager ever since I tried one for the first time at Home Brew Mart. The style kind of contradicts itself a little if you think about it. You’re brewing a beer that you want to add a ton of hop aroma and flavor to, but using a yeast that is meant to showcase the delicate flavors of a malty German lager, so it can be tricky to find the right balance. Kilowatt IPL is based loosely on a homebrew recipe I’ve had from several years ago. I wanted to give the beer a little bit of malt character without going overboard on the sweetness, so the base malt is backed by some German Vienna malt and a touch of light crystal and biscuit malts. The hops are a blend of New Zealand varietals and hops from the Pacific Northwest. The result is a hop profile that is a bit fruity, but has a nice balance between floral and piney. It is moderately dry, finishing with a good balance on the hop bitterness, so I think it’s a nice beer to sip on a hot summer afternoon.”—Brian Crecely, Head Brewer, Kilowatt Brewing