When you’re a young brewery—about a month old, say—and the first IPA you make is crafted with hops scrounged from the erratic, inconsistent hop-trading floor known as the spot market, you’re putting yourself in a precarious position.
At least, that’s how Zack Kinney, Pete Lengyel and Tony Bellis—the guys behind Kings County Brewers Collective—felt when they started pouring their Brooklyn-based brewery’s premier IPA in August 2016.
“What if people loved it?” Bellis asks. “We were setting a dangerous precedent by brewing and selling this delicious beer without knowing if we’d have the hops we needed to brew it again.”
Spoiler alert: People loved it. Those ad hoc hops—Warrior for bitterness; Mosaic, Cascade and Azacca for everything else—give the brew a bouquet of rose stems, thistle and alfalfa sprinkled with orange peel and clover honey, while pastry dough and toasted wheat flavors support grass, earthiness and tangerine on the tongue before soft bitterness settles in.
The precedent was set, and KCBC avoided danger by securing some steady hop contracts. This 6.6% IPA became the brewery’s first officially packaged beer in December and is now available throughout the year.
MSRP: $16 per 4-pack
Pair it with: Fleur de Maquis cheese, angel food cake with strawberries, grilled octopus