Since we’ve already got a nice shopping list of readily available IPAs to pick up for tomorrow’s National IPA Day, let’s delve into some really weird, creative (and very limited) IPAs today: Trinity’s Red Swingline anniversary series.
To celebrate its sixth anniversary, the Colorado Springs brewery’s in the middle of launching a line of six IPAs based on its amazing Red Swingline IPA Primitif, a sour IPA brewed with tangerine zest that we included in our Top 25 Beers of 2013. Beginning with Red Swingline, each subsequent beer recipe is a spin on the 4.1%-ABV IPA, with ingredients either added or taken away.
The first bottle launch at the brewery was held Friday, July 25, with weekly Friday releases through Aug. 29. This is one of the crazier, neatly packaged explorations into the realm of IPAs I’ve seen, and worth hunting down if you’re in the vicinity. Here’s why:
Red Swingline IPA Primitif
STORY: The original. This one’s an IPA spiked with Brettanomyces yeast and souring Lactobacillus bacteria, and aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with tangerine zest and coriander.
NOTES: Just like I remember. An insanely complex aroma gifts scents of lemon, tangerine, pineapple, sour funk, and hints of floral oak. Extremely deep, this one just layers the tongue: Lemony, pineapple Brett notes play the high note, with tangerine and grapefruit just below; barnyard, rustic funk and oak lend the bass note. There’s so much going on, but it comes together perfectly.
Red Swingline DIPA Primitif
STORY: Everything that Red Swingline is but imperialized, clocking in at 8.2%-ABV.
NOTES: A very subtle aroma reaches the nose with slight cheesy funk and a faint hint of tangerine. On the tongue, though, this thing is powerful: An extremely tropical, fruity wash of hops dominates the sip; subtle traces of tropical Brett, tangerine and a slight funk accent the swallow. A one-two punch of tart Lacto and hop bitterness scrapes the tongue clean. While it doesn’t showcase the same intricate complexity as the original, this funky, fruity hop bomb is really impressive.
Swing Se Pliser Sour IPA
STORY: Everything that Red Swingline is, minus the Brettanomyces. Basically, a Lactobacillus IPA aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with tangerine and coriander.
NOTES: Funk! The fruity aroma of the original is all but gone, making way for an aromatic, lactic tartness. A moderately puckering mouthfeel digs into the tongue and accentuates the tangerine zest and bitter hop sharpness. Tangerine and grapefruit notes kind of float over the tartness as a very clean, drying finish settles in; just a hint of oak builds into the finish. This sour’s just shy of an enamel-scraper.
Easy Swinger Wild IPA
STORY: Everything that Red Swingline is, minus the Lactobacillus. Basically, a Brett IPA aged in French oak Chardonnay barrels with tangerine and coriander.
NOTES: This particular Brett strain lends a vibrant lemony, slightly rustic quality to the tangerine-forward aroma. On the tongue, the wild yeast weaves sunny lemon and pineapple through the fruity, bready swallow, fusing with tangerine and grapefruit for an incredibly vibrant sip; just a slight rustic, barnyard note and fruity Chard flavor underscores the profile. My knees are buckling. This one is absolutely stunning.
Passion Swing American Fruited IPA
STORY: No Brett, no lacto and no barrels. Basically a “clean” version of Red Swingline, but aged with passion fruit.
NOTES: Wow, this beer’s aroma is loaded with passion fruit. An explosion of bubbles sweeps more passion fruit across the tongue; hints of papaya and tangerine accent the fruity sip. This was the perfect choice of tropical fruit to complement an already fruity IPA.
Session Swing American Session IPA
STORY: This version’s a straight-up session IPA spin on Red Swingline, without the wild microbes or barrels.
NOTES: A bright, fruity aroma of grapefruit and tangerine. Incredibly easy drinking, with a mouthfeel that’s fluffier and softer than most session IPAs out right now. Tangerine, pink grapefruit and subtle tropical fruits thread the bready malt base, before a refreshing, clean finish wraps up the sip.
MY FAVORITE: Out of the new versions (Red Swingline not included here due to previous accolades), my favorite is Easy Swinger Wild IPA. Unlike some untraditional Brett beers, where the use of the wild yeast can feel forced, this one made total sense, as its tropical, fruity and slightly rustic character perfectly complemented the IPA’s tangerine zest and fruity hops.