Freedom Fuel – Red Rhino’s Anniversary Beer That’s Brewed Once A Year
New England style IPAs have become quite popular across the globe. Brewing a NEIPA is always a challenging task and requires more focus on the process than the recipe alone. Of late, appearance has become a great deal when it comes to this style. Relatively a new beer style which absolutely disregards the importance of a beer’s clarity in regards to pushing the flavour boundaries. Despite the challenges in brewing a great New England IPA, Red Rhino Craft Brewery in Whitefield, Bengaluru manages to pulls off Freedom Fuel every single time, once a year. It perfectly aligns the release date with Indian Independence Day.
Unlike the other beers at Red Rhino, Freedom Fuel is the most celebrated beer. One of the key elements of this NEIPA is that it is fermented with Vermont Ale liquid yeast which is sourced straight from the United States and pitched right into Red Rhino Brewery’s fermenters.
This massive strength beer comes close to a Double NEIPA with a staggering 8% ABV. Brewed with three different hops, Citra, Centennial and Amarillo, Freedom Fuel is bound to send you into a hop bliss. In addition to this, it is generously dry-hopped to boast vibrant floral and fruity aromas.
Vermont Ale yeast, which is known to be isolated from a uniquely crafted double IPA out of the North-eastern United States, produces a balanced fruity ester profile of peaches and light citrus that complements any aggressively hopped beer.
To understand the story of Freedom Fuel, we had a quick chat with Kishore Pallamreddy, Founder and Managing Director of Red Rhino. Read more about the conversation down below.
What makes the Freedom Fuel so special at Red Rhino and why is it aligned with Independence Day?
Red Rhino is known for innovation, experimental seasonal beers, and our IPA (Bangalore Daze) in particular has been a very popular beer! NEIPA has become immensely popular in the United States, and taken the Brewing industry by storm in recent years. I personally love hoppy beers and am a big fan of hazy IPAs.
“Making this hop rich, tropical fruit flavoured beer is the result of our brewers’ Freedom to experimentation from traditional brewing techniques.” – Kishore Pallamreddy, Founder and Managing Director of Red Rhino
Co-incidentally, Dan had introduced this beer a few years ago, around India’s Independence Day, which has become a smashing hit amongst our customers, and we continued the tradition.
Why did you go an extra mile (United States) to source your yeast? Is there a specific reason behind it?
I think the most mysterious and beautiful part of brewing is fermentation, and obviously yeast plays a key role in this process. Red Rhino being a US brand and associated with a Californian Head brewer, our obvious choice was to get yeast from one of the best labs in the USA, as recommended by Dan.
Challenges In Brewing A NEIPA
As mentioned earlier, New England style IPAs aren’t an easy style to brew. A brewer needs to strike a right balance between the malt, hops and yeast derived fruity esters. To dive deep into the conversation, we interviewed Dan Satterthwaite, Master Brewer at Red Rhino Brewing Co. to voice his opinion on NEIPAs.
Can you walk us through some of your challenges in getting a NEIPA right?
NEIPAs are a new style of IPA and thus create a challenge for traditional brewers. Much of what needs to be done to make this beer goes against the normal brewing techniques and thus requires a mindset that allows for major creativity, experimentation, and of course freedom to experiment with outrageous hopping techniques. In fact, the design of this beer can be considered a revolt from the past and a stand for independence amongst craft beer brewers just like Indian Independence from British rule.
I was trained as a traditional brewer and can say that designing NEIPAs was a moral and technical challenge for me for some time. However, as customers travelled the US and the world for new beer flavours, the interest in low IBU, creamy (or hazy) beers, and a demand for hop aroma, and flavour that is over the top began to grow.
“One of the biggest challenges in brewing this beer is to source the finest hop varieties that will create rich, juicy flavours with a high oil content.” – Dan Satterthwaite, Master Brewer, Red Rhino Brewing Co.
Once they are sourced, the use of them at the peak of flavour and with a heavy hand is required to extract the hop aromas into the hazy base of the beer. A perfect blend of malted barley and malted wheat is required to support the hop haze and create a body that is both rich in flavour, strong in alcohol, but soft on the palate. Since there is so much flavour in suspension, hop, malt and yeast, these beers are created to be consumed fresh, like a fresh squeezed juice.
Promotion is extremely important to bring all the fans to the source and experience the fresh hop flavours that dominate NEIPA style beers. All of these aforementioned parts of a NEIPA are really in stark contrast to the traditional British Style IPAs of years past. I think it is a perfect beer to celebrate Indian Independence.
How did you come up with a recipe for Freedom Fuel (NEIPA)? Have any beers from the US inspired you to brew this particular style at Red Rhino?
I have been working on NEIPA style beers for about six years. They came on the scene in the early 2000’s with a few brewers from Vermont setting the trend. The original hazy IPA brewers were The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead. Still, to this day, their NEIPAs are at the top of the game.
Lots of ideas were floating around as to how they made such juicy beers. It took a lot of trials to get it right. In the end, there was no gimmick, no weird additives, just a search for the finest hops that create the finest flavours. Today, my favourite NEIPA producers are Fieldwork Brewing Company in Berkeley, CA, Alpha Acid Brewing Company in Belmont, CA, and Bearded Iris Brewing Company in Nashville, TN. I feel that they are continuing to push the envelope of flavour and innovation for IPAs.
Late additions, whirlpool or dry-hopping? According to you, which is your preferred brewing method to get the most out of American hops and why?
To really get the most out of hops, you need to use all of the hopping techniques you have mentioned. It is important to strike a balance between bitterness and aroma. These days, most IPA brewers use hop bursting techniques of whirlpool and dry hopping. My preferred method is to weigh heavy on whirlpool additions for flavour and then add hops beyond a ridiculous amount for dry hopping. There are methods of adding hops during the late stages of fermentation, but this technique has challenges for the brewer and needs special tools and systems that are not normally available to most brewers.
Red Rhino has always been a front-runner in the craft beer community when it comes to introducing new beer styles in Bangalore. Be sure to drop into Red Rhino on this Independence Day to wrap your hands around a juicy New England style IPA.
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