Hops & Barley IPA – a successful blend of German & American traditions

When it comes to food and drink, the omnipresent word “fusion” doesn’t resound very well with me. Fusion is the forced combination of things that otherwise would not belong together: nuclear fusion; or the forced fusion of metals together.

Since German brewers started to experiment with high-aroma American hops, there have been several commentators who have praised a new beer for being a fusion of modern American and tradition German brewing styles. How do you combine an aromatic hop in a beer like an IPA, but retain something uniquely German, like a lager crispness, so that a German palette will appreciate it?

In my own opinion, such attempts at fusion of styles by brewers in Germany have not always worked. It has often been a compromise at the expense of the typically round character of the a pale ale and an attempt to make a crisp lager with a cascade hop aroma.

Hops & Barley IPA
Hops & Barley IPA

The new IPA brewed by Philipp Brokamp at Hops & Barley (Friedrichshain, Berlin) goes in a different direction. Brewed with Falconers Flight, Cascade, Citra hops; dry hopped and using top fermenting yeast to achieve 6.2% a.b.v. there can be no doubt that this was influenced heavily by the US-style IPA. However, the backbone of this beer has delicious biscuit & caramel malty flavours that you typically find in a German Märzen/Festbier. These give the beer a wonderful body.

Make no mistake, this is more than just an IPA with a few darker malts thrown in; the beer retains some genuine character of the Märzen maltiness and it works really well with the recognisable Cascade & Citra fruity notes. Hops & Barley IPA – a successful blend of German and American traditions.

Unfortunately, available for a limited time only…

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