Brickyard Brewing Company have been brewing some of the best beer available locally that no one seems to be talking about, but that is all about to change, thanks to their latest can release. The Lewiston brewery will release their flagship offering, White Bronco New England IPA, and perennial small batch favorite, Millions of Strawberries Gelato IPA, in cans this Saturday, June 22. Both beers will be available in 16oz. 4-pack cans for $16. Cans will be available at the Lewiston’s Artisan Market in Lewiston’s Academy Park beginning at 9am, then at the brewery at 11am.
Brickyard’s Head Brewer John Paul Meteer says that this year’s batch of Millions of Strawberries is different from year’s past because of the hops and the addition of strawberry puree. Last year’s version features fresh strawberries from Sanger Farms, which weren’t available this year because of poor weather.
“Strawberries is the second part of our Millions series, which also features Peaches and Mangoes. It started with Peaches and then we did Mangoes last year. This beer features a lot of oats and a lot of Belma and Enigma hops. Last year’s version featured Belma and Galaxy, but the Galaxy hop is a little too citrusy for this beer, depending on how you use it. It’s super red berry forward with a ton of strawberry puree, lactose and an absurd amount of vanilla beans. I wanted it to be easy drinking, because some Milkshake IPA’s are too sweet and thick. Consider this a summer milkshake. And that’s why we call it a Gelato IPA and not a Milkshake, because it just presents a different feel.”
“The spring in Niagara County has been so bad weather-wise with all of the rain, so the timing just didn’t work to use real berries in this beer. We had to get puree. If and when we get strawberries from Youngstown again, we’ll going to make a Strawberry Sour (or possibly a Strawberry Sour IPA) with them.”
Meteer adds that White Bronco, Brickyard’s house IPA and true core brand, has been an evolution, a beer that he hasn’t been comfortable with canning until this latest batch. The original version of the beer featured Amarillo, Citra, El Dorado. The addition of Galaxy and Mosaic hops was merely happenstance.
“Bronco is just Bronco, it’s been an evolution. We just had to get this beer dialed in. We added Galaxy and Mosaic hops after we brewed Space Bronco, which used those two hops. What happened was, we were going to run out of White Bronco at the brewery, so we combined kegs of each and was blown away by the taste. And that was that. So now, White Bronco is five hops instead of three. For this batch, we upped the Mosaic a tiny bit. It just gives it so much depth of flavor and makes the fruit notes ripe. It takes it from subtle notes of pineapple and mango to Simply Orange juice with pineapple.”
As for why Brickyard didn’t can White Bronco first (they canned Space Bronco and Millions of Mangoes IPA), Meteer adds “for as much as everyone loved Bronco, it was never where I wanted it until now. We had to work on our water profile, tweak the dry hop process (Bronco is actually triple dry-hopped) and had to work on the overall process to get it to where it is now. This was never a bad beer; it’s just now to the point where I’m most comfortable with it.”
Meteer adds that Millions of Strawberries is the perfect summer IPA, due in large part to how fresh the beer tastes. And you can thank hundreds and hundreds of pounds of strawberry puree for that.
“The nice thing about Millions of Strawberries is that this beer tastes like fresh strawberries. Some fruit beer has that artificial vibe to it, but this beer tastes like fresh berries. We added 168 pounds of organic strawberry puree at the end of fermentation and then added more to the bright tank to condition on before canning. So, after some quick back-of-napkin math, that comes out to 40 pounds per barrel or a little over a pound per gallon.”
I had the chance to try some of this latest batch of Bronco, and not only is it the best version of this beer I’ve ever had, it’s perhaps the best beer I’ve had from Brickyard ever. Expect resinous notes of thick and sticky pineapple, apricot, mango and so much more. It’s drinks big at 6.8%, but it’s smooth as can be and goes down deceptively quick. So brace yourself for that.
Meteer says that another canning run of White Bronco is already in the works, something they are looking to make a regular occurrence, as well as Flat Brim Hat Triple IPA, Bumbleghost IPA and Millions of Peaches Gelato IPA.
As far as distribution goes, Brickyard has started to get their beer out to a few select accounts around town so you should start seeing more of it near you soon. Meteer says that Lewiston bottle shop Brewed & Bottled and Moor Pat will be the exclusive carriers for their Flat Brim Hat on draft, and adds that Bottle Rocket will also carry their beer in the future. “We just had to finish the Barrel House,” he says, “and now that that’s done, it’s time to go. There’s going to be a lot of Bronco around in the near future. We want that beer everywhere. We’re poised to go for it right now.”
For more information on the White Bronco and Millions of Strawberries release, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1094328884092663/.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for Step Out Buffalo. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at email@example.com, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague) and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).