If you would have asked West Shore Brewing Owner Josh Dziomba four years ago, when the brewery was still in the planning stages, if he thought he’d ever release one of his beers in cans, he would have said no. If you would have asked him again two years later, when the Clarence watering hole opened for business, he still would have said no. But, fast forward to December 2019, if you were to ask him once more, he would answer with a resounding yes. That is because West Shore will hold their first ever can release this weekend and they are looking to one of their core staples to lead the charge – Green Flyer IPA (one of the best beers in Western New York no one is talking about in my opinion (which will soon change thankfully)).
West Shore’s flagship IPA will be released in cans on December 7 (12pm) at the brewery. All members of West Shore’s Mug Club will be able to buy cans the day prior, on December 6. Green Flyer IPA will be released in 4-pack 16oz. cans. There will be no limits.
“Two years ago when we opened I did not really think we would be in that market,” he says. “However, the market has been changing, and the industry evolving, and cans have become almost a must for a brewery in terms of how much of an impact you can make in the marketplace.”
“It really means that we are taking the next big step in our growth,” he continues, speaking about what releasing one of his beers in cans means to him on a personal level. “I have always had a 5/10/15 year plan and now we are finally seeing some of those steps start to fall into place. It really did take me almost two years of a lot of trial and error to really refine what I have been doing. I think you have see the first real steps of this with out bourbon barrel aged stout we released over the summer, our fruited sours, and the Bavarian Cream Donut beer. We are now able to nail down some traditional beer while still leaving room for experimentation.”
Green Flyer was the obvious choice to release in cans first, because “this beer has become as close to a flagship as we have ever had,” Dziomba says, adding “whenever I have talked about canning, this has always been the first beer people have said I should can.” West Shore’s flagship IPA didn’t arrive in its current form overnight; as you might expect, many recipe tweaks, changes and adjustments got it to where it is today and, as Dziomba explains, it’s been a hell of a journey.
“This beer has evolved quite a bit over the last couple of years. Just the other day I was looking at the recipe for the first batch, and it was so radically different than today. First batch was over 7% an 75 IBU. I mean, that’s crazy for a New England IPA. However, it was my very first NE style ever. Eventually it started to morph and evolve into a mid 6% beer, but the big change came when in January of 2019, my requirements for a NYS Farm Brewery changed from 20% to 60% ingredient bill. Couple that with the rising price of Citra hops, and as a small brewery I can’t always get it. That’s when I really zoned in on a recipe. I partnered up with Vertical Vines locally and started using NY Centennial as a base for this beer. The super dank tangerine notes play perfectly with the catty pineapple of Simcoe and all around awesomeness of Mosaic. Now, while this beer is NEIPA inspired, I hesitate to call this beer a true New England because it has so much NY flare in it, plus NE has really started pushing the barriers of hop fruitiness. Green Flyer has tons of citrus overtones and this batch has some nice papaya like notes to it, but it still has elements of a classic American IPA.”
“As for the name, we have always been a railroad inspired brewery. Our tag line, which hasn’t really been represented, is ‘The Route To Great Taste.’ This is a call back to the railroad of a different era. Green Flyer is inspired by a Vermont Passenger train, The Green Mountain Flyer. Not only in name but in can art as well.”
Coming out of all of this, the logical question is, ‘what’s next,’ and luckily for all of us, Dziomba has been asking himself the same thing. “Already planning the next can release, just have to decide which one it will be,” he says. He adds that we can expect to see a Double IPA, Sour and an Oatmeal Stout coming in cans in the not-so-distant future, but he just isn’t sure what one is next in the pipeline. I think I speak for the majority, if not all, of us when I said, any one of those sounds delicious.
For more information on West Shore’s Green Flyer can release, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/718427778641205/.
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. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague) and www.buffalobeerleague.com.