â€œClean, bright and modern.â€ Thatâ€™s how Samantha Lee, co-founder of the Hopewell Brewing Company in Chicago, describes her breweryâ€™s ethos, from the balance of its beers to the airy, inviting taproom. Itâ€™s also an apt description of Brut IPA, the latest phenomenon in American craft brewingâ€™s seemingly never-ending love affair with the India Pale Ale.
Barely a year ago, Brut IPA began as a process innovation in a San Francisco brewpub. Kim Sturdavant of Social Kitchen and Brewery took a brewerâ€™s enzyme called amyloglucosidaseâ€”an amylase enzyme typically used either for producing light beer or for lightening the body of big, viscous stoutsâ€”and added it to the recipe of a typical 7% ABV IPA. The process produced something new in itself: An IPA with zero residual sugar, restrained bitterness, lively carbonation and unparalleled drinkability. He called it the Champagne IPA, then later: Brut IPA.