“Clean, bright and modern.” That’s how Samantha Lee, co-founder of the Hopewell Brewing Company in Chicago, describes her brewery’s ethos, from the balance of its beers to the airy, inviting taproom. It’s also an apt description of Brut IPA, the latest phenomenon in American craft brewing’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 brewer’s enzyme called amyloglucosidase—an amylase enzyme typically used either for producing light beer or for lightening the body of big, viscous stouts—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.