Friday, June 28, 2013

Cricket Hill goes big on hops, little on ABV

From the brewhouse, a word on
 Jersey-brewed from Rick Reed.
You say you like hops but want your fix in a session beer, not a brew that does IPA with a lot of ABV?

Then Cricket Hill Brewing has the answer for you: Big Little IPA, a small-batch beer that's waiting in the wings of a July 1 release. 

Think of Cricket Hill Hopnotic India Pale Ale's sessionable 5.2% ABV but with a more robust bitterness (Nugget and Willamette hops), nearly twice the IBUs, in fact. 

Big Little IPA was included in Cricket Hill's offerings last Saturday on the Battleship New Jersey at the Garden State Craft Brewers Guild festival, served up as a teaser to its release.

At a time when a lot of hops lovers are finding comfort with a brew like Founders session brew All Day IPA (4.7% ABV, 42 IBUs) Big Little IPA offers a way to keep your quest for hop-kick in a session beer in the home state.

"We're giving the IPA flavor in Cricket Hill fashion," says founder Rick Reed. "We're not going to knock you down; we're not going to bowl you over. We're going to give you a good hop flavor, 76 IBUs, and you can drink it all day long."

Rick says the Fairfield (Essex County) brewery is winding down this year's production of its Jersey Summer Breakfast Ale, the end of the line of 225 barrels' worth for the hot-weather season. You can expect a big smoked rye for September release, plus another fall seasonal.

"For the first time ever," Rick says, "we're going to abandon the Reinheitsgebot. Under pressure from distributors, we're going to come out with a pumpkin beer. We've never done it before ... the market's there, so we're going to try it."

*ABOUT THE PHOTO: Folks who have been to Cricket Hill brewery tours know Rick usually gives a little speech from the brewhouse deck, a sort of comparative assessment of craft beer's advantages over the big factory beers. 

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