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Arbor Brewing releases 2 very different IPAs: A brut and a New England style

Tom Gromak
The Detroit News

Arbor Brewing has brought two new IPAs to market and, aside from containing hops in the ingredients, they couldn’t be more different.

“Tilted Earth Winter IPA” is a nicely balanced New England Style IPA, a style of beer that often resembles juice in a glass. It’s hazy and filled with flavors of bright citrus. Winter’s counterpart is “Good & Proper,” a crisp, dry, golden-hued and clear brut-styled IPA.

Good & Proper was released a week ago in 6-packs. Tilted Earth Winter IPA was released on Tuesday and hit store shelves in 6-packs this week.

“These IPAs are really kind of doing the same thing, but doing it in different ways,” said Jon Wagner, head brewer at Arbor Brewing’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. “It’s about presenting hops and IPAs with different textures.”

Arbor Brewing's new "Tilted Earth Winter IPA," a New England styled IPA is on the left. On the right is their just-released brut ipa "Good & Proper."

The new Tilted Earth Winter IPA is the fourth in a series that began with a West Coast styled rye IPA in the spring package, a wheat IPA for summer, and a red IPA for the fall.

“With New England’s being as popular as they are, we knew we wanted something different. It’s snowy outside, so we wanted a hazy beer that’s a little more full in body and satiating,” Wagner said.

It’s made with Mosaic, Citra, Mandarina and Bavaria hops, giving it a juice and citrus-forward flavor profile, but with a softer, more pillowy flavor and texture than some of the other New England IPAs in the market. Wagner said close attention was paid to the characteristics of the water used in the brewing process to achieve that effect.

“The IBUs (international bitterness units, roughly a measurement of a beer’s bitterness) come in higher, but they don’t feel higher. They’re not perceived in the way as some of the other higher IBU beers out there.”

Over the summer, Arbor also experimented with another small-batch brut IPA released in the taproom and at the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival called “I am Brut.” Brut IPAs tend to be crisp and clear and dry, with a feeling a little like drinking champagne -- but beer.

At present, there aren’t many made in Michigan. Brewery Vivant, in Grand Rapids, and Oddside Ales, in Grand Haven, are among the first to make this beer said to have originated in San Francisco.

“We started hearing more and more about that style coming out of California, so brewed one, and we liked the flavor profile, and we thought it would be a nice counterpoint to the hazy IPA released at the holiday time of the year,” he said. “We thought: ‘what if we could completely dry out an IPA?’”

It uses pilsner malts as well as two-row malts, and a mix of citrus and herbaceous hops – though Wagner is keeping those specifics a secret. The goal of the brewing process with a brut is to reduce residual malt sugars, allowing the beer to draw its flavors from those hops.”

The result is “a nice, dry, hop-forward kind of beer,” Wagner said. “You can expect it to be lots of hop in the aroma, lots of hop in the flavor, and a very clean finishing beer.”

We found the hops to bring a citrus flavor suggesting Citra hops were in the mix.

Tilted Earth Winter IPA has a rating of 65 IBUs and an ABV (alcohol by content) of 7.5 percent. Good & Proper Brut IPA matches the IBUs, at 65, with an ABV of 6.2 percent.

Next up for Wagner and Arbor Brewing: A short break. And then the planning begins for what flavors will go into the next Tilted Earth IPA series, which Wagner said will be all new for 2019.

-- Tom Gromak can be reached at tgromak@detroitnews.com