Brewed for the first time since 2012, Eagle Rock Brewing's gold medal-winning imperial red ale Red Velvet is back in the tasting room and in bottles.
While variations in the hop supply in recent years had forced the brewers to make subtle changes to the recipe when it was brewed in 2011 and 2012 (and the brewery's tight production schedule meant they were unable to brew the beer in 2013), this year's Red Velvet is a return to the original recipe.
"There's so much going on flavor wise [in Red Velvet] that a minor substitution doesn't have much effect," said brewer and packaging director Lee Bakofsky, adding that it was the popular Amarillo hop variety -- known for its pungent citrus character -- that was difficult to acquire in previous years. "We had to substitute Galaxy [hops] when we couldn't get Amarillo, and now we can't get Galaxy."
The resinous -- hop heads say "dank" -- quality of Red Velvet's aroma is bolstered with the complex Simcoe hop variety known for its deep earthy flavors. All the hops are layered on top of a dense, rich malt base that pushes the brew to nearly 11% alcohol.
The brew debuted in the ERB taproom last week, and Raub says that, "the response has been overwhelming." The brewery has already sold about half of the inventory of bottles reserved for taproom sales, and the balance of the nearly 300 cases produced has been sent to Stone Distribution and should be on bottle shop shelves now.
A few kegs of Red Velvet have also been sent to various beer bars and restaurants around Los Angeles, so watch the lists of your local favorites for the tappings.