The Works IPA, the latest in Golden Road Brewing's line of seasonal IPAs -- and its third release benefiting a local nonprofit organization, is headed to shelves and taps in Los Angeles. The aroma-driven West Coast IPA uses a mix of hop varieties from three continents to create a complex and layered flavor profile that's like fruit salad in a can.
Golden Road partnered with L.A. Works -- the largest volunteer network in the city -- for the new IPA, and brewmaster Jesse Houck said it was a challenge to come up with a beer that was distinct from the brewery's many other IPAs. Sometimes the idea for a new IPA begins with an exciting new hop variety and flows from here, but Houck said that for The Works IPA, the whole brewing staff at Golden Road pitched in to create a beer that would "fill a gap in the flavor profile [of the brewery's other IPA offerings]."
The final recipe uses six widely different hops including the popular modern Mosaic and Equinox varieties, along with Motueka hops grown in New Zealand and a pair of modern German-grown hops: Opal and Saphir.
Tying the disparate flavors of ripe tropical fruit provided by the American hops, zesty citrus and gooseberry from the German varieties, and the grassy, herbaceous New Zealand hops together is a new American cultivar called Jarrylo.
Houck said that when he and lead brewer Ross Connolly traveled to Washington state's Yakima Valley last fall to select the hundreds of pounds of hops that the brewery would buy for the next year, the Jarrylo hops harvested from a small plot at one of Houck's favorite hop farms captured their imagination.
"It's a tough one," Houck said as he described the impact that the Jarrylo has in The Works. "I don't want to say berries. ... I get Juicy Fruit gum [aromas], which I think plays well with the Mosaic and Equinox in this beer. It's berry up front and then tropical, but it's not bright and citrusy."
All that hop aroma and flavor is well balanced by the subtle malt body in The Works. The brewers used Vienna Malt -- a lightly kilned barley malt that adds a touch of toasty and nutty flavor. The IPA finished dry and bitter, but not overwhelmingly so, and the 16-ounce cans we sampled seemed to run dry before anyone expected -- a sure sign of a highly drinkable and balanced IPA.
"Craft beer is about quality, and having fun, and about community," said Bob Johnson, L.A. Works founder and chairman. The 25-year-old nonprofit works to increase volunteer participation in Los Angeles communities and develops and supports a wide variety of programs in the city.
Look for four-packs of 16-ounce cans at retailers across Los Angeles in early September, and on draught at the Golden Road Pub, Mohawk Bend, and other area beer bars.