Artifex Brewing Company A.H.A.B. IPA (Drink of the Week)

Craft Beer California

Photo courtesy of Johnny Johur

On February 13, Library Alehouse devoted eight tap handles to San Clemente’s Aftifex Brewing Company. Library Alehouse General Manager and Certified Cicerone® Alex P. Davis poured four IPAs, including one beer he collaborated on with Artifex.

Brewer Johnny Johur, previously an assistant brewer for Pizza Port Solana Beach and a brewer for Mother Earth Brew Co., partnered with Chris Gort, last an assistant brewer at Stone Brewing Company and lead brewer at Back Street Brew Pub, along with Tim Cordato, and son Nicholas Cordato. The quartet opened their doors in August, 2014. Thurday’s event in Santa Monica was a homecoming of sorts for Johur, who used to work at Library Alehouse. He said, “Artifex has been growing extremely fast and we are gearing up for entering the L.A. market, so doing a beer with Alex and Library seemed like a logical progression.”

Library Alehouse poured a pair of four-beer flights, including “Yes, Your Maltiness,” and my pick, “That’s Right, All The Hops” ($12). I appreciated aspects of No Name IPA, Small Tree Session IPA and Pico Pale Ale, but A.H.A.B. IPA, an acronym for Another Hoppy Ass Beer, really stood out. The beer packed 6.7% ABV and 70 IBUs and an assortment of hops added at different stages of the brewing process, culminating with floral citrus from Amarillo hops.

How did this Hoppy Ass collaboration work? Davis said the beer resulted from a repeated exchange of ideas leading up to brew day. Johur noted, “We both love dry, hop forward IPA’s. A.H.A.B. has no caramel malt in the grist and contains just a tiny bit of Rye Malt. This allows the hops to come through and be showcased with little flavor coming from the grain that was used. We started out with some Amarillo hops for a “first wort” addition. We followed this up with bittering and flavoring additions of Cascade to give the beer a lighter perceived bitterness and a nice citrus/floral flavor. The late kettle hop additions incorporated a very generous amount of Citra hops. These were added late in the boil and at the end of the boil to add more flavor and aroma. This technique is referred to as “Hop Bursting” and tends to showcase the hops being used and helping to make the beers aroma stand out even more. Finally, after primary fermentation was complete, we dry hopped the beer with more Amarillo hops.”

Based on Thursday’s showing, L.A. should be encouraged about Artifex’s entry into the market, and Davis should probably get involved in another craft beer collaboration.

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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