It’s hard to put into words how proud we are of this beer.
Aim High Shoot Amarillo is a culmination of nearly a year of development; adapting our hopping regime, packaging process and cellaring to achieve one of the best results we’ve ever had. This ruinous West Coast DIPA absolutely sings from the can… then slaps you round the face. Supercharged with Amarillo for a citrus sucker punch of orange, lemon and grapefruit; it’s laced with the knowledge and experience of a good friend and one of the legends of the UK craft brewing industry: enter Bryan – Head Brewer and Founder of Weird Beard Brew Co.
When I joined the brewery 5 years ago, my very first brew day was a collaboration with Bryan from Weird Beard. What a way to begin your employment! We’ve all stayed in touch with Bryan over the years; sharing the occasional beer, visiting his brewery in London, and spending time with each other at events and festivals.
Bryan excels at brewing the beer he likes to drink – hard hitting, suitably bitter and aggressive West Coast IPAs, perfectly cellared, no-nonsense imperial stouts and mixed ferm sours. With the IPAs, what was once cutting edge is now more broadly known as ‘old school’ brewing.
Well, time has passed as it always does and we’re starting to detect a shift in drinkers’ preferences – folks are starting to miss ‘old school’ beers; seeking them out at festivals as more of rare find, buried in amongst a sea of New England IPA (which we still love, by the way). You only have to look at us, Beak and DEYA, who are now all producing Best Bitters, to realise that the ‘old school IPA‘ wave must be on the horizon, roaring back into life.
Let’s talk about this beer: Aim High Shoot Amarillo is, as the name suggests, led predominantly by a huge Amarillo dry hop charge. This hop has one of the highest myrcene oil contents of any variety, but this may not mean much to the average reader, so we’ll go into a little more detail.
All hops contain oils in various quantities and types – it’s what gives them their aromatic qualities and in many cases, distinguishes them from each other. Famous varieties from the US such as Citra and Mosaic all have high oil contents in general compared to hops from the UK, making them more suitable in their application to high impact, fruity IPAs.
Amarillo, a variety discovered by accident growing wild in the US, is now one of the most sought after hops due to its insanely high content of myrcene: an oil found in most citrus fruits, mangoes, bay and lemongrass to name a few other naturally occurring examples. This oil has a distinct ‘mixed citrus‘ aroma and flavour; predominantly orange, but also lemon and grapefruit in ample supply. It’s exactly these qualities we were looking to push to the front in Aim High Shoot Amarillo, and boy, does it do just that. It is orange in a glass; bitter pith, sweet flesh and aromatic rind all rolled into one.
The beer pours a pale golden colour owing to the blend of lager malt and pale malt used. This leaves room for the hops to shine, but with some malt character built into the background with Munich and Vienna malts, both lightly kilned varieties that contribute a subtle biscuity, bready quality when used in small doses.
Considering the amount of dry hops in it, Aim High Shoot Amarillo is a actually very bright-looking beer. This was important to us as many West Coast IPA fans are put off by an excessively murky or hazy beer. That kind of appearance doesn’t really scream ‘clean bitterness’, and people drink with their eyes more than they often realise. We paid close attention to our dry hopping and cold-crashing regimes, and although we have been an unfined brewery for many years now (we choose to let the sturgeons keep their swim bladders) we have been working on a technique to use silica-based finings in the FV – a completely vegan-friendly alternative that helps advance the natural process of yeast sedimentation. What we’re left with is a cleaner tasting, cleaner looking beer that quenches thirst, but leaves you wanting more.
Aim High Shoot Amarillo is now available in cans, kegs and a few limited edition casks for our taproom, The Weather Station. If you feel like you’ve tried our IPAs and made up your mind about the kind of things we’re capable of, now is the time to take a second look – we can’t wait to hear your feedback.