India Pale Ale
Oren is an India Pale Ale who owes its citrus aroma and flavor to late additions of Azacca & Mosaic hops. Easy-drinking, low alcohol, and made for moments of refuge. Whether it’s an escape from the southern summer heat, or a moment of refreshment in a chaotic world, raise a glass to your story.
The centuries-old story of the India Pale Ale has many chapters, and Oren is our latest offering in that grand narrative. Oren arises from our Keeping Room “Hop Expeditions,” experiments in small batch hop and malt combinations. Refreshing & easy-drinking, Oren speaks to the story of craft beer that, for many, is defined by the IPA style.
Where’s the fruit?
Although Oren features prominent notes of citrus, the beer gets its flavor and aroma entirely from hop additions (no citrus!). Oren features two prominent American hop varieties cultivated in Washington state. Azacca and Mosaic are responsible for the notes of orange, grapefruit, and tangerine that many taste in a full glass of our newest year-round offering.
Azacca is named for the Haitian god of agriculture and is a hop big in citrus and tropical fruit tones with notes of mango, orange, and grapefruit (among others). Mosaic features a unique and complex aroma profile and is named in honor of the artistic assortment of aromas and flavors it is capable of presenting — such as blueberry, tangerine, and papaya.
The Mystery of Hops
Hops are a key component of beer, and in the India Pale Ale, they take center stage. And while their role in contributing bitterness to beer is well understood, the chemistry of aroma and flavor profiles is a bit of a mystery.
In short, we know what certain hops contribute to the finished product, but there is still a lot to be understood about the ‘why’ when it comes to aroma and flavor. This makes the brewing process a somewhat intuitive exercise improved by many hours of practice.
“The female flower of the hop plant (Humulus lupulus) has long been a friend to beer brewers around the world. Depending on the style of beer, hops can add balance to the finished product through bitterness, flavor, and aroma. […] but investigations into the chemistry and utilization of hop essential oils for beer flavor and aroma have, in general, failed to elucidate the complex processes involved.” [source]
Bitterness — Real & Perceived
If there is one measurement in craft beer that has gotten more undeserved buzz among IPAs, it’s the International Bitterness Unit.
A bitter beer is often (incorrectly) described as having higher IBUs, when in reality the complex interplay of malt, residual sugars, and the taster’s genetics — as well as exposure to bitterness on the palate — affect the way bitterness in beer is perceived.
“For all its recent use in the public sphere, where it sometimes even appears in craft beer advertising, the IBU is a laboratory construct that was never meant to leave the laboratory […] hop components, roast character, carbonation, water chemistry, and residual sugar, may exert such influence as to make the IBU an entirely unreliable indicator of actual perceived bitterness.” [source]
In the “nature vs. nurture” debate on bitterness, a 2014 study suggests that our perception of bitterness may be genetic, but that an appreciation for bitter can be learned. Oren offers up a low but balanced bitterness and clean crisp finish suited to a range of palates.