Back by popular demand, the Uraidla Brewery's 2019 West Coast IPA returns with a slightly tweaked recipe, but with its hop-forward, unfiltered glory intact.
The return of Wizard’s Wrath
After a successful initial release in spring 2018, Uraidla Brewery has brought back its West Coast IPA, Wizard’s Wrath, available now, in can and keg form, at the brewery’s adjacent hotel and at craft-beer-friendly venues around Adelaide.
The beer style is a favourite of head brewer Oscar Matthews, whose first official brewing gig was along the US West Coast, at Californian brewery SLO Brew.
“I learned to brew over in the States, so brewing that hop-forward IPA, Pale Ale style has been what I started making when I got into brewing, really, so it’s something that’s really stuck,” Oscar says.
“IPAs have always been really popular, and so have Pales, so we like to make different iterations of them.
“There’s so many hop varieties and combinations that we can play with on the brewing side of things, and it keeps it really interesting for all our drinkers.”
West Coast IPA is not known to be an overly prescriptive style, with traditional takes on the brew having a “pine and citrus-driven” flavour profile, “with a big resinous characteristic and quite bitter,” whereas contemporary versions fit a more tropical fruit profile. Generally, both new- and old-world versions are filtered clear.
Wizard’s Wrath sits in between the two ends of this spectrum but differs in Oscar’s preference for leaving beers unfiltered wherever possible, so as not to strip flavour out of the beer.
In its original recipe, Wizard’s Wrath made use of Citra, Mosaic and Idaho 7 hops to achieve its tropical-tinged resinous character, backed with a mild bitterness.
In this new iteration, Oscar has swapped out the highly in-demand Idaho 7 for Ekuanot, which has a similar flavour profile.
“[The cryo-hop process provides] a lot better extraction, because you lose a lot of the [hop] leaf matter, so you’re not getting as much of the earthy characteristics out of your hops,” Oscar says.
“You get a lot better efficiencies out of it, better utilisation of the hop, and I think that came through in the beer.
“What that’s done is it’s still got the super impactful hop profile, but it’s a lot smoother. It’s more rounded.”
Wizard’s Wrath sits at 6.9 per cent, making it hefty enough to suit drinking on chillier spring evenings in the Adelaide Hills, but with a light enough touch (and just enough bitterness) that it’ll slot easily into summer day-drinking schedules.
It’s the perfect answer to Adelaide’s current every-day-a-different-season climatic conditions.
Much of Uraidla’s current production schedule is gearing towards the (hopefully more consistent) coming warmer months, with Oscar playing around with a range of lagers to sit alongside the brewery’s core year-round Helles Lager.
In the works is a hop-forward lager, using New Zealand hops, for a fuller flavour profile, as well as a collaboration lager made with Bridge Road Brewers and scheduled for release in January, in time for the Tour Down Under to pass by the Uraidla Hotel.
“Bridge Road are very much into cycling. Ben [Kraus], their founder, is a mad mountain bike rider, and he comes out here every year for TDU, so it all just worked,” Oscar says.
“That’s going to be an Australian-hopped unfiltered lager. That’s going to be pretty fun.”
These lagers – including the most recent iteration of the Helles Lager, to be released soon – will be the first time Uraidla Brewery drinkers will taste the result of another collaboration – this time between the brewery and Parilla-based growers Longtrail Farms.
The two businesses worked to select a barley that would suit Oscar’s production, and then contracted New South Welsh maltster Voyager to malt it to spec.
“We ended up going for a more European variety of barley, and it’s malted in a pilsner-malt style, so very well-suited to our lager,” Oscar says.
“It’s turned out really nice, actually. It’s just super clean. It’s still in that more German pilsner-malt style, so very light in its flavour profile, a little bit of nuttiness as well.
“It’s something extra to play with, and it’s little bit of terroir. That single-origin concept is really cool.
“Being malted by Voyager, we can give them an idea of what characteristics we want to try to get out of the malt, and they can make tweaks through the malting process.”