Thus begins the 5th in our series of 6 write-ups on BEER and its happy home here in the pubs, restaurants, living rooms and backyards of the Sunshine Coast.
A Bit of Background
“India Pale Ale” or IPA as it’s typically known got it’s start in 18th Century London with the East India Company. Started in the 1600’s, they were based on the Thames and dominated the trading route between England and the East Indies.
The common story is that “IPA” was created in part because India was too warm for the production method of beer at that time but also that IPA was a recipe specifically for that market. In fact it was a seasonal “October beer”; strong, hoppy bitter with the addition of some pale malt which was exported. Originally intended to be cellared for two years to develop in cask, it was discovered that the journey sped up the process through fluctuations in temperature and the agitation of travel by ship. 6 months at sea sped up the process substantially. Known as East India Ale or East India Pale Ale, it wasn’t until the 1840’s that the term “IPA” fully took hold.
The popularity of IPA continued until the beginning of World War 1 when higher taxes were levied based on alcohol levels. As the norm for IPA’s was 6-6.5% ABV, production dried up in favour of beers with alcohol levels below 5%. Lower ABV beers are still common in the UK to this date. It’s said the first reappearance of an IPA was with Anchor Brewing Co with their “Liberty Ale in San Francisco in 1975.
As per All About Beer Magazine:
Pale ale and IPA introduced North Americans to Northwestern “C-hops”—Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Chinook, varieties prominently featured in early versions. For complexity, classic European hops were also used, fitting in rather nicely.
The color is deep gold to full copper. Caramel malt, when used, is faint to prominent. Attenuation is high to medium, and 6-7.5 percent ABV brackets the vast majority of IPA. A feature of American IPA is the fairly neutral footprint of the yeast, but many brewers prefer to combine estery British strains with their aromatic concoctions, or make outright English versions altogether. Clearly, there is significant breadth to IPA.
This brings us to the hops, the very soul of IPA. Brewers can select for citrus, tropical fruit, minty, herbal, floral, spicy, evergreen, woody or earthy notes, and any combination thereof. IPA may have a clean to rugged hop profile, resinously dank to clean and crisp. Sublime, complex hoppy aromatics have replaced IBUs as the calling card of IPA. IBU ratings of 60 to 70 strike the perfect balance. The potential hop schedules and profiles are limitless. IPA is meant to be consumed fresh, before aromatics dissipate, quite unlike their aged ancestors.
Prior to the craze for hoppy ales of the last 15 or so years, the first IPA I became aware of was Keith’s. At the time I found little to discern it flavour or style wise from a lager, or a basic ale. Most were pretty interchangeable at the time. It wasn’t until I tried Vancouver’s Storm Brewing IPA at Vij’s old location that I had my first epiphany of what these beers were truly about. Floral, a bit bitter and superbly refreshing. Storm was my benchmark for quite a while but also because it was another year or two before the popularity for this style of Pale Ale really took off. According to the Brewers Association, IPA is now #3 in beer sales after lager and light lager and #1 in Craft Beer sales.
Tapworks Brewing “One Sailing Wait”
Tucked away on a quiet laneway in Lower Gibsons, Tapworks started in February of 2017 and quickly became a favourite haunt of locals (and visitors prior to the bug ). Owned by partners Geoff Gornal, Warren Gregory and Neil Bergman, the 3 earned the appreciation of the community partly through grasping what it is to be a “Coaster” and by opening a very cool venue. They named their beers after local landmarks such as “Keats” for the Island directly across from Gibsons Landing or witty, insider names like “One Sailing Wait IPA”, a snide reference to ferry travel between here and the mainland. It should be mentioned Tapworks has an absolutely killer patio with a view overlooking Howe Sound.
Coast Culinary reached out to Geoff Gornall when deciding to write this series explaining we wanted to do a summer beer and food pairing with a focus on local producers. Gornall very graciously agreed and when asked which of their beers would work best with Carnitas, “One Sailing Wait” was his immediate pick.
“The acid (ie. citrusiness) would stand up well to the spice of carnitas in addition to the over-ripe pineapple notes complementing the flavour.”
He also filled me in that they use Cascade, Mosaic and Centennial hops in their IPA and make it in a more modern, “West Coast” style. Other tasting notes as per their site are “lemon peel and grapefruit” . 6.9 ABV with an IBU of 54. That number puts it at the lower to medium level of hoppiness.
As adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit
This is an extremely easy dish to prepare. The original recipe called for using a light lager but I think using the beer you intend to serve it with just makes sense. Essentially you can use the meat to fill tacos or with a salad or over rice. Or a mixture of all. Carnitas are versatile. Add, chopped chilis, slices of radishes or pickled radishes, chopped onions, cilantro, lime juice, queso fresco and possibly a few drops of hot sauce and you have some outstanding backyard dining.
- 2 dried New Mexico or guajillo chiles (IGA stocks these if you’re a Sunshine Coast reader)
- 4 pounds skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 2-inch pieces
- 12 ounces “One Sailing Wait”
- 4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- Toast chiles in a dry large heavy pot over medium heat until slightly puffed and lightly darkened on both sides, about 2 minutes. Remove from pot; let cool. Stem chiles and halve lengthwise; discard seeds.
- Bring chiles, pork, beer, garlic, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in same pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, 60-80 minutes.
- Uncover pork; simmer until liquid evaporates and pork begins to brown, 20-25 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot, until pork is shredded and browned, 10-15 minutes.
- Add 1 cup water to pork; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot, for about 1 minute. DO AHEAD: Carnitas can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill. Reheat with 1/2 cup water in a covered pot, adding more water if needed to keep pork moist.