Friday, January 16, 2015

Tasting Notes: Riverwards IPA on tap from 2nd Story

Photo courtesy of @brewerwible.
A few weeks back 2nd Story Brewing held an event to celebrate the tapping of Riverwards IPA, for which I invited as many people as I possibly could. I wasn't really sure what to expect the night of the tapping, I will admit though I was a bit intimidated and nervous at first. Im not quite sure why, as it was mostly a group of friends, family, homebrew club members, and beer people, many of whom have had my beer before. But never had my beer been the main draw for bringing people out, both gratifying and intimidating all at once. I got over it quickly.

Chatting with people about the beer that night was a lot of fun, listening to what they liked, about it, or even what they didn't like. One comment from a friend stood out, he said "tastes like a lot of the hoppy beers you brew". Which I took as a compliment both because I know he enjoys those beers I brew and while this was commercially brewed it stood out as having my finger prints on it. Assuming people were telling me the truth of course, the beer was quite well received. I still find myself checking the Untapped page for the beer far too often but the comments there seem to reflect what I heard from most folks who have had it. 

It was interesting to see how it differed on a commercial scale as compared to the recipe brewed at home. John had mentioned that his culture of Conan could achieve a high AA% but I thought the wheat and oats would counteract that. The beer finished much more dry than I had planned at 1.007, which accentuated the bitterness a little more than I was expecting but ended up working out really well. I am very happy with how the beer turned out.

Riverwards IPA - on tap at 2nd Story Brewing Company

This glass was smashed to bits moments later, not by me.
Appearance: Cloudy with a thin white head, hazy straw yellow, pretty typical of a lot of the beers that I brew in both appearance and color.

Aroma: Tropical and aromatic, mango, orange, peach, grapefruit, very fruit forward. I don't pick up on much of the malt in the aroma, mostly Conan and the hops. Not there is much of a complex malt bill but you can pick out the oats in the aroma on HopWards.

Overall: It is lightly bitter upfront that gives way to a massive fruit juice character, silky smooth body and pungent hops on the middle of the tongue. It then finishes dry with a slight lingering bitterness that teeters on the edge of being too bitter before it suddenly falls off leaving you wanting more. Its a pretty great roller coaster ride of flavors and even at 6% ABV can be drank all night, Ive done so on numerous occasions. As of this posting, the beer is still on tap, but when its gone its gone.


  1. Congrats and I doubt this will be your last batched brewed commercially. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Jeff, cheers, and thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Ed, was it a commercially available Conan strain that you used? I'd like to play around with a variant that could attenuate that well. I haven't gotten anywhere close to that with ECY or GigaYeast.

    1. Yea, John gets Conan from BSI which does not sell to homebrewers. He has been getting high AA% ever since the first pitch with the culture, something I have struggled with in the past with the ECY culture. Have you tried The Yeast Bay Vermont Ale? I used it for 3 generations and the AA% went up with each generation, 72% to start then 78% by the 3rd pitch. I let that culture lapse a little too long though.