In 2015, the Brewers Association added a new category to the world’s largest annual brewing competition, the Great American Beer Festival. That style, “Session IPA,” comprises India pale ales coming in under 5% alcohol-by-volume. Societe Brewing was proud to take the first gold medal in that category with its “Really Small IPA,” The Coachman. Crafting a low-ABV IPA is very difficult. With less body and balancing alcohol, many come across as wimpy, watery or unappetizingly out of balance. It took a great deal of thought and tinkering to get ours just right, and it was an honor to be recognized on the industry’s largest stage for that accomplishment. And it was even more satisfying this weekend when The Coachman struck GABF gold in the Session IPA category again, cementing its status as the best beer of its style in the country.
Around here, we’re very selective about every ingredient that goes into our beer, but none so obsessively as when it comes to hops. We offer numerous IPAs, but each has its own distinct character thanks to the blends of hops that form the basis for their flavors and aromas. In 2014, our brewing team desired to learn as much as possible about the sensory aspects of individual hop varietals, so they developed a recipe for a single-hop IPA and began producing the beer on a continual basis, utilizing a different hop each time around. Dubbed The Bachelor for the way it played the (hop) field, that single-hop canvas has provided our brewers a crystal-clear interpretation of the 30 varietals that have rotated into its makeup. Detailed records of each hop’s assets (and even some of their shortcomings) have been kept from day one. That stockpile was an invaluable tool in 2017 when our brewers set out to construct a new, contemporary IPA called The Fiddler, which would fall in line with the storied likes of The Pupil, The Apprentice and The Coachman IPAs.