To celebrate the third anniversary of Pangaea Two Brews Cafe, Sutter Buttes Brewing Company made an intensified version of their popular Franklin Double IPA. Franklin Junior is a limited-time engagement for the summer months, so if you are a self-styled hophead, you should hop down to Pangaea and try this marvelously complex beer while it lasts. I was most struck by its smooth drinkability, a quality I find lacking in many DIPAs brewed in the ongoing “arms race” to create hoppier and stronger beers. The hop character is incredible without being aggressive, and at approximately 10% alcohol by volume (ABV), this beer is deceptively strong. Of course, I wanted to know how brewer Peter Hoey created it, and he took a few minutes from pouring it last Saturday to fill me in on the details.
Franklin Junior is a very strong, very pale beer that is dry hopped three times during the fermentation and maturation process imparting a deep, citrus and fruity aroma from the use of American hops. Junior doesn’t get any colored malts while the DIPA does, and uses Pilsner malt (as opposed to Pale Ale malt) which is kilned to a lighter color, also in an effort to keep the color light. Keeping such a strong beer pale can be difficult, as once all the malt sugars are concentrated in the kettle at the level that will make a 10% ABV beer, often the color is copper without the addition of caramelized malts. It also gets about three times the hops as Franklin DIPA.
In response to Franklin’s popularity, Sutter Buttes will be concentrating on increasing its production in the Sacramento area. In the fall, keep an eye out for a new Scottish Wee Heavy.