This month, Saint Arnold Brewing Company has announced two new, limited release beers available now, including a twist on a classic. One is a timely locavore twist on the Elissa IPA.
Brewer Colin Klingemann attended a farmers market at Saint Arnold, where he met John Elkins of Polk Sharp Farm, who had brought a batch of freshly picked, still-wet hops. Elkins introduced himself, explaining he was growing his own hops—Cascade, Centennial and Zeus varieties—on his family’s farm and that, to his knowledge, he was the only farmer in Texas to do so. Klingemann liked the idea of being the first brewer in Houston to use locally grown hops in a specialty beer. They made arrangements to harvest the batch, and Klingemann and three other employees headed to Elkins’ farm on Friday, August 25—just before Hurricane Harvey was expected to make landfall in Houston.
They harvested as many hops as they could before they had to head back to the brewery and to safety. The Cascade hops were added to a batch of Elissa IPA, which is now ready to drink. The specialty batch of Fresh Hop Elissa IPA is described as having more rich fruit flavors, with apricot and other stone fruits on the nose, and candied fruit and dried fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry on the finish. It’s a completely unfiltered beer, so it has a soft, hazy appearance.
"This was a really different experience for me," said Klingemann. "I haven't really worked with hops that are still growing, and it was really cool to be involved in that part of the agriculture." Fresh Hop Elissa IPA has proved so popular, it's run out at the Saint Arnold taproom but is available at other select venues in the Houston area.
This story could easily end there, but there's also a new member in the Icon series, this year’s Icon Red—a Märzen in the style of the old Bavarian Oktoberfest beers. The Märzen, named after the German word for "March," was traditionally brewed in March with the idea that it could be stored and last until autumn. It’s brewed with 100 percent Munich malt and a Bavarian lager yeast, which results in a beer described as “a traditional lager with a pleasant, light toffee maltiness, and the perfect companion for fall beer festivities.”
"This is a version of Märzen style beer that I have always wanted to do," said Saint Arnold co-found Brock Wagner. "Our goal was to create depth and complexity in this beer which has a very simple recipe." The new Icon Red is available now.