Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with William McGehee and Charles Caldwell, co-owners of Tin Roof Brewing Co, to discuss many of the recent changes at the brewery, as well as some exciting things planned for the future. There was certainly a lot to digest, most of which I will get to in another post in the near(ish) future.
But in a nutshell, there’s a new director of brewing operations in place, as well as several other key positions that are staffed with new to Tin Roof employees. There’s a ton of professional brewing experience that has come on board and there’s a new sense of teamwork and collaboration that’s helping to create new ideas and breathe life into some of the older beers.
With that said, one of the first things on the list was to rework Juke Joint IPA. The first batch of that reimagined Juke Joint was canned on Monday, and you can look for it by checking the bottom of the cans for a 10/17 date. In speaking with William and Charles, they emphasized that this is just the first batch, and not the finalized recipe. There are still some tweaks to be made. However, upon tasting it, it’s clear that this is a huge step in the right direction for them. The beer pours a much lighter shade of golden orange than its predecessor. The head faded a little quicker than I’m used to, and that’s one of the issues the guys said needed some tweaking. Immediately noticeable are the dank and pungent hops on the nose. The aroma is much more pronounced now, and certainly an improvement. The flavor of the beer itself is very grapefruit forward, and with a clean malt bill. Gone is the muddled graininess of the previous version. The hops linger a bit on the finish to let you know you’re drinking an IPA, but it’s not a bitter finish at all. The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be, neither too thin or too heavy. William said this batch finished just a touch above 6% ABV, so it’s a bit lighter than the 7% of the previous recipe. This version of Juke Joint IPA is certainly something I’m happy to drink now, as I had passed on it previously when seeing it in stores or on tap. And with some more tweaks in store to improve it even more, it should be a staple in my fridge. William commented that it was about 80% of to where they want it to be.
Gameday IPA is the fall seasonal, and the last batch of it has been brewed for this year. While you can expect a full revamp of it in 2017, the brewers at Tin Roof decided that they’d double the amount of dry hops in this batch. So any cans you find with a 10/19 canned on date will have twice as much Simcoe and Amarillo dry hops, meaning a much more robust hop aroma, which also translates to flavor. And sure enough, this batch does smell more like, well, an IPA. Personally, I still think the malt profile and hop schedule needs to be adjusted. While many people aren’t fans of session IPAs in general, I think the style certainly has its place, and there are many examples I enjoy. I’m fond of Founders All Day IPA, Oskar Blues Pinner IPA, and recently rediscovered Stone’s Go To IPA, which finally made it to our market in cans. Each of these session IPAs have bold hop aroma and flavor with simple grain bills that don’t get in the way. I’d like to see Gameday IPA’s grain bill simplified a bit so that the hops are the star of the show. The good news is that Tin Roof has about 9 months to work on that for next year’s release.
There are many, many more exciting things going on at Tin Roof. There will be other recipe redesigns and new beers in the offing. One of those is the release of Rougarou Imperial Black Ale (i.e. black IPA) at the brewery this Friday (October 21st). The recipe for this annual release has been cleaned up as well, and I’m excited to give it a taste. If you’re around Baton Rouge, go check out the release party, try some Rougarou, Juke Joint and Gameday, and don’t forget to get a bite of the best brisket in town from Barbosa’s Barbecue while you’re there, because it is legit!