Edit: This story was awarded 3rd place in the “Best Humor/Editorial” category at the 2015 North American Guild of Beer Writers (NAGBW) awards. This same year my book, Oregon Breweries, also earned bronze in the travel writing category.)
Larger breweries get to experiment with new flavors in IPAs all the time in the form of testing new hop varietals, such as Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Harvest series, which recently featured wild hops from New Mexico and ones with good potential from Idaho. An experimental recipe designed to get consumers to try the beer once has done its job after one festival-sized sample. I think the mark of a successful recipe is one that gets consumers to crave the beer and quaff it by the glassful, repeatedly. Neither the brewers nor the consumers want to stop having fun.
But at some point, it gets a bit…silly.