Posted on February 5th, 2018

Hopshifter: The Hops Control Our New IPA

Beer Release

There are three things you need to know about Hopshifter, Surly’s newest year-round beer:

  1. It’s a new IPA. From Surly. That should be enough, but we committed to three things in the first sentence.
  2. It’s crafted to reduce gluten.
  3. The next one you have may very well be different from this one.

Let’s address the last point first. Hopshifter started in our Beer Hall as a way for our brewers to tinker with experimental hop varieties. They’re often so new that they don’t have sweet names like Amarillo or Mosaic yet, just an alphanumeric code. They’d fill a tank, put it on draft, and keep drilling down. It was a Surly-wide learning process, from our brew team to the hop-hunting IPA lovers who visit our Beer Hall. We made a dozen versions of Hopshifter over the last year, dialing in what worked and eliminating what didn’t.  We’re now confident enough to send the new variations out into the world.

While the end result is now being distributed, the philosophy developed over these months remains the same: Once that tank is gone, it’s gone. The hops shift at will. Embrace the temporary.

The opening salvo is the experimental Bru-1 hop, along with Citra and Chinook. You’ll get pineapple, mango, and tropical aromatics to go with a light-bodied, moderately bitter brew. It’s the perfect introduction to this groundbreaking series of beers. If you have any questions on what Hopshifter variation you’re drinking, check the bottom of the can or the wrap. We bought a laser that etches the hop name(s) onto them. Lasers are cool.

If you’ve been to the Beer Hall, you know that we’ve had gluten-reduced beers on the menu for a while now. You can read the whole story here, but the nickel version is this: We use an enzyme called Brewer’s Clarex™ to eliminate haze in our beer. That haze consists of the proteins that trigger gluten sensitivities. Without it, you’re left with an approachable, gluten-reduced IPA that tastes like an actual IPA.

(Since we still brew with grain, we can’t call Hopshifter gluten-free, even if it meets the less-than-20-parts-per-million criteria. Hence, it’s gluten-reduced. Read the Hopshifter FAQs and the lab report on this batch.)

Other things worth knowing:

  • Hopshifter will be a can-only release. We can’t guarantee gluten-sensitive draft lines outside of the dedicated ones we have in our Beer Hall.
  • The malt bill is simple. Hops are the showcase.
  • 6% ABV.
  • Tanner put a secret monster on the can.
  • Enjoy this one. It won’t be around long. (On the off-chance that this one isn’t for you, again, it won’t be around long.)

Given the limited amount we’re brewing, Hopshifter’s footprint will also be smaller than our other core brands. You can find it in select Surly markets the week of February 5th.