Brewing up innovation

It’s not the first time it’s seen the light of day, but when was the last time you heard of an "India Pale Lager"?

Yeah, me neither—it’s a new one to me too, but according to our local Central Oregon weekly, Silver Moon Brewing produced Noble India Pale Lager as a summer draft seasonal.

Tyler and the boys over at Silver Moon, though, went in the other direction for their latest specialty beer, the Noble India Pale Lager (N.I.P.L., for short). The crew used 30-plus pounds of hops on this beer, which clocks in at 5.3 percent alcohol. But this isn’t your average, palate steamrolling IPA, in fact, as its name implies, it’s not IPA at all. Silver Moon brewed the beer with lager yeast, which imparts a clarity and crispness not found in IPA’s, making it an ideal summer beer for hop heads. It’s also a good compromise for drinkers who can’t fathom their contemporaries’ love of face scrunchingly bitter beers. The NIPL arrives a transparent golden amber with a pillowy head and goes down smooth with a lager’s signature crisp delivery. It has a definite hop bite, but none of the cottony aftertaste of a true IPA.

Stuff like this just strikes the beer geek chord—tweaking styles to come up with something unexpected. Like I said, this isn’t the first time an "IPL" has appeared—searching Google yields a bunch of hits, many homebrewing links but some commercial examples too (most recently from Ballast Point Brewing).

You just can’t beat Oregon for cool beer happenings. And with this and things that Deschutes and Bend Brewing have been doing lately—not to mention all the others we have now—Central Oregon is (say it again) fast becoming a premiere beer destination.

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