Summit Brewing Company’s 18th Unchained Series, Hop Silo, has been available a little over a week now. It has met with a myriad of positive reviews. Hop Silo is a Double IPA that has the hop punch to satisfy even the biggest hop-head while remaining incredibly drinkable and smooth. I sat down with the man behind Hop Silo, Eric Harper, who had the responsibility of brewing up this fantastic brew. The atmosphere of the Summit beer hall complete with open windows and delicious beer acted as the perfect backdrop for this interview. Our chat was both informative and enjoyable as Eric is a very knowledgeable and down to earth brewer who likes to talk beer.
Eric has been with Summit for 6 years and New Glarus before that, so he has a great pedigree when it comes to brewing. Hop Silo is Eric’s third Unchained beer; the previous Unchained brews were Series #4 a Belgian Style Golden Ale and Series #11 Old 152, a Kentucky Common Ale. The seven brewers at Summit rotate who gets to brew the Unchained beers. Eric said that being able to have 100% control over the development of a beer that Summit makes is incredibly cool. He loves the fact that he gets the trust of the Brewmaster and Head Brewer to do something that he feels incredibly passionate about. Summit has never brewed a Double IPA before, but when Eric was out in the Yakima Hop valley, he discovered some hops that he felt he absolutely had to use and that was what put the wheels in motion.
Eric used Azacca, Zeus, Lemondrop and Cascade hops as well as a Beta Aroma Hop Extract. All these things work together to give Hop Silo a decent hop presence, but not to the point where it will overwhelm the palate. He wanted to maintain a balance between aroma and bitterness and I think that he does that because there is enough malt in this beer. When you drink Hop Silo, it doesn’t taste like it is 8.3% ABV, and that is why it is so drinkable. One reason why I am always a little wary of a Double IPA is that it can be so strong and so astringent, that it is hard to enjoy more than one without totally destroying my palate. Hop Silo did not destroy my palate and I even enjoyed another! The only negative about this beer is that it is a somewhat limited quantity. It released about 10 days ago and people are responding positively to Hop Silo. Summit brewed roughly 900 barrels of this beer (a barrel is 31.5 gallons) and is available in 16 oz. cans as well as on tap at many of the places in the Twin Cities.
As a local craft beer fan, I am so happy that Summit puts such trust in the capable hands of their brewers. Eric is incredibly passionate about beer and in talking to him, the pride that he has in this beer comes across genuinely and unabashed. His ear to ear grin about how happy he is that Hop Silo turned out so well speak volumes about what this opportunity means to him. Not many other breweries in this market do a series like this where they give over total control to every brewer to create something unique that may or may not be in their regular portfolio. Get out and try this wonderful beer while you can.