Most of us want what we can’t have… As a kids we were told to not play with our food or blow bubbles in our milkshakes.
Fast forward to “adulting” and we have dreams of eating special breakfasts on the weekend (maybe even in bed), drinking beer with every meal, and still blowing bubbles in our milkshakes. I say these are needs, not wants! Lets face it, these days, no one tells us otherwise. We blow bubbles when we want to, where we want to. Most of the time it just so happens we are injecting Co2 bubbles into our finished beer and not making a mess with our classic vanilla splashing all over our nice clothes. Mom told me not to get dirty today…
Come to think of it, blowing bubbles in our milkshakes seems to be a tradition, but… this is one tradition we don’t have the urge to break. Can we combine two of our favourite things? Milkshakes… Beer… Why choose when we don’t have to? The future is friendly, and the future is now. Not too long ago a new hybrid style was born. Not out of tradition, or history, but out of pure discovery and wonderment. The Milkshake IPA! Over the years, our new world IPA’s have become more hazy, more hoppy, less bitter, more fruity, floral with tones of vanilla, fruit, and sweetness. Well this style of IPA is definitely on the top of all those lists. Combining pectin, lactose sugar, a heavy hand of hops, wheat, oats and vanilla, breweries can manipulate a creamy, smooth and chewy body for the beer. Lactose doesn’t ferment with our brewers yeast and will stay in solution to allow for a creamy sweetness at the back end. Combined with vanilla and a wallop of fruity hops, you can mimic the sensation of a milkshake with the flavours of an IPA. Voila! Science and art combined yet again.
Since we’re a curious bunch, we teamed up with our good buddy Andy DiMatteo from Left Field Brewery and combined our love of tea and beer. We haven’t seen a latte style version of this, so we thought “Hey, can we combine tea, beer, and milkshakes?” Heck yes you can! Just like that, “Weekends for Breakfast” was born. A London Fog-style Milkshake IPA. Our brains went creamy, smooth and refreshing. Combining our love of tea and the curiosity for the unknown, we decided to head down the road of discovery. Adding tea to beer is no new thing for us, but combining a hoppy fruit bomb with a subtle tea note was harder than anticipated. Too much tea and the hops disappear and become astringent and lacking. Not enough, and it’s just another IPA. This is just the beginning of ideas to come at MERIT.
So as there isn’t much written on this style yet. I say we grab a blank page and a straw and start carving out traditions of our own. Get dirty, get messy, and blow a couple bubbles! After all, if you try, sometimes you get what you need; and everybody needs milkshakes.
– Aaron Spinney, MERIT Brewing Company