There seems to be all sorts of drama these days in the craft beer world about contract brewing—that is, the practice of brewing beer at a brewery that isn’t yours. Recently, Doan’s and Postmark were acquired by Craft Collective Beerworks, which will be brewing their packaged product from now on. Some people in the craft beer industry don’t like this and think these beers should have a higher mark-up (AKA tax).
I’ve written about the subject ad nauseum, but at the end of the day, personally, I don’t care. If the beer is brewed in B.C. by B.C. brewers, and—most importantly—it’s good, then power to you, you’re going to get my money. I could care less who actually owns the brewing equipment. I get the feeling a lot of consumers feel the same way.
The acrimony is perplexing, though, since contract brewing accounts for less than one per cent of the craft beer market. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me that some craft brewers are so hung up on these piddly little crumbs when there’s this massive pie representing 78 per cent of the beer market that’s still drinking macro garbage that’s far more worthy of their attention.
For a lot of up-and-coming brewers, though, contract brewing your beer is a great way to get your brand out there and attract some investment so you can eventually open up your own brewery. Breweries are expensive, and not everyone has a rich relative to bankroll their beer dreams—so they need to get creative.
Case in point, Superflux. These guys are absolutely killing it in the $20-four-pack IPA game right now (which I can’t believe is actually a thing). Their beers are delicious and super approachable, their branding is on point, and their stuff is just hard enough to find that they have the public clamouring whenever a new release comes out.
Superflux started out as Machine Ales under the Callister Brewing umbrella (which is really just a contract brewery with a co-op model), and has since bounced around, contract brewing at a number of local breweries until it landed at Strathcona. Currently, Superflux has plans to open a brewery in North Vancouver, and I, for one, can’t wait to see that happen.
No one slags Superflux when the topic of contract brewing comes up, though, because it’s awesome. The latest installment of the Double Infinity DIPA is a perfect example why.
This is a goddamn fruit salad of a beer, with notes of everything from passion fruit to peach to berries to melon in there. There’s a bit of sweetness that helps those fruit flavours blossom, and just enough hop bitterness to keep the finish from lingering. This single-hopped fruit bomb owes it all to the mighty Eureka! hop (yes, the exclamation mark is part of its branding), a US-developed hop that’s fruity enough to hang with the cool kids from Australia, like Galaxy and Vic Secret.
Lots of booze, too. These babies are 8%, and if they weren’t, like, $5 a can, you could easily suck down a half dozen before you realized it, and end up on your ass (a phenomenon I like to call “Fat Tug Syndrome”).
Double Infinity (Eureka!) by Superflux Brewing (8% ABV)
Appearance: Hazy deep gold/amber with a sturdy white head.
Aroma: Pineapple, passion fruit, citrus, peach, melon, bubblegum.
Flavour: Passion fruit, pineapple, peach, apricot, berry, melon, tropical fruit, mandarin orange, tangerine, slight alcoholic warmth, big hop flavour with low hop bitterness, slightly sweet with a faint bready malt note.
Body: Medium to full-bodied with a semi-dry finish and some boozy warmth.
Pairs with: Grilled lamb, carrot cake, scurvy and fake Ray-Ban sunglasses.