Since I started writing about beer more than a decade ago, I’ve taken every opportunity to talk about the experience that showed me that beer was more than something you simply drink and enjoy. (Although, it’s also worth reminding yourself once in a while that it very much can – and should – be.)
When I tasted Odell IPA for the first time in the brewery’s taproom in Fort Collins, Colorado, in 2010, it crystallised a positive feeling I’ve carried with me ever since. It’s this that keeps me enthralled with beer and its culture. But how do you carry that feeling in the middle of a cost of living crisis?
At the moment, things are immensely difficult for the breweries, pubs and bottle shops we love. The cost of making and selling beer has skyrocketed, and it’s only through the support of us drinkers that many of these businesses will survive. But it’s important to hang on to the feeling that beer is worth celebrating, that one day the sun will shine on this industry again.
It might be a little naive, but I’m happy to own it. And that’s what I did when the top folks at Manchester’s Track asked to do a collaboration beer with my magazine, Pellicle. We wanted to make a beer that reminded us of the beers that made us excited about them in the first place. For me, there was only one sticky, resinous, citrus-laden IPA that came to mind.
While not a clone of Odell IPA, the use of Vienna and Crystal malts alongside the standard Pilsner malt base Track typically uses for its IPAs is a nod in its general direction. The idea in using them is that it will balance the beer’s massive 70 IBU and trick the brain into thinking this beer is sweet as well as bitter. The judicious use of Citra, Simcoe, Chinook and Centennial hops brings all of the pithy citrus that this god-tier beer style is known for – in this case manifesting as orange zest, grapefruit pith and tangy marmalade.
This beer aims to serve as a reminder of that feeling I experienced in the Odell taproom all those years ago: optimism. A feeling that, in these tumultuous times, is worth holding on to. Remember – Always Trust the Optimist.
Matthew Curtis is a writer, photographer and editor of Pellicle Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @totalcurtis and @pelliclemag. Sign up to our All Killer No Filler subscription box and you'll find incredible beers like this one every month, plus more great writing from Matthew and our food writer Claire Bullen.