Ale Asylum - Off Switch
- ABV: 8.8%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 76
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Tulip or Pint Glass
- Malts: 2-Row
- Hops: Skyrocket
This Double IPA from Ale Asylum was first conceived as an experimental pilot batch (#013, to be exact) offered to visitors to their taproom. It was such a hit that it has been elevated to full-fledged seasonal release. It's also worth noting that its a single-hop brew, crafted with a hop called Skyrocket, grown locally by Wisconsin's Gorst Valley Hops and available exclusively to Ale Asylum. Skyrocket is, essentially, a clone of Chinook, but when grown in Wisconsin it loses most of its piney nature, and develops a ton more tropical fruit. The idea of a hop changing based on its growing area is a phenomenon we've seen before, such as with the difference between Hallertau grown in Bavaria or Fuggle grown in the UK versus the same varieties grown in the US. Or Cascade grown in Washington versus Cascade grown in New Zealand, which is different enough to be called Taiheke. There's an obvious parallel with the wine world, as well; the function of terroir on a grape varietal can give it very different personalities depending on the region it is grown in.
Off Switch pours a gleaming copper hue with a cap of foam that leaves plenty of lace as it drops to a persistent collar. On the nose, look for lush citrus notes akin to orange and tangerine, along with a tropical fruit impression tending towards passion fruit, and a touch of berry. On the palate, this DIPA is densely packed with flavor. There's a very robust backbone of pale malt providing the core structure to hold up all the hops and their citrus and tropical flavors. There's also a bit of residual sweetness to provide a counterpoint to the hop bitterness, which comes through firm but not stratospheric for the style, and the 8.8% ABV, which is well-hidden, contributing a bit of a spicy-fruity note, but mostly lurking in the shadows—don't be caught off guard! For pairing options, we'd go with something rich with a fruity aspect, such as Chinese barbecue pork, a spicy sweet & sour chicken, or even duck à l'orange. Cheers!
Madison, Wisconsin's Ale Asylum got its start back in 2006 when partners Dean Coffey, Otto Dilba, and Otto's wife, Hathaway, began brewing in a small industrial park location. Dean and Otto met while working together at the now closed Angelic brewpub in downtown Madison. Dean dreamt of being able to brew on a larger scale than what the brewpub could offer, and to bottle his beer and sell it at retail. Dean was ready to build a business and use his marketing skills to grow it. When Angelic decided to quit brewing to focus solely on being a bar, the time was right—Ale Asylum was founded, using Angelic's cast-off brewing system.
Fast forward to 2012. Ale Asylum had grown too big for their small 8,000 sq. ft. facility, so they built a brand new 45,000 sq. ft. brewery on a 4.5-acre plot of land that provides them plenty of room to expand in the future. Their old 13-barrel brewing system was replaced by a 33-barrel system, and a much larger bottling line was purchased from Atlanta's SweetWater Brewing Company that enables them to produce up to 277 bottles per minute, as opposed to the old line's 70. In addition, visitors to the brewery can enjoy a variety of brews and pub-style food in Ale Asylum's large Tasting Room and outdoor patio. In December of 2014, Ale Asylum, in partnership with restaurateur Tim Thompson, opened the Ale Asylum Riverhouse in downtown Milwaukee, so now "inmates" (as the Ale Asylum team likes to call their fans) in Wisconsin's largest city and beer haven have an Asylum all their own. The brewery currently produces seven core beers plus around two dozen rotating seasonals and limited-run beers. For more info, call 608-663-3926 or visit aleasylum.com.
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