Free State Brewing Company - Copperhead Pale Ale
- ABV: 5.8%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 52
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Pint Glass or Mug
- Malts: Golden Promise, Pale, CaraFoam
- Hops: Zeus, Chinook, Cascade
One Friday evening, with a new and as-yet unnamed pale ale sitting in the tanks, brewmaster Steve Bradt went for a stroll through a nearby field, only to return with a couple puncture marks in his ankle. After a couple days in the hospital, he came back to work to find the new beer had been christened "Copperhead Pale Ale" in honor of his adventure. Appropriately named, this rich copper-amber beer presents beautifully in the glass with a sizeable head of persistent foam. On the nose, look for undertones of caramelized malts with significant notes of citrus zest, light pine, and some herbal spice. The brewers crafted this brew as a bit of an American/English Pale Ale hybrid: American in terms of hop intensity and character, but with a more robust balancing malt backbone than many other pale ales on this side of the pond. As such, look for that malt character to offer plenty of toasty caramel and good body, while the hop contribution adds plenty of bright citrus. Hop bitterness is pretty firm at 52 IBU, leading to a dry finish that lingers with a bit of a spicy, herbal note. This pale ale is very food-friendly, so feel free to experiment. We'd recommend roasted pork or chicken dishes (or other fowl, like game birds), or an array of pub cheeses like Cheddar, Cotswold, or Gloucester. Cheers!
Back in the 19th century, Kansas was host to as many as 113 breweries – until the state became the first to introduce alcohol prohibition into their constitution, wiping out the brewing culture that was so popular among the German immigrant population. It was the discovery of this history that inspired the brewing passion of Free State founder Chuck Magerl. It may also run in the blood; his grandfather brewed illegally during Prohibition, ending up in Leavenworth for a time. After studying brewing at UC Davis' top-notch brewing program, Chuck came back to Kansas where breweries were still prohibited. After successfully lobbying legislators in Topeka to change the laws, Chuck opened Free State in 1989, becoming the first (legal) brewery in the state since 1880.
Now, in 2018, Free State, which is still owned and helmed by Chuck Magerl, is one of a multitude of Kansas breweries that have opened in the intervening years, but they certainly remain among the best due in no small part to their excellent brewing staff. Current brewmaster, Steve Bradt, has been with the brewery since 1989, and brings a wealth of experience to bear in crafting Free State's delicious beer portfolio. He's judged at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup, and is a member of the Brewers Association's Board of Directors. Their Head of Downtown Brewing, Geoff Deman, is a Lawrence native who's been brewing at Free State since 2002, and also has GABF and WBC judging credits to his name, along with various awards.
In addition to providing their community with excellent beer, Free State supports their community with numerous events and charity fundraisers each year, including the annual 41-mile Brew to Brew Run in support of the fight against cystic fibrosis, which starts at Kansas City's Boulevard Brewing Company and ends at Free State in Lawrence, KS. To learn more about the brewery and their downtown Lawrence brewpub, call 'em up at 785-843-4555 or visit www.freestatebrewing.com.
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