SweetWater Brewing Company - 420 Strain G13 IPA
- ABV: 6.0%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 48
- Serving Temperature: 45-50º F
- Suggested Glassware: IPA Glass, Tulip, Pint Glass
- Malts: 2-Row, Wheat
- Hops: Simcoe, Columbus
If you haven’t noticed yet, SweetWater Brewing Company has embraced a certain theme, and while not all of their beers are overtly cannabis-inspired, this one most certainly is. In fact, the brewers have chosen to brew with specific hops and natural botanically-sourced terpenes in order to mimic the aroma of a cannabis strain known as G13. It should be noted that the Cannabis and Humulus (hops) genera are both in the same “Cannabaceae” family and share many of the same terpenes (aromatic compounds) like myrcene, humulene, and limonene, so many hop-forward beers – particularly some American-style IPAs – can provide a cannabinoid impression. Those of us who love resinous, herbal, and zesty IPAs are in for a treat.
420 Strain G13 presents a bright golden color, lightly hazy, with a big head of light bone-colored foam which leaves nice lacing as we drink this down. On the nose, we get a resinous herbal and earthy quality joined by plenty of citrus zest tending toward grapefruit. Swirl it a bit, and we pick up some floral and light tropical notes, and a shot of pine. The story continues in the flavor as the dankly herbal and citric qualities take center stage. Look for the malts to offer enough support to hold up the extroverted hop flavors without overdoing it, providing a satisfying core of lightly toasty cracker. Hop bitterness comes through plenty firm, well tuned to offer plenty of bite to the resinous character. For pairing options, spicy Thai dishes featuring Thai basil and chiles spring to mind; along with margherita flatbread; double pepperoni pizza; or angel hair pasta with lots of garlic, basil, fresh tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Cheers!
SweetWater founders Freddy Bensch and Kevin McNerney met as roommates at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They quickly realized that they had more of an affinity for beer than books, and began dreaming of starting a microbrewery. After graduating, they headed off to California to attend brewing school at UC Davis, after which the two friends honed their craft by working for a number of breweries on the West Coast. In 1996, Freddy visited Atlanta and decided that the town was in dire need of a quality microbrewery. With the help of family and friends, Freddy and Kevin amassed enough capital to get their dream off the ground.
SweetWater Brewing Company (named after a local creek on which Freddy liked to kayak) opened for business in 1997, and after driving all over the city in an old van, Freddy and Kevin managed to line up a few bars interested in their new West Coast style beers. Their beers were a hit, and in the 1998 World Beer Cup, SweetWater walked away with the second highest number of medals. Then in 2002, they were named Small Brewery of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival.
After several years of strong growth, the brewery was relocated in 2004 from its original location on Atlanta’s west side to a larger facility near Ansley Park in mid-town Atlanta. But, within just a few short years demand increased to the point that the brewhouse was in near continuous operation – 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year – necessitating a major expansion in 2012. The new features included Atlanta’s largest privately owned solar array, capable of generating 157 KwH of clean electricity, as well as top-of-the-line computerized brewing equipment that allows SweetWater to slow down the human side of the brewing process to increase quality control, while simultaneously increasing their overall output. In 2016, SweetWater launched their "Woodlands Project" in an adjacent building, which is focused on their barrel-aging program and small batches of sour, funky, and experimental beers. For more information about the brewery and their taproom, visit them at www.sweetwaterbrew.com.
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