Church for Brewers | Triptych Brewing
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When we started the podcast in 2014, we set a goal that we quickly realized. Get some of the best double IPAs from across the county and put them on a show. That became our fourth episode, one in which we pushed the limits of how much alcohol we could drink (that includes pre- and between-beer-break-drinking). Then in late 2016/early 2017 we could not contain our excitement over getting seven local New England-style Double IPAs (and one IPA) for our Chi NEIPA show. We didn’t think we’d ever be able to pull it off. Things have now changed and I’m beyond excited to be having Triptych’s Church for Brewers, a West Coast-style Double IPA.
Whereas back in 2017 a New England-style IPA in the local market rarely existed, today we are awash in them. Some breweries even make that a part of their business platform. They have completely replaced the West Coast (or “traditional”) IPA in some breweries. Now when I see one available, it’s immediately ordered.
As a result of the pandemic, I don’t get out much. Especially to a brewery two hours away. So my Triptych intake (and by proxy the podcast’s Triptych intake) has been reduced to near zero. Every once in a while some cans pop up in Chicago, but those happen infrequently. Seeing on their social media accounts all the beer they’re releasing really doesn’t help. What does help is when one I saw that I really wanted to try shows up in Chicago. That beer is Church for Brewers. (Full bias disclosure: I proposed to my wife using a Triptych beer. Sadly that was the last time I was at Triptych.)
Church for Brewers uses Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe and Cascade hops. Absolutely zero “hot” or “trendy” hops. Points! It pours a lovely orange to burnt gold color that I can see through! Points! Two fingers of head stays around for a bit, then settles down nicely to a half-finger layer. Basically, an old-school looking DIPA. Beautiful.
The aroma imparts no juiciness! Points! A sweet malt note complements the big pine and grass nose flavors. Tropical and citrus fruits dominate as well, featuring mango and pineapple. The combination of the sweet malt and the hop results in a sweet bread note, similar to a Hawai’ian roll. Smells like a classic West Coast hoppy beer, albeit with a little more of the fruit notes and less of the grass and pine.
Going into Church for Brewers I expected an IBU bomb, with a big bitterness finish and some lovely pine and grass notes complementing. I did not get that, but what I did get was delicious. Instead of a bitterness bomb at the end, it exists throughout, more akin to a rolling bitterness across the tongue. It never gets to be too much, staying in the West Coast IPA pocket without veering towards the hazy IPA style.
The malt backbone helps that out, balancing out that bitterness while providing a kiss of sweetness that lingers a bit after drinking. Grass and pine are there, but they’re not dominant and other notes shine as well. Under-ripe mango and peach show up, while a constant current of tropical and citrus fruit exist throughout the beer – similar to the bitterness. Some sweetness and bitterness stay behind on the tongue, but neither are abrasive. Both stay in balance and dare you to drink more.
While it’s not the hop bomb of some 3 Floyds’ beers, Church for Brewers definitely has the bitterness that West Coast IPA heads crave. A malt sweetness similar to a Sierra Nevada hoppy offering exists, and the two commingle well. The balance exhibited by Church for Brewers is exceptional, while that rolling bitterness is something I haven’t experienced in some time. Hazy IPA fans might like this, but if you’re looking for a West Coast IPA, grab a 4-pack of it now before it’s gone from shelves.
Triptych beers can be purchased for curbside pickup or local delivery in Savoy from their website. (Highly recommend going post-pandemic. Totally worth the trip.) Triptych will also sporadically drop at beer stores in the Chicagoland area, so keep your eyes on various social media feeds for that.