Excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about Aqua Jesus?
The holy union of Pressure Drop Brewing and Big Ditch Brewing first brought us Aqua Buddha, a 7.4% Double IPA, but now comes Aqua Jesus Triple IPA, a true savior for the hopheads at 11.9%, the strongest triple IPA that Western New York has ever seen. This second coming of hops will be available in cans starting today on the Pressure Drop loading dock at the Barrel Factory at noon. 4-packs will be available right off the canning line to ensure maximum freshness. $15.99 (plus tax and deposit), no limits. Draft will be available throughout the weekend as well.
The distinction of strongest IPA ever brewed in WNY belongs to Lafayette Brewing, whose Teddy’s Big Stick DIPA clocked in at 13.1%.
“I just said, fuck it, let’s make the biggest IPA that has ever been made in Buffalo,” Pressure Drop Head Brewer Karl Kolbe says. “This is one of the biggest IPAs that has ever been made here. It’s a whopper. This is a big ass beer. We’re just trying to make great beer and make it accessible.”
Make sure you get some Aqua Jesus in your life while you can, because Kolbe says that he is never going to brew this beer ever can, calling it a true one-off.
Aqua Jesus registers at 107 IBU and is brewed with Citra, Mosaic and Calypso hops. Be on the lookout for notes of sticky pineapple and tropical fruit with semi-sweet alcohol warmth and resin. Kolbe says that he and Big Ditch Head Brewer Corey Catalano were shooting for 11.7%, but ended up on 11.9% because of the sheer amount of hops they added during brewing.
“There’s a pound and a half of hops per barrel just in the kettle and we dry hopped it at a really aggressive rate as well. We did some quite substantial late additions of Calypso, Citra and Mosaic and then the dry hop is Calypso, Citra and Mosiac as well. The Mosaic brings out that skunky, earthy dankness and I think the Citra plays with that as well, maybe adding a little catty note. I can drink the hell out of this. I will say that most of the alcohol notes come off as a little sweet on this beer.”
Kolbe, a former brewer at San Diego hophaven Knee Deep, a brewery known for massively hopped beers, says that it took so long for Pressure Drop to release a Triple IPA because they are hard to market in this area.
“We love Big Ditch and they love us, so when it came time to brew this beer, we said why not brew a triple IPA? In the end, it’s about having fun, right? We’re just trying to push the envelope and brew something that no one has ever had before. Nobody in WNY has ever had an IPA over 11% this fresh. You’re literally going to be able to drink this beer when it’s two minutes old. The freshest beer is the best beer.”
But, as Kolbe himself says, you don’t necessarily have to drink Aqua Jesus fresh, though you really should, because you can cellar it. “If you took a can of this sat on it for 12 months, it might just taste like an amazing American barleywine. All the bright citrus aromatics are going to fade, but you’re going to get all of that boozy, alcohol and bitter coming through. We’re going to sit on some cans and see what happens.”
“I hope people dig this beer because when you’re doing something that’s as big as this, you’re kind of just hanging it all out there. I think Aqua Jesus is in the gray area between, ‘hey we made a 10% Triple IPA, this is really good’ and ‘this is so fucking big that it hurts your brain because there’s so much going on.’ And quite honestly, I want to hurt people’s brains. I don’t like it when people are comfortable. Comfortable is complacent and complacent is not creative.”
As for what’s next to come from the Pressure Drop – Big Ditch partnership, Kolbe says he wouldn’t mind doing another TIPA. “We’d like to learn from this beer and see where we can refine it and kick it up another notch.” Beyond that, Pressure Drop will be releasing a Salted Caramel Nut Roll White Stout with Rochester’s Swiftwater Brewing this fall.
For more information on the coming of Aqua Jesus, please visit https://www.facebook.com/events/2360997814174583/.
Brian Campbell is a co-founder/Brand Manager of the BNBA’s enthusiast arm, Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column for Step Out Buffalo. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague) and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).