The lowdown on local breweries’ flagship beers.
By Nicole Danna
While most South Florida beer lovers know Civil Society Brewing for its IPAs, according to the brewery’s co-founder, Karl Volstad, it was never intended to be a hop head’s paradise.
“When [Evan and I] first opened, it just happened that we were hop-heavy from a draft board perspective,” Volstad said. “Fresh was right up there with our other best-sellers, including our blonde ale, Blondes Make Me Hoppy, a saison, and our brown ale.”
Still, over the years, nothing has been quite as fresh as — well — Fresh.
So what is it that makes Civil Society’s flagship IPA so popular? According to Volstad, “fresh” is the perfect word to describe one of his first homebrew IPA recipes.
Fresh currently represents the longest relationship the brewer has with any of the recipes from those early homebrew days. The first iteration of Fresh appeared in 2007 when, alongside Civil Society co-founder Evan Miller, the duo first began tinkering with IPAs using different hops and grain profiles.
“A lot of what makes Fresh unique is thanks to the way the hops present themselves,” Volstad said. “We’re not trying to extract enzymes that give you bitterness, but instead more of that fruity characteristic.”
When consumed fresh, this hazy IPA is as good as it gets. The beer is easily quaffed at 55 IBUs and a 6.2% ABV. And thanks to its juicy, tropical fruit-spiked profile, it makes sense why Fresh is considered Civil Society’s flagship brew.
A combination of Citra and Columbus hops, Fresh pours a hazy yellow-orange. The first thing to hit you is the fruity-heavy aroma imparting hints of orange, pineapple, and mango. As you drink, patches of sticky lace cling to the side of the glass.
Once you get past that massive stack of creamy white foam, you’ll find the palate bursts with zingy, citrusy, grapefruit tones. A doughy bread mouthfeel rounds everything out, finishing with a hint of piney hop resin.
“Today, it’s the beer we’ve dialed in the most,” Volstad said. “It outsells everything, three-to-one.”
And because it’s remained one of Civil Society’s most popular IPAs to-date, it’s also one they’ve experimented with the most.
The brewers regularly do experimental offshoots of the Fresh recipe using various hops. The only consistency aside from the basic grain build is the use of Citra hops. So far, there have been just under a dozen variations of Fresh using everything from Comet and Hallertau Blanc to Cashmere and Vic Secret.
“That brand of fresh has been super fun to work, and now people know us for it. Customers love being able to try the variations of hop,” Volstad sad. “It helps so people can see how different hops present themselves and really be able to understand what they like when it comes to different hop flavors.”
And while you might miss a one-off here and there, rest assured the real deal Fresh is always on draft — or available in cans to-go — at both the brewery’s Jupiter and West Palm Beach locations.