The snow has melted away, temperatures are warming, the sap is finished flowing from my maple trees, and that means that spring is on it’s way.
For me, this often means turning from stouts and porters, back to IPAs and double IPAs. Not that I don’t drink those styles during winter, but I am more likely to grab one in warmer weather. Upper Hand Brewery in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula agrees and has just announced the upcoming release of it’s newest specialty beer, Double Ringer, a double India pale ale (10 percent ABV).
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Meant to celebrate the spring thaw in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Double Ringer is the ninth beer to be released since Upper Hand opened its doors in November 2014, including four year-round offerings.
“You’ll find few places where spring is more vibrant than northern Michigan. With its intense aromas and flavors, Double Ringer will stir up your senses, just like the perfect spring day,” said Larry Bell, president and founder of Upper Hand Brewery and Bell’s Brewery Inc. (Upper Hand is a division of Bell’s).
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Brewed solely with Equinox hops, Double Ringer is robust and hop-forward. Offering a blend of pine and tropical fruit aromas, with a bit of malt backbone, this double IPA is a beer that should be enjoyed fresh. It is named for that elusive, perfect throw made while enjoying a friendly game of horseshoes in the backyard.
Upper Hand brews on a 20-barrel system and just recently added ten 100-barrel fermenters, which tripled their capacity to ferment and condition beer prior to packaging.
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Production Manager Sam Reese explains: “Brewing takes a day, but fermentation can take many weeks, so having excess space in our cellar allows us to make considerably more beer, but also take our time doing it. As breweries reach the upper thresholds of their cellar capacity, it can be tempting to cut corners by shortening tank residency — trimming a day off of the fermentation schedule, or a few days off of the conditioning schedule. Ultimately, rushing in this way influences the quality of the beer, and not generally for the better. Limited capacity can also inhibit a brewery’s ability to offer specialty releases, as they prioritize existing brands over new ones; doing so negatively impacts our ability to innovate. So even though we don’t expect to triple in size overnight, we still use this extra tank space to our advantage in the interim.”
I am thankful that Upper Hand Brewery is committed to quality and has taken the extra steps to ensure quality products coming from their brewery. As the weather continues to get warmer, my anticipation will continue to grow as I look forward to tasting Double Ringer.
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It will be available in limited quantities on draught and in bottles throughout the U.P. and Northern Wisconsin beginning in early April. Just in time for spring.