About 25 miles south of San Francisco, a brewery set in a sleepy coastal town creates beers that contend with the biggest producers in the craft beer industry.
El Granada’s Hop Dogma Brewing Company took home the gold medal at the Best of Craft Brewing Awards for its imperial stout, Fides in Fermento, beating out craft beer giants Holy City Brewing and Stone Brewing in the imperial stout category. The competition took place in Bend, Oregon on January 24 and featured 49 beer style categories for competing breweries.
At 10.3 percent alcohol and 80 IBUs, Fides in Fermento – Latin for “faith in fermentation” – crosses multiple flavor and textural plateaus; dry and roasty, with chocolate and hoppy textures. These balance each other into an extremely drinkable beer of high gravity – or in other terms, a beer of higher alcohol content.
Creating an imperial stout more drinkable and drier in flavor than most was part of the beers inception. “Many imperials today are very sweet and almost syrupy due to the nature of the roasted malts used in the brewing process and high gravities associated with this style,” said co-owner Dan Littlefield. “We wanted to make an imperial stout that was different.”
The recipe primarily uses 6-row as the primary malt. Littlefield credits its enzymatic qualities in drying out “the often stubborn roasted malts.”
“We also mashed at a low temperature and batch sparged,” said Littlefield. “My good friend, and accomplished home-brewer, Devin Macaulay took part in this brew session and made some great suggestions with the water profile and also yeast selection.”
Low temperature mashing creates a light bodied beer, while the batch sparging method contributes to dry flavored beers.
Currently only on draft and with one keg left of Fides in-house, Hop Dogma plans to brew another batch to be released around late March or early April. The brewery also has plans to age a batch in bourbon barrels.
According to Littlefield, the brewery decided to contract brew the recipe out for Fides in Fermento, with the intention to expand its tap availability throughout different bars and into bottle form. The brewery also plans to feature the beer at the San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala on February 6.