With an expanding distribution footprint, Perrin Brewing Company turned its focus back home for a spring seasonal.
Grand Rapids, Michigan based Perrin is part of Oskar Blues Holding Co. and since joining the parent company in 2015, has added Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and soon New York to its distribution network. In March, though, they released a Michigan-only seasonal meant to show loyalty to its home: Michigan Cherry IPA.
“Our general idea was to really make a Michigan beer for Michigan people,” Perrin Brewer Conner Klopcic said. “Since we’ve gone out of state, we really wanted to make something for Michigan to stay only in Michigan. Michiganders love cherry and it’s a big part of our culture, so we decided to go with cherry.”
A fruited IPA is not unusual for Perrin, which has seen commercial success with its Grapefruit IPA and Blackberry IPA – both clock in more like session IPAs than true IPAs, with hop notes subdued by major fruit sweetness.
Made with Montmorency cherries from two different Traverse City, Michigan, orchards and Cascade hops from three Michigan farms, Klopcic said the Perrin team is set to support as many Michigan businesses as possible.
Despite what the Perrin brewers were hoping for, some will encounter a cough syrup familiarity.”
Each fruited IPA starts with a similar base recipe – the brewery then adjusts hop and malt types for the fruit nuances. With the Cherry IPA, Perrin brewers started with the Grapefruit IPA base and dosed pint glasses with varying degrees of a concentrate made from the sourced cherries.
Once the ideal ratio was found, the recipe was scaled up with a malt bill adjusted to match the sweeter cherry as opposed to the tart grapefruit. The resulting beer is sweet with obvious cherry aspects and a touch of citrusy hops. Despite what the Perrin brewers were hoping for, some will encounter a cough syrup familiarity.
“We’re very happy with it,” Klopcic said. “There were some skeptical people who don’t like cherry, but they ended up really happy with it too. Some people thought it’d be like Robitussin, but it’s nice, easy drinking and positive.”
The future of Cherry IPA is unknown, and could become an annual release, but Klopcic said it truly hasn’t been talked about. What is known is Perrin’s commitment to fruited IPAs as they’ve been a success in making the brewery a hit with general beer consumers and make great entry-level beers by making IPAs interesting to those who might otherwise turn their cheek at them.
Perrin’s IPAs, including Grapefruit, Blackberry and the Problems line, have fueled the growth to 23,500 barrels in 2016, a 60% increase over 2015.
“There’s no specific reason [we do so many fruited IPAs] but Grapefruit has gone extremely well since we launched it four years ago,” Klopcic said. “It was something someone thought of and they’ve turned out well and the public have attached to those."