Social convention may have made cracking open a bottle of wine all but synonymous with Valentine’s Day, but this February 14 may see quite a few couples going a different route. Since their invention in a San Francisco brewpub in 2017, brut IPAs have been making a serious splash in the brewing world—and rightly so. With a clean, bone-dry flavor profile and an effervescent mouthfeel, brut IPAs can comfortably stand in for the more traditional glass of bubbly.
“Brut IPAs are taking the nation by storm as an emerging style in the IPA segment,” says David Graham, brand manager for Karbach Brewing Company. “For us, this is an opportunity to welcome people into the beer segment whose tastes might previously have taken them towards wine or spirits.”
Given the overwhelming success of brut IPAs, it only makes sense that breweries and cideries would seek to emulate another of the wine world’s ever-rising stars. Sales of rosé in the United States have continued to skyrocket, growing 60 percent from the summer of 2016 to 2017, and another 25 percent the following year.
Yet while a dry rosé can be delicious, it’s hard not to feel like these wines may be reaching a saturation point. The flurry of #yeswayrose Instagram posts and merch has left some drinkers seeking alternatives that still captures much of the allure of a crisp rosé without the basicness. That’s where brut rosé IPAs and rosé ciders come into the picture.
For us, one of the fun things is to see how people react when they taste it for the first time. They’re pretty floored by it.”
In December, Karbach debuted Daymaker, a brut rosé IPA stained a delicate shade of blush thanks to the addition of cranberries and hibiscus.
“For us, not only did cranberries offer the benefit of color, but we think it also gave it that slightly tart flavor like you would with fermented grapes,” Graham says. “For us, one of the fun things is to see how people react when they taste it for the first time. They’re pretty floored by it.”
Karbach’s Daymaker is just one of a number of rose-tinted beers seeking to quench the current thirst for brut IPAs. Last year also saw the release of Holy Mackerel Small Batch Beers’ The Weed Reaper Experiment X-tra Brut Rosé, Miner Brewing Company’s Rosé Fruit Brut IPA, and Breckenridge Brewery’s Mountain Getaway Brut Rosé IPA. All of these share an affinity for oysters, soft cheeses, and other edible aphrodisiacs one might more conventionally pair with a bottle of bubbly on V-Day.
“We released this right before the holidays and we saw a boost from folks who were looking for a Champagne-like drink for the New Year,” Graham says. “We’re definitely expecting couples to be cracking open cans of brut IPA on Valentine’s Day.”
Brut rosé IPAs aren’t the only rosés couples may be popping open. Hard ciders are a close cousin to wines and American cideries have been producing dry, rosé variations for a few years now. As with brut rosé IPAs, most of these attain their pinkish hue from cherry skins, hibiscus, or other natural additives.
“We love rosé cider and about four years ago we started doing small batches aged in French oak barrels aged on cherry skins,” says Michele McDonnell at Virtue Cider. “We love using botanicals, so our current rosé cider is made from apples sourced from local farmers aged in French oak and adding a blend of botanicals.”
While Virtue Cider has been offering its own brut and rosé options for years now, the growing interest in brut IPAs has definitely encouraged new customers to try to them for the first time.
“I love that people are doing brut IPAs,” McDonnell says. “As more people become familiar with the trend, more people understand what it means.”
In honor of the upcoming holiday, Virtue shared its new 12-packs of rosé with local florist friends.
“If they’re playing Cupid for everybody else, we’ll play Cupid for them. After they give other people a dozen roses, we’ll give them a dozen rosés,” McDonnell says. “We love the versatility of cider. A dozen rosés and some chocolates would be a perfect combination.”