A week after Next Fest II, I sat down at New Holland Brewing with the Next Creative brew masters—Rich Evenhouse, Scott Tanis and Aaron McCall— to talk beers and the inspiration behind our inaugural Next Fest brew: Tyrannosaurus Next. Here’s how our conversation went.
KJ: Why brew a beer for Next Fest?
ST: I mean, because it’s beer.
AM: I think there is something about beer that our office embraces as an important part of our culture. It brings people together.
RE: What I liked about us crafting a beer is that we were making something unique to us, and we made it from scratch. It’s like the creative process: we combined a recipe, idea, design, label and name all together to serve as a cultural representation of us and the people we work with.
KJ: Talk about the flavor profile. Why this beer?
ST: I think a lot of our team likes really citrusy IPA-type beers, but we also wanted something that would be pleasing to people whose palates don’t like the bitterness of a typical IPA. That made the Session IPA a great choice.
AM: Yeah, we wanted to brew something fun and delicious that everyone would enjoy without doing something expected, like an American lager. Even if you’re not an IPA person, a small-batch session is something that you are definitely going to take out for a spin.
KJ: Scott, as a homebrewer, talk to me about the details of this beer.
ST: Mostly, we stuck to the basics. But we also added quite a bit of Carapils in the grain bill, which creates a little more body in the beer. And we added a range of hops. Different hops have different flavor profiles. Some are only good for bitter-ing. Some are more targeted at aroma. Some are good at both. We tried to pick a lot of hops that contributed a lot of flavor and aroma—Citra, Mosaic, Motueka. Adding those hops toward the end of the boil and doing dry hops in the fermenter gave us the flavor punch we were looking for, while keeping the bitterness in check.
New Holland Pepperoni Pin Wheels arrive. Talking promptly ceases.
KJ: Ok, so Tyrannosaurus Next. Let’s talk about that name and the label it inspired.
AM: What drove the name was the team recognizing—“OH! That would be a dope label.” We kept it super playful, not a lot of rationale behind it.
But when it came to the label, I wanted it to fully embody all of our brand standards—it needed to be classic, but also just a little off (hence the cat). It’s cool to make someone ask “why?” when you create something. It made the beer an automatic conversation starter.
KJ: If Next Creative were a beer, what kind of beer would Next be?
ST: I was thinking maybe we would be a barrel-aged beer. When a beer goes into a barrel, it takes time to develop, and then it matures into something greater. That feels true to who we are—this last year our team has continued growing and maturing. We’re better than we were before and it shows.
AM: I think we would be a darker brew. Delicious, but not for everybody. We would be a beer that you seek out because you have a taste for it.
RE: I agree. When I think of a beer that has a lot of appeal to a lot of people but not necessarily all people, I think of Founder’s Red’s Rye. That is my go-to beer. It’s a great middle beer that can take you wherever you want to go next. That’s who our team is as well.
KJ: So, is there going to be a Next beer next year?
AM: This year we did a great job of figuring out what we wanted to make and then executing it. It would be fun to do it again…but if we do, I would say we really need to mix it up and do something completely different.
And now, you’ve got the story. To those of you who joined us at Next Fest, it was awesome getting to chat. To the rest of you, we hope to see you there next year. Trust us, we’re already brewing on party ideas.