Jackie O’s Brewery of Athens, Ohio, well known for it fantastic imperial stouts, barrel-aged and otherwise, has announced release dates for some of its most popular craft beers. In addition, the brewery has disclosed that its flagship IPA, Mystic Mama, has gone through another stage in its evolution.
In order to constantly improve and adjust to the ever-changing and adored IPA category, Mystic Mama has shifted slightly in the brewery’s never-ending quest to craft a better beer.
“The first incarnation of an IPA at Jackie O’s was Magic Mama IPA in 2007, said Brad Clark, Director of Brewing Operations. “Heavily inspired by Dogfish Head, I boiled this beer for 120 minutes adding a pound of hops every 10 minutes. This beer also had a portion of roasted barley and represented more of an India brown than pale. It must have been my infatuation with DFH in those early years. This beer was 7% abv, very hop forward, and quite bitter.”
Shortly after its inception, Mystic Mama died due to 2008’s worldwide hop shortage. Jackie O’s was quite literally wiped out of any citrus/pine/fruity hops to make IPAs, pale ales, or DIPAs. But the shortage lifted in 2009, and a new, more West Coast version of the IPA was reborn, having inspiration from Bear Republic’s Racer 5, Green Flash’s West Coast IPA, and Alpine’s Duet.
Then in 2012, Jackie O’s expanded its production in a new facility and got to work focusing on Mystic Mama as a flagship beer. Also at the time, Sean White (now co-owner of Little Fish) joined the brewery to run the Brewpub.
“[Sean] and I began working on the water profile, editing the malt bill and the hops,” said Clark. “Hopping additions were pushed further to the end of the boil after imbibing great hop bursting successes from Stone, Firestone Walker, and Alesmith. Mystic was finding its groove in what, at the time, was an extensive period of IPA exploration.”
The Mystic Mama you drink today, cans dated 03/29/17 and beyond, is something Jackie O’s is very excited and proud to produce. The IPA now spends 22 days in the fermentation/conditioning phase to make sure it is ready for market when released. Also, most of the yeast is removed prior to dry hopping, which allows for a much more focused flavor and aroma period that follows. To boot, they now dry hop with nearly double the amount of hops.
Among many other projects, Jackie O’s barrel aging and sour programs which have been developing since 2008, are now in full effect.
With expansion in 2015, they have dedicated a section of the brewery to handling only sour products. This has allowed them, as of late 2016, to release a new Belgian, Sour or Saison every two months. Ohio has started to see these both in 500ML bottles and on draft throughout the year, starting with Berliner Weisse and Gose.
Their barrel aging program has also had barrels of beer resting over the years, and starting in 2017, each month will see a new 375ML bottle and draft product. The barrel aging facility is currently around 800 barrels and growing.
Jackie O’s barrel room is growing, and so is the brewery’s regular offering of barrel-aged beers. In 2017, be on the look out for thirteen different barrel-aged concoctions, nine to be release between April and December.
Click here for Jakie O’s full 2017 release calendar.