We discussed various options and decided that we’d brew an Anglo take on an American IPA. Hard to believe I know, considering the landscape of the craft beer market and the dominance of the IPA in the US, but at that time I hadn’t really attempted to brew an American IPA so it seemed like the perfect fit for both parties. I say Anglo take on an American IPA because of the constraints of the brewhouse at Pratt Street (remember this was long before the move from the brewpub in the basement of the Pratt Street Ale House to our shiny new production facility on Shannon drive). We would be brewing in open fermentation with our Ringwood yeast strain as always but would be using all American hops (we chose Cascade & Chinook) for that all important American IPA hop profile. We scheduled the brew day for late April with a view to having a release party at Punk’s in mid May. Dave and his business partner, Sheila Laderberg, joined me for the brew day and a beer was born.

 

Punk’s ran a competition to name the beer through their Facebook page and the second we saw the submission of the name “Draft Punk” we knew that was it! Genius! We had intended to run the beer through the Spring and Summer but y’know, IPA’s are a thing apparently and it kept selling so we kept brewing it.

 

The recent move to our new facility has meant that we could refine “Draft Punk” and truly make it what it is supposed to be, an American IPA. We switched to California Ale yeast and are now able to ferment in a closed tank. We played with the hop ratio’s, particularly with regard to dry hopping (still using Cascade & Chinook) and, in my humble opinion, “Draft Punk” has been transformed from a good beer to a great beer.

 

It’s particularly galling therefore, but not necessarily surprising, that we’re going to have to change the name. A few other “Draft Punk” brews have popped up on the radar since we started brewing ours and those aren’t really the issue but a brewery of the size and stature of BrewDog with their Punk IPA is, and we have been politely asked to refrain from using the name “Draft Punk”. Sigh! I loved that name, but what’s a brewery to do, it’s not a fight we want to get in to and, as I said, it’s not a surprise in this day of age of inter-brewery litigation and cease and desists. Breweries have to protect their trade marks, it’s all part of the game. The bittersweet irony of it is that I own more of the BrewDog brewery than I do of Oliver Brewing Co. as I actually have shares in BrewDog via their “Equity For Punks” scheme! So we now have the unenviable task of coming up with a new name ahead of us. Trust me, it is easier designing a beer recipe than it is to name said beer and for it to be original, relevant and protectable. My first thought was “The New Wave” as a play on the transition from Punk to New Wave music (this beer has always been about Punk Rock, not Daft Punk, it’s just a happy coincidence that it touches these two bases) but of course it’s been done … a lot! The next few stabs at a name were, to be frank, crap and the latest is out for consideration, with accompanying trademark searches etc. Life used to be a lot simpler and cheaper when there weren’t trademark lawyers involved but it’s big business so the goalposts have moved. The upshot of it is, to coin that old phrase, Punk’s not dead! In this case it’s taking off it’s bondage pants and safety pin adorned t-shirt and searching through the closet for some new clothes. It’s what’s underneath that counts!

Here’s Dave McCabe preparing whole leaf Cascade and Chinook for the hop back on that first “Draft Punk” brew day. We’ve brewed a lot of “Draft Punk” since that day. Cheers.

Dave and hops