(Every Thursday, MXSW reveals the story behind one of Arizona’s noteworthy craft beers.)
This week’s subject: Fate Double Oatmeal IPA
Double Oatmeal IPA is a double India Pale Ale (8.5% ABV) introduced by Fate Brewing Company in Scottsdale in January. The variation of its regular Double IPA is running neck and neck with American Pale Ale as Fate’s bestseller.
How did Double Oatmeal IPA get its start?
“We were just playing around,” Fate founder Steve McFate says. “That’s the beauty of doing something as small as we’re doing here. Seven barrels – 217 gallons – at a time gives us flexibility so we’re constantly messing around without huge financial risk. It’s not like it’s a 15- or 30-barrel batch.
“(Double Oatmeal IPA) has 120 IBUs, so it definitely has a significant hop profile to it. We add a flaked oat to it that really smooths it out. It’s about 15% off the grain bill roughly. It just smoothes out the mouthfeel and evens up the beer nicely.”
Had you experimented with oats before?
“With the traditional stouts, of course,” McFate says. “But it’s kinda neat to see some oat in beers that come across in lighter colors. Everyone hears, ‘It’s got some oatmeal in it,’ and expects a dark beer. Well, it’s not necessarily so. Oats are light until they’re toasted dark.”
“We did an American Pale version. It was similar to our American Pale Ale but again replacing about 15% of the grain bill. It’s unique in how it just smoothes it.”
What was the reaction to Double Oatmeal IPA?
“Double Oat shot over (regular Double IPA in popularity),” McFate says. “For some reason, it’s just garnered a lot more attention. Double IPA was probably our third-best seller overall in terms of beers we carry on a regular basis. Once we did the oat addition to it, it ramped up to neck and neck with the American Pale Ale. It’s hard to call which one is the better seller now. It’s so close.”
Do you still brew your regular Double IPA?
“We’ve pretty much stuck with this one for now,” McFate says. “We’ve done some other beers that have been doubles in an IPA-forward way, but in a completely different recipe. For example, our Double Anniversary beer – we call it a double pale ale, but it’s really in the realm of an IPA – that’s something we did for our first anniversary (last November) so we’ll bring that back again this fall.”
Do hop heads want ‘smoother’ double IPAs?
“It certainly can go both directions,” McFate says. “It’s funny because our American Pale Ale, which actually should be called a Strong American Pale Ale – it’s not strong in alcohol but it’s a 66-IBU pale so it’s definitely West Coast-style –that beer comes across much hoppier.
“So if someone comes in and says, ‘Give me your hoppiest beer,’ if I have both I’ll let them try them. And in many circumstances, people will roll over to the Strong American Pale because it’s got a lighter malt backbone and the hops come through with a little more of that punch in the nose they’re looking for.”
Why don’t you have names for your beers?
“We’re not terribly creative,” McFate says, laughing. “That’s the honest truth. We’re starting a couple names here and there. Our customers ended up naming our Candy Bar Milk Stout (a silver medalist at last year’s Great American Beer Festival). When we first put it out, we had several customers who said, ‘Man, this is just like a candy bar.’
“That comment just kept coming up. So when we were preparing for the GABF, we thought, ‘We should probably name this one.’ Beyond that, it’s just kinda fun to refer to something as what it is and just put the name Fate in front of it.”
What foods pair well with Double Oatmeal IPA?
“I’m my opinion, just about anything,” McFate says. “I think it’s a pretty versatile beer overall. I know that’s kind of a broad answer, but we’re a wood-fired pizza kitchen so it’s not like we’re doing a broad spectrum of choices. It’s pizzas and salads.”
So it’s only available at the brewpub?
“We are pretty much selling everything from our own taps at this point and barely keeping up,” McFate says. “But I also realize it’s important to get out and support the craft beer market, so every now and then Papago will have something on or Angels Trumpet or Flanny’s.
“Basically it’s only four or five kegs a month, but it’s a great way to get a tap handle out for us. People might start to recognize our name a little more.”
(Note: Due to its small brewing system and wide variety of beers, Fate regularly rotates its beers. It just ran out of its current batch of Double Oatmeal IPA, but the next batch will be tapped in August.)
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