The Brewery: 8-Bit Aleworks, Avondale
The Beer: Hopsassin's Creed Session IPA
Background: Located in Avondale, 8-Bit Aleworks is a craft microbrewery with a retro-gaming theme. The brewery, the first within the Avondale city limits, was founded by husband-and-wife team Ryan and Krystina Whitten, and opened last May as a production-style facility located in an industrial complex. The brewery focuses on creating craft beer in small batches and includes a 46-seat tasting room equipped with plenty to entertain guests while they drink — think NES, Super Nintendo, arcade cabinets (Gravitrex and X-Men), and tabletop games.
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Owner and brewer Ryan Whitten started brewing at home in 2004, and spent 11 years perfecting the craft on a small-scale system before opening 8-Bit Aleworks. During his research, he created a session IPA known as Hopsassin's Creed, which was the star of the show during our recent visit to the brewery.
Style: The word "session" is a craft beer term that essentially means "light." As most beer drinkers know, IPAs are all the rage. But with a typical IPA averaging around 5 percent ABV, you're pretty limited in how many you can consume in one sitting. A session IPA, on the other hand, offers all the hop goodness of a traditional IPA, but with a lighter alcohol presence that allows you to enjoy a few more.
Flavor: Hopsassin's Creed is made with three of the brewing industry's most sought-after hops: Columbus, Mosaic, and Chinook. Columbus hops produce grapefruit aromas and flavors, while Chinook hops provide a solid bitterness and a pine-like essence. The Mosaic hops provide fruity flavors reminiscent of tangerine and tropical fruit. This beer is a dark amber color with a long lasting head and bready malt flavors that hang in the background behind the flavors of the hops, which dominate.
IPAs, by design, are unbalanced beers, showcasing hops in all their glory. Session IPAs stretch this intentional imbalance even further with just enough malt in the background to the prevent the beer from tasting like hop tea. 8-Bit does a nice job of showcasing all three varieties of hops while also offering the appropriate amount of malt to make this a very drinkable, enjoyable beer. It drinks refreshingly while finishing crisp. And at 4.3 percent ABV, you can enjoy a few of these beers without forgetting what you're drinking.
8-Bit Brewing is open seven days a week and is located at 1050 North Fairway Drive, Building F, Suite 101 in Avondale. Check out the 8-Bit Aleworks website for more information.