Ian Campbell-O'Neill was the assistant brewer at Pedal Haus Brewing of Tempe, and when he was killed in a motorcycle accident earlier this year, the Arizona brewing community lost a true talent and a good friend. In remembrance of Campbell-O'Neill, Pedal Haus has created a liquid tribute to him, which is now available on tap at the Tempe brewpub.
A collaborative effort between Pedal Haus and San Diego brewer Modern Times, rICON bears Ian's initials, with the preceding "r" serving as a reference to the somewhat unique use of rye in this beer.
Campbell-O'Neill visited Modern Times brewery just two weeks before his passing. "They gave Ian a private tour of the brewery. He was impressed with Modern Times and they were equally as impressed with Ian," explains Derek "Doc" Osborne, brewmaster of Pedal Haus Brewing. "It turns out that Ian enjoyed Modern Times' Aurora Red Rye IPA, so when the time came to create a fitting tribute, a rye IPA seemed to be a natural style option."
Modern Times head brewer Matt Sandoval took the lead with the tribute beer by creating the recipe. Though conversations about the recipe took place with Osborne, it was Sandoval who was the driving force behind the recipe, while Osborne took charge of brewing the beer in Tempe.
Sandoval specifically chose a London Ale strain of yeast that would retain the cloudy character of the beer, a New England-style IPA, which are known for their cloudy nature, limited bitterness, and explosive fruity hop flavor and aroma.
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rICON fits the New England-style description perfectly thanks to the use of Mosaic, Equinox, Eureka, Amarillo, and Idaho 7 hops. Idaho 7 is a new, experimental hop that is dominantly dank with a resiny pine essence that pushes its way to the forefront of the beer. The combination of hops provides a symphony of hop aroma, and a flavor that yields pine, citrus, and tropical fruit notes, along with a pleasant background note of subtle garlic and onion. Yet, at only 18 IBU, the beer does not have the overly bitter finish of a traditional IPA, but instead has a finish that is creamy and light.
The spicy addition of a 20 percent flaked rye malt produces a slightly sweet Italian bread-like character and also lightens the body somewhat to create a very drinkable, medium-bodied beer. The beer checks in at a solid 6.7 percent ABV yet drinks light and easy.
Whether or not you had the pleasure of knowing Ian Campbell-O'Neill, you can visit Pedal Haus to raise a pint in Ian's honor, and enjoy a unique, finely crafted New England-style IPA.
The Brewery: Pedal Haus Brewery
The Beer: rICON Rye IPA (6.7% ABV, 18 IBU)
The Backstory: A tribute to former Pedal Haus assistant brewer, Ian Campbell-O'Neill
Where to Drink it: Pedal Haus Brew Pub, 730 South Mill Avenue, Tempe