As most of you have come to know Champ Libre is a new brewery and distillery being helmed by none other than Alex Ganivet-Boileau, the ex head brewer over at Les Trois Mousquetaires. He did wonders at LTM, but hes doing even crazier drives at his own brewery. Recently he did a collab with the big NEIPA giants Boreale. It certainly caught me by surprise that a NEIPA style beer was not being brewed between the two, instead a newer style which is sweeping the craft beer scene. An IPA brewed with Kveik yeast. It’s been used for centuries in Norway for their farmhouse style ales and has now recently started a trend around the world. The idea behind this collab was two friends (Alex from Champ Libre and Gabriel from Boreale) coming together to bridge the gab between modern and traditional. Whilst it maintains the wonderful modern hip IPA style it also utilizes this age old Nordic yeast strain bringing the qualities and tastes of tradition into the mix.
For this beer they utilized fresh hand picked juniper and threw it directly into the brew process. Their decision to not over hop the beer was to allow the yeast its opportunity to shine through. The two hops used to compliment the yeast profile are Chinook and Citra.
To see newer styles being developed each year is exciting, because it keeps things entertaining and fresh in the craft beer world. Although some see it as trends, which yes I do agree can get annoying, I see it as keeping experimental brewing alive. The excitement with brewing certainly comes from the ability to experiment and test various ideas and ingredients. Not far different from the culinary exploration. I do agree however, when experiments turn into a world wide fad, it does get a bit old, but hey, that is the beauty of it, there are always new experiments that can be had!
IPA || ABV: 6.0% || IBU: –
The aroma has this fresh oceany wave kick to it, just like the freshness that hits you right in the face boldly as you enter a nordic spa. The taste has an aggressive attack coupled with a refreshing farmhouse backbone that engulfs the palate. This beer is not too overly fruity, and you can really get the qualities of the yeast strain coming out. This style of yeast also creates a very dry quality you mostly find in farmhouse ales. This yeast strain is predominantly used in farmhouse style ales so the dryness coming from this yeast has a origin to it, and although some may find it may kill the refreshing bitter nature of an IPA, I find it complimentary, because the yeast strain does lend way to fruity characters on its own which coupled with the bitterness from the hops adds a likeable quality.
You can define this beer as refreshing with a very bold aggressive attack, the qualities are all on the very far ends of the spectrum, just like when you go to a spa, your body doesn’t really know how to feel anymore. First you get a relaxing hot tub, then you are thrown into a severely cold shower, only to end up in a steamy sauna, and then thrown into a cold pool, and you end the cycle with the hot tub, because everyone likes a little hot tub in their lives. This beer acts the same way as the tug of war your body feels at the spa, its got bitterness, its got the fruitness from both the hops and the yeast, and the dryness from the yeast that all tug your palate and taste buds like a crazy dance, but in the end you are left satisfied and refreshed.
Words + Photography by Hopcitizen