It’s been quite an eventful year for Oregon-based 10 Barrel Brewing. The brewery was sold by Anheuser-Busch to Tilray Brands, its beers won three medals at the prestigious Great American Beer Festival and it recently cobbled together three flagship IPAs in a marketing initiative.
10 Barrel was one of eight beer and beverage brands acquired from Anheuser-Busch by Tilray, a cannabis and packaged goods company. The other brands were Widmer Brothers, Redhook Brewery, Square Mile Cider, Breckenridge Brewery, Blue Point Brewing, HiBall Energy and Shock Top Wheat.
The acquisition, according to Tilray, is expected to increase the company’s craft beer market share to 5% and make the company the fifth-largest craft beer brewer in the USA. 10 Barrel, founded in 2006 in Bend, Oregon, has two brewpubs in Bend and brewpubs in Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho.The brewery was awarded three medals in September in Denver at the Great American Beer Festival, the Oscars of the U.S. craft beer industry. Gold medals were won for Brilliant in the American Sour Ale category and Riviera in the German Sour Ale category. Cucumber Crush was awarded a silver medal in the Field Beer competition.
Last year at the Great American Beer Festival, 10 Barrel’s Gindulgence captured a gold medal in the Specialty Berliner-Style Weisse category, and Riviera won a bronze medal in the German Sour Ale competition.
10 Barrel also racked up awards at this year’s World Beer Cup, which hails itself as “the most prestigious beer competition in the world.” More than 2,300 breweries in 51 countries entered 10,213 beers in the competition.
Gindulgence, Cucumber Crush and BeeLoved (in the Honey Beer category) won gold medals, and Baywindow grabbed a silver medal in the German-Style Sour Ale competition.
In September, 10 Barrel unveiled a new marketing initiative, launching its HopBurst Family of beers. It consists of three flagship IPAs — Apocalypse IPA, Cloud Mentality and All Ways Down — and a new addition that will debut next year.
The four beers “are now uniquely amplified with hop bursting — a technique that involves dumping loads of hops into each batch at the end of the hop bursting process to enhance flavor and aroma,” 10 Barrel says.
Brian Hughes, the brewery’s marketing director, says it was time to refresh the image of the three beers.
“We were excited about the opportunity to rebrand three of our flagship IPAs, tying them together with some incredible custom artwork by Kyle Sauter,” Hughes says. “Apocalypse IPA is an icon in Oregon and has been our No. 1 IPA for a long time, and Cloud Mentality and All Ways Down are two of the fastest-growing IPAs in our portfolio. The IPA market is extremely competitive in the Pacific Northwest, and this rebrand represents a great opportunity to renew our focus on our most loved brands and the most popular IPA styles: West Coast, imperial and hazy.”
The IPAs are currently sold in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California. The company’s acquisition by Tilray could lead to sales in other states, Hughes says.
10 Barrel brewmaster Jimmy Seifrit admits that the hop bursting process used to brew the IPAs is not an innovative new technique but one that 10 Barrel “really believes in and help sets our beers apart.” Seifrit provides more details about each beer in the brewery’s HopBurst Family.
“The philosophy behind Cloud Mentality was to create a pillowy malt base that captures the pleasant fruitiness flavor of the hops,” he says. “The hopbursting technique of cooling the whirlpool to get under the isomerization threshold delivers flavor from the hops’ oils without overly extracting alpha acids and making the beer overly bitter.”
10 Barrel’s idea behind All Ways Down “was to create a super drinkable double IPA at 9% ABV,” Seifrit says. “The hopburst method helps amplify the hop character we are looking for but, at the same time, keeps it drinkable. It’s a high ABV beer with tons of hop flavor that drinks like a 6.5% IPA.”
Apocalypse IPA was brewed as a traditional West Coast IPA.
“We adapted this beer to be more within the times — more flavor, less bitterness,” Seifrit says. “The bitterness we deliver with Apocalypse is a softer pine bitterness. The bitterness is counterbalanced by a big hop of grapefruit and pine citrus. The hop presence has evolved to feature a more impactful aroma and flavor-forward character.”
10 Barrel’s three other flavorful beers that won medals in September at the Great American Beer Festival were joined by 20 other Oregon breweries’ beers that captured awards at the competition.
“Oregon and the Pacific Northwest are an epicenter of brewing innovation,” Hughes says. “10 Barrel is at the frontier of a movement to push craft beer into new realms, try new and exciting techniques that yield revelations in the community, create the best damn beer possible and have fun doing it. We’re proud to be part of such a powerful force in the American beer scene.”