To get notified when Needle in a Hopstack hits taps near you, follow it here.
Update: here's a list of the places that will be tapping Needle In A Hop Stack
When they started BeerMenus back in 2008, our co-founders Will and Eric had a simple goal: they wanted to be able to find their favorite beers whenever they wanted. But while the goal is simple, the execution is not—there are so many places selling so many beers. Getting every beer seller to keep an updated list is, simply, impossible.
In the context of Will and Eric's goal, the take home is straightforward: no matter how hard we work to make updating on BeerMenus easy, no matter how engrained real-time beer updates become in our maturing market, not every beer seller will update their beer list. No beer can be perfectly findable.
Enter Needle in a Hopstack, a beer we brewed with Rockaway Brewing Company. Because it will only show up at places who update their BeerMenus list in real time, it's the world's first-ever perfectly findable beer.
Here's how it came together.
Will has known Ray Girard, Rockaway's Head Brewer, since 2008, when they met at a Malted Barley Appreciation Society (a homebrew club) at Brooklyn's own Mug's Ale House.
The relationship has been meaningful since the very beginning: “Ray was one of the first people I met in the beer industry. I was always blown away by his wealth of knowledge on beer making,” Will told me. “He was always incredibly supportive in helping me get better at brewing.”
In addition to Ray, we're also pretty tight with Rockaway's Sales Manager, Arch Bernard, with whom several of us have spent some late nights, and we're getting to know Rockaway's newest brewer, Xavi, pretty darn well, too.
So, given this history, when it came time to make our dream—the perfectly findable beer—come to life, there was no question who we'd partner with.
Needle in a Hopstack is a 6.5% IPA. It's basically a scaled-up version of one of Will's favorite homebrew recipes. It's juicy, it's not bitter, it's hazy, and dry hopping plays a serious role in the final product. In other words, it's an East Coast IPA.
Now, we're fully aware that this style has waxed popular lately. We also know some folks now avoid the style because the secret's out—they're the “it's amazing so long as you have to drive to Vermont to get it, but now that it's available down the street, it's 'over'” crowd.
We all know a few folks like this, and to them we urge: relax! East Coast IPAs are popular because they taste good, and that doesn't make them a bad thing. And, honestly, they're what we at BeerMenus like to drink most. So, when tasked with creating the recipe for a 10-barrel batch of beer, it was always going to be a East Coast IPA.
So let's talk hops. The sexiest by far is Motueka, a New Zealander that's got tropical fruit (think guava, papaya, and passionfruit) notes. Right now this is Will's favorite hop, hence it's headliner role. Two of our more common favorites—Simcoe and Mosaic—fill out the bill.
As far as the grist, we included flaked oats and wheat in addition to the base malt. This will give the beer a better hop aroma (great) and give it a little more body (even better). It will also provide that haze we all know from our favorite East Coast IPAs.
And as for the name: there are a ton of East Coast IPAs in the NYC beer market. Juicy and hazy is the name of the game. This beer is the needle in the [hop]stack because you're always going to find it.
How is it “Perfectly Findable”?
We're incredibly lucky to have NYC roots. BeerMenus started here, and more than in any other city, bars and restaurants with great beer keep their lists up-to-date on BeerMenus like clockwork.
So, we thought, let's send the beer only to places who update their beer lists in real time. We spoke about it with Ray and Arch at Rockaway, they got enthusiastically onboard, and together we identified the places who best qualified (we're not gonna lie—we fast-tracked places near our own apartments).
So, how can you find it?
You can attend one of the two release parties:
- Saturday, April 22 at Rockaway’s brewery in Long Island City—this will be part of their larger IPA day celebration. Headlining the event is Brooklyn-based beer writer and IPA expert Josh Bernstein, who will speak at 2:00pm.
- 7:00 pm on Thursday, April 27 at Covenhoven in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.
And if you can't make it to either of these events, follow Needle in a Hopstack directly to get notified when it shows up near you.
In the meantime, here are some glam shots of the team rolling up their sleeves
Dylan (that's me), about to crush some Golden Promise.
Rex, Account Manager, graining-out.
Drew, Sales Development Specialist, helping with grain-out on batch #2.
Joe, Lead Developer, dialing in some hop additions with Ray (Rockaway Brewing).
Will, Co-Founder, excitedly carrying a 22 pound bag of Motueka hops headed to the whirlpool.
Alex, Head of Sales, cleaning out the kettle.
About The Author
Dylan runs Marketing and Messaging at BeerMenus. He was born in Minnesota, got a super helpful degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, then traveled the world (and Wisconsin) in search of good beer, finally winding up in New York, a city with which he's got an ambivalent relationship.