New Brew News: Workbench IPA Fourth Draft & The Future

By Iain Smith

Back in the Spring of this year we launched the Workbench IPA Project, an evolving prototype programme to help us develop our understanding of hops and ultimately create the recipe for a new, sessionable IPA to replace Sanda Blonde in our year-round line-up.

Today, we’re announcing the conclusion of the project with the launch of the final beer in the programme – Workbench IPA: Fourth Draft (WB4).

WB4’s recipe is loosely based on Workbench IPA: First Draft (WB1), the most popular in the series so far, with whole-leaf Nelson Sauvin and Citra in the hopback at roughly the same ratios as the original Workbench beer and only one tweak to the malt bill - Caramalt replacing Carapils to offer a touch more colour and body to the beer. Post-fermentation, T90 pellets were used for dry-hop, with Mosaic returning from the WB1 recipe but complimented with two other fruit-forward hops – Belma and El Dorado.

The new recipe has resulted in the fruitiest Workbench IPA yet with a nose of mango and a hint of floral that leads into flavour profile bursting with more tropical fruit and juicy berries. The finish is lean citrus, with the lightest touch of pine to keep the fruit in balance. It’s infinitely drinkable, and beautifully refreshing.

The Workbench IPA Project has been as objective as possible since day one – in addition to gathering feedback from social media and beer ratings websites (#FyneWorkbench), between brews of each draft, the beer development team has conducted blind tastings of the latest version alongside previous drafts and a selection of beers from other breweries that we enjoy. Fourth Draft was no different – last week it was pitted against First, Second and Third Draft and three of our favourite beers in the same space.

We’re delighted to say, it came out on top.

Now, while that got us excited to get WB4 out to pubs for everyone to try, it also raised the question of whether we’ve achieved our original goal – we certainly know more about hops that we did six months ago, but are we close to creating a Sanda Blonde replacement? We think we might be.

So, while WB4 is out being enjoyed in the wild, we’re going to use the next couple of quiet Winter months to hone in on a final recipe for a new IPA that will become a permanent fixture in our line-up for 2018.

We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the Workbench IPA Project; we’ve had some great feedback over the year and appreciate everyone who has checked out any of the drafts. We sincerely hope you enjoy WB4 – we know we will be at the Brewery Tap!

Cheers!