Troy Burtch and Mike Lackey drink beers and talk about Octopus’
Octopus Wants to Fight IPA will be headed to LCBO stores all across Ontario! The first run of cans that hit the GLBretail store last week were just for s**ts and giggles.
Over the next couple of months, approximately 100,000 units of 473ml cans will be making their way out of the brewery and into delivery trucks destined for LCBO stores. The first such deliveries will start late next week.
Like the Lake Effect IPA release, Octopus Wants to Fight IPA will be sticking around for a while as the GLB team has plans to keep it in the rotation for three months. Bars and restaurants from Ottawa to Windsor, Sudbury to Toronto, will be able to pour draught, crack cans, and generally keep you hydrated with this Fresh new IPA.
Mike Lackey and Troy Burtch sat down again, had a couple cans of Octopus, and did this interview (for some reason Lackey was imitating the aggressive tendencies of our pet Octopus).
Troy: All Tank Ten series beers have an “inside” story concerning recipe, names, tasting notes. What’s that story with Octopus?
Lackey: Well, a good story behind the recipe if not a little long – got a minute?
We’d been wanting to brew an IPA featuring the Mosaic hop for a couple years but hadn’t found a place to fit it in the schedule. Until one morning I woke up at 4am to a text from our brewer Kali saying; “Where is the Citra? I can’t find any.” My heart jump for a split second but then I settled back into my tea because I realized we didn’t need Citra because we were to brew Red Leaf Lager. It was like that scene in Planes, Trains and Automobiles where John Candy is going the wrong way on the highway and when Steve Martin wakes up and his just waking mind is comforted by the statement “How would he know which way We’re going?”
After a couple sips of tea, I realized that something could be wrong. Mostly because we didn’t have any Citra. A couple texts back and forth later, we realized that something was miscommunicated and Kali was, in fact, mashed in an IPA malt bill and I was in the car heading to the brewery to help figure out a solution. Seemed like a good chance for us to employ the Mosaic we had sitting in the back of the hop room and Octopus Wants to Fight was born.
Troy: What’s with the name?
Lackey: You should answer that one.
Troy: You told us that we had a new IPA on the way, but there was no name attached to it. The team started to think about it, which involved “sampling” some pints of Canuck Pale Ale, and we came up blank that first day. I was responding to an individual on Twitter later that night, around 12am, and saw a tweet of an image, a coat hook at Victory Cafe, with “Drunk Octopus” captioned underneath it. I sent you a text immediately and said, “we should call that new IPA ‘Drunk Octopus Wants to Fight’.” Sold. Except for the drunk part.
Troy: 8 malts. 8 varieties of hops. 8 tentacles on an Octopus. Coincidence?
Lackey: If you read the back of the can more carefully you see that, ”all these facts are fabricated” actually. Ostensibly to appease a fictional brewery pet octopus.
Troy: How many cans are expected to hit LCBO stores across the province?
Lackey: 100,000 I believe.
Troy: What will consumers be looking at paying per can?
Lackey: Same as here at the brewery – $3.25 each. Case price at the brewery is $72.
Troy: Will these ‘soon to be released’ cans be shrink sleeves, stickers or printed?
Lackey: Printed! We are finally doing enough volume now with these Tank Ten releases that we are able to meet can manufacturers minimums. This is a fact that the guys on the canning line certainly appreciate. With the wrapped cans, like the recent run of Lake Effect we did, they have a lot of trouble with our depalletizer.
Troy: Why the heavy focus on producing big American west coast style IPAs at GLB? Seems like we’re always carrying one.
Lackey: We like them! Duh. Seriously though, a lot of people ask why the need for so many different IPAs when there are so many other styles out there? While part of this may be the fact that I have A.D.D., we find it interesting to explore different hops as best we can. So we keep our malt bills and yeast profile largely out of the picture and let the hops do the talking. Sure, they end up being relatively similar but if you enjoy the distinct character of these new hops varietals that are coming out then, IMO, there’s a world of difference.
Troy: When deciding on releasing (in large quantities) an IPA, how do you pick the next one?
Lackey: Mostly hop availability. Also, we try and mix ‘em up, that way if you see a particular GLB IPA out there it will likely be a fresh batch. With these hop-forward IPAs it’s all about the freshness. #FRESHGLB
Troy: What do you and the brewing team like most about Octopus?
Lackey: The Mosaic (hop) provides such a great blend of tropical fruit and dankness in both the aroma and flavour. I could smell it all day to tell the truth.
Troy: Tell the awesome GLB supporters about the impact the hops have in the final outcome of the beer.
Lackey: Huge. As I’ve said, our goal is to make it all about the hops. That’s why we head out west to Yakima Valley in Autumn to try and select the best hops available from the best farms. We’ve learned that presence in the hop fields and shaking the hands of the farmers goes a long way. It doesn’t hurt that someone from the brewing team gets an expensed trip out of it too. Makes us feel like fancy sales guys such as yourself Troy :).
Troy: So, we’ve released IPAs like Lake Effect, Karma Citra, THRUST! an IPA and My Bitter Wife over the years to the LCBO. “When is Karma Citra coming back?” is a frequent question I get on social media. Any inside info that we can share with our fans?
Lackey: We have some special plans for Karma, nothing I can divulge right now though. That would get me in heaps of trouble.
Here are the stats on Octopus Wants to Fight, and tasting notes, for your convenience.
IBUs: 88 (not really)
Style: American IPA
Serving Temp: 3-5
Glassware: Pub Pint
It pours a beautiful burnt gold edging into a dull orange, like a orange creamsicle complete with a tight white head. As you can imagine, lots of tropical fruits abound from the glass with the first whiffs, followed by a walk in the woods as pine, evergreen and some herbaceous notes are picked up. The first sip provides a touch of sweetness, some dank grass combined with pine needles and then onto “juicy fruit”. Soft body with some middle mouthfeel bitterness that tastes like another.
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