Beer of the Week: Higher Learning

Terpenes are front-and-center in one of a half-dozen of Mother Earth Brew Co.'s 14-year anniversary releases

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Few businesses go all out for an anniversary celebration the way those in the craft-brewing industry do. Some of the best events I’ve ever attended have been brewery birthday parties. From outlandish themes and decor, games, food-pairings, custom apparel and even full-scale invitational festivals featuring seemingly endless rosters of guest breweries, those in the beer biz make a big deal about completing another trip around the sun. Having worked for breweries of varying sizes, I have helped plan anniversary events of all types and sizes. Often, we racked our brains trying to come up with something extraordinary, exclusive or never-before-seen, which was cool, but at the end of the day – like everything in the brewing industry – I found it almost always came down to one thing…the beer. That’s the key ingredient for any brewery celebration, so it’s always fun to see what special releases breweries come up with for their once-a-year brew-hahas. In the case of the team at Mother Earth Brew Co., which will celebrate 14 years from the friendly confines of their Vista tasting room tomorrow, they went the hazy route with this week’s featured beer, Higher Learning. The recipe for this New England-style IPA (NEIPA) is chock full of hops, but they didn’t stop there. Wanting to add even more fruit character and some party-appropriate dankness, they tossed in terpenes. A fairly new addition to the brewer’s pantry, these cannabis compounds add a great deal to a beer’s bouquet (sans THC), namely the aroma characteristics of the strains from which they are derived. In Higher Learning, the result is a viscous NEIPA that smells like a basketful of fresh-from-the-grove tangerines left in the musty corner of a rock band’s practice room, and tastes like peach melba and underripe navel oranges. Not a big fan of hazies (or terpenes)? No problem. Mother Earth will be tapping five more specialty beers in celebration of hitting the big one-four. In addition to the annual release of their triple IPA, Big Mother, revelers will also be able to partake of a traditional maibock, spiced farmhouse ale, San Diego-style IPA and an imperial stout aged in red wine barrels. Mother, may I?!

We built Higher Learning to showcase some really brash and fruity hops. Galaxy, Sabro and Citra hops layer in big tropical and stone-fruit notes, and the addition of botanical terpenes from our friends at Abstrax Hops give this beer a subtle, dank cannabis edge. The beer has a soft mouthfeel and a touch of sweetness on the finish to highlight the fruit-smoothie hop quality. It’s also got a vanilla cake with POG (passionfruit, guava, orange) icing vibe going-on, which we really dig alongside those hints of wafting cannabis. Get ‘heady’ with Higher Learning.”

Matt Waterson, Head Brewer, Mother Earth Brew Co.
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