Beer of the Month: Zólupez IPA
Beer Name: Zólupez IPA
Brewery: Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company
Serving Style: 12-ounce can
The year 2020 is one for the books, and with COVID-19 still affecting us, it’s nice to hear some good news. While withstanding the pandemic, Utah’s premiere, super-small-batch craft brewery vamped up inventory, graduated to canning several of their staple brews and identified a new spot for another brewery with a full taproom and Mexican eats. “At Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company, we listened to the voice of the people,” says Zólupez Founder and Brewer Javier Chávez, Jr. “La gente demanded more craft cerveza, so we brewed more. Beer consumers in Utah want new and different drinking options that are culturally diverse and ethnically respectful.”
You see, Chávez started out small—really, really small—and brewing batches that were extremely limited offered few people the opportunity to try the beer. It was this phenomenon that led us to race immediately to race to the Zólupez booth during last year’s SLUG Mag’s Brewstillery, ensuring the chance to get their elusive beer. It’s no wonder there is a demand—the unique flavors and quality are impressive.
Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company produces numerous offerings with inspiration drawn from Chávez’s Mexican heritage. Available to the thirsty public is an array of suds such as golden and amber ales, a stout, wheat and fruited beers, and the IPA. What makes this IPA special? Zólupez IPA is much different than your traditional IPA. Usually hops tend to cause a sensory illusion, making you think there are different flavors and scents, but Chávez adds the flavors directly to the beer to complement the hops and malt.
“Everyone brews an IPA, so many bueno options,” Chávez says. “We wanted to reimagine the IPA by adding real ingredients derived from our cultura mexicana, such as agave nectar. My family in Mexico usually adds a slice of green limón to their cervezas. So, we added some lime peel to our IPA as a tribute to that tradition.”
This IPA was originally introduced in the bottled Fiesta Sampler pack, and we were excited to find it in a six-pack of 12-ounce cans. Once chilled, we each grabbed a frosty can and cracked them open. While pouring the beer into a freshly rinsed tulip, we inspected how the golden-colored liquid that flowed into the glass. Thick layers of bubbles crowned the top, creating foam that laces the glass. The first bit of fragrance we picked up was fresh citrus, then caramelized sugar. Delivered with a sharp mouthfeel, a hop bitterness sticks around on the tongue. Heavier lime flavors hiding the sweetness make for a refreshing beverage. “We were aiming for balanced hop zest to mingle with the slight caramel flavors released from the agave nectar … also shooting for citrus and pine notes from the lime peel,” says Chávez.
Chávez traveled to Mexico prior to the country’s shutdown and brewed a Mexican lager titled Authentic Hecho en México Lager, then imported it back to America. This kind of effort that Zólupez makes provides special nuances not found on just any beer shelf. Regarding the Zólupez IPA and their other beers with creative recipes, we understand that some people may be a little skeptical about sampling traditional-style brews with atypical ingredients, yet there are also those who seek it out. Cerveza Zólupez Beer Company finds the perfect balance between pushing the flavor limits while remaining in the same lane as the style intends.
“As Utah’s first Latino-owned and ethnic-minority-owned production brewery, with women as part of our ownership, we bring something very unique to the table,” says Chávez. “We’re honored to add diversity and color to the Utah beer scene.” ¡Salud!