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Tasting Summit Elderflower IPA Like A Craft Brewer

It’s well-known that craft beer drinkers love a fun fact about their favorite brew. Craft IPA fans especially enjoy the lesser known details.

From being able to discuss the advantages of dry-hopping to sharing the taste differences between fresh and pellet hops to keenly picking out which hop varietal is responsible for a specific flavor, they love to dissect the bold, bitter style.

That’s why for our next “Taste Summit Like A Craft Brewer,” we’re looking at Summit Elderflower IPA!

Elderflower IPA was first released in January 2020. It was one of four IPAs inside the Mixed Pack IPA Edition. Now, both Elderflower IPA and the variety box are back for 2021. With its unique blend of soft herbal notes and light hop flavors, malt-forward body and high ABV, we felt this beer was the perfect choice to breakdown next.

So, once again we’re turning to our head brewer Damian McConn to share some inside knowledge on what flavors make this beer so unique and where to find them.

Summit Elderflower IPA 12oz Can Mock-Up

What was the inspiration behind Summit Elderflower IPA?

There’s a long tradition in Europe of using both the flowers and berries of the elder plant in beverage production. The unique qualities of elderflower greatly complement grains and hops and provide an additional degree of complexity in hop-forward beers, such as IPA’s. Given Summit Brewing’s dedication to tradition it was an ingredient we were eager to try.

For someone not familiar with Elderflower, how would you describe the taste? What flavors does Elderflower bring to this beer specifically?

Elderflowers provide a complex herbal flavor with notes of white pepper and green tea. These flavors, along with the aromatics of lavender, bergamot and lemon thyme, can be found in the beer.

Why were the Rakau hops from New Zealand chosen for this beer? What do they add to the flavor?

Rakau is a terrific hop varietal from the South Island of New Zealand. It provides a very smooth bitterness and complex flavors of tropical fruit. Pronounced aromas found in the beer include apricot, mango and lime.

Bubblegum and honeydew are two flavors that are mentioned with this beer. Those can both be very sweet. How are these flavors present in the beer?

These flavors are more in the background and contribute to the overall complexity of the beer.

Some fans have commented that the Elderflower IPA feels more like an English-style IPA, in that the hops are not at the forefront as they are with West Coast IPAs. Does this feel like an accurate description? Why?

It could be, but it’s a bit more complex. But Elderflower IPA, while quite heavily hopped, does possess a restrained bitterness level. The lower BU rating, pronounced malt flavors and herbal/fruit hop characteristics are closer in character to traditional English IPAs.

Mixed Pack IPA Edition 12pk with Saga IPA, Elderflower IPA, Twenty-One IPA and Slugfest Juicy IPA
(credit: Summit Brewing Company)

Summit Elderflower IPA can be found exclusively inside the Summit Mixed Pack IPA Edition out now. Find it at a store near you!

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