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Tasting Summit Horizon Red IPA Like a Craft Brewer

Craft beer fans are known for many things. One of these is their insatiable desire to be in-the-know about beer history, styles and trends.

At Summit Brewing Co., we’re just as passionate about educating drinkers about their favorite beverage as they are about learning about it.

That’s why we’re continuing our “Taste Summit Like A Craft Brewer” series. For our next beer, we’re once again exploring the world of IPAs. Read on to dive into the re-released fan-favorite Horizon Red IPA!

Originally released in 2009, Horizon Red IPA is meant to be a hybrid style that combines elements of India Pale Ales and Amber Ales. It utilizes German, English and American malts for a complex, warm body found in the Amber style, while using a combination of Cascade, Horizon and Mosaic hops for a citrus sharp and bitter taste. Retired at the end of 2017 and brought back for a limited time to celebrate our 35th anniversary, it’s become a highly coveted brew.

Once again, Chief Brewer Damian McConn breaks down the flavors found in this beer and gives some insight into why it has such a following.

Summit Horizon Red IPA 12oz Can RenderingBefore diving into some of the ingredients and how they impact the beer’s flavor, can you give insight into what a traditional amber ale tastes like?

American-style amber ales typically have pronounced flavors of toffee, caramel, graham cracker and English biscuits. Hop bitterness tends to play a supporting role, primarily to provide a slight bitterness and drinkability.

How are elements of the Amber Ale style found in this beer? Is there a particular malt that gives it those flavors?

We use a specific low color crystal malt from Germany to provide a backbone of toffee and caramel in Horizon Red IPA. There’s also a touch of darker black malt to provide a deeper red hue to the beer’s appearance, and a slight hint of roast in the finish.

What flavor aspects of the beer fall into the amber style? What flavor aspects fall into IPA style?

The malt profile is definitely reminiscent of a traditional American amber ale, with notes of biscuit and toffee to the fore. Using this significant malt foundation as a backbone, we’ve layered a significant hop presence typical of an American-style IPA, with a distinct bitterness and pronounced citrus flavors present in the final beer.

Is this particular hop blend found in many other IPAs?

Due to its lower yields and variable disease resistance, Horizon has largely fallen out of favor these days with growers and brewers. Its inclusion in a hop blend is probably fairly rare these days.

What does the Horizon hop add to the brew? The mosaic? Does the flavor profile of these hops change when they are brewed together?

Horizon has a very low co-humulone level and provides an excellent, clean bitterness. Its floral aromas and tangy citrus notes play well with the fruity pebbles and tropical notes of Mosaic.

Summit Mixed Pack IPA Edition with Saga IPA, Horizon Red IPA, Triumphant Session IPA and Slugfest Juicy IPA
(credit: Summit Brewing Co.)

Summit Horizon Red 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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