We were first introduced to Brooklyn-ish Grimm Ales, and their unusual story, at a pizza restaurant; Marta’s resident beer aficionado Corey Gargiulo recommended pairing the spicy and bold Amatriciana pizza with Grimm’s Tesseract IPA, and it was love at first sip. Founded by veteran homebrewers Joe and Lauren Grimm—and still a two-person company—Grimm Ales has become known for their creative beers, especially dry-hopped sours and double IPAs. Many of their brews are made in single batches, never to be produced again—part of the reason stems from not having their own dedicated brewery space (yet). Thus, the couple call themselves a “nomadic brewery,” testing pilot batches in their Gowanus apartment kitchen and then contracting space from breweries with extra capacity (currently Flagship Brewing Co. on Staten Island and Beltway Brewing Co. in northern Virginia). This adds interesting variables to play with, like different equipment and water sources.
Grimm’s latest offering is also a big milestone for the gypsy brewers: the Afterimage double IPA is their first-ever can (also available as a draft) and it’s just hit shelves around New York state. “Our double IPAs are fragile and ephemeral; they are best consumed fresh, immediately after packaging. The hops in these beers disappear quickly, so we want people to drink them as soon as possible,” Lauren Grimm tells CH. “Until now, our double IPAs have been draft-only because we wanted to avoid the possibility of cans or bottles sitting around on a shelf. That being said, we were getting requests all the time to release cans. We finally decided to try it out, but in a very small quantity.”
“All of the flavors and aromas are owed to the hops,” describes Lauren. “We used a variety of American West Coast hops that are known for intense fruit flavors. You’ll taste orange marmalade, guava, passionfruit, ripe melon, honeysuckle. There is a backbone of bitterness that’s balanced by the slight sweetness of the malt. The name refers to an image that remains in your vision after it’s gone—like a bright light that flashes but you still see it when you close your eyes. We think of our double IPAs that way. They have a long finish. The flavors keep changing and developing even after you’ve swallowed.” In a beautiful shade of luminous bronze, Afterimage offers a nose of bright, tropical fruits and makes for a truly special treat after a hard day at work.
200 cases—with every can hand-labeled by Lauren—have been made from this batch, but as they implore, do not keep (or hoard) it in the fridge like a trophy. “Drink this beer as soon as possible!” she advises. “As I said before, hop flavors don’t last. The flavors and aromas that you taste now won’t be there next week. Hops are flowers after all, and their volatile aromatics quickly fade and change.”
Grimm Ales beat out 80 other entries in the imperial stout category to take Gold Medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival for their version, Double Negative. They’ll be releasing their third batch of the award-winning Double Negative mid-October, with a bourbon barrel-aged version arriving just in time for the holidays. For now, pick up a four-pack of Grimm Ales’ new Afterimage at these New York state locations. You can find their other beers in NYC, upstate New York and Boston; visit their website for a list of stockists.
Images by Nara Shin