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CCB News • March 30, 2021

Now Available: Space Pope IPA

It’s no secret that our brewers like to develop new recipes. In fact, we’ve released no fewer than 2,500 different beer recipes since our first beer was released in 2009 (that first batch was Maduro Brown Ale, for those keeping score at home). With so many new beers and so many different takes on classic beer styles, sometimes a soundly designed, flavorful beer slips through the cracks and may not generate a huge splash in our Taproom. Sometimes, however, the reception for a new Taproom-exclusive beer is so overwhelming that we simply can’t allow it to become a “one and done” brand, and that was certainly the case when we first released our newest seasonal beer: Space Pope IPA.

First released in 2017, Space Pope IPA is an American IPA that boasts astronomical additions of Mosaic, Citra, Hallertauer Blanc, and Galaxy hops to create a beer brimming with notes of passionfruit, melon, and lime. The recipe for Space Pope IPA was developed by our Brewery Manager, Sean Sasscer, as a lighter-colored, lighter-bodied complement to our flagship beer, Jai Alai IPA. Where Jai Alai IPA’s hop bill most prominently features Simcoe hops, Space Pope IPA offers a blend of Mosaic, Citra, Hallertauer Blanc, and Galaxy hops, the combination of which produces alluring flavors and aromas of honeydew, lime leaf, and white wine grapes. Clocking in at 7.2% ABV, Space Pope IPA uses specialty malts to craft a light golden color and soft honey-like flavor in a style that often leans toward caramel flavor and amber hues. The beer’s name pays tribute both to an obscure cartoon character and the Galaxy hops that are featured prominently in its recipe.

The development of Space Pope IPA from a draft-only release in the Taproom to a nationally distributed brand speaks to its innovative recipe and to our organic approach to building new brands. The initial success of the draft version led to a local release of 12 oz. cans in 2018, and that successful release led to several sporadic reappearances the following year. To gauge the national appeal of Space Pope IPA, we included the brand in our Mixed 12-Pack launch in 2019, earning the beer name recognition among craft beer lovers across the country. After fielding dozens of emails asking how to purchase Space Pope as a stand-alone brand, we knew we had an organically successful beer on our hands.

“When we developed the Space Pope recipe, we wanted to allow the nuances of some very idiosyncratic hops to shine through,” said Sasscer. “Building a lighter, simpler malt bill than what’s found in Jai Alai IPA allowed us to do that while still providing balance and supporting the beer’s bitterness. While Space Pope IPA and Jai Alai IPA both maintain a focus on hop flavor and aroma rather than bitterness and both live in the same ABV neighborhood, they’re noticeably different beers and represent two sides of the American IPA coin.”

Space Pope IPA will see distribution across our East Coast distribution footprint for a limited time in the Spring of 2021, and will be available in the region’s finest grocery stores, package stores, liquor stores, and independent beverage retailers.

Is the Space Pope reptilian? Grab yourself a six pack and find out!

Cans of Space Pope IPA in front of Cigar City Brewing's brewhouse and grain silos.

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