Big Sea by Mad Squirrel Brewing
A true to style West Coast IPA with huge hits of pine, citrus and bitterness from the classic combination of Citra, Chinook and Simcoe hops.
The live tasting of this beer was on 13th August 2020 #BeerBods
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Mad Squirrel occupies an unusual position on the UK’s craft beer map, both in terms of their geography and their evolution. Founded in 2010 by business partners Greg & Jason they were originally called Red Squirrel and, with a focus on traditional cask ales, produced beers for their native Hertfordshire pubs. It could have all been very safe and, well, traditional.
“Our brewery is surrounded by rolling fields 20 miles from the centre of London. We are too far out to be a part of the London beer scene, but not far enough away to be a part of anywhere else’s scene”, says Marketing Manager Tim Hickford
As the team at Red Squirrel grew they found themselves becoming increasingly excited and influenced by the modern, hop-forward beers coming on to the market. This, in turn, became reflected in their beers which, over the course of several years, became increasingly contemporary.
Things came to a head in early 2017 when Red Squirrel took the unorthodox step of completely rebranding themselves. A transformation that led them to become Mad Squirrel.
What we were finding was that the beers we were now producing were jarring with the folksy, rural imagery of our old branding. Rather than do what many breweries do by setting up sub-brands or offshoots we decided to go the whole way and completely visually reinvent our company. The whole rebrand was done in-house by those of us who brew and sell the beer, so we feel it is authentic to us. Over three years later I can categorically say it was the best thing we have ever done!
The rebrand didn’t start and stop at a name change though. It coincided with the building of a brand new state of the art brewhouse and canning line which kicked into action in August 2018.
It may have seemed like a brave move at the time but it looks like it’s paying off. Over the last three years, Mad Squirrel has received numerous accolades from peers and punters alike. Not least, making it into the top five of BeerBods’ very own Beer of the Year awards in 2018 with their beautifully balanced American pale ale, $UMO.
For this week’s beer, we heading across the pond yet again. Big Sea is one of the newest additions to the Mad Squirrel range, a no-nonsense West Coast IPA using the absolute classic combination of Citra, Chinook and Simcoe hops. Amber in colour with huge hits of Pine and Citrus and a distinct lasting bitterness so synonymous with the style.
There has been a resurgence in west coast style IPA’s in the last year or so as the haze craze that originated on the east of the country begins to subside. We for one, are pretty happy they’re making a comeback. As they say in Cali, West Coast’s the best coast after all.