Brewing in the FLX: Young Lion’s Imperial Dragon Fruit IPA

Located at the beautiful northern tip of Canandaigua Lake, Young Lion Brewing Company still got hit with the snow this winter—especially this week.
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Photo by Phil Platz

By David Diehl of FLX Words

Located at the beautiful northern tip of Canandaigua Lake, Young Lion Brewing Company still got hit with the snow this winter—especially this week. Sprinkle that in with the unpredictable decisions of closings all around, and the brewers had to find a way to spark their creativity.

This lead to the idea of “long winters, small batches”—a new notion, but an exciting one. The small-batch experimental system can remind us that there is a lot of fun and a lot of new flavors to be tried in the Finger Lakes craft beer community. It certainly has for the brewers.

“Small batches offer a blank slate, where we as brewers can try any crazy idea,” says Young Lion Head Brewer Phil Platz. “Failure is certainly an option, and it can be expected. We know that some may miss the mark, but some may end up being a hit. There’s no judgment as a brewer. If you didn’t have any failures, you wouldn’t really be trying or exploring creativity.”

This week represents a great one for Young Lion, because not only are they reopening their taproom Friday, but they are also releasing a brand-new small-batch called the Imperial Dragon Fruit IPA.

“The Dragon is an Imperial New England IPA and has never been done at Young Lion Beer. It uses some experimental New Zealand hops that have a lot of passion fruit, and lime-citrus flavors,” explains Platz. “We then added dragon fruit late in the fermentation process, which doesn’t necessarily add a ton of flavor, but it does add vibrant pink-purple color to the liquid.

While this brewing process adds some subtle tropical fruit notes, overall this IPA packs flavors of fruit punch and bubblegum, Platz said. He also explained why it offers a smooth finish.

“An Imperial New England IPA is a strong version of a hazy IPA. It has more alcohol and a larger dry hop addition,” he continues. “Unlike normal double IPAs, the bitterness isn’t necessary any higher because a soft mouthfeel is still what is desired.”

The Dragon will be available at the taproom on draught and in crowlers. And in more awesome news it will also be ready to go in canned four-packs that will be hitting some local stores.

Young Lion Brewing Company, 24 Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua, NY 14424. younglionbrewing.com. Phone: 585-412-6065

It was always a goal for David Diehl to return to the Finger Lakes and make an imprint on the beer culture of the region. A Hobart & William Smith Colleges graduate, Diehl spent over a decade in Brooklyn and is excited to be back and taking on Finger Lakes craft beer reviews and commentaries for EdibleFingerLakes.com. He has also been published in Inked Magazine, YRB Magazine, Nerve.com, and The Finger Lakes Times. You can follow his work at FLXWORDS.com.

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