By Greg Carlson
Stop giggling for a second, this is actually a neat story. And it’s a bit of a long one so strap in.
Ultimate Frisbie Hoar, a collaboration beer (our first!) with Cambridge Brewing Company, is a double IPA (our first!) that we made for The Great Mass Collab fest earlier this month. But the tale of this beer starts years ago, back in the brewery’s early planning days.
That’s when we came across a statue of this beer’s namesake, George Frisbie Hoar, outside of city hall. And while we thought “Frisbie Hoar” was an, umm, interesting combination of words - turns out the man himself was far more interesting.
For the uninitiated, George Frisbie Hoar was a longtime politician and statesman in Worcester during the 19th century. Throughout his career, he served in the Massachusetts Senate AND the Massachusetts House of Representatives AND the U.S. Senate AND the U.S. House of Representatives. Gotta be a record or something.
Better yet - he seemed like a pretty good dude who did good politics. A few highlights from his Wikipedia page:
He campaigned for the rights of African Americans and Native Americans.
He opposed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, describing it as "nothing less than the legalization of racial discrimination."
He argued in the Senate in favor of women's suffrage as early as 1886.
He was a consistent opponent of American imperialism, and an outspoken opponent of the Philippine–American War and the U.S. intervention in Panama.
He was one of the founders of the Worcester County Free Institute of Industrial Science, now the Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
These are all good things worthy of a beer, so we put the “Frisbie Hoar IPA” idea in our back pocket until the brewery was open.
But in the meanwhile, the name kept poking at our brains - a bit of “wait, where have we heard that name before?”
TURNS OUT - the guy who negotiated the release of Mary Rowlandson at the O.G. Redemption Rock (that story, if you don’t already know) was a fellow named John Hoar. Also known as George Frisbie Hoar’s great-great-great(?) grandfather(?) or something (family trees are hard, man).
That’s pretty serendipitous - the perfect beer name for us.
But this story’s not over yet.
A bit later, during our GM Kevin’s halcyon days as a bartender at the venerable Cambridge Brewing Co., he was talking with their head brewer, Alex, and Alex said, out of the damn blue, “we should make a beer together called Frisbie Hoar.”
Why? Well it turns out, Alex is the great-great-great grandson of GFH.
I mean, you gotta be shitting us.
So yes - we decided this beer absolutely had to be a collaboration between us, and a couple years later the Great Mass Collab provided a good opportunity to pull the trigger. We ended up kicking the beer up a notch to DIPA-level and bestowing the much more badass name, “Ultimate Frisbie Hoar.”
Well that’s it thanks for reading.
Ah shit, forgot to talk about the beer itself. Here’s how we did it:
UFH is defined by two things: an explosively fruit-forward, hoppy aroma and a dry, super-crushable body.
The former we achieved through a heretofore unseen (for us) amount of hops, including new addition to the cold room Simcoe, as well as Amarillo and a bit of Calypso. Employed mainly in the whirlpool and two dry hop additions, we aimed to extract as much of those alluring tropical, citrus, and pine flavors and aromas as possible, and then ram them into your face with the force of a runaway Mack truck.
For the latter, we built a grain bill of two American pale malts supported by Valley Malt’s Warthog Wheat and Triticale malt, - which, I learned, that even though CBC has formally endorsed the pronunciation Trit-ih-KAY-lee, the commonly used Trit-ih-KALE is still widely accepted. Frankly, I’m of the mind that needlessly exotic-sounding grains like triticale and quinoa should be rebranded to fit the example set by grains like buckwheat and corn to avoid these controversies altogether. Triticale’s only a hybrid of wheat and rye, it does not need up to four syllables. Just call it Rheat. (Everyone who calls our blonde ale “Elfy” would absolutely pronounce that “ree-at”.)
Anyway, we added wheat and rheat, and managed our water profile and mash process to give the beer a nice soft backbone (which is a terrible beer cliche at this point, but it works), while allowing the hops to shine (same point), and keeping the beer dry and drinkable enough to leave you longing for the next sip (just staggering unoriginality here). No sane person would call this a “balanced” beer, but it does avoid being cloyingly sweet or troublingly thin, and that’s something to hang one’s hat on.
It was an honor to collaborate with CBC and a pleasure to brew with Alex, and I hope you all find it enjoyable enough to rate it 5 stars on Untappd.