Martian Sunrise, a reddish-amber India Pale Ale, has been turning up in small pilot batches in the taproom and as a festival beer over the past year, and its fan base has been steadily growing. Karben4 brewmaster Ryan Koga thinks it has potential to become a bottled beer for the brewery.
What is it? Martian Sunrise from Karben4 Brewing of Madison.
Style: The India Pale Ale (IPA) emphasizes the herbal, citrus and piney character of hops. IPAs are medium- to full-bodied and often golden- to copper-colored. IPAs range from 5.5 percent to 7.5 percent ABV.
Background: Martian Sunrise first appeared last winter as an experimental beer created by Karben4 brewer Jeff Olson. It’s an assertive IPA featuring Mosaic hops, which are known for a range of flavors and aromas including citrus, pine, earthy, herbal, minty, spicy and berry — thus a mosaic of qualities. Mosaic hops are also found in the brewery’s most popular IPA, Fantasy Factory, as well as the double IPA Idiot Farm. However, the Mosaic is part of a blend with other hops in those beers. Martian Sunrise is made only with Mosaic.
Its deep reddish hues come from crystal rye and caramel malts. It also has a touch of oatmeal, which lends softness. Martian Sunrise finishes at 7 percent ABV and approximately 70 IBUs. It sells in the brewery’s taproom for $5.50/glass and $16/growler (refill). Even though Koga thinks this beer will do well in six-packs, he’s not yet ready to commit to bottling it because his other beers are in such demand and have filled up his production schedule for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, it’s likely to be offered on draught in the brewery’s taproom well into December.
Aroma: An assertive, inviting blend of floral, pine and citrus.
Appearance: Deep reddish amber color. A slight haze. A tan-colored, medium thick and soft head.
Texture: Medium-bodied, with roundness and softness.
Taste: Solid resin and citrus flavor. Toffee and bready notes from the crystal rye malt provide a solid backbone of spicy complexity.
Finish/Aftertaste: Lingering hoppy, resiny and rye spiciness.
Glassware: Karben4 serves this beer in a goblet-like glass with an outward flare of the lip (similar to a large snifter). At home, I prefer the Willi Becher with its inward flare of the lip, to focus the hoppy aromas.
Pairs well with: the Polish sausage muffaletta and a bowl of the cheese sausage fajita soup from the brewpub menu. They make a great match for the resiny and spicy tones of this brew.
The Verdict: This is a beer that has been very well received by local hopheads and bitter beer fans. I like the assertive hop aroma. The Mosaic hops lend a rough, raw, resiny hoppiness that blends with the crystal rye, becoming spicy and peppery. Its alcohol warmth also adds to its complexity. It all works to make this a very interesting hoppy beer.