Structures Brewing Crypt Key is a mixed fermentation IPA that simply blew me away. It was served in 10oz stemmed glassware and topped by a creamy white head. Crypt Key clocks in at 7% abv, has an orange-gold hue, and is moderately hazy. It’s an attractive beer in all respects.
Crypt key began as an IPA. In fact, this beer is the fourth batch brewed at Structures. Brewmaster James mashed this recipe at higher than typical temperature to leave plenty of long chain sugar molecules in solution. Once the brewer’s yeast finished its job, the beer was racked into wine barrels and introduced to Brettanomyces (also known as “Brett”) for an extended stay. Brett is also a strain of yeast, but unique in that it metabolizes long chain sugars and contributes acetic acid and “funk” (among other things) to the profile of a beer. Long story short, there’s a lot going on in this glass of Crypt Key that took quite a while to develop.
How does it taste and smell? The first thing my brain screamed was FRESH BERRIES! But it doesn’t stop there. You can chug this beer, but you’ll be more rewarded by taking time to enjoy everything washing across your palate. Citrus, floral notes, mild red wine tannins and flavor, oak, and just a sprinkle of Brett funk will delight your nose and tongue. Hop bitterness and acetic acid tartness are present in amounts that contribute to the whole rather than overpower more delicate aspects of this brew.
Crypt Key is damn good. If you like sipping and thinking about all the great things happening in a beer, this is your jam. And if this beer is any indication of what’s coming down the barrel fermentation and aging pipeline at Structures I’m all in. At the end I do have one bone to pick with the Structures crew over Crypt Key…the name. It’s such a bright and happy beer, so I’m proposing a name change. “Rainbow Sparkles Glitter Flowers Sunshine mixed fermentation IPA.” I’m not convinced they’ll agree, but I’ll still drink it no matter what the name is!