All About That Beer: Crooked Grin IPA

Many things in life are not worth taking seriously. Don’t take yourself too seriously and don’t sweat the small stuff, but DO take beer seriously (especially when it’s a Hop & Barrel trademark).

Our Crooked Grin West Coast IPA is a tried and true favorite. This blend of citrus and pine is a certified crowd pleaser and is certain to get you grinnin’. Read on to get all the details, and then try some for yourself, why don’t you?

Where does the name Crooked Grin come from?
Justin: When we were first starting up, we considered a naming scheme for our beers that utilized funny drawings of faces – i.e., Crooked Grin, Dirty Scowl, etc. It’s something we ultimately didn’t move to but the name stuck with Crooked, and the beer has become so big for us that it’s here to stay.

Brian: If I drink too many Crooked Grins, then I get a Crooked Grin.

Describe this style of beer:
Justin: West Coast IPA. It’s your easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing, have one a day IPA. Despite the onset of IPA variations, this is the core of the American IPA experience, and is still a lot of people’s “go-to” IPA style, including mine. It’s usually described as lighter in color with a balance between citrus and pine flavors and aromas.

Brian: Regular, normal, non-chonky, West Coast IPA

Describe its unique flavor:
Justin: We use a hearty base malt to provide a deeper backbone to hold up to the high level of hops thrown at this beer. Citrus and pine through-and-through is what this beer is perceived at from the aroma and hop contributions to the flavor. Clean, classic, and just a fine drinker.

Brian: Pine, citrus, grapefruit, bacon. Just kidding, no bacon. Just seeing if you’re paying attention.

What stands out to you the most during your time spent developing Crooked Grin?
Justin: We grinned a lot, lol. This beer has had a lot of adjustment and fine-tuning in the last three years. Since mid-2020 we are at a place with this beer we can finally say we are done playing around with it and are finally content. We’ve never changed the type of hops in this beer, but we tweaked when and how we added them. The base malt is where we’ve made the most changes. Initially it was a blended base malt with some adjuncts, we ultimately dropped all adjuncts and moved to a single high-quality base malt. This beer has always had a special place for us, so we knew we wanted to work on it until it was just what we envisioned. We couldn’t be happier with it right now.

Brian: Michigan Hops work the best for this beer.

If you could pair this beer with food from a place around town, what would it be?
Justin: Spicy tacos from any of the wonderful taco offerings. The So-Cal Burger at Agave is a particularly good fit too.

Brian: Spicy wings from Ziggy’s.

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