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2323 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647


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3340 N. Kedzie Ave
Chicago, IL 60618


Infinity-Hero: The Best of Both Worlds

Meet the newest year-round Hero IPA

We proudly brew beer of all styles, but Revolution’s growth as a company has always been led by IPA. Roughly 68% of all the beer we sold in 2022 fell under the Hero IPA banner, with Anti-Hero leading the way as the top-selling IPA in Illinois, and Hazy-Hero picking up tasting medals and a passionate fanbase of its own. Along the way, we’ve used the League of Heroes to feature exciting hop varieties, showcase different techniques, and map the reaches of flavors within the style. We’ve found a lot to like, most recently in Medusa-Hero and Trident-Hero by exploring IPAs with reduced bitterness and explosive fruit flavor notes.

IPA forms the basis of so many discussions at the bar with both regular patrons and new visitors – what makes a new approach different, the origin of the hops, how our brewers built a recipe to express something new or share their excitement. Even with those looking for something else, IPA tends to serve as the basis of comparison.

But there’s a false duality out there, and we spent a good part of the previous year working on that problem. The framing goes that you can have your bitter, crystal-clear Classic IPAs with the pine and the dank and the assertiveness, or you can have the new-school Hazy IPAs with fruit-salad flavors delivered in nebulous, opaque bodies. Fans of either continually find bones to pick with devotees of the other. We live in divisive times, and at least this rift is low-stakes enough to consider without bringing down the mood around the bar.

And here’s the secret we’ve been sitting on: they’re both wrong. And we know this because our Brewers opened a portal that unites both dimensions. It’s time to meet Infinity-Hero.

Uniting Universes

There’s a lot to love in both Classic and Hazy IPA. Anti-Hero features a bright clarity and forthright bitterness to match the pine, floral, and citrus notes. We get grapefruit, and a little bit of lemon candy character. Hazy-Hero surfaces big tropical fruit flavors, in large part because hops are added during fermentation with Omega British Ale V yeast. This causes a biotransformation process that makes the hops extremely expressive, and even surfaces flavors that aren’t achievable by more traditional methods. It was the root of our first deep dive into the Hazy IPA style.

After most of a year and several test batches refined with the help of our brewery tour participants, Infinity-Hero offers what we love about both styles in a very drinkable, forward-looking IPA. It has the clarity and hop intensity of Classic IPA joined to the fruit-forward aura of the Hazy IPA. And our Brewers truly believe this is our first example of a new way forward.

“We know that any day of the week we can make an IPA we like. But we’ve brewed so many that creating something truly distinct and impactful is more of a challenge. It was the most important thing to solve,” Revolution Brewmaster Jim Cibak said. “We did a lot of test batches of very good beer, and none of them hit me as distinct enough in the aroma and flavor until the recipe that became Infinity-Hero.”

Infinity-Hero’s delicate balancing act, down to and including a stylistic balance in the water chemistry, puts it at the nexus of dialed-down background bitterness, balanced sweetness, and juicy citrus and stone fruit flavors. “What we’re looking at with the idea of Infinity-Hero, it’s walking the line right between Anti-Hero and Hazy-Hero,” Cibak said. “It has a slight haze, IBUs right in the middle, and reaches the midpoint in color as well. It’s fermented with our Hazy IPA yeast strain, but we fine and centrifuge it to keep the haze slight.”We keep referring to this as a forward-looking style, because we wouldn’t have been able to create this beer even two years ago. The constant march of evolution – both from American hop growers in the Pacific Northwest and from up-and-coming breeders in New Zealand – has led to the hops that form the core of Infinity-Hero.

Growing Tomorrow’s Styles

Revolution has always been focused on the quality of our brewing ingredients, and that means keeping close relationships with our hop growers. The brewers travel to Yakima Valley during each harvest season, when the air is redolent with the distinctive aroma of processing hops. They use their expertise to select the perfect crop, but also get inside chatter on what the breeding companies are working on.

“There’s nothing more important than getting out to Yakima during harvest season,” Cibak said. “You can hear about what hop growers are looking into from home, but you don’t know what they’re really excited about until you hear them tell you all about it. And years of those conversations eventually led to Infinity-Hero”

Part of that grower excitement is finding an elusive needle in acres of haystacks. Just like in brewing, innovation drives the conversation in hop breeding, as drinkers and brewers continue to chase deeper nuances and new heights of flavor. For us, Infinity-Hero grew over a handful of test batches. For the hops that built it, that number runs into the tens of thousands.

According to Michael Ferguson, Director of Hop Breeding for the John I. Haas hop breeding company, they cross-breed and grow from 100 to 200 different combinations of hops to produce new breeds every year. That results in 10,000 to 20,000 individual experimental hop plants grown every year. And of those, only around 200 move on to possible development as a commercial hop strain. And even those have to be pretty great to stand out.

"Your main limitation is resources. How much land, energy, and labor can you put into a promising new crossbreed? If you can’t find what you’re looking for in 150 progeny, you’re better off walking away from an idea,” Ferguson said. “Everything is an incremental step forward. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, it’s a game of compounding interest."

As growers move away from the initial progeny plants, they try to amplify desirable traits through breeding. That process can take most of a decade. Ferguson has been with Haas for eight years, and is just now seeing new varieties finish that he was there for the start of. To put a hop into commercial use, it has to be absolutely bulletproof from a sensory standpoint and distinct enough to appeal to brewers.

"At this point in IPA, if a new hop doesn’t make you throw your head back and say ‘wow,’ then keep looking. By the time we use it, it’s been a single-hop brew [the Haas team has created 90 single-hop brews a year as part of this process], it’s been compared in a blind panel to existing hops for categorization, and we know that when it’s tasted in a beer, everyone is using the same descriptors."

How are new hops bred?

Male and female plants, chosen for the desirable traits that growers hope to amplify, are cross-bred. That can include yield, disease resistance, and alpha acid content. Or, in our case, for the expressive flavor they contribute to the dry hop. This breeding is done both by private companies like the Hop Breeding Company (a joint venture between Haas and Yakima Chief Ranches, more commonly known as HBC) and public, university-based programs.

Why do some hops not have names?

Before they’re commercialized, new hop varieties are named for convenience. They begin with an internal-only number – for example, that number in HBC 1019 is 1656-01, meaning a cross made in the year 2016, family 56, individual 01. When a hop breeder like HBC wants to begin showing new varieties to brewers, they give it a number, which has no significance other than chronology.

When hops reach a certain level of commercial use, the HBC partners will jointly decide on a name, based in large part on sensory feedback from customers. Not every one gets a name! Ferguson said that some hop varieties have been number-designated for 15 years, and will likely remain that way.

How do newly bred hops differ from traditional varieties?

Specialization is increasingly the priority of growers, according to Ferguson. Whereas some traditional hops had dual uses as high-alpha-acid bittering hops as well as expressive flavor and aroma hops, growers today tend to prioritize one end of the spectrum. Some growers focus entirely (and some are paid entirely) on alpha acid content. Others seek new flavor and aroma expressions, like the hops featured in Infinity-Hero.

Infinite Innovation

That final step from the field to the brewhouse is a big one, Ferguson said. He’s supervised new crossbreeds that were knockouts of aroma in the field, only to fall completely flat once they reached the beer.

“Evey hop we’ve ever used commercially has been vetted by brewers,” he said. “They want something that’s going to pop, that’s going to impress. And we don’t plant anything without a brewery sponsoring the acreage.”

Infinity-Hero’s signature dry hop is largely built around HBC 1019 (see the FAQ above for an explanation of the name) and HBC 586; yet-unnamed hops that represent the future of Haas’s breeding program. Revolution’s early sponsorship of an acre of HBC 1019 allowed us access to this key hop before it was fully commercialized. Early results on our innovation brewing system were stunning.

“We weren’t just driving tropical fruit, but stone fruit as well. That aspect really pops, where in an Anti-Hero it’s more citrus and pine, Hazy is more tropical and pineapple,” Cibak said. “Infinity’s stonefruit aromatics and flavor are really pushing into a new direction for IPAs.”

HBC 1019 comes from a crossbreed plant made in 2016, with the Haas team brewing the first single-hop batch in 2019. Ferguson, for his part, was just as stunned as Rev’s team.

“It’s the most tropical hop I’ve tasted to date, hands down. Nothing touches this. If you like tropical sweet fruit, this hop is super piña colada, it’s got almost this caramelized banana, vanilla, creamy component. Almost like dark rum and bananas,” Ferguson said. “The bitterness is enough to counter the malt, but it’s almost nonexistent after. New-school as hell for people who want that kind of thing. There’s a creaminess like you get in something like Sabro, but nothing woody or herbal alongside.”

HBC 586, the result of seven years of effort, was one of those rewarding moments where the hop rub in the field matched the result in the glass. It was brewed alongside HBC 692, which we featured in Maintains & Shapes and was later named Talus. The yield and agronomic advantages accelerated the readiness of Talus, while 586 left an impression the growers kept returning to.

"Talus got to market faster. If you’d ask Haas, we’re even more excited in terms of flavor with 586. More legs, more flavor potential. Slightly more exciting," Ferguson said. “It’s an old school West Coast Hop turned way up. Huge orange and mango with a slight savoriness in a good way. It had that mix where it was a West Coast amped up with some super new school flavor. You’re going to throw it in with every hop you use and get more punch.”

New Zealand’s Nectaron also featured heavily in Infinity-Hero, and brings such a candy peach flavor to it that eventually we went down the street to buy a bag of peach rings for a side-by-side.

"Nectaron is driving that big stone fruit flavor. We did a single-hop test batch where we dry hopped over 2 pounds per barrel and that thing was like a peach explosion,” Cibak said. “We found that 1019 kicks in the kind of flavor that rounds it out perfectly."

Finally, we found that the dank and desirable Strata can produce incredibly pleasant and balanced fruity notes if added early enough to experience biotransformation. The final-final touch to a beer with innumerable gem-cut facets to it. The dry-hop comes close to two pounds per barrel, and you can taste every bit of it in Infinity-Hero.

Choose Your Hero

Infinity-Hero is joining the Revolution lineup as a year-round Hero IPA, alongside Anti-Hero and Hazy-Hero. And it’s a fit for fans of both. Assertive hop flavor and smooth clarity is there for Anti-Hero fans, while expressive fruit-forward hops and low bitterness call out to Hazy-Hero drinkers. Most of all, its elevation as a Hero IPA alongside both is a sign of the excitement and confidence that Cibak and the entire production team have in it.

“Any IPA drinker will be attracted to Infinity-Hero. It’s not just a filtered Hazy Beer, it’s not just an old-school IPA with dialed-down bitterness. It’s something different,” Cibak said. “It’s big, impactful hop aroma and endless flavor, with just the perfect mellow bitterness. I think people are going to be excited after their first sip.”

Infinity-Hero is making its way across Revolution’s entire distribution footprint. Grab a six-pack or a pour and find out why we’re calling this the best of both worlds.