Want to enjoy some Ingenious beer? Catch Justin and Ingenious at the Après-Ski Party in Brooklyn, NY on December 8th. Tickets are available here.
Houston has seen something of a hazy IPA renaissance in the past few years. Several breweries have received national attention for brewing juicy New England IPAs that rival some of the best in the country. Ingenious Brewing, located just outside of Houston in Humble, TX, has been a major part in the rise of “Juiceton.” Having opened earlier this year, the brewery has made a name for itself by brewing big hoppy beers like Infinity Hopped Triple NEIPA and stouts that sound more like desserts than beer like Barrel Aged Ice Cream Sundae. As Gyorfi admitted to Hop Culture, “It’s cliché as hell, but even the NEIPAs are bigger in Texas.”
We chatted with Gyorfi ahead of the Après-Ski Party and Craft Beer Festival to learn about some of his unusual habits and the horror stories from his time at the brewery.
John Paradiso: Why did you want to launch a brewery?
Justin Gyorfi: We wanted to open a brewery that diverged from traditional norms held throughout the majority of breweries in our area. Essentially, we moved away from the idea of “core beers” and instead have constantly changing and evolving choices. We wanted to push boundaries, use crazy adjuncts, and focus more on the end product than the economics/logistics of production. Many of the things we brew are challenging, time-consuming, and not margin friendly but the reception is always worth the struggle.
JP: Do you have any unusual habits?
JG: Ingenious is the brainchild of two partners, Mike (also head brewer) and myself. Mike’s unusual habit is that he follows a strict keto diet except for 4 days a month meaning he brews beer but doesn’t drink it. I’m unusual in that I spend my day as a full-time Urologist and manage the brewery in between surgeries and after clinic.
JP: Any horror stories from your time at the brewery?
JG: Plenty. Worst was the initial brewhouse equipment fabricator took reception of $225K and never delivered the equipment. Using legal pressure we were able to obtain 30-40K back but essentially the day we opened the brewery we were already $185K in the hole.
JP: How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for future success?
JG: Not receiving the 10bbl brewhouse that we paid for put us in scramble mode and we had to pay out of pocket for a preconstructed 3bbl system. It was essentially a large homebrew setup and required non-conventional methods to produce high-quality beer. Although generating an insane amount of additional manual labor, the techniques evolved into unique processes that we use today to generate a constantly evolving fantastic (in our opinion) product. If we started as a push-button streamline operation like we initially intended, there is a good chance our products now would be significantly less adventurous in comparison.
JP: What are your thoughts on the state of hazy IPAs in the industry?
JG: They are popular and will continue to be, although I believe in the near future to a less fevered extent as more quality ones come to market. The smooth mouthfeel, juicy sweetness, and less harsh bitterness allow approachability to a wider audience than traditional West Coast IPAs and serve as a great gateway to consumers not familiar with “craft beer.”
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