We owe a lot to Huma Lupa Licious. Our favorite IPA made with five different hop varieties, Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, Cascade, and Palisade, and a strong malt backbone helped to put our pub on the map some twelve years ago. It’s safe to say that Huma has helped chart the course for Short’s in many ways. This huge IPA (that many would classify as a double) is beloved by patrons and Huma Handlers (yep, we love Huma so much that we call our pub tenders Huma Handlers) alike. And it’s true, once you try a Huma, no other IPA will do.
We asked Joe to share a little somethin’ somethin’ about how he created the recipe for Huma and why making a bad a** IPA was so important to him. Read on to hear the story of Huma from the OG “Huma Handler,” himself!
My initial discovery of craft beer was through wheat beer and brown ales. When I experienced my first India Pale Ale, it changed my life forever. The flavors and aromas of this beer style were magical and overwhelmingly satiating. I couldn’t get enough. India Pale Ale left a life long and lasting impression on me. This was the style of beer that made me want to become a brewer. Knowing Pale Ale and IPA are the most widely consumed craft beer styles, I was bound and determined to produce an IPA that that would turn heads.
Every spare moment I had, I obsessed over learning about this beer style. I began to write recipes and brew them. Lots of them in many different ways. I played with different yeasts, malts and hops and made a good variety of the style. With calculator, graph paper and books sprawled out on the dining room table, my roommates thought I was cramming for a big test. I suppose in a sense I was. Not a test for one of my classes at Western Michigan University, but a test that would ultimately determine the fate of my brewing career. Those recipes became the precursor for what would eventually become Huma Lupa Licious India Pale Ale – “A complex malt and hop theme park in your mouth.”
I knew in order to pass the “IPA Test” I needed this beer to stand on its own and be respected by IPA drinkers with the most discerning of palates. As I began to evolve and grow as a brewer and gain experience, Huma was born as a byproduct of many years honing in what I believed to be a “thorough” example of an India Pale Ale. By the time I was brewing my first batches for Short’s in Bellaire, it was pretty damn close! The core of Huma was pretty much set, but it’s taken slight tweaks since the maiden voyage in Bellaire. The Huma you enjoy today in bottle, can, or on tap is the same Huma we’ve been serving up for the past 12 years.
Of course the name was a separate challenge in itself. That’s why today we really emphasize “Huma” because Huma-Lupa-Licious was just wrecked by so many people who wouldn’t take the time to read it through. “Oompa Loopa” or “Humpa Lumpa” were commonly heard. As much as a pain in the ass navigating the name has been, I’m happy with it. To me, it’s really about the hops. Even though they are supported by a complex malt bill, the hops are very much the focus throughout. Bitter, flavor and aroma, we pack em’ in.
The name essentially came from the scientific name for the hop plant, Humulus lupulus, followed by “licious” giving us Huma-Lupa-Licious. I even went as far as to write a song about hops so they could be properly understood. That’s my story. All this talk about hops has made me thirsty. I’m gonna go find a cold one.
Looking for more information on the tastiest IPA in all the land? Be sure to check out this episode of Short’s Cast shortsbrewing.com/podcasthuma.