This is why Heist Brewery had to temporarily stop filling growlers and Crowlers

AJ Keirans has just one problem with Heist Brewery’s Citraquential IPA: He needs more.

Keirans recently received a Crowler (think canned growler) of the beer from Seth Holloman, who routinely trades beers with other beer enthusiasts across the United States. As a Connecticut resident Keirans has access to a variety of New England-style IPAs, but was really impressed with Heist’s take on the style (as evidenced by the Facebook post below).

Keirans isn’t the only one who needs more. The brewery has moved through so much beer lately that it had to temporarily stop filling Crowlers and growlers over the past week.

Heist will resume filling Crowlers and growlers this weekend, but the IPAs have been wiped out. While the brewery has kept four or five IPAs on tap lately, its supply recently dropped as a result of increased popularity and the brewery sending kegs out to a few select accounts.

“The math just doesn’t add up with all the IPAs, which puts us in a quandary because it seems like that’s what everybody wants right now,” said head brewer Eric Mitchell. “We’ve got to take care of these four walls first. We figured by stopping Crowler sales and outside sales we could probably get another week out of our IPAs here and help narrow that gap between how long they take to make and how long they stay on tap.”

The math Mitchell refers to goes like this: it takes him and assistant brewer Scott Worthington just over two weeks to brew a batch of these IPAs, but that batch can be depleted in as few as five days. Compare that to other styles that can take just 12 days to brew but last 16-18 days in the taproom, and you can see how they recently ran into what Mitchell calls “a perfect storm.”

In addition to Citraquential, the brewery has moved quickly through other IPAs like Blurred is the Word, Reformed, and All is Ripe. Many of the brewery’s IPAs fall into the hazy-but-hoppy New England-style IPA category that’s become popular as of late. Holloman has also traded Crowlers of Heist’s beers with friends in Florida, Virginia and California, and all of the recipients have been impressed.

“There’s definitely a demand for them from people that have gotten to try them,” said Holloman, who lives in Stallings. “A lot of the guys are comparing them to Trillium and Treehouse and some of the best IPAs out there.”

But will Heist be able to keep pace with demand when it comes to their IPAs?

“If we were a production facility I think the answer is clear,” said Mitchell. “You make what everybody wants. But here we can’t make just four IPAs.”

Being a brewpub, it’s important for Heist to offer a variety of food-friendly beers (sidebar: the medal-winning Brockwell will be brewed soon). But hopheads needn’t worry, as the brewery may have found a way to keep four or five of its IPAs on at a time for the foreseeable future.

Heist will squeeze in two new 15-barrel fermenters beside the main bar (which will be extended to enclose the fermenters). That will increase capacity by 66 percent. The brewery is also considering using a mobile canning company to can some of its beers.

While that’s of little consolation to anyone craving one of Heist’s IPAs right now, the brewery will release the fourth version in its Not From Concentrate series next week. And a week after that, look for a few more IPAs to return to Heist’s taps.