People like to draw attention to the sign ("NO MSG, NO IPA") that we hung up for a while in our Tasting Room. I like to refer to that sign as the "NO MSG sign". Well that sign was put up at a time when we, as a young brewery, wanted to focus on making Belgian-inspired,-styled beers and to push that limit. We didn't have anything against IPAs, porters, stouts etc. We were just intentional about being focused. As more breweries opened around us in Torrance, more vistitors hopping from one brewery to the next visited and many assumed that we would have an IPA (or many IPAs) on tap. And after many, many explanations of why we don't make an IPA as a belgian-focused brewery, we put that sign up as a joke -- in the sense, that like MSG, we didn't add any "IPA additives" to our beer. But we didn't anticpate the number of people who didn't take it as a joke. (It's funny that not many people took issue with the MSG part of the sign.) It has been 6 months since we took down the sign. The biggest reasoning behind that move was that one day, Adriana (chief boss of Monkish) – who never liked that the sign spoke in the negative tone – and I had another debate over the sign and I threw a hissy fit and took it down!
We knew we would make IPAs someday.
When Monkish opened we didn't have any contracts for the hops we needed to brew the more cool, hop-forward beers. So it was another reason why we focused on Belgian only beers. After getting hop contracts and waiting for them to take effect a couple years later, we added hoppy options to our Belgian-focused lineup -- Belgian Pale Ales. This gave us the chance to make single-hop Belgain pales so that we could learn about and become familiar with the nuances of different hops like Simcoe, Amarillo, Mosaic, Citra, Nelson, etc...
Year Five. We just celebrated our 4-year anniversary and moving into our milestone 5th year we saw this as a good time to start making IPAs. We made a few IPAs and have been exploring different yeasts -- with Off the Record being the first hoppy beer that we felt worthy to be a Monkish IPA. Shortly after brewing Off the Record, our friends from Other Half Brewing came by to collaborate on a beer with us (we in fact brewed two beers -- barrel-fermented Brett beer and an IPA). So it was a great opportunity to use this to launch our "IPA program" (a term we've been using since breweries like to talk about how they are starting a "barrel-aging program"). And if the timing was already good for us to release our first canned IPA, we were able to announe it on April Fool's Day! Perfect!