Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 2.19.17: A Flight of Centennial

Ron Swarner


Our daily craft beer sampler flight has landed in a Cascade hop field, the citrusy workhorse of the craft beer industry, but today we’re focusing on Centennial: Cascade’s bigger, more bitter, less flowery cousin. Centennial hops were first bred in 1974 as a cross between many different strains including Brewers Gold, Fuggle, East Kent Golding and Bavarian hops. The name comes from the Washington state Centennial Celebration, which occurred in 1989, just before the public release of Centennial hops in 1990. Centennial is a great dual-purpose hop and can be used successfully for both bittering and aroma. Centennial hops are very similar to Cascade and are characterized by aromatic pine, citrus and floral notes. Enjoy five craft beers brewed with Centennial hops in our Craft Beer Crosscut 2.19.17: A Flight of Centennial.

Lagunitas-Brewing-IPA-TacomaLagunitas Brewing IPA

6.2% ABV, 46 IBUs

IPA was Lagunitas‘ first seasonal, released in 1995. The beer’s labels claim it’s “made with 43 different hops and 65 various malts,” which would be badass if true, if wildly impractical. Cascade and Centennial are in the greatest abundance, and they combine to deliver flavors and aromas of citrus zest, bitter pine, grass, earth and just a pinch of crystal malt to keep the hops in proportion.

Deschutes-Red-Chair-NWPA-TacomaDeschutes Red Chair NWPA

6.2% ABV, 60 IBU

Deschutes‘ Red Chair NWPA (Northwest Pale Ale) pours a dark, dark amber. You get plenty of citrus on the nose, but also a little pine. Several select European and domestic malts gives this ale a big caramel boost on the front end. Then, things get zesty as the Centennial and Cascade hops kick in, delivering some old school grapefruit and lemon peel notes. The citrus is robust, but Red Chair isn’t a fruity beer by any means. The hops provide more of a floral element than anything.

Hop-Manna-IPA-TacomaHop Manna IPA

6.8% ABV, 65 IBU

Since its establishment in 1996, Shmaltz Brewing Company has gone from a Mission District, San Francisco apartment operation, where Jeremy Cowan brewed his first hundred cases of He’Brew Beer that he enlisted his mother to deliver, to a massive brewery just north of Albany in Clifton Park, New York, with national distribution, including Washington state. A delicious IPA bearing floral and citrus flavors, Hop Manna IPA features six robust hops (Warrior, Cascade, Citra, Amarillo, Crystal, Centennial), it’s dry hopped with Centennial, Cascade and Citra hops and is balanced out with five delicious malts (Specialty 2-Row, Wheat, Munich, Vienna, CaraMunich 40).

Green-Flash-West-Coast-IPA-TacomaGreen Flash West Coast IPA

8.1% ABV, 95 IBU

So much of the good, green stuff is packed into Green Flash’s West Coast IPA that you’ll find it overwhelming if you haven’t prepared yourself. Imagine licking a pine sapling on a spring day in a grassy meadow and you won’t even be half way. Seriously, West Coast is a bit like cramming fistfuls of freshly mowed grass into your gob due to a “menagerie of hops” layered throughout the brewing process including Simcoe (to impart a unique fruitiness and grapefruit zest), Columbus (for strong hop pungency), Centennial (for pine and citrus notes), and Cascade (for floral aroma). As the brewery puts it, it is a “multi-dimensional hop experience.” And they ain’t lying.

Fort-George-Vortex-IPA-TacomaFort George Vortex IPA

7.7% ABV, 97 IBU

Caught in a tornado in the Midwest while hauling their original brew system cross country from Virginia, it made sense from Fort George Brewery to whip up Vortex IPA. With a hearty 7.7% ABV unfiltered, unpasteurized organic malt spine that makes way for Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial hops this IPA is medium bodied with a resinous mouthfeel, grapefruit more than pine and finishes with lingering hop bitterness. This beer is straight up delicious.