Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.2.2017: A Flight of Gonzaga Bulldogs

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightGonzaga Bulldogs basketball team has never won it all, but then again, there’s never been a Gonzaga squad quite like this year’s team of Bulldogs. West Coast Conference championships are nothing new to the Eastern, Washington university, of course. Neither is head coach Mark Few’s way of guiding squads of likable young men to the heights of the regular-season polls. These Zags are arguably more athletic and defensive-minded than any of their predecessors, which just might help them win it all Monday night. We salute the Bulldogs run with the dog-theme beer flight Craft Beer Crosscut 4.2.2017: A Flight of Gonzaga Bulldogs.


Avery-Ellies-Brown-Ale-TacomaAvery Ellie’s Brown Ale

5.5% ABV, 28 IBU

T’was 24 years ago that Adam Avery (blessed be his name), smiled upon Boulder, Colorado and the world at large by opening Avery Brewing, which begat White Rascal Ale, which begat Out of Bounds Stout, which begat Ellie’s Brown Ale. This beautiful, deep russet brew has the sweet and somewhat nutty character of Avery’s late (1992-2002) Chocolate Lab, for which it is named. We found a very rich maltiness and a complex caramel and roasted combination in the flavor profile of this very nicely balanced beer. Overall, a very flavorful and sweet brown ale, almost too much so for an English Brown. More of an American Brown in flavor and English brown in its malty balance.

Abita-Turbodog-TacomaAbita Turbodog

5.6% ABV, 28 IBU

Abita Brewing Co.’s Turbodog is a dark English brown ale brewed with a mix of pale, crystal and chocolate malts, dry-hopped with Willamette then fermented with German Alt yeast. We sniffed sweet milk chocolate, cocoa powder, light coffee, a toffee-like aroma, a bit of caramel and roasted malts. In the bowl, we lapped up the same flavors as the cold nose. Delicious, light body craft beer? Indeed. Turbo? No so much.

Top-Rung-My-Dog-Scout-Stout-TacomaTop Rung My Dog Scout Stout

6% ABV, 30 IBU

Named after Top Rung Brewing head brewer Jason Stoltz’s black lab, Scout, this puppy grabbed gold in the American Stout category of the 2015 Washington Beer Awards. “I think the My Dog Scout Stout took a gold medal home because of some of the choices in malt selection giving it a few different layers of flavor ending on the base malt used,” says Stoltz. “Also, our water allows us to brew darker beers very well.” Chocolate and coffee jump out of the glass. Deceptively smooth and black as the night, My Dog Scout Stout is an easy sipper due to the eight different malts used in the brewing process.

Lagunitas-Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-TacomaLagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot

7.85% ABV, 64 IBU

Why is there a dog on Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s labels? Brewer and owner Tony Magee says he was inspired by “Petey,” the canine companion of The Little Rascals. “The dog, to me, was the star of the whole gang.” Magee has said. He always hoped the loyalty and positive feelings associated with man’s best friend would also become linked with his beer. First released in 2009, Wilco Tango Foxtrot was introduced as a “Jobless Recovery Ale”. Big and hearty yet refreshingly affordable, it provided some much needed satisfaction during uncertain and frustrating times. Here we are eight years later and this imperial brown ale returns to deliver once again. It’s incredibly well balanced with resinous and citrusy hop notes that keep toffee and brown sugar sweetness in check.

Hair-of-the-Dog-Blue-Dot-Double-IPA-TacomaHair of the Dog Blue Dot Double IPA

7% ABV, 80 IBU

People have been making pilgrimages to Portland for Alan Sprints’ beer since the dark ages — back when hazy and sour beers weren’t made that way intentionally. Hair of the Dog brewed an IPA named after planet Earth with organic Pilsner malt, rye malt and a combo of intense hops. Somewhat pungent in the nose with tons of herbal, floral, citrus grapefruit, raw honey and fresh mint the Blue Dot is a full-bodied, smooth and creamy IPA. Then the hops come to play with a raw leafy coarseness and big smack of grapefruit, ripe pineapple and some sticky resins on the palate. This is all backed by a malt sweetness, touch of honey and a spicy character unique to the addition of rye.