Wednesday, February 26th, 2020

Craft Beer Crosscut 2.26.20: Flight of West Coast IPAs

Ron Swarner

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Beer flights in TacomaIndia Pale Ales emerged in the 1700s when British brewers found a market for hoppy beers in India and territories of the British Empire. The American spin on IPAs began to capture widespread appeal in the U.S. by the late 1990s. Those early versions in the craft beer movement often focused on sharp citrus and pine flavors. They were intentionally unbalanced and sometimes unabashedly bitter. More recent trends favor hops with a range of fruity, tropical and juicy flavors resembling orange, tangerine, lemon, grape, strawberry and mango. Many IPAs taste like fruit juice or milkshakes. Today, Peaks and Pints presents a flight of old school West Coast style IPAs we call Craft Beer Crosscut 2.2620: Flight of West Coast IPAs. Yes, we talking bold, hop-forward IPAs born from the increasingly hoppy pale ales of the early ’80s, and then spurred by friendly rivalries among San Diego breweries during the mid-2000s. We present five American West Coast IPAs that focus on grapefruit/citrus and pine/resin bitterness that falls between 50-70 IBUs with a strength of 6.3-7.5 percent ABV.

Craft Beer Crosscut 2.2620: Flight of West Coast IPAs

Kulshan-Tree-dimensional-IPA-TacomaKulshan Tree-dimensional IPA

6.8% ABV

The classic American West Coast IPA showcases a balanced hop and malt profile dominated by New World hop varietals and pale malts, is often dry-hopped and exudes a citrus, pine and resinous hop character. Meet Kulshan Brewing Tree-dimensional IPA, our house beer for 2020. Paying homage to the outdoor enthusiasts who join Peaks daily in Tacoma’s Proctor District, Tree-dimension IPA is the perfect beer to toast the powder, currents or trails, as well as revealing the sprains. Tree-dimensional IPA, or Tree-D, continues Peaks & Pints’ love affair with old school piney IPAs, this time brewed with Simcoe, Idaho 7, CTZ, Centennial, and whole leaf Cascade in the hop back for all the pine and citrus, plus creamy mouthfeel and bitter finish.

Claim-52-Westside-IPA-TacomaClaim 52 Westside IPA

6.8% ABV, 65 IBU

Claim 52 Brewing’s flagship IPA, Westside, is a West Coast style IPA brewed with Amarillo, Mosaic and Simcoe. It hits the nose with citrus orange rind, some bread crust malt, spruce, and a slight light dankness. The citrus and malt carry over in flavor, with good carbonation, and a dry, bitter finish.

Oakshire Reclaim The Fame

7.3% ABV, 70 IBU

Brewed with Mosaic, Simcoe, Chinook, and Falconer’s Flight hops, Oakshire Brewing‘s West Coast IPA bursts with aromas of tropical fruit and resinous pine. Expect a balanced bitterness and a satisfyingly dry finish.

Firestone-Walker-Union-Jack-TacomaFirestone Walker Union Jack

7.5% ABV, 70 IBU

The West Coast IPA is an aggressively hopped American IPA intent on wreaking havoc on imbibers’ palates. Absurd amounts of hops go into the boil, creating excessive bitterness. Meet Firestone Walker Union Jack. When Firestone Walker elected to use the catch phrase “Passion for the Pale,” they were telling the truth. This double dry-hopped IPA has become a West Coast IPA standard by which many others within the style might be measured. A beauteous grapefruit and citrus aroma is achieved through multi-leveled hopping that involves 4-pounds per barrel mix of Warrior, Simcoe, Cascade, Centennial, Amarillo and Chinook. Citrusy, floral, pungent, and powerful, the masterful blend of American hop characters is simply unlike any other. Even with its 7.5 percent ABV, alcohol isn’t actually apparent in the taste; in fact, there’s nothing weighty or overwhelming about this beer. It’s elegant, light, and palatable, and finishes dry and perfectly clean.

Wayfinder-Doomtown-TacomaWayfinder Doomtown

7.5% ABV, 75 IBU

When Wayfinder Beer opened it poured from a draft list of guest beers and collaboration beers that head brewer Kevin Davey has been brewing with Baerlic, Breakside, Hopworks, Gigantic, Zoiglhaus, Ecliptic, and Occidental breweries. One of Davey’s first in-house beers, Downtown IPA, is a clean, classic West Coast IPA with bright floral, resinous sticky aroma with a touch of pine and dankness. Expect full deep flavor that’s gold malty and sticky with pine and floral resins plus a firm dankness and robust complex bitterness.