Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 3.30.17: A Flight of Willamette

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightDeveloped in 1976 and named after the mighty river valley in Oregon, Willamette hops have long been a favorite among American craft brewers. Cultivated as an alteration of English Fuggle, Willamette quickly gained popularity and now accounts for 20 percent of all hops grown in America. With a fairly low alpha acid content, Willamette is mostly used for their aromatic properties, and for good reason. With notes of flowers, earth, fruit and spice, these hops can adapt to many different beer styles and add a lot of great character. It’s a go-to hop for many American brewers and our Craft Beer Crosscut 3.30.17: A Flight of Willamette beer flight today.


New-Belgium-Anne-Francoise-Spiced-Dark-Ale-TacomaNew Belgium Anne-Françoise Spiced Dark Ale (Lips of Faith)

9.5% ABV, 25 IBU

Kim Jordan was New Belgium‘s first bottler, sales rep, distributor, marketer and financial planner, earning her current title as CEO and making New Belgium what it is today. What started as a door-to-door hustle has clearly paid off, as New Belgium has since been cranking out notable beer and even more notable green awareness practices: the company became the first wind-powered brewery in the United States in 1998 and continues to find ways to be more environmentally efficient. Anne-Francoise Pypaert helped Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert craft the recipe for this special batch. The result: a dark, strong, chocolaty dry beer brewed with spruce tips, French Sprisselspalt, grains of paradise, spicy Liberty and Willamette hops and medium-toasted American oak.

Pike-Hive-Five-Honey-Ale-TacomaPike Hive Five Honey Ale

5% ABV, 26 IBU

Pike Hive Five is a tasty collaboration between Pike Brewing Company and Salish Lodge & Spa. Salish has 120,000 honeybees buzzing in their apiaries, which produce 600 pounds of superb and local honey every year. Pike brewers grab those honey dippers shaped live a hive and drip the delight into their Hive Five, which adds dimension to the biscuity flavor of wholesome malt and aromatic Yakima Valley hops, including Mount Hood, Bravo and Willamette. Hive Five sports a surprisingly dry and crisp flavor with a slight clover like essence of honey at the finish.

Big-Sky-Moose-Drool-Brown-Ale-TacomaBig Sky Moose Drool Brown Ale

5.1% ABV, 26 IBU

Sure, the name is slightly revolting, but once you get past that, you are in for a treat. Big Sky Brewing’s Moose Drool Brown Ale is brewed with pale, caramel, chocolate, and whole black malts balanced with Kent Goldings, Liberty and Willamette hops. Hints of robust toffee and honey swirls around the nose mostly from the malt with a hint of spice added by the hops. On the tongue, brown sugar and chocolate blend perfectly finishing with a clean bitterness and slightly dry, but not harsh.

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.

Pelican-Tsunami-Stout-TacomaPelican Tsunami Stout

7% ABV, 45 IBU

Armed with a legion of medals, Pelican Brewing‘s Tsunami Stout is a world-class example of what a foreign extra stout should be. With a color only a few minutes from midnight and a thick but clean pour, Tsunami’s bouquet shows off a fascinating balance of sweet and dry, with a touch of caramel that livens up roasted coffee notes. Big, roasty cocoa flavors dominate, with Magnum and Willamette hops imparting floral and peppery flavors with gentle bitterness. All elements combine in a rich espresso-like finish.