Our Tournament of Beer isn’t complicated: We put you, the public, in charge of voting to determine the best Washington IPAs in four regions of our state. We simply count the votes and write a lot of silliness about the results. Since the voting is subjective, and we have only 64 slots, delicious, awesome Washington IPAs were left out the tournament. Scanning our current cooler inventory we found five IPAs that, well, should have been voted into the tournament, at least according to us. Today, with another eight IPAs battling at tournamentofbeer.com, we present the Craft Beer Crosscut 4.10.17: A Flight of Runner-Up Washington IPAs.
6.1% ABV, 60 IBU
The Hopvine Pub is a lovely, low-key neighborhood joint close to Seattle’s Capitol Hill where Northwesterners hang out, sip craft beer and go nuts over the soup. Schooner Exact Brewing Co. has a soft spot for the place, enough so to brew a delicious IPA for the pub’s 15th anniversary. Dip your nose into the Hopvine IPA and breathe in the highly herbaceous hops aroma that captures the plant at its most piney, resinous peak. The malt profile consists of Pale, Crystal and Carapils — providing a vehicle for loads of hops flavor, courtesy of Chinook and Citra hops. It is not a bitter bomb that annihilates your palate. It is, however, outstandingly balanced, and highly drinkable.
7% ABV, 67 IBU
Not shocking Washington state’s oldest operating craft brewery makes a traditional Northwest IPA. Hale’s Ales’ Supergoose soars with Cascade, Summit and Amarillo hops and a super malt backbone that adds muscle to this brew and balances out the plethora of hops. Expect lots of peachy, grapefruity hops on the nose erupting from a foaming, amber pour. Sharp hoppy overtones of citrusy, tropical sweetness and pine pronounce into a firm bitterness with a balanced, crisp finish.
6.2% ABV, 80 IBU
Peaks and Pints has sipped hundreds of Fremont Brewing Co.’s Interurban IPA. Not so much that it’s been around for close to seven years but rather it’s the craft beer we drank almost everyday at 5 p.m. while building our little lodge in Tacoma’s Proctor District, thanks to gentleman/handyman Bob Hill who not only helped us construct Peaks and Pints but would buy a half-case of Interurban IPA from neighboring Safeway every time he worked, which was ample. Named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture, “Waiting for the Interurban”, Interurban IPA offers the adventurous beer lover a warm embrace of roasted pale malt swirled with a hand-selected blend of flavor malts and filled with the rich spice of Chinook, Centennial and Amarillo hops. It’s perfect after a long day swinging a hammer and paintbrush.
8.9% ABV, 85 IBU
Folklore and mythology present the raven as an omniscient creature with special powers and abilities. Black Raven’s Wisdom Seeker Double IPA gets its special powers from an enormous amount of hops — Summit, Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra — and malted barley for moderate to heavily bitter with a nice malt backbone. Brewed in the West Coast Double IPA style, this bold brew has tons of orange citrus with some grapefruit and resin on the nose. We get more pine and resin with some citrus fruit, a little onion and light herbal notes.
12.5% ABV, 100+ IBU
Three Magnet Brewing Company’s Little Juice – Smoothie Edition IPA is battling right now at tournamentofbeer.com, but the Olympia brewery’s Rain, Rain, Rain Triple IPA has the hops and habilitation to hold its own in the field of 64. Brewed with Zeus and Magnum hops for bittering, and Mosaic, Amarillo, and Centennial for finishing, this triple is pretty (lovely honey tinted hue), smells good (candied citrus mingles with fresh muskmelon) and is quite delicious (washes over the palate flavors of tangerine, melon, and berries culminate in a snappy, hoppy finish).