Monday, April 17th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.17.17: A Flight of Tournament of Beer Round One

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightMaybe if we all took a page from the friendly spirit of the craft beer movement, the world just might be a better place. It’s unlikely there is another fiercely competitive business that delights so much in hanging out together. If the market share is so small for each brewery, why cooperate with your competition? Maybe it stems from the David vs. Goliath syndrome, where craft brewers find delight in sticking together against the behemoths of industrial brewing and are willing to support each other for greater visibility and eventual higher sales. Today’s Tournament of Beer: Washington State IPAs Round One games features two games where the opposing craft breweries are almost neighbors. Wingman Brewers and 7 Seas Brewing are less than a mile from each other. Sumerian Brewing is five miles north of Black Raven in East King County. Peaks and Pints presents an opportunity to taste these neighboring craft beers before you vote at, with a palate cleanser in between. Enjoy Craft Beer Crosscut 4.17.17: A Flight of Tournament of Beer Round One.

7-Seas-Brewing-Rude-Parrot-IPA-Tacoma7 Seas Rude Parrot IPA

5.9% ABV, 75 IBU

7 Seas Brewing’s founders Mike Runion and Travis Guterson were surprised the public seeded their Ballz Deep Double IPA higher than the Rude Parrot IPA. Yes, Ballz Deep is massive and extremely well balanced, as well as fun to pronounce, but Rude Parrot, arguably the state’s first canned craft beer, is an all-around player. The floral, tropical fruit and pine are subtle. It’s clean. It’s aggressively hops yet well balanced. It’s the Tom Hanks of IPAs. Rude Parrot might squawk, but it always uses words such as “kooky” and “holy smokes.” Vote for Rude Parrot IPA.

Wingman-Ace-IPA-TacomaWingman Brewers Ace IPA

7.1% ABV 83 IBU

We’re certain as much as 7 Seas doesn’t want to rehash their first-year brewery fire Ken Thoburn, co-founder and head brewer of Wingman Brewers, doesn’t want to explain the brewery’s name for the millionth time. He doesn’t have to; that’s our job. Thoburn, Derrick Moyer, Daniel Heath and Jason Sabol launched Wingman Brewers as a nano-brewery in April 2011. The brewery’s name and image is homage to Thoburn’s grandfather, an artist who served in World War II in the Pacific, and painted the sides of fighter planes when he could. In 2012, they moved their one-barrel system to their current location at 509 ½ Puyallup Avenue, adding a taproom. Their Ace IPA is one of many aviation-themed named craft beers produced by the Tacoma brewery. Yes, Ace “drops a hop bomb of flavor,” specifically grapefruit, a little grass and pine, and a lot of bitterness. Wingman is just across Pacific Avenue and down the street from 7 Seas Brewing. Expect news crews on the street. Vote for Ace IPA.

Rainier-beer-TacomaRainier Beer

4.73% ABV

Intermission: palate cleanser-ish: Rainier beer’s roots go back to 1878, 11 years before Washington became a state. By 1904, Rainier had become so popular that the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company — brewers of Rainier at the time — was the largest brewery west of the Mississippi. By 1912, it was the sixth largest brewery in the world. It is this fabled history that lives in each can, bottle and pint of Rainier beer today. In 1999, the Rainier brand and recipe were bought by Pabst Brewing and moved operations to California. Rainier is still made with a pedigree yeast culture under tightly controlled conditions, with a satisfying malty flavor over a slightly fruity background, spiced with Chinook, Mt. Hood, and Willamette hop notes.

Black-Raven-Trickster-IPA-TacomaBlack Raven Trickster IPA

6.9% ABV, 70 IBU

From Redmond, Black Raven Brewing comes this well-balanced IPA with a deep chewy malt character obtained from copious amounts of ESB, Munich and Crystal combined with a blast of Chinook, Magnum, Simcoe, Amarillo and Cascade hops. Basically, Black Raven brewed a craft beer that has an elevated grain bill and an elevated hop bill, executed perfectly so you have an elevated beer. This seventh seed IPA brings light fruit, citrus and piney hop aroma with a full hop flavor to the game. Vote for Trickster IPA.

Sumerian-Hopruption-IPA-TacomaSumerian Hopruption Double IPA

8.3% ABV, 95 IBU

If you load up a double IPA with Cascade and Centennial hops, dry hop it twice with Citra and Mosaic, it’s much more than an eruption of hops. What was known as Sumerian Brewing’s Eruption IPA is now Hopruption IPA. Sumerian Brewing changed the name to match the hop explosion, but honestly they could have called it Smoothruption. This crazy hopped double is well balance with a creamy body, lightly sweet and fruit forward. Vote for Hopruption Double IPA.