Friday, April 21st, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 4.21.17: A Flight of School

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightTeachers and school staff do some of life’s most important work. Yet they are underpaid and don’t get the community support they deserve. Peaks and Pints has many educators as patrons at our bottleshop, taproom and restaurant. We hear firsthand how hard they work and how tough their jobs can be. Smarter Balanced tests, Common Core standards, Smarter Balanced tests, anti-testing sentiment, using these scores to determine who can or can’t graduate, social media bullying — craziness. We also know that while teachers appreciate apples and pencils, what many of them really like is a good craft beer. We’re doing our part to improve education by offering Craft Beer Crosscut 4.21.17: A Flight of School.

Ommegang-Three-Philosophers-Quadrupel-TacomaOmmegang Three Philosophers Quadrupel

9.7% ABV, 19 IBU

Embedding main characters Quid the Cynic, Suction the Epicurean and Sipsop the Pythagorean from William Blake’s 1784 satire An Island in the Moon into the early 16th century Italian painting The Three Philosophers, comes Brewery Ommegang’s Three Philosophers Quadrupel. Please don’t test us further on this beer’s name origin. What we do know is the Belgian motto is “strength in union.” No phrase better describes Three Philosophers, which unites malty Belgian-style ale with Liefmans Kriek, an authentic cherry ale from Belgium. Brewery Ommegang describes the color of the beer as, “dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut … full carbonation with smooth, tan head.” The recipe combines four malts (pils, amber, caramel, and Munich) with the cherry Kriek to create a beer reminiscent of sherry or port, with a mix of dark fruit, coffee, and raisin flavors that will only intensify as the brew ages. The yeast really kicks in upon first sip, which gives the right balance of sweet and sour. A+

Dogfish-Head-Olde-School-Barleywine-TacomaDogfish Head Olde School Barleywine

15% ABV, 85 IBU

Back in the day, we shopped for school clothes at Sears. Grab a new pair of corduroys and a striped T-shirt or pair of culottes and rainbow, fuzzy yarn for the hair. Done. We’d celebrate at the Bon Marche basement café over grilled cheeses and chocolate milk. Of course we’re going to have an Old School in our school flight. Dogfish Head’s Olde School Barleywine’s bruiser tips the scales at 15% ABV, and while perfectly enjoyable young, can be somewhat boozy and figgy-sweet, like a rum-soaked Fig Newton, which, admittedly, doesn’t sound like a bad idea. This barleywine has a solid orange-vanilla-fig sweetness up front, somewhat like Cointreau or Grand Marnier, but does not finish too sweet at all, with tobacco and light licorice on the back end. A+

Old-Schoolhouse-Ruud-Awakening-IPA-TacomaOld Schoolhouse Ruud Awakening IPA

8% ABV, 75 IBU

Casey and Laura Ruud purchased the floundering Winthrop brewery in 2008, changed the name to Old Schoolhouse Brewery, cleaned it up, and quickly turned it into an award-winning gem of a brewpub. Nate and Jake Young, and their buddy Troy Anderson — longtime fans of the brewery — bought it last year with the intent of keeping it awesome. Ruud Awakening IPA, named after the brewery’s previous owners, beautifully balances fruity bitterness with malty sweetness. It tastes malty, hoppy, fruity and piney. A+

Old-Schoolhouse-Imperial-IPA-TacomaOld Schoolhouse Imperial IPA

9.5% ABV, 90 IBU

Old Schoolhouse’s Imperial IPA is part of the Winthrop, Washington brewery’s Brewer’s Reserve Series, bigger and more balanced than its little brother, Ruud Awakening IPA. This intensely hoppy brew leans more toward pine trees than grapefruits in flavor profile thanks to Columbus, Warrior, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe and Citra hops. Massive, warm, mellow malts beautifully balance it. A+

Avery-Hog-Heaven-Imperial-Red-IPA-TacomaAvery Hog Heaven Imperial Red IPA

9.2% ABV, 104 IBU

Would you trade an elementary school teaching gig for brewing? That’s exactly what Left Hand Brewing’s Matt Thrall did when his home brewing hobby became a career path that landed him at Avery Brewing Company in 2003 and currently director of brewing at Left Hand. We’re giving nod to Thrall’s Hog Heaven. This beer grabbed two silver medal wins at the Great American Beer Festival in 2004 and 2007, and subsequently set the stage for the bold beers that would follow such as The Maharaja in 2005, Rumpkin in 2011, Tweak in 2014. After all this time, it is still a beloved beer by Avery Brewing employees and is frequently consumed during celebratory times at the brewery. The intense dry-hop nose and the alcohol content are perfectly balanced for a caramel malt backbone. This is a serious beer for serious beer aficionados. A+