Spring has officially started in the South Sound, settling into its rightful place for the next few months. From waterfalls to early wildflowers, this time of year is perfect to get a jumpstart on the hiking season, especially on lower elevation trails. Of course, you’ll need a few craft beers for your backpack. We present a five-taster flight of appropriate quaffing for lookouts and trail-end gatherings: Craft Beer Crosscut 4.3.17: A Flight of Hiking.
5% ABV, 12 IBU
As you know from our SudsPop nights with Uinta Brewing this past February, the Salt Lake City brewery salutes the national parks this year with its Golden Ales, released with a different national park illustration on 12-ounce can every six weeks or so. Rotating Park Series Golden Ale No. 1: Yosemite sits in our cooler. Uinta chose this medium body, crisp, bready, malt-forward ale with hiking on the brain.
5.5% ABV, 30 IBU
The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from the Mexican border to the Canadian border, covering more than 2,600 miles along the way. On average, it takes thru-hikers about five months to complete the trek. Most hikers start in the south, and by the time they make it into Oregon, they’ve built up a mighty powerful thirst. Enough PCT hikers stop in Bend, Oregon for a shower, a civilized meal and craft beer that Crux Fermentation Project decided to brew PCT Porter just for them and the organization that supports the hikers, Pacific Crest Trail Association. Kick off the hiking boots, pull one of these out of our cooler and enjoy this velvety, chocolate porter with a small bitter bite at the back.
5.2% ABV, 43 IBU
Bellevue Brewing’s Washington Trails Association Tangerine Pale Ale is brewed to be enjoyed with alpine views, summit sunsets and your favorite hiking companions. This citrus pale ale’s swirling hop aromatics, a smooth malt body, sweet orange peel and tangerine zest combine with a smooth, crisp finish. It tastes even better when you think about the one percent of proceeds from sales that benefit WTA helping power our hiking guide, trip reports and volunteer trail maintenance teams.
7.1% ABV, 84 IBU
Of course this hiking beer flight includes Two Beers Brewing’s salute to the famous trail circumnavigating Mount Rainier. It’s the Seattle brewery’s first foray into the West Coast-style, a light bodied IPA complemented by 2-Row, Vienna and Munich malts while featuring a seamless blend of Washington-grown Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Cascade hops. Expect a slightly sweet aroma of tangerine followed by a wave of citrus and passion fruit.
9.6% ABV, 96 IBU
Keep your eyes peeled for a Bigfoot sighting on your next hiking trip. This cult classic was first brewed in 1983 and is considered to be one the best American barleywines being brewed today. Wildly hoppy — Chinook as bittering hops and Cascade, Centennial and Chinook for finishing hops — and balanced by a fierce malt backbone, this brew will age gracefully for years and years — much like the story behind that blurry photo you took that one time of something that could maybe probably be Bigfoot.