Thursday, May 30th, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 5.30.19: Flight of Wet Coast Brewing

Ron Swarner


Beer flights in TacomaWest Pierce Fire and Rescue firefighters Bryan Copeland and Aaron Johnson are the brewers and co-owners behind the business, along with their wives Molly Copeland and April Johnson. They started planning their brewery for years, but didn’t get serious until 2012. They opened in Gig Harbor in 2015 on a 3.5-barrel brewing system, with three 7-barrel bright tanks and four 7-barrel fermenters, which has since been replaced by a much larger system. The love affair with the Prohibition era is particularly evident at their Wet Coast Brewing. In the 1932 presidential election, King, Pierce, and Spokane counties voted “wet,” meaning those citizens voted for Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and his desire to bring back the drinkies, instead of Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover’s desire to keep “the noble experiment,” Prohibition. In addition, Wet Coast beers give a nod to Prohibition days, for instance “Hi Jack!” was used in speakeasies as a code word for law enforcement. Tonight, Wet Coast debuts their cans at Peaks and Pints in, naturally, a speakeasy environment. In the meantime, enjoy an all-day flight of the Gig Harbor brewery’s beers that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 5.30.19: Flight of Wet Coast Brewing.

Craft Beer Crosscut 5.30.19: Flight of Wet Coast Brewing

Wet Coast Whisper Sister Hazy Pale

5% ABV, 32 IBU

In the slang of the prohibition era, a “whisper sister” was the nickname given by the flappers to a female proprietor of a speakeasy. In the modern day era, a Whisper Sister is the name of a hazy pale ale brewed by Wet Coast Brewing in Gig Harbor, Washington. This easy-drinking pale is brewed with a hefty dose of oats. Vermont IPA yeast brings the haze and bolsters the tropical and citrus notes of El Dorado and Falconer’s Flight hops.

Wet Coast Hi Jack! Red Ale

5.5% ABV, 33 IBU

Wet Coast Brewing’s name is a triple entendre: 1. West Coast, 2. Northwest weather, 3. Prohibition, where citizens voted wet or dry. In 1920, the United States has just enacted the Volstead Act, prohibiting the production and consumption of intoxicating liquors. Bottles were smashed, babies cried and Americans everywhere were forced to be “dry” and live a life without beer. That is, everywhere but Washington state. Lt. Roy Olmstead with the Seattle Police Department began smuggling alcohol from Canada and soon enough Washington wouldn’t just be a rainy state out west, it would become the Wet Coast. Many Wet Coast beers give a nod to Prohibition days, including Hi Jack!, which was used in speakeasies as a code word for law enforcement. Hi Jack!, the red ale, is brewed with Crystal and Black malts for a deep red hue and smooth body. Centennial hops provide floral and citrus notes with a small amount of bitterness to balance the beer.

Wet-Coast-Initiative-61-TacomaWet Coast Initiative 61

6.1% ABV, 50 IBU

The Washington Liquor Regulations and Felonies Initiative, also known as Initiative 61, was on the Nov. 8, 1932 ballot in Washington as an “Initiative to the People,” where it was approved. The measure removed regulations on the importation, manufacturing, and possession of liquors, but continued felony status for the selling of alcohol to minors or in saloons. Wet Coast Initiative 612 dry hopped pale ale is brewed in honor of this Washington ballot initiative that lead to the repeal of the Volstead Act. Wet Coast throws Simcoe and Chinook hops at a pale for pine and citrus flavors. Add to that a subtle bready-malt character and you have yourself one happy Repeal Day, every day.

Wet-Coast-Moving-Day-IPA-TacomaWet Coast Moving Day IPA

6.4% ABV, 55 IBU

President Woodrow Wilson had a wine cellar in the White House, but by the time he left office in 1921, Prohibition was the law of the land. As if moving weren’t stressful enough, he had to figure out how to transport his wine to his new digs. Luckily, he was granted an exemption from Congress. Wet Coast’s Moving Day IPA is here to stay — in cans. The brewery’s flagship IPA is, indeed, now in cans. Resinous/citrus/tropical flavors and aromas is balanced by a solid malt bill featuring Munich and Crystal malts.

Wet-Coast-Line-Jumper-IPA-TacomaWet Coast Line Jumper IPA

5% ABV, 56 IBU

Wet Coast Line Jumper IPA gets its name from the boats smuggling liquor across the Canadian boarder into the U.S. during Prohibition. Accordingly, the Gig Harbor brewery smuggled in a new recipe for its Line Jumper. The Chinook and El Dorado hops have been loaded in a boat and cast away. Mosaic and Eureka join the anchor Columbus hop. That’s right; two heavyweights with complex flavors meet head-on in this delicious IPA. Mosaic — probably one of the most aptly named hops — fuses an array of tropical fruits, citrus and berry with mild herbal, earthy and pine characteristic. Eureka hops emphasize heavy pine, underlined by mild floral notes and rounded out with dank aromas. So … it’s not surprising that the new Line Jumper reveals sweet, fruity flavor of caramel and hops with notes of flowers and pine needles.