Tuesday, July 25th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 7.25.17: A Flight of Calypso

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightIf we had to put flavors to John Denver’s “Calypso” our basket would be full of tropical fruits. When hop grower Hopsteiner hears “Calypso” they envision hints of pear and apple, lemon, lime and notes of earthly tea. “Calypso” popped into their heads when they discovered a diploid aroma-type hop, originating from a cross between Hopsteiner breeding female 98005 and a Hopsteiner male derived from Nugget and USDA 19058 male. Despite its aroma-focused origins, the Yakima Valley bred, dual-purpose diploid hop Calypso boasts a high alpha acid percentage. Calypso hops have a unique aroma and flavor that covers a wide spectrum of lemon, cherry blossoms, black pepper, bitter orange, mint and sappy, pronounced pear. Calypso hops are ideal for ales, stouts, barley wines, IPAs and today’s beer flight Craft Beer Crosscut 7.25.17: A Flight of Calypso.

Oskar-Blues-Pinner-Throwback-IPA-TacomaOskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA

4.9% ABV, 35 IBU

Oskar Blues threw “throwback” on Pinner’s name for two reasons — the beer has some elements of an old-school IPA heavy on hops and lighter in ABV, which in turn makes it easier to throw a few back. The Longmont, Colorado brewery is primarily known for its high ABV offerings, but this session IPA complements those nicely. For Pinner, Oskar Blues tosses in six to eight different hops per batch — including Calypso — then dry-hopped with Mosaic, Citra, Eldorado and Azsaca hops, for tropical fruits, citrus juices, pineapple and spice berry up front, balanced with biscuit and toasted bread in the back.

Ballast-Point-Grunion-Pale-Ale-TacomaBallast Point Grunion Pale Ale

5.5% ABV, 50 IBU

Originating from an employee-only homebrew contest, Ballast Point Brewing Co.’s award-winning hoppy pale ale is named after the tiny San Diego fish known for late night frolics on shore. Mosaic and Calypso hops give off pungent summer fruit aromas and flavors with hints of pineapple, ripe cantaloupe, basil, cherry blossoms, spruce and grapefruit. The underlying nutty malt base has hints of toasted bagel and fresh crepes from the use of Marris Otter barley and Carapils malt. Grunion took gold at the 2014 Great American Beer Festival, but not for an over-the-top bitterness. Rather, it brings a floral and tropical hop character over a dry drinkable body so that you have the flavor of an IPA, but with the bitterness and feel of a session-friendly pale ale.

New-Belgium-Voodoo-Ranger-Imperial-IPA-TacomaNew Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA

9% ABV, 70 IBU

When it comes to releasing new beers, New Belgium Brewing didn’t hold back. The Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewery released seven new beers earlier this year, including Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA brewed with Bravo, Calypso, Delta and Mosaic hops. This rare blend of hops creates an explosion of fresh-cut pine, citrus flavors, sweet malt, caramel and resinous hop flavor with a medium body and a bitter finish.

Stone-Delicious-IPA-TacomaStone Delicious IPA

7.7% ABV, 80 IBU

Stone Brewing‘s Delicious IPA features Calypso, Nuggett, Lemondrop and El Dorado hops that showcase vibrant citrus flavors, and is notable for what the brewers have removed from the brew: much of the gluten. An enzymatic process developed by White Labs (producers of myriad yeast strains used by craft brewers) breaks down the gluten proteins, and the results is a nearly gluten-free beer that avoids the pitfalls (like the off-putting mouthfeel) often seen in gluten-free brews. But the reduced gluten levels are not the defining feature of Delicious IPA. Living up to the name, the IPA demonstrates a terrific volume of complex hop flavors. With a curiously light yet still tongue-coating body, each sip explodes with flavor — lemon zest, lemon grass, Lemon Pledge — before the bitter bite cascades across the palate, where it lingers stubbornly but never becomes acrid.

Shmaltz-Wishbone-Session-Double-IPA-TacomaShmaltz Wishbone Session Double IPA

8% ABV, 90 IBU

Shmaltz Brewing Co., the brewery that produces the familiar line of He’Brew Beers, dropped Wishbone Session Double IPA on the world in 2015. Session double IPA? Wishbone rings in at 8 percent ABV, which makes it both too high to qualify as “session” anything and still well within the BJCP-stated range for a double IPA. We have to assume the New York brewery’s session double IPA pokes fun at the craft beer culture. Who’s to argue with a gold medal at the World Beer Championships. Wishbone’s nose boasts tropical citrus notes of pineapple, lychee and pear accented by a light pine resin. Wishbone offers a medium mouthfeel with bitter grapefruit hops and sweet malts that quickly gets into big, floral hops. Then comes a battle between sweeter candy like grapefruit hop note and bitter floral hops with Brewer’s Oats, Maris Otter and Victory malts actually winning.