Monday, July 3rd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 7.3.17: A Flight of Centennial Hops

Ron Swarner


Beer-Flights-Logo-no-wordsThe yins to Cascade’s yang, Centennial hops are often used in parallel with the famed citrusy varietal. Centennial hops are sometimes referred to as “Super Cascade” due to their higher bittering properties. They were first bred in 1974 as a cross between many different strains including Brewers Gold, Fuggle, East Kent Golding and Bavarian hops. The name comes from the Washington state Centennial Celebration, which occurred in 1989, just before the public release of Centennial hops in 1990. Though not as aromatic as their smaller, older brothers, their excellent blend of floral and bittering characteristics make them well-suited to extra-hoppy styles. Centennial hops are a centerpiece of today’s beer flight that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 7.3.17: A Flight of Centennial Hops.

Wet-Coast-Hi-Jack-Red-Ale-TacomaWet 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.

Fish-Tale-Organic-India-Pale-Ale-TacomaFish Tale Organic India Pale Ale

6.75 ABV, 42 IBU

Fish Tale Ales expanded their portfolio of organic beers with new cans that reflects Fish Brewing‘s commitment to sustainability and adding two new styles. Organic Porter and Organic Red Ale join the Olympia brewery’s already established organic offering, India Pale Ale. “Cans are recyclable, lighter, chill faster and are often welcome where glass bottles are not, Fish Tale Ales is thrilled to provide its customers the best possible vessel to house our organic series of beers,” says Sal Leone, Fish Brewing’s president. Fish Tale Organic India Pale Ale is brewed with organic pale and crystal malts for a firm malt body to balance an assertive hop profile featuring organic Cascade and Centennial hops grown in the Yakima Valley. The old school IPA drinks bready with toasty malt flavor, some caramel and lots of pine.

Alaskan-Brewing-Smack-of-Grapefruit-TacomaAlaskan Brewing Smack of Grapefruit

7.2% ABV, 45 IBU

Part of their limited edition Pilot Series, Alaskan Brewing goes classic with the hop profile (Citra, Centennial and Cascade) to give Smack of Grapefruit a robust and citrusy baseline. Then they added ripe grapefruit and a lot of rye malt to help add a layer of spiciness to this fruity, bitter beer. The nose fills with hop-forward, tropical grapefruit and citrus with a little malt and rye. The taste follows the nose with tropical grapefruit and citrus from start to finish with some malt.

Lagunitas-Brewing-IPA-TacomaLagunitas IPA

6.2% ABV, 46 IBUs

IPA was Lagunitas’ first seasonal, released in 1995. The beer’s labels claim it’s “made with 43 different hops and 65 various malts,” which would be badass if true, if wildly impractical. Cascade and Centennial are in the greatest abundance, and they combine to deliver flavors and aromas of citrus zest, bitter pine, grass, earth and just a pinch of crystal malt to keep the hops in proportion.

Rainy-Daze-Pourhouse-TacomaRainy Daze Pourhouse

6.7% ABV, 87 IBU

You know the story. Longtime homebrewer Mike Montoney scores a brew system from closed Battenkill Brewing of Poulsbo, apprentices on a professional with Brad Ginn and Mark Hood of Sound Brewery, goes on to brew awarding-winning craft beers under the Rainy Daze Brewing brand. The story received another hit of joy when Rainy Daze opened its new digs in Sound Brewery’s old space in Poulsbo Oct. 8, 2016. Montoney finally has an official taproom, as well as the ability to brew far more craft beer, including its highly-hopped, dank, flagship Pourhouse IPA.