Friday, August 18th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 8.18.17: A Flight of IPA

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightIndia Pale Ale. This extra hoppy style of beer was created by way of an historical accident. During Great Britain’s occupation of India, many an ale was shipped from the motherland down to all the British sailors, soldiers, merchants and governors who grew thirsty doing the work of the empire. Sadly, many of these ales spoiled during the long sea voyage. The solution was to add more hops, which contain oils and resins that function as pretty decent preservatives. More hops meant the beer could make the trip, but not without a little extra bitterness. The best IPAs have fresh, resinous pine and bright, citrusy grapefruit flavors from the hops, and, importantly, a discernible malt flavor. The lesser ones have those flavors, but less clean tasting, with unpleasant, lingering chalky and/or harsh aftertastes and so much of a hop punch that it drowns out any malt flavor making a pine-grapefruit hop drink instead. Today, Peaks and Pints salutes the IPA with Craft Beer Crosscut 8.18.17: A Flight of IPA.

Alpine-Duet-IPA-TacomaAlpine Duet IPA

7% ABV, 45 IBU

Simcoe and Amarillo. Not a buddy-buddy cop movie but rather the only two hops in Alpine Beer’s Duet IPA. On the nose, grassy and straw notes coincide with the pine and tangerine citrus hop blast. On the tongue, we definitely pick up the “old school” nature of the two hops — pine, grapefruit and earthy — as well as tangerine. A touch of honey and toast are also in the mix while the beer presents a pretty good amount of bite for just 45 IBUs.

Fort-George-The-Optimist-TacomaFort George The Optimist

6.2% ABV, 50 IBU

That is an awesome craft beer! We mean that! After several sips of Fort George’s The Optimist we find my new enthusiasm streaming from us like a Pixar-produced rainbow! Suddenly we could stare at the Pacific Ocean for hours! Hello, spring onions, garlic, lemons, grapefruit and pine! Let’s put our heads together and solve some of our shared problems! Creamy mouthfeel! Smooth bitterness! Yes, we believe everybody’s just trying to do their best and no one’s out to take something from someone else! Thanks for asking! Spruce tips and pine needles on the finish! Thank you!

Sierra-Nevada-Hop-Hunter-IPA-TacomaSierra Nevada Hop Hunter IPA

6.2% ABV, 60 IBU

Sierra Nevada has always been on the cutting edge of brewing technology, and Hop Hunter is yet another result of the brewery being a leader in the craft industry. Hop Hunter, an IPA made with oil steam-distilled in the field moments after the hop harvest. The result is Hop Hunter, a bold, very fresh IPA with a vibrant hop aroma that is lively but very smooth to drink. Crystal, Simcoe, and a Sierra classic, Cascade, finish out the hop aromatics, creating a vivid though well-honed hop character.

Big-Sky-IPA-TacomaBig Sky IPA

6.2% ABV, 65 IBU

In Montana, many classic memories are made right after someone says, “Hold my beer and watch this.” These bold, assertive moments deserve a bold, assertive beer — Big Sky IPA. This IPA features Simcoe hops, which give it both a fruity, piney hop nose and a clean, piney, resinous, slightly oily, ringing bitterness. Although the hops dominate, they are not extreme. Expect a nice balance sweet malt and fresh citrus.

Three-Creeks-Hoodoo-Voodoo-IPA-TacomaThree Creeks Hoodoo Voodoo IPA

6.2% ABV, 82 IBU

Three Creeks Brewing‘s Hoodoo Voodoo is a classic Northwest IPA featuring a chewy malt profile that perfectly balances the explosion of resinous grapefruit hop flavor and aroma, courtesy of generous additions of Columbus, Centennial and Liberty hops. It pours slightly hazy reddish orange with medium thick off-white head. Aroma is big, roasty caramel malt and light floral and vegetal hops. Taste is similar — lots of rich toasted caramel malt, decent hop bitterness in the back with sappy pine notes front and center. It’s malt driven for an Oregon IPA.