Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 8.22.17: A Flight of Azacca

Ron Swarner

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Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightIf you’re anything like Peaks and Pints and are into Caribbean voodoo then you’re a fan of Azacca, the Haitian god of agriculture. He’s a simple, gentle, hard working farmer and thus respected by the peasants. But, he’s also a hillbilly who likes to eat, drink, gossip and chase girls, which makes him an ideal character for a hop and a beer. In the world of American agriculture, Azacca — formerly known as #483 (a way lamer name) by developer American Dwarf Hop Association in Washington state — is a hop with big citrus and tropical fruit tones and excellent aromatic qualities, which have quickly made it a go-to hop for late and dry hop additions in varying styles of beer, and the focus of our beer flight today, Craft Beer Crosscut 8.22.17: A Flight of Azacca.

No-Li-Big-Juicy-TacomaNo-Li Big Juicy

6.15% ABV, 55 IBU

At 55 IBUs and 6.15 percent ABV, No-Li Brewhouse’s Big Juicy is practically sessionable compared to traditional West Coast IPAs. Featuring the nectarous symphony of Citra, El Dorado, Azacca and Belma Hops, Big Juicy is just dripping with citrus and tropical flavors. Belma? Indeed — one of the newest varieties punches up the flavor with sweet orange, nectarous pineapple and rare hints of vine-ripe strawberries. Azacca represent with a tropical storm of spicy mango and juicy tangerine, adding in a touch of piney bitter. El Dorado and Citra push the nose to fruity extremes. No-Li Brewhouse won a silver medal for its Big Juicy IPA at the 2017 Australian International Beer Awards.

Fort-George-3-Way-IPA-TacomaFort George 3-Way IPA

7% ABV, 65 IBU

Since 2013, Fort George Brewery has kicked off the summer with its acclaimed seasonal collaboration, 3-Way IPA, with two, well-known craft brewers holed up in the brewery’s Astoria, Oregon brewhouse. This year, The owner/brewers from Reuben’s Brews (Seattle) and Great Notion Brewing (Portland) traveled out to the far-northwest tip of Oregon in early November 2016 to do what Gigantic, Lompoc, Boneyard, Block 15, pFriem, Georgetown, Barley Brown’s and Melvin have done before — brew an IPA that causes people to lose their freakin’ minds. Success! The hazy, New England-style IPA hits the tongue with a full mouthfeel and velvety smoothness. A slight bitterness clears the path for incredible juicy tropical and citrus fruit with some resinous pine. This fruit-forward haze of Azacca, X331, Mosaic, and Citra hops plays on a balanced base of malt and …did we mention the sumptuous mouthfeel? Delicious.

Stone-IPA-TacomaStone IPA

6.9% ABV, 71 IBU

Since leading the San Diego lupulin charge in the mid-’90s, Stone Brewing Co. grew into the country’s 10th largest craft brewing company behind sales of some of the planet’s hoppiest creations, many of which are … you guessed it … IPAs. Three of Stone’s previous anniversary beers — Stone IPA, Stone Ruination IPA, and Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA — were so well-received they are now brewed year-round and distributed nationally. Stone IPA explodes with tropical, citrusy, piney hop flavors and aromas — thanks to Azacca, Magnum, Chinook, Centennial, Calypso, Motueka Ella and Vic Secret hops — all perfectly balanced by a subtle malt character. This crisp, extra hoppy brew is hugely refreshing on a hot day.

Ecliptic-Starburst-IPA-TacomaEcliptic Starburst IPA

7.8% ABV, 75 IBU

Ecliptic owner and Brewmaster John Harris named the brewery after his second passion of astronomy. Harris’ dream to make it easier to bring Ecliptic Brewing Co. on stargazing treks into the mountains became real when he selected a counter pressure canning system from Codi Manufacturing out of Golden, Colorado. He selected his juicy Starburst IPA to lead off the aluminum charge. The dry-hopped IPA explodes with Amarillo, Azacca, Centennial, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops for fresh flavors of citrus, fruit and pine. Starburst is backed by 100 percent pale malt for a super clean finish and puts the focus on the hop flavors and aromas.

The-Hop-Concept-Hop-Freshener-Series-Citrus-and-Piney-TacomaThe Hop Concept Hop Freshener Series: Citrus & Piney

8.5% ABV, 75 IBU

Every quarter, The Hop Concept releases a limited run of a new IPA in a set of four called The Hop Freshener Series. These beers explore new hop combinations, using both traditional and experimental hops. The latter are all the rage these days, with growers providing samples to brewers in hopes of garnering enough interest to plant crops and make them full-time offerings, such as Azacca. To give consumers an idea of what to expect right off the bat, rather than come up with cheeky or alliterative names for beers in The Hop Freshener Series, the monikers consist of two descriptors of the beer’s bouquet and flavor profile, such as Citrus & Piney, The Hop Concept IPA in today’s beer flight. Citrus & Piney receives its flavors from a hop blend of Azacca, Chinook, Centennial, Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra and experimental hops 06277 and 05256. Dip you nose into aromas of bold orange peel and honey with a faint hint of bready malt. The citrus and piney are both on full display, with tangerine and grapefruit notes that lead to a crisp spicy finish.

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