Sunday, February 28th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: 7 Seas Double IPA and Packwood Lake Trail

Ron Swarner

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You’ll need snowshoes on Packwood Lake Trail #78 until early spring.

Peaks and Pints: 7 Seas Double IPA and Packwood Lake Trail

7 Seas Brewing Double IPA was nominated as a number two seed in the Southwest Washington Region in the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs, which will begin April 2, 2021. The tournament bracket will be released soon. In the meantime, we suggest you enjoy Peaks and Pints: 7 Seas Double IPA and Packwood Lake Trail combo with your friends.

Hops: 7 Seas Double IPA

Formerly known as Ballz Deep, this double IPA has copious amounts of resiny Yakima Valley hops making the firm, slightly sweet malt flavor works its ass off to seek balance. It’s sold in 19.2-ounced flat gray cans and they move fast, like the alcohol.

Let’s Break It Down: 7 Seas founded in 2009 by Puget Sound natives Travis Guterson and Mike Runion, production facility and taproom in Tacoma’s Historic Brewery District, also taproom close to Gig Harbor’s waterfront, 8.4% ABV, 84 IBU, Magnum, Simcoe, Centennial, and Cascade hops

Hike: Packwood Lake Trail #78

You might receive an accidental blow to the head by an inflatable duck floatie on the Packwood Lake Trail #78, but views of Goat Rocks, Mount Rainier and Johnson Peak are worth it. It’s a gentle, path popular with families and leashed dogs. People pitch tents and fish at the lake. Be sure to cross the wooden bridge over Lake Creek and heads to the northside of the lake for the best views.

Let’s Break It Down: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Goat Rocks Wilderness, 10 miles roundtrip, high point 3,200 feet, elevation gain 600 feet, moderate sweat

Haps: Post-hike celebration

Back at the trailhead, divvy up Double IPA and marvel how the lake was formed when a large mass of soil and rock slid off Snyder Mountain and dammed Lake Creek 1,200 years ago, discuss the old ranger station along the trail, what’s up with the small island in the middle of the lake, how the 2008 fire at 7 Seas’ first Gig Harbor brewery that could have ended the brewery’s success, and how hard it is to stomp down a 19.2-ounce can without it shooting sideways.

Highway: Getting There

From I-5, north of Castle Rock, drive US-12 east 66.5 miles to Packwood; at the east end of town, turn right onto FR-1260 and drive 6 miles to the trailhead.

Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs

OK, Covid, we’ll just take the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer into the woods. …

The public nominated 64 Northwest double IPAs for the Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs in February. Beginning April 2, through online voting on this website, Washington and Oregon double IPA drinkers will pick daily winners until the best double IPA in the Northwest is crowned April 24.

Our pre-Tournament hype will be different this year. No brewery research tour. No candid photos of bartenders pouring double IPAs for review. No hotel parties.

Instead, Peaks & Pints will preview the Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs by taking the 64 nominated double IPAs on hikes relatively close to where they were brewed. After all, a post-hike double IPA can quench your thirst and begin to rehydrate you, lubricate your senses and, like the act of hiking, help maintain sanity, balance and perspective. Oh, believe us when we say the hike is still paramount to the experience. If it wasn’t, we’d skip the hike and just head to the taproom. Rather, Peaks & Pints is a big believer in hanging at the trailhead with our fellow hikers, divvying up a beer and discussing the hike, or whatever subjects, as we store away our gear.

Join us. Take the nominated double IPAs on hikes. Then, look for the first round of Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs voting April 2 at tournamentofbeer.com or this website.