Friday, March 19th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker and Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

Ron Swarner

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Peaks & Pints entered the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail from the Homestead Valley Trail in Olallie State Park.

Peaks and Pints: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker and Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

Black Raven Brewing Wisdom Seeker Double IPA was nominated as an eighth seed in the Northern Washington Region of the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer: NW Double IPAs, which will begin April 2, 2021. The tournament bracket will be released soon. Since we’re not touring breweries to preview the tournament this year, we enjoyed the Peaks and Pints: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker and Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail pairing.

Hops: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker

Folklore and mythology present the raven as an omniscient creature with special powers and abilities. From Redmond, comes Black Raven’s Wisdom Seeker, a double IPA that gets its special powers from an enormous number of hops — Summit, Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra — and malted barley for moderate to heavily bitter with a nice malt backbone. Brewed in the West Coast Double IPA style, this bold brew has tons of orange citrus with some grapefruit and resin on the nose. We get more pine and resin with some citrus fruit, a little onion and light herbal notes.

Let’s Break It Down: 8.9% ABV • 85 IBU • In 2000, Mississippi Homebrewer Robert “Beaux” Bowman moved to Washington and landed at Mac and Jack’s Brewing in Redmond. • After that he worked at Far West Ireland Brewing (now closed), The Ram, and Lazy Boy Brewing, and anywhere else that needed his services. In April 2009, Beaux and Kat Gillespie opened Black Raven Brewing Company on the southeast corner of Willows Road Northeast and Northeast 95th Street just blocks from downtown Redmond and the Sammamish River Trail.

Hike: Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail

In 2018, Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously agreed to rename the John Wayne Pioneer Trail and Iron Horse State Park to the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail. The trail follows the former Milwaukee Railroad bed for 285 miles across two-thirds of the state of Washington, from the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains to the Idaho border. Trailheads and access points are located every few miles along the trail. We entered the trail from the Homestead Valley Trail in Olallie State Park and hike 5-miles in before turning around.

Let’s Break It Down: 285-miles as the raven flies • Extends from North Bend, east to the town of Tekoa on the Washington-Idaho border including 110 continuous miles of the trail from North Bend to the Columbia River near Vantage and has 105 miles of continuous ownership from Lind to the Idaho border that is owned by Washington State Parks. • The state purchased the trail corridor from the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad in 1981.

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

At the Homestead Valley Trailhead, we divvied up the Wisdom Seeker and agreed the John Wayne Pioneer Trail name needed to change as John Wayne spent no significant time in Eastern Washington and had no direct connection to the trail. We also agreed Olallie State Park is confusing. The park is made of two main sections: The Twin Falls Natural Area, directly accessible from I-90 Exit 34, and the eastern section of the park, accessible from I-90 Exit 38. And then, confusingly enough, the two parts are connected by the Homestead Valley Road with multiple trailheads everywhere.

Highway: Getting There

Heading east on I-90 take Exit 38 and turn right on Homestead Valley Road. Drive 0.1 miles and turn right onto a gravel road. Drive 200 feet to the trailhead parking lot.

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.