Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Matchless The Hoppy Giant and Klaus Ridge Trail

Ron Swarner

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The Hoppy Giant at the Kraus Ridge Trailhead

Peaks and Pints: Matchless The Hoppy Giant and Klaus Ridge Trail

Matchless Brewing The Hoppy Giant Double IPA was nominated as a 10th 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. The Peaks and Pints: Matchless The Hoppy Giant and Klaus Ridge Trail combo was about bumps, scars and balance.

Hops: Matchless Brewing The Hoppy Giant Double IPA

“The local villagers say that a giant lives deep in the woods, way up the mountain. A giant so robust with Centennial, Simcoe, Motueka & Enigma hops but gentle and kind with a little Idaho 7. A dank hoppiness with grapefruit & tropical fruit notes. Be this giant friend or foe? Drink in moderation to find out.” … so states Matchless Brewing The Hoppy Giant hype. The Giant hits the note with big, sweet orange citrus resin. On the tongue, expect sweet orange, marmalade, and sticky sweet resin.

Let’s Break It Down: Matchless Brewing opened June 24, 2017, in Tumwater, Nick Crandall took over head brewing duties from Patrick Jansen, 9% ABV, it’s not overly sweet or hoppy.

Hike: Klaus Ridge Trail #275

The one-mile dirt road to the Klaus Ridge Trail #275 is extremely bumpy with deep ruts and holes. This 4.4-mile trail follows Kraus Ridge through dense old growth and offers views of the Cispus River Valley and Tower Rock. In 1918, the Cispus fire burned the Klaus Ridge to the ground, with stumps of the 400-year-old Douglas firs still holding firm.

Let’s Break It Down: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, South Cascades – Mount St. Helens, 8.8 miles roundtrip, high point 2,370 feet, elevation gain 1,570 feet, easy hiking

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the trailhead, we divvied up the Matchless The Hoppy Giant and laughed how the brewery’s description says the beer lives deep in the woods after we just hiked deep into the woods. We discussed how the trail was named after William Kraus, a prospector and homesteader in the area in the early 1900s. We agreed at the fire must have traveled east to west by the scares. We cheered how the double IPA was so well-balanced.

Highway: Getting There

From Randle, Washington, travel south on State Highway 131 (Forest Roads 23 and 25). Veer left in 1 mile at the Y of Forest Road 23 and Forest Road 25. Follow Forest Road 23 for about 4.5 miles. Go right on Forest Road 2306 and follow the mile to the trail access. Parking is horrible.

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.