Sunday, March 21st, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Mirage Babylon Pit and Pratt Lake Trail

Ron Swarner

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Peaks and Pints: Mirage Babylon Pit and Pratt Lake Trail

Mirage Beer Babylon Pit was nominated as a 15th seed in the Southern 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: Mirage Babylon Pit and Pratt Lake Trail pairing.

Hops: Mirage Babylon Pit

Mirage’s Babylon Pit is so cloudy, it’s damn near meteorological. The delicious double IPA is brewed with Michigan-grown Chinook in the boil and whirlpool and later double dry hopped with Enigma, Meridian, Ariana, and more Michigan-grown Chinook for a tropical, fruity, mango mix of pillow-y goodness.

Let’s Break It Down: 8.3% ABV • Mike Dempster opened Mirage Beer in the Seattle South Park neighborhood, south of Georgetown, in November 2017. • He earned his chops brewing at Greenpoint Beer Works in Brooklyn, Buoy Beer Co. in Astoria, and Wingman Brewers in Tacoma where he helped Peaks & Pints brew a recreation of Bert Grant’s Perfect Porter called Perfect Proctor Porter for our opening day, Nov. 1, 2016.

Hike: Pratt Lake Trail

The Pratt Lake Trail has an award at its end: camping. We hiked through 5.5 miles of switchbacks — up in elevation in the first half and back down in the second half — when we reached the lake and the surrounding campgrounds. Since the weather was nice, we were treated stellar views of Mount Rainier and glassy lakes. The trail winds through a forest of ferns, mossy rocks and trickling streams, slowly gaining altitude as it climbs up the base of Granite Mountain. Roughly one mile into the trail, the Granite Mountain Trail forks off to the right. We continued left, following the arrow toward Pratt Lake. As we descended in switchbacks down the forested slope, we caught a glimpse of Pratt Lake within the basin. The campsites and toilet are located at the far end of the lake.

Let’s Break It Down: 11-mile roundtrip, high point 4,100 feet, elevation gain 2,300 feet, easy, Snoqualmie Region – North Bend

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the trailhead, we popped open the Mirage Babylon Pit and scanned the packed parking lot wondering how we’ll get our cars out. We discussed how first mile was crowded, but after passing a junction with Granite Mountain trail, the crowds dispersed. We also discussed the Olallie Lake Trail option at mile three with its three campsites at the lake and taking the Melakwa Lake Trail at the end of Pratt Lake Trail to Lower Tuscohatchie Lake as another camping option. As we sipped the delicious hazy double IPA, we remarked how Mike Dempster opened Mirage with spontaneously fermented saisons and sours but has become known for his hazy IPAs.

Highway: Getting There

Head east on I-90 to exit 47. Turn left and drive over the freeway, then turn left at the T. Proceed to the nearby Pratt Lake-Granite Mountain parking area. Northwest Forest Pass and Alpine Lakes Wilderness Permit required — both available at 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.