Monday, March 1st, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Narrows Come Play With Us and Layser Cave

Ron Swarner

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There isn’t lasers at the Layser Cave, but it’s a fun adventure anyway with a delicious Narrows Come Play With Us payoff.

Peaks and Pints: Narrows Come Play With Us and Layser Cave

Narrows Brewing Come Play With Us Double IPA was nominated as a number nine 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: Narrows Come Play With Us and Layser Cave combo was a fascinating day this winter.

Hops: Narrows Brewing Come Play with Us Double IPA

Inspired by The Shining, arguably one of the greatest horror films ever made, this double IPA focuses on things in twos — logically because of the dead twins in the flick.  Strata hops from Roy Farms in the Yakima Valley and Southern Cross hops from Freestyle Hops in New Zealand offers soft notes of strawberry, lime and a little dankness.

Let’s Break It Down: Narrows Brewing opened July 12, 2013 on pilings above the Narrows waterway, 8% ABV, 25 IBU, the double IPA was the final beer in Narrows’ Halloween Series.

Hike: Layser Cave Trail #290

Layser Cave isn’t a black light space with lasers timed to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, but rather a small mountain cave on a hill far up above a valley outside the town of Randle, Washington. The quarter mile round trip Layser Cave Trail #290 drops down gently offering a view of the Cispus Valley, as well as Mount Adams, Tongue Mountain, and Juniper Ridge. A short walk from the viewpoint is the 30 by 8 feet tall cave, which was discovered in 1982 as a shelter inhabited by Native Americans 7,000 years ago told by animal bones and stone tools found in the cave.

Let’s Break It Down: Gifford Pinchot National Forest, White Pass/Cowlitz River Valley, .25 miles roundtrip, high point 2,400 feet, elevation gain 100 feet, easy walking

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the trailhead, we divvied up the Come Play With Us and discussed how the cave is one of the most extensive archaeological sites in that region, marveled how Forest Service employee Tim Layser found the cave, agreed Narrows Brewing Head Brewer Matt Rhodes makes some of the best hazy IPAs in the South Sound, and laughed how in the book The Shining, the dead “Grady Twins” are not twins but are 8 and 10 and described as “cute as buttons,” as opposed to being creepy in the movie.

Highway: Getting There

From State Route 12 in Randle, turn south on State Route 131. At 1 mile, turn left onto the Cispus Road (Forest Service Road 23). In 7 miles, turn left on Spur Road No. 083 and follow it up a steep and rough hill for just over a mile. You should see a small sign indicating the start of the trail.

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.