Sunday, March 14th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Seapine Rainbow Suspenders and Far Side

Ron Swarner

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Peaks and Pints: Seapine Rainbow Suspenders and Far Side

Seapine Brewing Rainbow Suspenders was nominated as a 15th 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 put on our rainbow suspenders and paired Peaks and Pints: Seapine Rainbow Suspenders and Far Side Rock Climbing Area.

Hops: Seapine Rainbow Suspenders

Seapine Brewing owner/brewmaster Drew Colpitts studied brewing sciences at University of California Davis and spent time working for Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant, among other breweries, before opening Seapine Brewing in 2012. The Seattle Georgetown neighborhood brewery straps on Rainbow Suspenders double IPA with tons of Mosaic hops, which means notes of tangerine, mango, blueberry, and subtle bitterness.

Let’s Break It Down: 8.7% ABV • 80 IBU • Drew Colpitts and Adam Smith began brewing Seapine beer in 2011 on a 3.5-barrel system, then moved to a 15-barrel in November 2015 • Seapine brews all styles: Hoppy IPAs, pale ales, Sea Witch stout, peach gose, saisons, kolsch, hefeweizen and others.

Hike: Far Side

This doesn’t have anything to do with Seattleite comic artist Gary Larson’s The Far Side (although he did draw a panel with hungry bears eyeing a climbing anchor outside their clifftop cave saying, “We’ll be eating in tonight”), the Far Side is actually one of three major climbing sub-areas off the Exit 38 ramp on the I-90 corridor east of Seattle. It is a collection of mostly bolted crags located on the north side of I-90, all surrounding and below Dirty Harry’s Peak. Far side offers rock climbers have access to six separate climbing areas that range in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.12c. There are a handful of trad lines and six multi-pitch options. Gritscone is located in the Far Side area with relatively easy routes, and it can be approached within 10-15 minutes from the parking area.

Let’s Break It Down: There are three main crags at Exit 38: Deception Crags, Mt. Washington, and Far Side. • Far Side Trailhead is in Olallie State Park located on western slopes of the Cascade Mountains in North Bend, Wash., which is home to Weeks Falls and Twin Falls, plus 2,500 acres of cliff formations and old-growth forest and six miles of hiking trails. • The Far Side Trailhead provides hikers and rock climbers access to trails and crags in the Middle Fork Natural Resource Conservation Area. Visitors may hike along the 4.25-mile Dirty Harry’s Peak Trail to the 4,680-foot summit. From atop Dirty Harry’s Peak, visitors may take in views of the Upper Snoqualmie Valley to the west and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area to the east

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the trailhead, we divvied up the Seapine Rainbow Suspenders double IPA and saluted Bryan Burdo who developed the Far Side climbing routes. We appreciated the southern exposure and good sunlight. We discovered the rock material is mostly metamorphosed basalt and gabbro. Robin Williams made rainbow suspenders a fashion trend when he wore them on Mork and Mindy in the 1970s. We made the “Nanu Nanu” hand gesture in his Williams’ honor. We sadly loaded our gear into our cars as the Far Side is situated in the Fire Academy Training area, so camping is not allowed.

Highway: Getting There

Traveling east on Interstate 90, take Exit 38. Follow SE Homestead Valley Road staying briefly on Grouse Ridge Road before tuning into the Far Side Trailhead, which closes each day at dusk.

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.