Monday, March 15th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Stoup Neck Tats and High Point Trail

Ron Swarner

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Peaks and Pints: Stoup Neck Tats and High Point Trail

Stoup Brewing Neck Tats Double IPA was nominated as a third 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: Stoup Neck Tats and High Point pairing.

Hops: Stoup Neck Tats

We’ve told the Stoup Brewing story a thousand times, but it bears repeating. Scientist Brad Benson and foodie Lara Zahaba opened Stoup in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood in 2013. Washington state’s first female Cicerone, Robyn Schumacher, became Stoup’s third partner, assisting Benson in the brewing room. Stoup’s Neck Tats Double IPA is bittered with Chinook with copious amounts of Simcoe added in the whirlpool and dry hop. Hop additions in the forms of Pellets, cryo-pellets and resinate result in loads of layered goodness, citrus hops, pine and subtle cantaloupe.

Let’s Break It Down: 8% ABV • 75 IBU • Stoup Head Brewer Brad Benson graduated from Gonzaga University with a B.S. in Chemistry and has been crafting beer for more than 26 years • In the summer of 2017, the brewery opened “Upstairs at Stoup,” which is an 800-square-foot expansion of the 3,000-square-foot taproom and brewery to include event space upstairs. • Summer of 20198, Stoup expanded into a 6,000-square-foot space behind its current brewery.

Hike: High Point Trail

Tiger Mountain State Forest in the Issaquah Alps is a 13,745-acre natural preserve that incorporates the West Tiger Mountain Natural Resources Conservation Area. Heading out from the mile High Point Trail, the Tiger is your oyster. Head west and north on the Tiger Mountain Trail, making a loop from the myriad of trails available to you, or head south on the TMT and explore the trails heading off to the east side of the mountain. West Tiger 3 Trail off High Point is the most accessible and manicured mountain trail, which makes it the busiest, too. West Tiger 3 gently slopes up for a 2,000-foot gain, with steeper grades near the top, which offers for a tree line view of Mount Rainier and the Cascades.

Let’s Break It Down: 2-mile roundtrip • High Point highest point 1,150 feet • There are 22 moderate trails in Tiger Mountain State Forest ranging from 0.8 to 11.9 miles and from 134 to 2,995 feet above sea level • It can get crowded on the weekend so plan accordingly — you will need a Discover Pass. • All Tiger Mountain trailheads are day use only.

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the High Point Trailhead after about 10 miles of exploration, we divvied up Stoup’s Neck Tat as we discussed our day wasn’t hard but it isn’t easy either as we hiked old logging roads through the rejuvenating forest. We discussed our favorite Tiger Mountain hike is Poo Poo Point at dusk when the light begin to turn on below. We agreed it’s best to start at 6 a.m. because the parking lot is full at 8. We laughed when we agreed Stoup Sales Executive and Mountain Explorer Dexter Chanhsomphou has the best laugh in craft beer.

Highway: Getting There

From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to exit 20 (High Point). At the end of the off ramp turn right. Within a few yards you will see a gated road on your left. Park near the gate or along the roadway.

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.