Monday, April 10th, 2023

Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales April 10


Peaks & Pints bartenders Amy Kirk, left, and Nicole Allen call today's Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales action.

Peaks & Pints bartenders Amy Kirk, left, and Nicole Allen call today’s Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales action.

Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales April 10

NICOLE ALLEN: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2023 Peaks and Pints Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales from the historic Proctor District in beautiful Tacoma, Washington. I’m Peaks & Pints bartender Nicole Allen and six years ago we challenged the public to vote for their favorite Washington brewed IPAs. We tallied the nominations and seeded 64 top vote getters in a tournament-style beer combat, IBUs versus IBUs — because IBUs were still a thing — with Rainy Daze Goat Boater IPA paddling away with the trophy. The next year, 2018, Northwest brewed porters took center stage in our quest for malty mightiness, with Wingman Brewer’s P-51 Porter reigning supreme. In 2019, the year our Pappi Swarner and the Peaks & Pints Weather Guy called the games, Kulshan Pilsner made Bellingham proud in our pilsner tournament.

AMY KIRK: The following year, 2020 is when us Peaks bartenders called the games without a barstool in sight inside Peaks & Pints.

ALLEN: Word Amy. It was the Tournament of Flagships and had to talk loud through our masks. We opened it up to California that year to bring in Sierra Nevada, Stone, Lagunitas and ilk. Pelican Brewing’s Kiwanda Cream Ale beat Deschutes Black Butte Porter in the Championship game.

KIRK: Right! Also, weird number two seed Deschutes Mirror Pond lost in this year’s opening round.

ALLEN: Yup, many a bracket has been broken already. Anyway, in 2021, the masked public voted Block 15 Brewing’s Sticky Hands the champion of the Tournament of Beer: Northwest Double IPAs.

KIRK: That was the year Pappi Swarner paired the double IPAs with hiking trails because many of the brewery taprooms were still closed. It was also the year Portland ruffians broke into Swarner’s Jeep while he was on the Tournament’s promotional tour stealing all the double IPAs, so the hiking trail and beer pairing was short lived.

ALLEN: I think his legs thanked the ruffians. Last year, we hosted the Tournament of Northwest Lagers with Tacoma’s own E9 Brewing winning with their Detour Ahead hoppy lager.

KIRK: So, the tradition continues this year with the Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales featuring 64 Washington and Oregon brewed pales ales, all seeded by public vote, and separated into four regions: Northern Washington, Southern Washington, Northern Oregon, and Southern Oregon. The top 64 vote getters — the cream of the hops — will compete Monday through Friday with the hype on our website, but the actual voting happened on Peaks’ Instagram Stories, until the best Northwest pale is crowned on April 29.

ALLEN: It’s just like March Madness, only with way more 2-row base malt. The Tournament of Beer: Northwest Pale Ales grand champion will be announced at the Tournament of Beer Championship Party April 29, at our craft beer bar, bottle shop, and restaurant. We’ll tap the final two pale ales that morning and cut off the online voting at 5 p.m. then host in-person ballot voting at our Championship party until 8 p.m. We hope the two breweries will be in the house to join in on the fun. Like every year, the champion brewery will receive a permanent handle at Peaks through the spring and summer 2023. The ballots will double as raffle tickets for a Yeti Cooler plastered with stickers from the Tournament’s participating breweries, although I tell you right now Pappi Swarner forgot to collect a third of them when he was on the Tournament Tour last month.

KIRK: He’s not getting any younger. OK, Let’s dive into today’s First Round action featuring four new pale ale battles. Please read all these words then go vote on Peaks’ Instagram Stories. Voting opens at 12:01 a.m. and ends at 11:45 p.m. Bartender Nicole and I will announce the winners tomorrow morning around 10 a.m., even though the next four games will have launched on Peaks’ Instagram Stories at 12:01 a.m.

ALLEN: Ladies and gentlemen, please join in the singing of our national anthem.

KIRK: Thank you student athletes! OK, let’s get to voting!

Monday, April 10, First Round Northwest Pale Ales Games

Single Hill Hype Officer Andrew Pytel


Player: Sightglass Hazy Pale (#6 seed)

Team: Single Hill Brewing, Yakima

Stats: 5.4% ABV, 30 IBU

ALLEN: Hops are one of Washington’s most prominent crops, their farmers powering the global brewing industry by growing almost 75 percent of the world’s hop acreage in the state, almost all of which is in the Yakima Valley. A handful of craft breweries sit close to said hops, including Single Hill Brewing. In August 2016, Ty Paxton and Zach Turner opened Single Hill in an old JC Penney Tire Center in downtown Yakima. The two first met at a cider pressing party that a mutual friend was hosting in 2013. Three years later, over pints at Bale Breaking Brewing, the two hatch the idea for a community-based brewery in a town dear to their hearts.

KIRK: Cool story Nicole. Single Hill has an advantage brewing so close to the hop fields. Their Sightglass Hazy Pale tastes fresh with citrus, orange, and pineapple popping. This hazy pale finishes light and fruity.

Grains of Wrath bartender Ari

Player: Papermaker Pale (#11 seed)

Team: Grains of Wrath, Camas

Stats: 5.8% ABV

KIRK: The metal movement has an outsider ethos and no-holds-barred authenticity that appeals to many brewers, including Grains of Wrath co-owner and Brewmaster Mike Hunsaker. The metal- and punk-loving dude cut his teeth as a homebrewer and by working for breweries in Chicago and Cleveland, before relocating to Portland in 2014 to become the head brewer at Fat Head’s Brewery, where he became known for original West Coast IPA recipes such as SemperFiPA, GABF gold medal-winning Blitzkrieg Bock and GABF bronze medalist Vienna Lager. Fat Head’s closed, which lead to Hunsaker opening his new punk and metal inspired brewery Grains of Wrath in Camas, Washington, with backers Brendan Greenen, Shawn Parker, and Brendan Ford.

ALLEN: When our Pappi Swarner’s Tournament Tour parked at Grains of Wrath last month the brewery had their World Beer Cup version of their Papermaker Pale on tap. Apparently, beermaker Mike Hunsaker dialed in Papermaker’s balanced bitterness and Mosaic, Citra, and Strata flavormakers for grapefruit and pineapple notes.

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wet Coast bartender Kenzie


Player: Baronesse Pale (#3 seed)

Team: Wet Coast Brewing, Gig Harbor

Stats: 5.6% ABV

KIRK: When I first heard Wet Coast brewed a pale ale called Baronesse, I was certain it was another term from their Prohibition-themed brewery. West Pierce Fire and Rescue firefighters Bryan Copeland and Aaron Johnson are the brewers and co-owners behind the business, along with their wives Molly Copeland and April Johnson, named their brewery after their love affair with our country’s Prohibition era. In the 1932 presidential election, King, Pierce, and Spokane counties voted “wet,” meaning those citizens voted for Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and his desire to bring back the drinkies, instead of Republican Pres. Herbert Hoover’s desire to keep “the noble experiment,” Prohibition.

ALLEN: That’s a negative you flapper! The pale is brewed with Baronesse malt from Linc Malt in the Spokane Valley, plus Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops, for a gentle but full bouquet of hop flavors and aromas.

Odd Otter Head Brewer Shelby Bible

Player: Ottzel Quatzel (#14 seed)

Team: Odd Otter Brewing, Tacoma

Stats: 5.5% ABV, 35 IBU

KIRK: Five owners — three with ties to the military, two accomplished homebrewers — opened odd Otter in downtown Tacoma during the summer of 2014 in a downtown Tacoma building built in the late 1880s, and later became the home of a Sailors and Soldiers Club during World War I and a USO Center in World War II. Odd Otter is the talk of the town for not only their fun, otterly unique taproom events but also for head brewer Shelby Bible’s latest brews.

ALLEN: Their 2018 Washington Brewer’s Awards Gold medalist Ottzel Quatzel pale ale is heavily dosed with Mosaic hops for tropical and berry aromas. A simple grain bill accentuates the hop flavors.

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Buoy Beer bartender Buffalo


Player: Pacific Pale Ale (#5 seed)

Team: Buoy Beer Co., Astoria

Stats: 5% ABV, 30 IBU

ALLEN: Astoria, Oregon, arborist Luke Colvin coaxed client, longtime homebrewer, and lager specialist Dan Hamilton to open Buoy Beer with his brother-in-law David Kroening, business advisor Jerry Kasinger and businessman Andrew Bornstein, who had a 90-year-old cannery building in Astoria. The rest, as they say, is history. Oh, speaking of history, last June, Buoy’s roof collapsed damaging a large portion of their brewery along the Columbia River. They opened a pop-up pub at the Astoria Food Hub in downtown Astoria.

KIRK: I’m glad they found a solution to continue serving their beer, especially their Pacific Pale Ale brewed with Citra, Cashmere, and El Dorado hops for citrus and tropical fruit flavors balancing a subtle malt bill.

Ruse Brewing Phantom Shore

Player: Phantom Shore (#12 seed)

Team: Ruse Brewing, Portland

Stats: 5.4% ABV, 20 IBU

KIRK: In July 2018, founders and brewing partners Devin Benware, 31, and Shaun Kalis, 37, opened Ruse Brewing in the old Iron Fireman Collective building in Portland, Oregon’s Brooklyn neighborhood. Benware and Kalis began brewing their Ruse beers on a big system before Ruse was a thing. When not brewing for Tomas Sluiter at Culmination Brewing, whom they originally worked under at the Old Market Pub & Brewery in Multnomah Village, they used Tom’s tanks to make their Ruse beer. Initially focused on farmhouses and IPAs, Ruse now brews styles across the spectrum. In April 2020, Ruse opened their pizza spot, Crust Collective, on the Vancouver, Washington, waterfront.

ALLEN: Their Phantom Shore is a delicious American style extra pale ale brewed exclusively with Citra hops. It’s on the mild side with lemon and lime notes and mild bitterness.

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Great Notion bartender Karl


Player: Thumb Splitter (#4 seed)

Team: Great Notion Brewing, Portland

Stats: 4.9% ABV

ALLEN: Thumb Splitter pale ale has all the hop bitterness and crisp mouthfeel of a West Coast IPA, with plenty of citrus and pine. Great Notion starts the process with mashing 2-row barley, Carafoam, and a little flaked rice to keep the body light and crisp. That West Coast bitterness comes from an early addition of Centennial hops in the boil kettle. Mosaic and Simcoe are used later in the boil, and again in the whirlpool to really build up the aromatics. These two hops are used once more in the dry hop of this 4.9 percent slammer.

KIRK: In 2016, Great Notion opened in Northeast Portland and opened the city’s eyes. Owners James Dugan, Andy Miller, and Paul Reiter basically freaked out the city known as Beervana with their New England-style IPAs and boundary-pushing culinary-style beers. The awards followed.

Breakside Brewery hostess Jessie

Player: Woodlawn Pale (#13 seed)

Team: Breakside Brewery, Portland

Stats: 5.3% ABV

KIRK: In 2010 — with his Siebel Institute education, training in Germany and Belgium, and degree from Yale tucked under his arm — Ben Edmunds opened Breakside Brewery in the quiet Woodlawn neighborhood of Northeast Portland as a restaurant and nano-sized brewery. Also, Breakside is an employee-owned, award-winning brewery.

ALLEN: Last year, this hop-forward American pale ale named after Breakside’s first location and brewed Mosaic, Centennial, Newport, and Cascade hops grabbed Silver at the Great American Beer Festival!

VOTE ON PEAKS & PINTS’ INSTAGRAM STORIES >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, April 11 Tournament of Northwest Pale Ales action

Game 1: Trap Door Porch Beer (seventh seed) vs. Heathen Vantucky Pale (10th seed)

Game 2: Bale Breaker Field 41 (second seed) vs. Black Fleet Kraken Skulls (15th seed)

Game 3: Fort George City of Dreams (number one seed) vs. Ferment Pale Ale (16th seed)

Game 4: Hopworks Urban Brewery Orgainc Tree Frog Pale (eighth seed) vs. Double Mountain Vaporizer Pale (ninth seed)

LINK: Tournament of Beers: Northwest Pale Ales explained

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