Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

Peaks and Pints: Walking Man Homo Erectus and Hamilton Mountain

Ron Swarner

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Peaks and Pints: Walking Man Homo Erectus and Hamilton Mountain

Walking Man Brewing Homo Erectus Imperial IPA was nominated as a fifth 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 beer as a Peaks and Pints: Walking Man Homo Erectus and Hamilton Mountain.

Hops: Walking Man Homo Erectus

Welcome back Walking Man Homo Erectus! The imperial IPA out of Stevenson, Washington, was a 10th seed in the Peaks & Pints Tournament of Beer: Washington State IPAs in 2017. It ended up grabbing second place behind Rainy Daze Goat Boater IPA. No doubt Homo Erectus will walk hard again with ample floral hops, sugary malt and orange blossom honey in the aroma. Its real game plan is its flavor — a blend of pine, orange rind and caramel malt along with some ruby red grapefruit and grassy bitterness.

Let’s Break It Down: 9% ABV • 90 IBU • Bob Craig’s Walking Man Brewing is nestled in Stevenson, Washington, near the Bridge of the Gods along the spectacular Columbia River Gorge •Since opening Walking Man Brewing in 1999, Craig turned over the head brewing reigns to James Landers who recently turned over the job to Tessa Longnecker.

Hike: Hamilton Mountain Trail

Just north of Beacon Rock on the north side of the Columbia River Gorge, the popular Hamilton Mountain Trail offers tranquil woods, craggy cliffs, mountain streams, superb vistas, waterfalls, and a loop option for the trek. After a moderate climb through Douglas firs, you’ll hit waterfall junction — Hardy Falls, Pool of the Winds, and Rodney Falls. Once the trail crosses Hardy Creek the ascent begins with several switchbacks and the payoff cliff-top viewpoints. The trail follows along the ridge and climbs steeply toward the summit for sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and the Bonneville Dam.

Let’s Break It Down: 7.5 mile loop • elevation gain 2,100 feet • high point 2,438 feet • rated moderate • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Haps: Post-hike Celebration

Back at the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead, we divvied up the Homo Erectus and debated if the town of Stevenson can rally around the Walking Man double IPA again. We wondered how many times snow has prevent access to the tiny Hamilton Mountain Trailhead parking lot forcing people to hike up the half-mile road from Beacon Rock. We marveled at the beauty of Rodney Falls. We agreed next time we’ll camp at the Beacon Rock State Park — the only Gorge campground on the Washington side between Portland and Hood River.

Highway: Getting There

From Camas, drive 22 miles east on Highway 14 to the Beacon Rock State Park entrance sign. Pass the ranger station, and look for the next road that angles up the hill to the left (north). Turn left off the highway onto that road. After .3 miles, turn right into the Hamilton Mountain Trailhead parking area.

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.