Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Tournament of Washington IPAs: Round One April 11

Ron Swarner

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Tournament of Washington IPAs: Round One April 11: If Washington state had a signature craft beer, what would it be? We’re going with an IPA. If you drink beer, you’ve probably had an IPA. IPA, short for India Pale Ale, dominates sales in the craft-beer world. In 2008, IPA was clearly the most popular category of craft beer — and if you fast-forward nine years to today, its total sales have increased 25-fold. In fact, the most common last drink requested by death row inmates is the IPA (still fact-checking this), and it’s a favorite of office workers, too, who only feel like they’re on death row.

Virtually every reputable Washington start brewery makes an IPA, and many breweries make more than one. There are also various sub-categories of IPA such as session (light) IPAs, Black IPAs (made with dark malt), Red IPAs (made with toasted-style malts), Belgian IPAs (fermented with Belgian yeast) … the list goes on.

Welcome to day three of the Tournament of Beers, featuring 64 of Washington state IPAs competing in the mother of all Washington IPA brackets. Below is a recap of yesterday’s IPA action followed by eight new IPAs hitting the court today.

Monday, April 10, First Round Washington IPA Games results

GAME 1, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

6. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. Prairie Line IPA vs. 11. Northwest Brewing Crazy Bitch Double IPA

You always go back to the Crazy Bitch. She’ll accuse you of hiding money from her, lock herself in the bathroom over an errant casserole comment and throw your crap on the lawn for not texting back, but you love that nut-job and stay even though she assaulted the bouncer for “getting in her business.” Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.’s Prairie Line IPA locked Northwest’s Crazy Bitch Double IPA out of the Tournament of Beer, securing 81.5 percent of the votes and a spot in the Second Round. Still, you and the Crazy Bitch will work things out in the end. You’re perfect for each other.

GAME 2, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

3. Three Magnets Little Juice – Smoothie Edition vs. 14. Narrows Brewing Giant Pacific Octopus

In a back and forth match-up pitting two fairly even matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), Three Magnets’ Little Juice – Smoothie Edition eked out a win beating Narrows Brewing’s Giant Pacific Octopus by two votes. Did Three Magnets’ gourmet pub cuisine play a part? Can’t say for certain. What we do know is the hazy Little Juice moves into the Second Round.

GAME 3, KING COUNTY REGION

5. Elysian Brewing Space Dust IPA vs. 12. Stoup Citra IPA

We’re not sure if Stoup head brewer Brad Benson flaunted his Master Brewers Association of the Americas, Brewers Association and American Society of Brewing Chemists accreditations around his taproom during voting yesterday to secure 58 percent of the votes over fellow Seattle brewery Elysian. Anyone who has visited Stoup’s taproom in the Ballard neighborhood knows it’s a fun-loving crowd and accreditations just get in the way of drinking, especially if the garage door is rolled up. Luckily for all of us, Elysian doesn’t need the Tournament of Beer to get by … it sells more Space Dust IPA than the Universe can hold. Stoup’s Citra IPA moves on to Second Round action.

GAME 4, KING COUNTY REGION

4. Cloudburst Alternative Facts vs. Airways Jumbo Juice

Peaks and Pints was holed up preparing for our regular Monday night SudsPop music and beer event instead of hitting the streets for Tournament of Beer vibe. But, we have been to the Washington Cask Festival and others local beer festivals to know the Cloudburst folks love to dress the part. It’s our guess they brewed in crazy airlines-related costumes while a taproom employee would jump on a mic and make flight announces every 30 minutes or so, to support their competitor Airways Brewing’s Jumbo Juice. That’s how the Seattle brewery rolls. When the last piece of luggage was claimed, Cloudburst’s Alternative Facts IPA exited with 60 percent of the votes and now waits for a Second Round flight.

Let’s check the fermenter. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Prairie Line IPA, Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.

Little juice – Smoothie Edition, Three Magnets Brewing Co.

Citra IPA, Stoup Brewing

Alternative Facts IPA, Cloudburst Brewing

OK, pour a pint and dive into today’s First Round IPA battles. Vote for one IPA per game. Voting for today’s IPA battles ends at 11:45 p.m. today.

Tuesday, April 11, First Round Washington IPA Games

GAME 1, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

Pogo-Stick-Citra-IPA-E9-BreweryPlayer: Pogo Stick Citra IPA (#7 seed)

Team: E9 Brewery, Tacoma

Player Stats: Of all the dreams and schemes to put Tacoma on the map and keep it on people’s tongues, one has been brewing under our noses since the 19th century. Beer. Tacoma was a hotbed from beer brewing, until Prohibition reared its ugly head. Flash forward to July 1995, Engine House No. 9 became Tacoma’s first brewpub. That was big news then and is worth toasting nearly 22 years later. But the real cause for celebration is the birth of one beer in particular — E9’s Pogo Stick Citra IPA. E9 Brewery, as it is now known, has been training Pogo Stick on Citra hops, and the hard work has paid off. Big dry blood orange nose gives way to a creamy, medium body with agility carbonation and a one-two punch of sweet citrus and honey topped bread dough. Is the finish too dry for the Tournament of Beer? Certainly the two firefighters/founders of competitor Top Rung brewing Co. will keep it dry, whatever that means.

ABV: 6.3 IBU: N/A Hops: Citra

Shift-Trade-IPA-Top-Rung-Brewing-CompanyPlayer: Shift Trade IPA (#10 seed)

Team: Top Rung Brewing Co., Lacey

Player Stats: We remember it as if it was yesterday. We dropped by Top Rung Brewing’s 2015 Hoptoberfest ready for some malty flavors and noble hops when we spotted its shiny, golden orange bad self. Top Rung co-founders Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz had recently debuted their Shift Trade IPA, a 6.2% ABV shot of tropical fruits thanks to a hefty dose of Mosaic and Cascade hops. It was crisp. It was bitter. And it was all we drank. Larry Bird vs. Magic Johnson. Bill Russell vs. Wilt Chamberlain. Pogo Stick vs. Shift Trade. This South Sound brewery battle should make the front page of Sports.

ABV: 6.2% IBU: 50 Hops: Mosaic, Cascade

SCROLL DOWN TO VOTE………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………………………

GAME 2, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

Broken-Window-Tacoma-Brewing-CompanyPlayer: Broken Window IPA (#2 seed)

Team: Tacoma Brewing Co., Tacoma

Player Stats: Morgan Alexander brewed beer in high school. He used Baker’s yeast and apple juice, which Alexander says was horrible. He kept the lab coat on, home brewing with unusual ingredients for years before converting his beloved Tacoma Triangle District Amocat Cafe into Tacoma Brewing Company, a tiny taproom that, mostly, likely, won’t see the end of April. It’s not sad times. Alexander is moving up the street into a ginormous space, compared to his current brewhouse. We fully expect him to kiss his front window on the way out. The window slot cost him a fortune, but he definitely made it back ten fold. He renamed his Citra IPA “Broken Window IPA” after roughians shattered the glass enough times that Alexander started hosting fundraisers. Broken Window IPA went on to win award after award; it was worth the pane.

ABV: 6% IBU: 50 Hops: Citra

Electron-IPA-Puyallup-River-Brewing-CompanyPlayer: Electron India Pale Ale (#15 seed)

Team: Puyallup River Brewing Company, Puyallup

Player Stats: You can be certain that there will be a smattering of jokes in the locker room about the name “Electron” with “scientist” and “super hero” quips … until Puyallup River Brewing owner and head brewer Eric Akeson walks in the room. The hush won’t be over the man’s gigantic stature but rather the gold medal bling around his neck. If he wants you to write “Washington State Small Brewery of the Year “100 times on the chalkboard, you will. His Electron IPA, which has become a South Sound favorite, nails the Northwest IPA style. With no shortage of toasty malt sweetness for balance, it almost comes off as a slightly miniaturized DIPA, albeit one that doesn’t skimp on the hops, either. Hop character comes through with a nice, pronounced earthy wave and light pine and grapefruit leading to toasty caramel mid palate with butter, pine and a bit of resin. Alexander of Tacoma Brewing and Akeson of Puyallup River have broke bread togethe. Side bet is certain.

ABV: 6.8% IBU: 85 Hops: Falconer’s Flight, Citra, Amarillo Gold, Cascade, dry-hopped with El Dorado

SCROLL DOWN TO VOTE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………

GAME 3, KING COUNTY REGION

Bodhizafa-Georgetown-Brewing-CoPlayer: Bodhizafa (#1 seed)

Team: Georgetown Brewing Co., Seattle

Player Stats: Georgetown Brewing‘s Bodhizafa won the 2016 GABF Gold Medal for IPAs, beating out more than 300 beers to win the honor. We could just drop that and walk away. What else needs to be said? Maybe the IPA is pale in color with a light silky texture from the rolled oats. The flavor and aroma both express mandarin and citrus. Five pounds of hops per barrel makes this IPA truly juicy, full of citrus and fruity. We could talk about the ridiculous obsession the Seattle brewery has with the film Point Break. We’ll let Bodhi do all the talking, brah.

ABV: 6.9% IBU: 60 Hops: Chinook, Citra, Mosaic, Columbus

Standard-Imperial-IPA-Standard-BrewingPlayer: Imperial IPA (#16 seed)

Team: Standard Brewing, Seattle

Player Stats: Standard Brewing had us at blogging. Many breweries drop a blog on their website then fill it for a month. Standard Brewing is the standard for brewery blogging. From their first post of a lonely refrigerator commanding an empty room with yellow walls posted Halloween 2012 to waxing Fantastic Man Schwarzbier during a windstorm a couple days ago, Standard’s blog is succinct, well designed and active. Yet, this isn’t the Tournament of Blogging, so Fantastic Man needs to step aside for Standard’s Imperial IPA, a craft beer released a year ago melding Centennial and Simcoe together for a floral and pine punch. Bodhizafa should be aware that Standard’s Imperial has just enough malt backing to balance everything out. It’s solid.

ABV: 9.5% IBU: 111 Hops: Centennial, Simcoe

SCROLL DOWN TO VOTE…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………………

GAME 4, KING COUNTY REGION

The-Sister-Fremont-Brewing-CompanyPlayer: The Sister Imperial IPA (#8 seed)

Team: Fremont Brewing, Seattle

Player Stats: The Sister, a seasonal creation of Fremont Brewing’s Imperial Series, was “inspired by (their) desire to thank Sisters everywhere.” Fremont describes The Sister as “fittingly bitter and a little sweet but she will always be there for you…Because Sisters Matter.” Indeed, but delicious imperial IPAs matter, too. The Sister matters. The beer is a delightfully hoppy Imperial IPA with a sweet, malt backbone that holds up to its clever description. Aromas of citrus hops, mango, and pineapple grace the nose, creating a mouth-watering, tropical experience. Its body is light for an imperial IPA, with medium carbonation and very little sign of the relatively high alcohol content. The flavors follow the nose, with strong notes of orange zest, grapefruit, and pine hops present up front that fade into a pleasantly sweet caramel, bready backbone. The Sister finishes with a lingering, citrus bitterness that solidifies its presence in the Tournament of Beer.

ABV: 8.5% IBU: 80 Hops: Amarillo, Columbus, Cascade, Chinook, Calypso, Bravo

Astral-Projection-Imperial-IPA-Holy-MountainPlayer: Astral Projection (#9 seed)

Team: Holy Mountain Brewing Company, Seattle

Player Stats: There are more than 350 breweries in Washington state, but there’s only one Holy Mountain, which debuted in October 2014, and instantly blew up through word-of-mouth. Adam Paysse, Colin Lenfesty and Mike Murphy opened the Seattle brewery after gaining experience at Schooner Exact Brewing Co., Bainbridge Island Brewery and Westland Distillery. The three, well-respected local beer veterans have gain quick respect for their outstanding farmhouse and sour barrel-aged beers. That’s all fine and dandy, but their juicy, unfiltered Astral Projection Imperial IPA needs to be added to the “outstanding” list. If a pint of Astral Projection sits in a room you’ll know it immediately by its fruit splash aroma. On the tongue, it’s creamy, juicy tropical fruit all the way.

ABV: 9% IBU: N/A Hops: Galaxy, Citra

VOTE BELOW……………….…………………………………………………………………………………………..……………………………………………………

Be sure to click the blue DONE button after selecting your favorite IPAs!

Wednesday, April 12’s Tournament of Washington IPAs action …

Game 1: Batch 15, Aslan Brewing Company (1330 N. Forest St., Bellingham) vs. Windfall IPA, Bainbridge Island Brewing Company (9415 Coppertop Loop NE, Bainbridge Island)

Game 2: Stackin’ Hay IPA, FarmStrong Brewing Company (110 Stewart Road, Mt. Vernon) vs. Shoe Toss IPA, Wander Brewing (1807 Dean Ave., Bellingham)

Game 3: Imperial IPA (Brewer’s Reserve), Old Schoolhouse Brewery (155 Riverside Ave., Winthrop) vs. Hoppy AF, Everybody’s Brewing (151 E. Jewett Blvd., White Salmon)

Game 4: Bottomcutter IIPA, Bale Breaker Brewing Company (1801 Birchfield Road, Yakima) vs. Finger Gun IPA, Iron Horse Brewery (412 N. Main St., Ellensburg)

LINK: Tournament of Beers: Washington State IPAs explanation

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want to follow Peaks and Pints on Twitter

LINK: Explore Washington state breweries

Tournament-of-Beer-IPAs-bracket-April-11

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