Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Tournament of Washington IPAs: Sweet Wort 16

Ron Swarner

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Rainy Daze Brewing sales executive Jon Jump might be a busy man today.

Tournament of Washington IPAs: Sweet Wort 16 — The best India Pale Ale in Washington state? You think you know where to find it. We all do. After weeks of feverish voting (and with the help of a complicated computer program stolen from cavemen) we at Peaks and Pints have watched you, beloved voters, narrow down the state’s IPAs from 64 to the very best 16, the creamy mouthfeel of the crop. Yesterday, the first eight IPAs in the Sweet Wort 16 did battle. Today, the remaining eight go at it.

Without further ado, let’s take a gander at yesterday’s results, and then preview today’s matches. …

Tuesday, April 25 Tournament of Washington IPAs Sweet Wort 16 Results …

GAME 1, NORTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

9. Tropic Haze, Silver City Brewery (206 Katy Penman, Bremerton) vs. 4. Stackin’ Hay IPA, FarmStrong Brewing Company (110 Stewart Road, Mt. Vernon)

The Northwest Washington Region Sweet Wort 16 game was heavy on tropical fruit flavors and light on drama, with Silver City’s Tropic Haze cruising to victory with 74 percent of the votes. In pre-game chatter, Tournament of Beer analysts predicted a close game due to an extremely even matchup of two strong defensive breweries with serviceable offenses. Oddly enough, both IPAs scored 45 percent from the taprooms but Tropic Haze grabbed 36 percent from packaging, which made a huge difference. Proving the analysts wrong, Tropic Haze moves into the Hot Break Eight round.

GAME 2, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

6. Prairie Line IPA, Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. (610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. 10. Shift Trade IPA, Top Rung Brewing Company (8343 Hogum Bay Lane N.E, Lacey)

This IPA battle started with Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. Director of Brewing Operations Steve Navarro texting Top Rung Brewing owners Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz a photo of Shift Trade IPA in a toilet. Mid-afternoon Pacific Brewing sales executive Andy Kenser grabbed the Peaks and Pints’ official Tournament of Beer ladder, climbed to the top rung and attempted to remove the Top Rung Shift Trade IPA nameplate from the giant tournament bracket donning our walls. Then around 5 p.m., a news video hit Facebook reporting Top Rung’s Shift Trade IPA had been damaged, revealing a Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. business card was left at the crime scene — although the news reporter was a dead ringer for Top Rung brewer Tyler Mathis’ wife, Meredith. Both South Sound breweries rallied the troops, including Top Rung sending out several “alarms.” Behind the scenes, Shift Trade IPA held a lead over Prairie Line IPA all day up to the final buzzer. Top Rung enters the Hot Break Eight with 58 percent of the votes.

GAME 3, KING COUNTY REGION

1. Bodhizafa, Georgetown Brewing Co. (5200 Denver Ave. S., Seattle) vs. Citra IPA, Stoup Brewing (1108 NW 52nd St., Seattle)

This was the most surprising 12 over 1 upset, and it’s certainly one of the most memorable, too. Bodhizafa was the preseason No. 1 team in the Alpha Acid Press, or AAP, poll, led by head brewer Reid Spencer. Georgetown Brewing from Seattle is focused on just one thing, making the best craft beer possible. All they do is make beer and fill kegs and growlers. They don’t own a pub. Opened in the fall of 2013, Stoup Brewing quickly became a favorite in Ballard and beyond. The ninth to open in the popular beer neighborhood, Stoup combines the passion of its three founders into a brewery focused on “the Art and Science of beer.” Stoup played the glass hard all day, and by glass we mean pint glass. Co-owner Lara Zahaba paced back and forth, even giving a pep talk to food truck Beez Neez Sausages when they parked outside the brewery for the night. Stoup dominated from tip-off to the final seconds yesterday, securing 72 percent of the votes. Stoup Brewing’s Citra IPA moves into the Hot Break Eight.

GAME 4, EASTERN WASHINGTON REGION

3. Bottomcutter IIPA, Bale Breaker Brewing Company (1801 Birchfield Road, Yakima) vs. 15. Bootjack IPA, Icicle Brewing Company (935 Front St, Leavenworth)

Everyone loves a good comeback, and this may have been one of the better clutch performances in the (obviously short) history of the Tournament of Beer. Down by a substantial margin by midday, Bale Breaker’s Bottomcutter IIPA was able to rally the Yakima Valley at halftime, and by the time the final buzzer sounded the brewery with the attached hop farm had walked away with an impressive victory, racking up 57 percent of the vote. The Tournament of Beer organization stood up and applauded Icicle Brewing Company’s Bootjack IPA for 5 minutes. Icicle did Leavenworth proud.

Let’s send some clear wort to the fermenter. The following are advancing to the Hot Break Eight:

Silver City Tropic Haze
Top Rung Shift Trade IPA
Stoup Brewing Citra IPA
Bale Breaker Bottomcutter IIPA

OK, pour a pint and dive into today’s Sweet Wort 16 IPA battles. Vote for one IPA per game, and only once. Voting for today’s IPA battles ends at 11:45 p.m.

Wednesday, April 26, Sweet Wort 16 Washington IPA Games

GAME 1, NORTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

14. Goat Boater IPA, Rainy Daze Brewing (650 NW Bovela Lane, Poulsbo) vs. 2. Pourhouse IPA, Rainy Daze Brewing (650 NW Bovela Lane, Poulsbo)

To be lucky, in short, is to be open, adaptive, flexible, receptive to the new, relaxed and awake, so you can see the opportunities when they arrive and then act on them without hesitation, doubt or fear, which is pretty much the exact opposite of the operational mode of all those unhappy, anxious humans we all know and love and never, ever vote for. But never mind that now. Because this is the Tournament of Beer and it seems fairly easy to swap out the word “lucky” and swap in, say, “delicious.” Or maybe “hoppy,” “creamy,” “balanced,” “enjoyable to drink,” maybe even “sexy,” “interesting,” and “oh hey wow it smells really good.” There’s a certain luck that came Rainy Daze Brewing’s way with it voter seeding. But, that’s where the luck ends and the delicious Rainy Daze IPAs begins. Both of these IPAs crushed their competitors. Rainy Daze will have an IPA in the Hot Break Eight. Which one?

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

GAME 2, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

9. Lights Out Double IPA, North Jetty Brewing (4200 Pacific Way, Seaview) vs. 12. Moving Day IPA, Wet Coast Brewing Company (6820 Kimball Dr., Gig Harbor)

North Jetty Brewing’s Lights Out Double IPA has had an easy time dispatching the competition up to this point. But this battle for a birth to the Hot Break Eight may prove more of a challenge. Wet Coast Brewing Company has the heart, the talent and the impressive wins (Heathen’s Transcend and Wingman’s Ace) in the first two rounds. And, lo and behold, we haven’t mentioned Wet Coast bartender Melissa Hartwig yet. Try to have a bad day around her. Does North Jetty Brewing worry about a spark plug bartender pouring a triple threat resinous/citrus/tropical IPA? If so, they’ll just brew another tremendous craft beer. That’s what they do.

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

GAME 3, KING COUNTY REGION

6. Lush IPA, Fremont Brewing (1050 N. 34th St., Seattle) vs. 2. Wonderland Trail IPA, Two Beers Brewing Co. (4700 Ohio Ave. S., Seattle)

Both of these IPAs took the carbonation out of their competitors. This year’s seasonal Lush IPA has the numbers and rave reviews that Fremont Brewing couldn’t ignore, contemplating it for year-round status. Wonderland Trail has the emotion of thousands of hikers, a wave of citrus and passion fruit and Two Beer Brewing‘s strong marketing mind. Let’s get ready to rumble.

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

GAME 4, EASTERN WASHINGTON REGION

1. Topcutter IPA, Bale Breaker Brewing Company (1801 Birchfield Road, Yakima) vs. 13. Walking Man IPA, Walking Man Brewing (240 First St., Stevenson)

Bale Breaker Topcutter IPA is making a strong run at the Hot Break Eight as most predicted. The brewery’s Prohibition-era family hop farming history, location on a hop farm and friendly Taproom service is anchored by this craft beer, a punchy orange and resinous pine wash back aside toasted malts beauty. However, they must first get by Stevenson’s gem, Walking Man IPA. The Columbia Gorge brewery’s IPA won a 2006 World Beer Cup gold medal for its extremely flavorful pine, citrus and resiny notes. Walking Man’s Tournament of Beer motto is molded from Helen Keller’s second famous quote: “Walking with a Walking Man IPA in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Vote now.

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

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

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-26

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