Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Tournament of Washington IPAs: Round One April 12

Ron Swarner

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Tournament of Washington IPAs Round One April 12: The showcase ingredient in India Pale Ales is hops, which come from the plant humulus lupulus. This is a vine-like plant that produces hop flowers known as strobiles. Within these strobiles are two prized contributions to brewing: alpha acids and hop oils. Alpha acids provide the bitterness in beer that gives the drinker the crisp, clean finish and acts to balance the sweet malt. The hop oils produce the flavor and aroma, which in the case of American-style hops typically provide flavors and aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit to tropical fruit to other citrus varieties.

Welcome to day four of the Tournament of Beers, featuring 64 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.

Tuesday, April 11, First Round Washington IPA Games results

GAME 1, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

7. E9 Brewery Pogo Stick Citra IPA vs. 10. Top Rung Brewing Shift Trade IPA

Firefighters Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz work in pitch-black, high-heat environments where they’re forced to crawl and drag things. It’s not just, as they say, putting the wet stuff on the red stuff. When they arrive at their second job, Top Rung Brewing Co., they work equally as hard, if not harder since their brewing system only has one electronic button, as the put the wet stuff in the metal stuff. Yesterday, Top Rung assistant brewer Tyler Mathis sounded the Tournament of Beer alarm and, doing what they do, owners/founders Sobol and Stoltz jumped into action. Today, when they learn they grabbed 76 percent of the votes over notable E9 Brewery’s delicious Pogo Stick Citra IPA, they’ll no doubt high-five … then go rescue a kitten from a tree.

GAME 2, SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

2. Tacoma Brewing Broken Window IPA vs. 15. Puyallup River Brewing Electron India Pale Ale

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: Washington State IPAs. Down by a substantial margin by midday, Puyallup River Brewing Electron India Pale Ale was able to rally Eastern Pierce County at halftime, and by the time the final buzzer sounded the Puyallup brewery walked away with an impressive victory, racking up 78 percent of the vote. Tournament of Beer analysts claim second seed Tacoma Brewing had too much on their plate as their new brewery is opening any day now. Those same analysts also were drinking Electrons when they made the comment. Electron India Pale Ale moves into the Second Round. …

GAME 3, KING COUNTY REGION

1.  Georgetown Brewing Bodhizafa vs. 16. Standard Brewing Imperial IPA

Eighty-four percent of the votes. That’s the margin of victory Georgetown Brewing Bodhizafa had over Standard Brewing’s Imperial IPA. Was it the fact that Georgetown’s IPA is named after Point Break’s Bodhi, the enigmatic leader of a surf gang, who commands the lives of those around him and is utterly convincing as a man capable of derailing even the sternest and straightest of human beings? Maybe it was the coveted Great American Beer Festival gold medal it earned last year? Most likely it was five pounds of hops per barrel that makes this IPA truly Bodhilicious. Whatever it was Bodhizafa surfs into the next round.

GAME 4, KING COUNTY REGION

8. Fremont Brewing The Sister Imperial IPA vs. 9. Holy Mountain Brewing Astral Projection Imperial IPA

Despite a late push from Fremont Brewing The Sister Imperial IPA, Holy Mountain Astral Project and its large, devoted beer geek following proved too powerful in yesterday’s action, catapulting into the Second Round with 58 percent of the votes. You can’t question the Holy Mountain’s following, and sometimes a following is just what it takes in the Tournament of Beer.

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

Shift Trade IPA, Top Rung Brewing Co.

Electron India Pale Ale, Puyallup River Brewing Co.

Bodhizafa, Georgetown Brewing

Astral Projection Imperial IPA, Holy Mountain 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.

Wednesday, April 12, First Round Washington IPA Games

GAME 1, NORTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

Aslan-Brewing-Batch-15-IPAPlayer: Batch 15 IPA (#5 seed)

Team: Aslan Brewing Co., Bellingham

Player Stats: Remember when the Sahara animals were invited to the birth of lion cub Simba? How did they not know Lion King Mufasa wouldn’t eat them? The animals probably thought it was a trap. Why would you make your food look at your baby? It’s just so weird. We bet Boe Trosset felt more comfortable when Frank Trosset, Pat Haynes and Jack Lamb invited him to join their baby, Aslan Brewing Company — “aslan” being the Turkish word for “lion.” Handyman Trosset help the trio take their 12-month pilot brewery project in downtown Bellingham to a full-fledge brewpub. He was down owning and operating an organic brewery. Without fear of being eaten, Trosset and crew eventually brewed Batch 15 IPA, a cloudy, juicy IPA showcasing the resinous and piney characteristics of Simcoe, the crisp citrus of Citra and the bitterness of Summit hops. We’re not sure what the Turkish word for “awesome” is, but nants ingonyama bagithi baba (there comes a lion)!

ABV: 7% IBU: 65 Hops: Bravo, Citra, Chinook, Simcoe

Bainbridge-island-Brewing-Windfall-Grapefruit-IPAPlayer: Windfall Grapefruit IPA (#12 seed)

Team: Bainbridge Island Brewing Company, Bainbridge Island

Player Stats: The Pacific Northwest is known for its craft beer, and there’s plenty of the good stuff to be found on Bainbridge. Father and son Chuck and Russell Everett launched Bainbridge Island Brewing in 2012 excelling at IPAs and the popular Kommuter Kolsch, a wink at the many island residents who go to and from Seattle every day. But something was missing? Something large. Something boisterous. Something huggable. The Everetts found all three in sales executive Kenny the Beer Man, who puts the “wind” in the brewery’s Windfall Grapefruit IPA (we have no idea what that means). It’s hard to say no to Kenny. Why would you? Windfall hits the tongue with grapefruit, grassy hops and malt. The finish is moderately bitter with a fruity hops aftertaste. Refreshing.

ABV: 7.7% IBU: 60 Hops: ADHA 529, ADHA 484, Cascade, Centennial and Azacca

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

GAME 2, NORTHWEST WASHINGTON REGION

FarmStrong-Brewing-Stackin-Hay-IPAPlayer: Stackin’ Hay IPA (#4 seed)

Team: FarmStrong Brewing Company, Mt. Vernon

Player Stats: “Be the change you want to see in the world,” someone — we think it was probably Beyoncé — once said. Damn straight, girl. You’re doing your part by recycling all your craft beer bottles and buying free-trade coffee and always showering with a friend to conserve water because hey, these things matter. FarmStrong Brewing Company owners Dan Cameron, Mike Armstrong and Todd Owsley are doing their part too. They have partnered with Skagit Valley farmers and producers because they believe there should be a close relationship between beer and agriculture, local farmers, and “reducing the footprint” as they say, and they is probably Beyoncé. In September 2015, the trio opened FarmStrong, offering fresh draft beer to Skagit Valley. It’s amazing they garnered a fourth seed in the Tournament of Beer after a less than two-year existence serving draft only in farm country. FarmStrong’s seasonal Stackin’ Hay IPA has a fruity, inviting nose, a crisp and dry texture, a clean malt backbone and an assertive bitterness. Hop flavors provide notes of grass, pine, grapefruit rind and spruce needles. Can this bunch of farmer huggers avoid Wander Brewing’s Shoe Toss Rye IPA? The votes will tell.

ABV: 6.8% IBU: 85 Hops: Amarillo, Columbus

Player: Shoe Toss Rye IPA (#13 seed)

Wander-Brewing-Shoe-Toss-Rye-IPATeam: Wander Brewing, Bellingham

Player Stats: Colleen and Chad Kuehl wander. The Midwesterners wandered into each other at the University of Iowa many years ago, then wandered around the world. Then engineer Chad wondered about craft beer, eventually attending the American Brewer’s Guild in 2011 before working at Hilliard’s Beer in Seattle. They wondered what would happen if they started Wander Brewing in Bellingham. After brewing Shoe Toss Rye IPA we wonder if they wonder how they could ever top it. With a nose of floral, citrus and spicy notes and a flavor profile of grapefruit and spicy hop bitterness with a light malty sweetness and grainy mouth feel, Shoe Toss is a wonderful thing. As long Colleen and Chad keep their Kuehl and don’t wander off, they should be able to defend any Hay toss.

AVB: 6.8% IBU: 100 Hops: Citra, Centennial, Summit and a “healthy late kettle addition and dry hop of whole cone Ahtanum”

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

GAME 3, EASTERN WASHINGTON REGION

Old-Schoolhouse-Brewery-Imperial-IPAPlayer: Imperial IPA Brewer’s Reserve (#6 seed)

Team: Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop

Player Stats: Here comes big brother to the rescue! After its second seeded Ruud Awakening IPA suffered a loss on the opening day of this tournament Old Schoolhouse Brewery will unleash Imperial IPA Brewer’s Reserve on Everybody’s Brewing’s Hoppy AF Double IPA. Old Schoolhouse’s Imperial IPA is bigger and more balanced than its little brother, Ruud, with a stronger malt presence and increased hopping rate. The multiple award-winning Imperial wears a jersey with “Fruit” embroidered in large letters, warning its competitors of the pineapple and mango muscle headed toward the nose and tongue. A strong malt bill keeps this big boy balanced.

ABV: 9.3% IBU: 85 Hops: Columbus, Warrior, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo, Simcoe, Citra

Everybodys-Brewing-Hoppy-AFPlayer: Hoppy AF Double IPA (#11 seed)

Team: Everybody’s Brewing, White Salmon

Player Stats: How does Everybody’s Brewing do it? How do they concentrate on their flavorful, session style beers with that amazing view of Mt. Hood off their back deck? We mean, bam! They must be happy AF brewing Hoppy AF. “We used over two pounds of hops per barrel, and really tried to get the tropical fruitiness from the Galaxy hops,” said Everybody’s owner/brewmaster Doug Ellenberger. “We used a new hopping technique we have been talking about for a while, and we’re beyond pleased with the result. It gave us the big nose we wanted, and the balance is just right. We are really excited about this one.” There’s the answer. Although there have been different versions of Everybody’s Tiny Tank Series’ Hoppy AF more so than not Galaxy and Citra are the core producing grassy, fruity nose and flavor with moderate bitterness.

ABV: 7.5% IBU: 85 Hops: Galaxy, Citra and Chinook

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

GAME 4, EASTERN WASHINGTON REGION

Player: Bottomcutter IIPA (#3 seed)

Team: Bale Breaker Brewing Company, Yakima

Player Stats: Hops have long defined life at B.T. Loftus Ranches in the Yakima Valley. Back in 1932, Kevin Smith and Meghann Quinn’s great-grandparents founded the family hop farm that’s now run by their older brother, Patrick. Meghann and her husband, Kevin Quinn, and younger brother were keen homebrewers. Wouldn’t it be natural to start a brewery on the farm? The trio took down three acres of the farm’s Field 41 and built Bale Breaker Brewing Company, which is surrounded by fields of hops. Bale Breaker only brews three year-round craft beers — Field 41 Pale Ale, Topcutter IPA and Bottomcutter IIPA — nine or so seasonals and a constant flow of one-off, hoppy taproom-only experiments. You voted Bottomcutter a third seed in the Eastern Washington region, It’s a supremely drinkable double IPA with pine, honey, orange and grapefruit swirling around a bunch of caramel. Bonus: solid bitterness.

ABV: 8.2% IBU: 100 Hops: Citra, Simcoe, Ekuanot

Player: Finger Gun IPA (#14 seed)

Team: Iron Horse Brewery, Ellensburg

Player Stats: Centrally located in Ellensburg, Iron Horse Brewery is owned by father-son team Gary and Greg Parker. The brewery has been producing handcrafted ales since 2004, including the über popular Quilter’s Irish Death. Finger Gun, a session IPA, circulates in the BrauKon Hop Rocket for 24-48 hours before shooting out with amazing hop aroma and flavor. Does Finger Gun have enough hop bullets to handle Bale Breaker’s Bottomcutter? Peew! Peew!

ABV: 4.8% IBU: 52, Hops: Azacca, Calypso

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

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

Thursday, April 13’s Tournament of Washington IPAs action …

Game 1: Ballz Deep Double IPA, 7 Seas Brewing (2101 S. Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) vs. Shadow Ninja, Loowit Brewing Company (507 Columbia St., Vancouver)

Game 2: No Fluff IPA, Matchless Brewing (8036 River Dr. SE, Tumwater) vs. Lights Out, North Jetty Brewing (4200 Pacific Way, Seaview)

Game 3: Lush IPA, Fremont Brewing (1050 N. 34th St., Seattle) vs. Imperial Pale Ale, Maritime Pacific Brewing Company (1111 NW Ballard Way, Seattle)

Game 4: Crikey IPA, Reuben’s Brews (5010 14th Ave. NW, Seattle) vs. Dang! Citra IPA, Hellbent Brewing Company (13035 Lake City Way NE, Seattle)

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-12

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