Firestone Walker Brewing Company has two different series’ of IPAs going right now. First is the Luponic Distortion Series, which is currently in its 7th iteration (featuring Australian hops), and then, of course, they have the Leo v. Ursus Series. Both series take an experimental approach, and they allow Firestone Walker to be constantly coming out with something new and unique – which is the industry trend these days. Innovate or be left behind.
Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007 arrived just last month and now, Firestone Walker is ready to bring us the next iteration in the Leo v. Ursus Series: Inferos. An unfiltered Rye IPA that’s absolutely jam packed with over 4.7 pounds of Galaxy (and other) hops per barrel, Inferos sounds like a rye loving hop head’s dream. I’ve always been a big fan of beers with rye in the malt bill and Inferos has an almost unheard of 25% rye in the malt bill. With all that rye and all those hops, this sounds like a beer I’ll really enjoy.
Brewed with over 400 pounds of Centennial Hops fresh off the bine at Goschie Farms (less than 2 hours from hop field to brew kettle!), Green Haze is about as fresh as you can get and should bring those grassy, Earthy notes you’d expect from a well made Centennial Fresh Hop Pale.
It’s harvest time up in the Yakima Valley, the #1 hop growing region in the World. Our proximity to the hop fields of Yakima Valley means that the Northwest, particularly Washington State, is in a prime location to enjoy one of the best benefits for craft beer lovers this time of year: Fresh Hop Ales.
As has become the norm, Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) was first out of the gate, releasing their Fresh Hop IPA back on August 23rd. Now, Fremont Brewing Company is ready to release the first of their Fresh Hop Ales for 2017. Field To Ferment Fresh Hop Pale Ale (each release featuring Centennial, Amarillo and Citra hops respectively) arrives today, 9/6, in Fremont’s Urban Beer Garden.
Bale Breaker Brewing Company brews some pretty tasty beers. You’re probably familiar with their popular Field 41 Pale Ale, Topcutter IPA or Bottomcutter IPA, since these three beers are part of their ‘Everyday’ (year-round) lineup. They also, of course, brewed the official beer for Seattle Beer Week 2017: Fresh Off The Farm IPA.
Now, Bale Breaker is adding a fourth beer to their Everyday series: Leota Mae IPA. It was named for the great-grandmother of one of Bale Breakers owners, and was created to honor the history of planting and harvesting hops in the Yakima valley, where Leota Mae used to work out in the hop fields.
Just last week I told you about the Harvest Collaboration Series form Bale Breaker Brewing Company, in which they paired with four different craft breweries to create the beers for the series. They’ll have staggered releases from August through October. Now, while they’re still in the collaborative mood, Bale Breaker is at it again with the upcoming release of Sesiones del Migrante Mango IPA in six-packs.
Sesiones del Migrante is a series of beers that Bale Breaker has brewed in conjunction with Mexican and American breweries, in a collaboration that spans 5 breweries and 2 countries. Created in celebration of the Mexican migrant workers who travel to the Yakima Valley each year to help harvest the precious hops for all those wonderful craft beers we all enjoy, it’s due to arrive both on tap and in cans on September 7th and will see distribution throughout Washington and Northern Idaho.
Summer is almost here. We had a bit of a tease over Memorial Day weekend (one of the hottest on record in the Puget Sound), but now we’re back to ‘normal’. Oh joy. We might have to wait just a bit longer before Summer truly arrives in Seattle, but at least we can start to enjoy all of the Summer Seasonals that make their return about this time each year.
Have you been enjoying Fresh Hop season? I don’t know about you, but my lupulin levels must be through the roof. I love the abundance of hoppy beers available this time of year and am thankful that I live in the Northwest, which produces the best Fresh Hop beers available in the World.
So, have I had enough? Not by a long shot. I know there are opinions out there that hops are overused in the craft beer industry and that the IPA style has taken over too much and become too hoppy. To that I say, absurd. Yes, there are some ridiculously hoppy beers out there. That’s great for those of us who enjoy them. If you don’t, however, then don’t drink them. It’s just that simple.
The abundance and popularity of IPAs and hoppy Pale Ales doesn’t mean there aren’t other choices out there. Although, I will admit, most tap lists are rather hop-heavy this time of year for obvious reasons. If you’re like me though and just can’t get enough then you’re in luck, because the 2016 Seattle Fresh Hops Festival starts this Friday at Hale’s Palladium.
If you’re a regular reader here, then you know that IPA is one of my favorite styles of craft beer. Single IPAs, double IPAs, Triple IPAs; I love them all and, with today being IPA Day, it makes me wish I’d planned ahead a bit better this year by stocking up on a few of my favorites before the ‘big day’ arrived. I usually do, but it’s been a busy Summer for me and I neglected to do so this year. That simply means my 2014 IPA day will be a bit more spontaneous, as I select from whatever IPAs I’ll find on tap once I’m off work this afternoon.
Thankfully, I made sure that I do have at least one bottle at home of Firestone Walker’s Double Jack, which I have verified through repeated blind taste testing is my favorite IPA (Double IPA that is). Taking advantage of the blind tasting options the past few years at both Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle during their annul IPApril and at Cooper’s Alehouse on Lake City Way during their annual IPA Fest, helped me narrow down what are probably my top 5 IPAs. No surprise to me, every one of them is a double IPA. Granted, this list is a bit limiting, even for me. I do also have several other favorite IPAs that I can either no longer get in this state (Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing, for example), that I don’t find on tap or in stores as often as I’d like or that are considered seasonal (such as Fresh Hop IPAs, for example).
One of my favorite annual Seattle Craft Beer events, Hopfest, is coming up fast. Brouwer’s Cafe decided to push back the date for Hopfest to a bit later in September this year, in hopes of getting a few more fresh hopped beers to feature at this year’s event. So Hopfest 2012 is set to kick off on Thursday, September 27th and run through the weekend.
This is the quintisential event for hopheads in the Seattle area. All of Brouwer’s 64 taps will be taken over by various IPAs. You can expect to see some popular IPAs, Double IPAs and other IPA styles, and Brouwer’s always seems to pull a few special rarities out of their hat as well. Each attendee at hopfest gets to cast their vote for their favorite IPA from the festival. Last year’s winners, by popular vote, were:
1. Founders Devil Dancer
2. HUB Bourbon Ace of Spades
3. Left Coast Hop Juice
The full tap list for this years festival has not yet been announced, but I will post it up as soon as it becomes available. My mouth is already watering in anticipation (UPDATE – See FULL tap list below).