Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

October 13, 2014 at 7:41am

Breweries reveal beers for South Sound IPA Festival Oct. 18

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. will cart its Dirty Skoog IPA down the street to Union Station Oct. 18. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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A flood of autumnal colors has filled the shelves of your favorite beer shop. You don't need to be told autumn beers are in the house, as you have been drinking a little extra extra malt, sugar and spice since the end of August. Typical seasonals such as malty Oktoberfests and Märzens and spicy Pumpkin Ales are everywhere. Their orange and rust-colored packaging is synonymous with falling leaves and gourd-filled cornucopias. Come September and October, these beers get all the attention, so the Washington Beer Commission would like to remind you beer is synonymous with terms such as "hoppy" and "top fermentation mouthfeel" — and meant to be tossed back with friends while Lynyrd Skynyrd blasts from the pickup. Pumpkin "beer," in contrast, attempts to elevate us to the realm of Maroon 5 and post PTA talk sessions - and that, South Sounders, is not right. Leave the pumpkin in the pies shouts the WBC — at least this Saturday.

The Commission - which produces five other beer festivals around the state as a means for funding the marketing, education and public relations efforts of its mission and its more than 230-plus member breweries - knows there's one style that continues to hook South Sounders, even while we dabble with farmhouse ales and sours on the side: India Pale Ale. The hoppy beers that first grabbed our hearts, shocked our tastebuds and kept us coming back for more still offer a lot to love - year round.

The WBC will host its inaugural South Sound IPA Festival Saturday, Oct. 18, with two sessions at downtown Tacoma's Union Station. That's right, although the leaves continue to blanket your yard, the WBC will celebrate the flower clusters that brewmasters use to bitter their beer. Taking the Pale Ale to the next level of hoppiness and strength - India Pale Ales (including those of the double and triple variety) highlight the importance of hops and higher alcohol. In the 1700s, British troops were stationed in India and hankered for a pint of familiar ale. English brewers obliged, making amped up versions of pale ales. These beers were higher in alcohol than traditional beers and also had a much more aggressive hop presence. Both the alcohol and the hops acted as preservatives, helping the beer survive the long, arduous journey by sea. Similar to our politics, Americans also broke away from the British IPA.  The American IPA is a much more assertive, in-your-face type of beer. Many are brewed with the "C" hops - Cascade, Centennial and Columbus, which all impart citrusy flavors. Some American brewers also use hops to create pine or resin flavors in their IPAs. West Coast IPAs are famous for dominant hop profiles and robust citrus and pine aromas.

Its first venture into the City of Destiny, the WBC will host 26 Washington breweries - including several for the South Sound - pouring their IPAs during an afternoon and evening session at Union Station in downtown Tacoma. In all, there will be at least 48 craft beers, most hitting the high mark on the International Bitterness Units (IBUs) scale.

"We decided to concentrate on IPAs for a couple of reasons," says Eric Radovich, executive director of the Washington Beer Commission. "First, IPAs are the most popular and best selling beer in the Northwest. Second, with the availability of fresh hops in September and early October, brewers produce fresh hop beers, which are outstanding and very welcomed at the South Sound IPA Fastival."

Ken Thoburn, head brewer at Wingman Brewers by the Tacoma Dome, will cross the train tracks to Union Station with a bunch of his Imperial Skunky Monkey IPA and Rosemary's Baby IPA. "The Skunky Monkey is a big, aromatic IPA, while Rosemary's Baby is a citrus version dry ‘hopped' with fresh rosemary," says Thoburn.

Rob Brunsman, sails ambassador for 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor, says 7 Seas will cross the Narrows with their Rude Parrot IPA, Ballz Deep Double IPA and Life Jacket Session IPA. The Life Jacket was my "move twice this summer" thirst-quenching beer (4.8 percent ABV). Brewed with Pale Ale, Pilsner and a touch of Wheat and Light Crystal malts, the Life Jacket finishes crisp and clean with a load of Amarillo and Nugget hops imparting juicy hop aromas of tangerine and grapefruit. 

Jesse Holder, director of brewery operations at Harmon Brewing Co., will wheel across Pacific Avenue Harmon's Never Never Land IPA and flagship Pt. Defiance IPA. "The Never Never Land is a test batch around six percent alcohol by volume," says Holder. "It's a variant of Pt. Defiance, more hoppy, but won't blow your palette out."

The RAM Restaurant and Brewery will bring its Flameout IPA (7.2 percent ABV) and Prime Meridian Wet Hop Pale Ale (6.2 percent ABV) to the IPA Festival. Nelson Sauvin and Galaxy hops were added at the end of the boil, or at "flame out," of the Flameout IPA. Bittering hops weren't used, giving it a very fruity flavor/aroma of apricots, peaches, and white wine, without high levels of bitterness. A brew mobile was dispatched for a late night clandestine run to an undisclosed hop farm in central Oregon where The RAM acquired 125 pounds of Meridian hops that were added immediately to the Prime Meridian Wet Hop Pale Ale. Orange, citrusy, and grassy hop flavors and aromas stand out in this well-balanced, wet hop ale.

"We're bringing our normal IPA (Giant Pacific Octopus IPA, 7.2 percent ABV) and the Imperial Red to the IPA Festival," says Joe Walts, head brewer at Narrows Brewing Co., which sits on pilings above The Narrows Passage.

Recently opened Pacific Brewing & Malting Company will travel down Pacific Avenue with its medium bodied double IPA Dirty Skoog (8.1 percent ABV). Named after The Skoog Saloon, a blind pig speakeasy rumored to have operated somewhere in Old Tacoma during Prohibition, the IPA - which is in its second batch - the Tacoma Brewery will pour the piney and citrusy IPA with Magnum and Centennial hops and dry hopped with Centennial and Chinook hops for a 73 IBU. Pacific Brewing will also pour its Moon Yard Strong Ale (89 IBU).

"Originally, we had slots for 24 breweries. All 24 slots were gone in four hours after the announcement," says Radovich. "We went back to Union Station to re-examine the space and found a way to slip two more breweries in."

The Union Station layout will feature 20 breweries around the perimeter of the main floor. On the second floor, three sections of two breweries each will provide refreshments for those gazing at the beautiful Chihuly artwork. The basement will house the Washington Beer Lovers table and food.

"We decided to skip live music as we want people to chat easily with brewery owners and head brewers rather than shout over music," added Radovich.  

A complete list of participating breweries can be found below.

The South Sound IPA Festival will take place from noon to 4 p.m., followed by a second session 5:30-9:30 p.m. A separate ticket is required for each session. Admission is $25 in advance and $30 at the door (if available) - and includes a commemorative tasting cup along with eight, 4-ounce sample tastes. Additional tastes will be available for purchase at $2 each. Designated driver admission is $5 and available at the door only. Complete ticket and event information is available at The event is expected to sell out so advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. This is a 21 and over only event.

There will be 26 Washington Breweries showcasing their IPAs, fresh hop beers and other delicious hop forward creations. Here is a list of participating Washington breweries:

  • 7 Seas Brewing, Gig Harbor
  • American Brewing, Edmonds
  • Anacortes Brewery, Anacortes
  • Bainbridge Island Brewing, Bainbridge Island
  • Bale Breaker Brewing, Yakima
  • Blue Lightning Brewery, Woodinville
  • Dick's Brewing, Centralia
  • Elysian Brewing, Seattle
  • Fremont Brewing, Seattle
  • Georgetown Brewing, Seattle
  • Harmon Brewing, Tacoma
  • McMenamin's, Seattle
  • Narrows Brewing, Tacoma
  • No-Li Brewhouse, Spokane
  • Old Schoolhouse Brewery, Winthrop
  • Pacific Brewing & Malting, Tacoma
  • Paradise Creek Brewery, Pullman
  • Rainy Daze Brewing, Silverdale
  • Ram Restaurant & Brewery, Tacoma
  • Schooner Exact, Seattle
  • Silver City Brewery, Bremerton
  • Standard Brewing, Seattle
  • Top Rung Brewing, Lacey
  • Two Beers Brewing, Seattle
  • Valholl Brewing, Poulsbo
  • Wingman Brewers, Tacoma

SOUTH SOUND IPA FESTIVAL, noon to 4 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 18, Union Station, 1717 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, $25 advance tickets, $30 door,

Filed under: New Beer Column Tacoma
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Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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