Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

October 19, 2014 at 10:16am

Words & Photos: South Sound IPA Festival in Tacoma

Union Station in Tacoma filled up with beer drinkers over two sessions during the South Sound IPA Festival Oct. 18. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

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Cheers to the South Sound IPA Festival. The India Pale Ale-centric festival drew approximately 900 beer fans, over an afternoon and evening session, for a casual, cheerful gathering at Tacoma's Union Station Oct. 18. The event featured some of the finest craft-brewed beers in Washington state with an emphasis on fresh hop beers, strong ales and, of course, IPAs.

Things ran smoothly from the gate to the flow to downstairs tiny concession area. Attendees were in good spirits. Volunteers stayed busy and polite. Homeland Security watched quietly. Everything worked well, especially for Union Station's first beer festival.

Organized by the Washington Beer Commission, the South Sound IPA Festival celebrated the finest IPAs in the state. I went in with my own list of beer to hunt down, but it was more enjoyable to simply go with the flow from booth to booth, chatting with brewery reps and beer drinkers along the way (cheers to beer drinkers Bryan Johnson, Kyle Price and Chris Martin for allowing me to ride).

The crowd of people hoping to try sips of Bale Breaker Brewing's beers generated the longest line of the day, but the wait was short and casual for most booths, although tokens were definitely monitored than most beer festivals. Pacific Northwest IPAs, fresh hop ales, Northwest style CDAs and Imperial Reds seemed to dominate the menu, with a few monsters such as Narrows Brewing's Channary Imperial Red, Rainy Daze Brewing's Hypocrite Double IPA, Wingman Brewers' Skunky Monkey Imperial IPA, Silver City Brewery's Whoop Pass Double IPA and Valholl Brewing's Monstrosity Triple IPA (11.2 percent ABV).

I went back for seconds for several beers. No-Li Brewhouse's Barrel Aged Jet Star Imperial IPA was aged eight months in a second-use Tritcale Whiskey barrel from Dry Fly Distillery. The aging on 50 percent rye and 50 percent wheat whiskey oak increased the depth of sweetness on this double IPA, creating more of a barleywine. Elysian Brewing's totally nebular hop showcase Space Dust IPA was out of this world.  Anacortes Brewery's Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Blue Lightning Brewery's Just The Tip ISA were my time-out beers. I enjoyed a zesty sample of Harmon Brewing Co.'s Point Defiance IPA served through one of their customized Randall filters filled with lime, lemon, orange and Amarillo hops. It was one of the tastiest IPAs of the day.

Blue Lightning Brew owner Michael "Mad Mike" Miller and CFO Brian Peterson won best conversation, in my mind. Their Woodinville brewery grew from a Groupon deal brewery class they took together. Fun story. Fun guys.

Also an enjoyable chat came from the lively lads from Seattle Central District brewery Standard Brewing who just opened this past summer. Their Imperial IPA with Simcoe and Centennial hops was all booze and hop and delicious.

All eight South Sound microbreweries made their marks with a variety of unique beers. Wingman Brewers' tasty Rosemary's Baby Rosemary IPA with Citra, Simcoe, Centennial and Rosemary won plenty of the fans. 7 Seas Brewing steered with the largest cargo of beers, including a sixth not on the docket - their 100 percent wet hop ale Hop Prophet. Of course, dedicated fans of Dick's beer made return trips for their new Midnight Ride Black IPA, a robust, Northwest-style CDA bursting with Cascade and Centennial hops, and balanced with a rich dark malt profile. Think rich, dark and malty like a porter with a hop profile. Drink it Saturday, Oct. 25 during the Centralia brewery's 20th anniversary party.

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About this blog

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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