First Draft

Get Hoppier and Boozier with Local Triple IPAs

Comments

1
I've never gotten Pliney mania.
Yes it's a very well done big IPA, but damn.
I think beers that huge should be bottled anyway, so I'm more a fan of Dogfish Head 120.
2
Pliny the Y is overrated but it's way better than 120, which is an unbalanced mess. You just can't do IPA at 17% and have it work.

For great big boozy triple IPAs available occasionally spotted in Seattle beer bars, I've never had better than Boneyard's Notorious. (For that matter, their 9% double, Hop Venom, is also the best available of its style.)
3
Surely the obvious suggestion is that you should emulate that Colorado paper and start a marijuana review column.
4
I'll pass on the IPAs. Give me a good stout or porter I'll be your friend forever, though. Old Rasputin in my fridge for tonight? I think yes.
5
Yay Andrew - cretins the lot of 'em, the gimme a face full of vodka-soaked hops arms race crowd.
6
Nice start. Here are several suggestions for future columns:
Cheater pints versus honest 16oz pours;
What is a randal (especially prior to this year's Penumbra event, which I assume is going to happen again (please!));
Compare bottled & draft version of the same beers (there is a difference);
Session beer reviews;
Cask conditioned beers (especially prior to this year's Cask Festival in March);
7
Never had the Younger (getting to bars at 7am is for the night shift and soccer fans), but the Elder is definitely my favorite California beer of that sort when I'm in the mood for a beer of that sort.
8
I hate IPAs. Very Seattle. Gimme a fucking lager.
9
@6 - cheater pints has to be a reference to McMenamin's? They charge you for a pint, but it's the size of a glass. If you ask, they say they have their own pint size. I'm so annoyed with that.

Naked City has kicked my ass with some of the high alcohol beers. I've spoken some famous last words drinking those.

I'd suggest writing about Chuck's Hop Shop, the Uber guys, the Brouwer's guys, Beer Junction and all the micro brewery people - Reuben's is a great story. I'd like some tips on good new brews - I missed the Fremont Brewing high-alcohol winter beer. I'd also like tips on finding those Polish tall boy cans, and maybe a tasting night.
10
about 4 or 5 years ago i had pliny the younger at the issaquah brewhouse. practically no one was there so i sat at the bar and knocked back 3 10 oz pours. if you are a fan of blind pig and pliny the elder it's just the next step up. since i've had it i don't feel the need to chase it down, but for any of you who would like a taste pdx isn't that far away.
11
Write about if the growing growler fad (?) could possibly be a good idea in terms of beer quality. Aren't you oxidizing the shit out of your beer by basically putting saran wrap over a pitcher?
12
Nice start! A primer on cask beer, belgians, stouts and barley wines would be nice prior to the well known local events specific to those styles. Please go ahead and delete the "Are there too many breweries in Ballard?" article if you've already written it. Maybe something on the local homebrew scene?

Never had PtY because I don't wait in line for beer.

@11 - a properly filled growler should be capped on foam. The foam will collapse and leave a layer of CO2 on top to preserve the beer. Once you open it though, the quality is in your hands. Consume it entirely, as soon as possible.

13
Never been a growler fan either - I'll take a bottle if I'm taking it home, thanks.
Actually, I'm more a fan of a good bottle conditioned beer than draught anyway unless it's something really good pulled from a cask by somebody that knows how to do it properly. There's a column - who has what on cask?
As far as 120 Minute, to each his own, but I think tripple IPA's are inherently an unbalanced mess and I prefer Dogfish's take to the West Coast hop blast.
I missed it when Uber was doing Black and Tans with 120 MInute and World Wide Stout - I cringe in shame, though I'm not sorry that I missed the madness.
14
I'd suggest focusing on a brewery as a whole when you review, not specific beers.
I'm not going to go as far as Fnarf the other day and say everything over 5% tastes like pure alcohol. But when you have 12% Imperial IPA'a with 10,000 IBU's and chili's in it, or a dry hopped saison with cucumbers and unicorn farts aged in the gut of a Tonton (sp?), you are not really getting a good idea of skill of the brewers. Anyone can throw that shit in there and claim that the flavorswork together just as they wanted them to.
Check out their standard, session beers. If these are solid, clean tasting beers, it's a good sign that the brewers know what they are doing. It is an indicator that you can come back again and again and enjoy something, if not the same thing, every time.
I say this as a brewer at a brewery that has a good mix of both. We are known for our off the wall beers, and have the 2 best fruit beers in the world right now. We also have 5 solid standards which is what keeps people coming back.
(ps, i don't speak officially on behalf of the brewery blah blah...)
15
@11 more places are installing growler filling station which use CO2 to push out the oxygen before filling, similar to a bottling machine, which helps reduce oxidation. Also, "growlettes" (32oz) are good for buying fresh draft beer for follks whod on't consume 4 pints in a sitting. The 2014 WABL premium is a set of growlettes in an insulated carrier.
16
Better not cover anything with more than 6% alcohol or you'll be in a heap of trouble with fnarf!
17
"And others"
Way to blow off the other breweries.
Folks, hit up the Roadshow and check it out. Going to be Quite. A. Thing.
18
I'll second @4.

Stouts and porters absolutely!
19
A while ago, Slog would have people guest-blog for a week while attending every (?) cultural event in Seattle. I remember one guest-blogger wrote about an art exhibit, and Jen Graves jumped in to say something like, "You're doing it right! You're telling us how the art makes you feel, and that's how you should write about art."

I feel the same about this column. I think people will be more interested in the columnist's actual thoughts on/reactions to beer than stories about which brewery is doing what. I don't mean that it should be just a beer review column - there could be plenty of context and narrative also. But I would like to see some opinionated writing on the beer itself.

That said, there are plenty of interesting angles to pursue without tasting any beer. The first Trappist brewery in the U.S. was just certified in western Massachusetts. Separately, there was a splash in the homebrewing community when Obama released his homebrew recipes during the 2012 elections, and the politics/culture of homebrewing are pretty interesting, as @12 pointed out. (I brewed one of Obama's recipes and then drank it on election night, while re-watching Bill Clinton's convention speech. Great night.) You can get a flavor of the homebrewing culture on internet forums. Or check out the Mad Fermentationist blog, written by Mike Tonsmeire, a homebrewer who is about to release a book on brewing sour beer. By the way, one story that has been told, but that probably still has room to be re-examined, is the "homebrew origins" story of American craft beer. When Jimmy Carter legalized homebrewing in the 1970s, he (allegedly) unleashed a wave of brewers, some of whom went pro and started brewing the interesting beers that constituted the first wave of American craft beer. Certainly as an anecdotal matter, a lot of professional brewers seem to get their start in the homebrew community.

There is also controversy within the craft beer community over "crafty" breweries - that is, breweries that are not actually as craft-oriented as they try to appear. It's a legitimate debate, since breweries like Goose Island (owned by Budweiser) still make excellent (but fucking expensive!) beer. But it sheds light on where beer culture is these days. (Struggling with issues of authenticity, snobbishness, commercialization, etc.)

Another fascinating window into beer culture is the Twitter feed @brouwervanklomp. Pretty sure it's fake, but it captures the lore of Belgian brewing in a really amusing way. Speaking of which, the geography and geology of beer are pretty fascinating. (Here's a classic NY Times story on the subject.) As for geography, I would be very curious to know why some areas (Colorado, Oregon) have become meccas of great beer, while others have not. (Why Portland and not Seattle?)

Oh, and Ron Pattinson is doing some great writing on the history and culture of beer. For instance, here is a pretty interesting post on how adventurous American beer drinkers are driving innovation around the world. (Another persistent theme of his: if you want to understand why beer is the way it is, look at the tax regime. There is even an academic paper about how efficient Dutch taxation of beer helped them defeat the Spanish in their war for independence.) By the way, Americans take the credit (rightly or wrongly) for rehabilitating all kinds of traditional styles that had been drowned in a wave of light lager (porter, Berliner weisse beer, gose, even IPA). It's a funny variant of the "Americans save the world" narrative, and it might even be true in this case.

In terms of a Washington angle on things, I believe Washington is one of the biggest hop producers in the U.S. Every year there is drama as people go out looking for the trendiest variety (lately I've been seeing lots of Mosaic, as well as Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand), and there are perennial shortages of the favorite varieties. But I have no idea what hop farming is actually like - would love to read about it.

Speaking for myself, the trend toward sour/funky beers is gratifying. A lot of new breweries are either focusing heavily on funky beer (Crooked Stave) or have a solid sour program (Westbrook, Modern Times, Trinity, Cisco). These beers are much more interesting, in my view, than the hop-bombs that American breweries were churning out 5-10 years ago.

So anyway you asked for our thoughts on the column, and those are my thoughts on the column.
20
@19 CAMRA might take issue with your "Americans save the world" thesis. Just sayin'

File:1975-CAMRA.JPG">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1975-C…

But yeah, based on my two short trips to England, Scotland and Ireland, we're living in the Promised Land of beer. When I ordered an IPA in a suburban London pub, the bartender asked if I knew what IPA meant. After tasting it, for once I was polite enough to refrain from telling him that there are at least ten much better IPAs brewed just in the city of Seattle!

Starting the column with Triple IPAs? OK. I can't remember any beer I *really* like stronger than Oskar Blues G'Knight (nee Gordon), which is "only" 8.7% ABV and manages to hide the excess alcohol under richly layered hops and malt. Dangerous stuff! I could easily quaff 4 cans in an hour, then fall down.

Another vote for a column on sour beers. UNLEASH THE LAMBIC!!!
21
One more try on that link:

File:1975-CAMRA.JPG">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1975-C…
22
WTF?
23
@22: Slog's link parsing is faulty. You need to URL encode the second colon (replace it with "%3A").

September 9-13, 1975, First National CAMRA Beer Festival held at Covent Garden, London. The half-pint glass "Ravenhead Barmasters - Made in England" was both entry ticket and sampling glass in one.
24
Evil Twin's Molotov Cocktail is another potential heir to the Pliney mantel. It's hop-loaded, lacking in bitterness and dangerously easy to drink at 13% abv. Keep your eyes out for it if you've been missing Russian River in our market.

@9
What Polish tall cans are you looking for and where? The cornerstone of my occupation is placing those in this city.
25
Nothing is an heir to the Pliny mantel because you can't fight hype with reality. It's a great beer, but nothing is worth the difficulty in getting it.

I'd love to see brewery reviews (in terms of what is being produced, their setup, and their philosophy) as these new guys spring up. Covering upcoming beer events never hurts either.
26
@25

oh Jesus...I'll let myself out.