I made my way over to Brouwer's for the first of five Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadhshow events and took some time to try all three of Ballard's breweries that are participating; Populuxe, Reuben's and Stoup.
Originally the event was scheduled for 6:00, but being a holiday, Brouwer's opened it up at 3:00. I assumed I'd sneak in at just after 3:00, things would be pretty mellow, and I'd have time to sit down with my camera, laptop, and some great triple IPAs. That could not have been further from what happened. Brouwer's was standing room only by the time I got there at 3:10 and just proceeded to get more and more packed as the afternoon went on. I couldn't get a seat to take a picture of the beers let alone break out my laptop, so all these tasting notes are retroactive. I highly recommend you hit up one of the remaining 4 events. If you're a hop fan, you'll be in heaven.
All three of these will be/are available at their respective breweries. The exception is that Reuben's will only be on tap for a limited time starting this Friday, the 21st.
On to the tasting notes, in alphabetical order:
I thought this was the most standard triple IPA of the bunch. It had great citrus and pine flavors that showcased the Citra and Amarillo hops very well. According to the description on Washington Beer Blog they added a touch of Columbus hops, which might have added to the citrus flavor a bit. I have a slight cold, but even then, this beer had a great hoppy aroma. I wanted to take it home and use it as air freshener.
I really enjoyed the malt choice for this one, and it's also what made it (to me) the most "standard". The malt backbone supported the hops really well but still allowed them to shine. All in all it was a great beer. I gave it 4 out of 5 on Untappd.
This beer was great. By far the strongest, most potent of the trio, it was a giant five-fingered hop knuckle sandwich to the face followed by a hop roundhouse kick to the solar plexus. This beer did not screw around. The punch comes in the form of very bitter pine and resiny flavors with maybe a touch of citrus. They used Citra, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops, and despite that combo, I didn't get a ton of aroma (but again, the cold). I did get an explosion of flavor. It was tough to tell which hops were contributing what, but I thought the Citra and Simcoe won the day because of the earthy pine, herbal flower flavor in this beer. And just when you thought you were done, the aftertaste kicks in and leaves a wonderfully bitter reminder of what you just put down your throat.
This also looked to be the darkest and haziest beer of the three. I also thought it was the least sweet of the three and that the malts played the role of great backup dancers by just stepping back and letting the hops do their thing. I preordered my two bottles of this as part of Reuben's Brew Crew so I'm looking forward to exploring this one and doing a comparison to a certain Russian River beer that's too good for Washington now. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 on Untappd.
First off, the name of this beer is awesome. The T2R comes from the "type 2" taste receptors that are responsible for bitter flavors on the tongue. Stoup, you guys are nerds and I love you. The beer itself was dangerously, dangerously drinkable. It clocks in at 10.5% ABV but tasted more like a 6% beer. But it was still tasty, if a light bit lighter than the other two. According to the description they piled on the "C" hops; Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, and Columbus and threw some Simcoe in to boot. For me it was tough to pull out distinct hop flavors, but it was lots of citrus, lemons, grapefruits, along with a bit of pine.
I found this beer to be the most balanced of the three. It definitely wasn't as up front as the other two, but everything in this beer just worked. I think they must have learned some tricks from their ISA, another beer I like, because you could drink quite a few of these thinking you were just having a fun, kick back beer, before it hit you like a hammer and you're saying crazy things to the people next to you. I gave it 4 out of 5 on Untappd.