Beer Reviews

Seeking out the best in malty, hoppy refreshment.

Serious Beer: 9 IPAs from Washington State

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[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

We've been sampling our way up the West Coast, starting with California and continuing with the IPAs of Oregon. We can't get many Washington-made beers where we are—many of the state's best beers never leave Washington—but we didn't want to skip over a place with such excellent offerings.

If you have the chance to visit, seek out Washington IPAs on tap—only a few of the great ones are ever bottled. Plan your trip soon, and you may be able to catch some fun Seattle Beer Week events!

Our reviews (and the growing list of Best IPAs We've Had This Year) are after the jump, but tell us: What are your favorite Washington IPAs?

Serious Beer Ratings

***** Our new favorite
**** Awesome, worth remembering
*** We'd consider buying this again
** There are probably better options
* No, thanks, I'll have water.

Ratings are subject to personal taste.

IPA

Boundary Bay IPA Bellingham, 6.4% ABV
Our friends from Bellingham consider this brewery a favorite, and rightly so. This IPA has a nose of orange and piney resin, and delivers with sweet, rich oily hop flavors. This beautifully integrated beer reminded one of our tasters of an orange-flavored creme caramel. It's a tasty beer we wish we could have around more often.
****1/4

Scuttlebutt Gale Force IPA Everett, 5.6% ABV
This dry IPA smells like caramel and apricot, but has a light, bitter crispness that we liked. If you prefer your beers on the less-sweet side, this one is for you.
***1/2

Elysian The Immortal IPA Seattle, 6.3% ABV
This rich IPA has a hint of apricot and mango flavors, with pine resin on the finish. It's rich but not heavy, with a scent of Creamsicle and a quick, clean finish. It's a solid, drinkable IPA.
***1/2

Snoqualmie Falls Wildcat IPA Snoqualmie, 6.6% ABV
This bitter and crisp IPA is made with 100% Columbus hops. We tasted crisp rye bread toast and a hint of lemon peel, and the finish is clean. You can let it warm up a bit before serving. This one probably isn't an IPA for beginners, but fans of bitter beer will love it.
***1/2

Pike IPA Seattle, 6.3% ABV
This IPA might be a little harsh for some. Graham-cracker-like malt balances dry eucalyptus, lemon peel, and pine flavors, and there's a lingering bitterness. Nice body and a bit of Campari bite, this one is dry as a bone.
***

Yakima Craft Brewing IPA Yakima, 6.33% ABV
We smelled canned pineapple in this beer, but the flavor is dry and crisp, with just a hint of peach. This is a little thinner-bodied than the others.
**3/4

Pyramid Thunderhead IPA Seattle 6.7% ABV
Though this brewery also has alehouses in several other states, the Seattle one was the original. This IPA is a little thin, but has nice hints of bitter orange and sage. It's drinkable but not particularly exciting.
**3/4

Double IPA

Pike Double IPA Seattle, 8% ABV
This beer has a huge fresh punch of grapefruit and lemon, with enough malt to back it up. Tons of crisp bitterness hides behind a Fruit-Loops scent. This is one the hopheads will enjoy.
***3/4

A Twist on IPA

Elysian Avatar Jasmine IPA Seattle, 6.3% ABV
We know several people (ok, women) who consider this a favorite beer. It tastes a bit like jasmine tea, and the signature flavors that make it an IPA are dialed down to let the jasmine shine. It's mild, dry, earthy, and drinkable, but we have to admit, it reminded us a little too much of musty soap. We're not sure we can imagine a better jasmine beer—this one is nicely made—but it's just not really our thing.
**3/4

Disclosure: All Washington beers except the Boundary Bay and the IPAs from Elysian were review samples.

The Serious Beer Best IPA List

This list is a work in progress, which we'll update as we continue our occasional regional IPA series. (If you don't love IPA, don't worry, we'll be writing about other styles of beer, too.) So far, this only includes beers from California, Oregon, and Washington, but there's more to come, and any IPA that scores well will have the chance to knock one of these off the list.

Top Ten IPAs We've Had This Year

1. Laurelwood Workhorse IPA (Oregon) ****1/2
2. Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA (California) ****1/2
3. Firestone Walker Union Jack (California) ****1/4
4. Boundary Bay IPA (Washington) ****1/4
5. Green Flash West Coast IPA (California) ****1/4
6. Rogue Brutal IPA (Oregon) ****1/4
7. Stone Ruination IPA (California) ****
8. Port Brewing Wipeout IPA (California) ****
9. Coronado Island IPA (California) ****
10. Ballast Point Sculpin (California) ****

Top Ten Double and Imperial IPAs We've Had This Year

1. Russian River Pliny the Elder (California) ****1/2
2. Hopworks Ace of Spades Imperial IPA (Oregon) ****1/2
3. Anderson Valley Anniversary Imperial IPA (California) ****1/2
4. Marin Brewing White Knuckle (California) ****
5. Moylander Double IPA (California) ****
6. Bend Brewing Hop Head Imperial (Oregon) ****
7. New Old Lompoc C-Note (Oregon) ****
8. Ninkasi Tricerahops (Oregon) ****
9. Full Sail Slipknot (Oregon) ****
10. Pike Double IPA (Washington) ***3/4

About the author: Maggie Hoffman also writes about cooking for Pithy and Cleaver.

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