Monday, April 11, 2011

Cooper's Alehouse IPA Fest is Happening Now

If you're an IPA fan, you need to get down to Cooper's Alehouse.  Going right now is their 9th Annual IPA Fest, with over 66 different IPAs being rotated on their taps through April 29th.  You can simply order pints or, a better deal is 4 8oz tastes for $8 and change. 

Things kicked off on Friday, April 8th, and I managed to make it down for a few 8oz samplers:

Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, CA).
Aroma - A nice floral, citrusy (grapefruit) and piney type hop aroma.  Subdued carmel malt aroma in the background.

Appearance - Clear (not cloudy), with a brilliant copper/orange hue.  Foamy head with medium head retention and good lacing throughout. 

Flavor - A citrusy/piney hop flavor dominates, and the hop bitterness sticks around to the aftertaste.  This is balanced well with a touch caramel sweetness of malt, but the hops clearly dominate here. 

Mouthfeel - A light to medium body with light carbonation (still acceptable for the style). There is no astringency and the beer finishes clean with a slightly creamy feel. 

Overall Impression - A well balanced IPA with an emphasis on floral/citrusy/piney hop aromas and flavors.  This is one of my personal favorite IPA's. 

Avery Dugana Double IPA - Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO).
Aroma - Citrus hop aroma is the first thing noticed, with slight/subdued peach/apricot-like aromas.  Very pleasant.

Appearance - Clear with a very light copperish color.  Poured with a good head, but the head faded quickly and left only some lacing (low head retention). 

Flavor - Very prominent piney hop bite followed closely by Earthy malt undertones.  The piney and slighly fruity hop flavor lindegers through to the aftertaste with a slight bite. Little to no sweetness aparent. 

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with some slight alcohol warming and definite hop aggressiveness.  Good/appropriate level of carbonation with a hop bite that sticks around. 

Overall Impression - I had never heard of Dugana before this IPA Fest.  Like most others, I had heard of Avery's Maharaja (which is antoher very good IPA), but not Dugana.  It is a solid double IPA, but lacks enough malty sweetness to fully balance out the aggressiveness of the hops.  Regardless, this was my second favorite IPA of the day. 

Black Raven Wisdom Seeker - Black Raven Brewing Company (Redmond, WA).
Aroma - Grapefruit, orange and some pine notes dominate the nose with a slight carmel malt sweetness in the background. 

Appearance - Light golden hue with good/appropriate level of carbonation.  Poured with a good head that stuck around fairly well and left good lacing (Good head retention). 

Flavor - Piney and citrusy (grapefruit/orange), very well balanced with a moderately prominent carmel malt sweetness.  Finishes clean with just a slight citrus hop aftertaste (still balanced with the malty sweetness). 

Mouthfeel - Medium body with slight alcohol warming.  Complex with the fruity/piney/carmel flavors balancing well. 

Overall Impression - Probably the best balanced IPA I had today.  Appropriately hoppy in the nose and on the front end taste, but so well balanced with the malt sweetness - while not diminishing the hop character.  My favorite of the day. 

Boundary Bay Cask IPA - Boundary Bay Brewing Company (Bellingham, WA).
Aroma - Fruity/citrusy hop nose is present, but is subdued by too much yeast aroma and some minor carmel malt sweetness. 

Appearance - Light brown mud.  Clearly the cask was either agitated and/or had too much trub left over.  Even my glass had a VERY noticeable (1/8" or more) layer of trub on the bottom of my glass.  Far too much yeast still in suspension.  This adversely affected head retentiton as well, which was poor. 

Flavor - Some citrus and very slight pine hop flavors are present, but again subdued by the presence of too much yeast still in suspention. 

Mouthfeel - Thick.  Unpleasant.  Poor carbonation level.  Needed lots of water to cleanse my palate of yeast before continuing. 

Overall Impression - Unfortunate.  I've had this beer before in better conditions.  I think this may have been a bad cask or poorly handled (over-agitated).  Not reccommended for this IPA Fest. 

Bridgeport Hop Czar - Bridgeport Brewing Company (Portland, OR). 
Aroma - Slighthtly sour and musty.  Not appropriate at all.  Suspect an issue.  Clearly apparent vinegar in the aroma as the beer warmed up. 

Appearance - Almost cider-like.  Extremely cloudy with a color similar to dark brown apple cider.  Poor head retention. 

Flavor - Sour/spoiled.  Subsequent sips revealed a slight vinegar taste. 

Mouthfeel - Astringent.  Thick.  Not inviting. 

Overall Impression - This was clearly a 'bad' keg.  I had one of the staff at Coopers taste it as well - and it was immediately pulled from the taps.  I beleive they may have had another keg to put on later - but I never got a chance to try it.  They 'replaced' this beer for me - and my selection was Hop Ottin IPA (Above). 

As you can see, I had a few unfortunate pours in my tasting flight.  Between Hop Ottin, Dugana & Wisdom Seeker, however, I was still a very happy IPA drinker.  I wasn't able to make it back to Cooper's on Saturday, but I did make it back for a few more on Sunday.  I'll be writing up my tasting notes for the other beers I had that day in a later post (later today or tomorrow). 

For now, here is the complete list of all IPAs that either have been on tap, are on tap now or will be on tap during Cooper's IPA Fest:

First Class IPA - Airways Brewing Company (Kent, WA)
Sky Hag IPA - Airways Brewing Company (Kent, WA)
Anacortes IPA - Anacortes Brewing Company (Anacortes, WA)
Hop Ottin IPA - Anderson Valley Brewing Company (Boonville, CA)
Dugana Double IPA - Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO)
Maharaja Imperial IPA - Avery Brewing Company (Boulder, CO)
Racer 5 IPA - Bear Republic Brewing Company (Healdsburg, CA)
Big Al's IPA - Big Al Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Bridgeport IPA - Bridgeport Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Bridgeport Hop Czar - Bridgeport Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Single Wide IPA - Boulevard Brewing Company (Kansas City, MO)
Boundary Bay CASK IPA - Boundary Bay Brewing Company (Bellingham, WA)
Boundary Bay IPA - Boundary Bay Brewing Company (Bellingham, WA)
Trickster IPA - Black Raven Brewing Company (Redmond, WA)
Wisdom Seeker - Black Raven Brewing Company (Redmond, WA)
Iversion IPA - Deschutes Brewing Company (Bend, OR)
Hop Henge 'Experimental' IPA - Deschutes Brewing Company (Bend, OR)
Hop Lava - Double Mountain Brewing Company (Hood River, OR)
Hop Lava CASK - Double Mountain Brewing Company (Hood River, OR)
Diamond Knot IPA - Diamond Knot Brewing Company (Mukilteo, WA)
Diamond Knot XIPA - Diamond Knot Brewing Company (Mukilteo, WA)
Diamond Knot Industrial IPA - Diamond Knot Brewing Company (Mukilteo, WA)
Shipwreck - Diamond Knot Brewing Company (Mukilteo, WA)
Dick's IPA - Dick's Brewing Company (Centralia, WA)
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA - Dogfish Head Brewing Company (Milton, DE)
Earth Thirst - Eel River Brewing Company (Scotia, CA)
The Immortal IPA - Elysian Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Double Jack - Firestone Walker Brewing Company (Paso Robles, CA)
Interurban IPA - Fremont Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Lucille IPA - Georgetown IPA (Seattle, WA)
Glacier Brewhouse IPA - Glacier Brewing Company (Anchorage, AK)
Hercules Double IPA - Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, CO)
Titan IPA - Great Divide Brewing Company (Denver, CO)
Green Flash West Coast IPA - Green Flash Brewing Company (Vista, CA)
Green Flash Imperial IPA - Green Flash Brewing Company (Vista, CA)
Supergoose IPA - Hale's Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Point Defiance IPA - Harmon Brewing Company (Tacoma, WA)
Iron Horse IPA - Iron Horse Brewing Company (Ellensburg, WA)
Lagunitas IPA - Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, CA)
Lagunitas Maximus Imperial IPA - Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, CA)
Hopworks Organic IPA - Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland, OR)
Lompoc Centennial IPA - Lompoc Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Hop Monkey IPA - Laurelwood Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Workhorse IPA - Laurelwood Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Lazy Boy IPA - Lazy Boy Brewing Company (Everett, WA)
Alpha Dog IPA - Laughing Dog Brewing Company (Ponderay, ID)
Devil Dog Imperial IPA - Laghing Dog Brewing Company (Ponderay, ID)
Maritime Pacific Imperial IPA - Maritime Pacific Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Nectar IPA - (Contract brew from Firestone Walker - Paso Robles, CA)
Ranger IPA - New Belgium Brewing Company (Fort Collins, CO)
Tricerahops - Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene, OR)
Total Domination IPA - Ninkasi Brewing Company (Eugene, OR)
Pike Double IPA - Pike Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Wipeout IPA - Port Brewing Company/Lost Abbey (San Marcos, CA)
Rogue XS Imperial IPA - Rogue Brewing Company (Newport, OR)
Pliny The Elder - Russian River Brewing Company (Santa Rosa, CA)
3 Grid IPA - Schooner Exact Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum - Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Chico, CA)
Southern Tier XIPA - Southern Tier Brewing Company (Lakewood, NY)
Wildcat IPA - Snoqualmie Brewing Company (Snoqualmie, WA)
Indianola Pale Ale - Sliver City Brewing Company (Silverdale, WA)
Whoop Pass Double IPA - Silver City Brewing Company (Silverdale, WA)
The Gospel IPA - Skagit River Brewing Company (Bellingham, WA)
Ruination IPA - Stone Brewing Company (Escondido, CA)
Evolution IPA - Two Beers Brewing Company (Seattle, WA)
Hop Wallop - Victory Brewing Company (Downington, PA)

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there. 

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