Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 10th Annual IPA Fest At Cooper's Alehouse

LAST UPDATED:  4/18/2012

The 10th Annual IPA Festival at Cooper's Alehouse on Lake City Way kick off this Friday, and your taste buds had better be ready for some hops becuase Coopers has over 75 different IPA's coming your way between April 6th and April 27th. 

Here is the full tap list for this year's IPA fest.  Cooper's is still calling this list 'tentative', but they assure me it should be 99.9% accurate, so take a look and start drooling:

1) 21st Amendment Brew Free or Die IPA
2) Avery IPA
3) American Brewing Breakaway IPA
4) Anacortes IPA
5) Anderson Valley Hop Ottin IPA
6) Avery Maharaja Imperial IPA
7) Alameda El Torero IPA
8) Alameda Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA
9) Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA
10) Big Al’s IPA
11) Black Raven Trickster IPA
12) Black Raven Wisdom Seeker
13) Black Raven de Garde Belgian IPA
14) Bridgeport Hop Czar
15) Boulder Mojo Risin IPA (Nitro)
16) Boundary Bay Imperial IPA
17) Boundary Bay IPA
18) Boulevard Single Wide IPA
19) Boneyard RPM IPA
20) Boneyard Hop Venom
21) Caldera IPA
22) Deschutes Inversion IPA
23) Deschutes Hop Henge Experimental IPA
24) Double Mountain Hop Lava
25) Diamond Knot IPA
26) Dick’s Imperial IPA
27) Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
28) Diamond Knot XIPA
29) Eel River Earth Thirst
30) Elysian Idiot Sauvin IPA
31) Firestone Double Jack
32) Fort George Vortex IPA
33) Fremont Cowiche Canyon Organic IPA
34) Fremont Interurban IPA
35) Georgetown Lucille IPA
36) Great Divide Titan IPA
37) Great Divide Hercules Double IPA
38) Green Flash West Coast IPA
39) Green Flash Palate Wrecker
40) Hale’s Supergoose IPA
41) Hopworks Organic IPA
42) Harmon Point Defiance IPA
43) Hale’s Aftermath Imperial IPA
44) Iron Horse IPA
45) Lagunitas IPA
46) Lagunitas Maximus Imperial IPA
47) Laurelwood Gearhead IPA
48) Laurelwood Green Elephant
49) Laurelwood Workhorse IPA
50) Laughing Dog Alpha Dog IPA
51) Lazy Boy IPA
52) Lazy Boy Double Trouble IPA
53) Left Coast Hop Juice
54) Maritime Pacific Imperial IPA (Double dry hopped)
55) Mac & Jack's Two Tun IPA
56) Mad River Double IPA
57) Ninkasi Tricerahops
58) Ninkasi Total Domination IPA
59) Oakshire Watershed IPA
60) Oskar Blues Gubna Imperial IPA
61) Port Hop 15 Double IPA
62) Port Mongo Double IPA
63) Rogue XS Imperial IPA
64) Russian River Pliny the Elder
65) Schooner Exact 3 Grid IPA
66) Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
67) Southern Tier XIPA
68) Snoqaulmie Wildcat IPA
69) Silver City Whoop Ass Double IPA
70) Skagit River “The Gospel” IPA
71) Stone Ruination
72) Twelve Bar Brews Wicked Riff IPA
73) Two Beers Evolution IPA
74) Uinta Hop Notch IPA
75) Victory Hop Wallop IPA
76) Walking Man Homo Erectus Imperial IPA
That's quite a lineup!  Cooper's will not be providing a schedule for when each IPA will be going on tap.  This is purposeful and it's to help prevent what they call the 'Pliny Poachers'.  What will be on tap when?  You'll just have to get down to Cooper's to find out! 

According to Cooper's:

The big news this year is we’ll be pouring four “blind” taps throughout the Fest.  They will be grouped appropriately to allow for fair comparisons.  These will only be available as our sampler tray, and we encourage everyone to fill out their rating sheet and help us determine this year’s best IPA’s.  We’ll change these every few days and post what the previous beers were on Facebook, Twitter, and at the bar.

You’ll also be able to get a sampler tray of any of the other 10 or so IPA’s pouring.  Plus we’ll have different spicy food specials each week to complement the hoppiness of the beers.

So, do you think you can pick out which IPA is which by look, aroma and taste alone?  Give it a try and see how well you do.  I'm going to try my best to be there this Friday for the kickoff of the fest when Cooper's opens at 2:00PM, but I may not be able to make it until a few days later.  Time will tell, but with a solid 21 days of IPA goodness, I'm sure I'll find some great IPAs to try no matter what day I go down.  See you at Cooper's Alehouse!


The first four 'blind' taps for the kickoff of the IPA Fest were:

'California Dreaming' Blind 4

"California Dreaming" blind taps were:
1-Sierra Nevada Hoptimum
2-Firestone Walker Double Jack
3-Green Flash Palate Wrecker
4-Pliny the Elder

I'm pleased to report that, not knowing which beer was which, I wound up picking Firestone Walker Double Jack as my favorite of the four - and, interestingly, nobody I was with picked Pliny as their favorite!  So it's not the name, Double Jack really is my favorite Double IPA.  Cheers!

UPDATE 4/10:

The next set of 'blind' taps are up at Coopers.  The theme for this set is 'Civil War' - Beers From North & South of Seattle. 

I ranked my favorites and now just have to wait until Cooper's announces which was which.  The next 4 blind taps will be up as soon as one of the current 4 blind kegs blows.  

UPDATE 4/11:

The 'Civil War' taps have been revealed! 

The Sliders At Cooper's Are Great!  Sirloin, Grilled Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles, etc.
And You Get Six For Just $5 During Happy Hour!

"Civil War" (Beers From N & S of Seattle) blind taps were:
1. Dick's IPA
2. Twelve Bars IPA
3. Harmon IPA
4. Diamond Knot IPA

According to the results, Harmon came in first - with Dicks & Twelve bars tying for second place.  What Cooper's and I both found interesting is that Diamond Knot was a DISTANT third. 

My picks for this set, not knowing which was which were actually in the exact order they are listed above.  I liked Dick's the best, and Diamond Knot the least. 

I wonder if it was a bad batch of Diamond Knot, however.  #4 on the blind tasting had a distinctly 'grainy' and slightly watered down flavor.  It seemed like they oversparged the batch (brewing term - meaning they used either too much and/or too hot water to rinse the sugars out of the grains in the mash).  I've had Diamond Knot IPA before and it was better than it was at Cooper's that day. 

The next 'blind' set of taps went up yesterday.  They are all Double IPAs from Oregon (ranging from 8.9% to 10%).  What will be your favorite from these four? 

UPDATE 4/16:

The Oregon DIPA taps have been revealed!

1. Boneyard Beer's Hop Venom
2. Deschutes Hop Henge
3. Rogue XS (Past IPA Fest Winner!)
4. Alameda Yellow Wolf.

According to Coopers' the vote was not close.  The order in which I picked my favorites from this set were:

1. Rogue XS (A pleasant surprise!)
2. Deschutes Hop Henge (And it's priced well.  I'll have to buy this one more!)
3. Boneyard's Hop Venom (I know & like this one, but was surprised to see it as my third pick.)
4. Alameda Yellow Wolf.

It was a close race.  Like with the 'California Dreaming' double IPA selection, there really wasn't a bad beer here - so you couldn't really go wrong. 

Up now is the 'Us vs. Them' blind tasting.  According to Cooper's: "The "Us v Them" blind tasting is fascinating. All four are tasty, but a clear leader has emerged. Don't want to influence by saying which one, but I think people will be surprised."

Cooper's 10th Annual IPA Festival rolls on!  Unfortunately, I missed experiencing the "Us vs. Them' tasting.  The winners in this category were:
1. Laurelwood Workhorse IPA
2. Georgetown Lucille
3. Boneyard RPM
4. Boundary Bay
Up now is the "West Coast Double IPA" blind tasting. These are comprised of one each from Southern California, Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Each is between 8% and 8.8% ABV. I'm planning to drop by after work today to check out these four and pick my favorite.  Cheers! 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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