Hop Mob is a roadshow and showcase of Washington-only triple IPAs. These beers go on the road around the state with several events down the I-5 corridor, but the kickoff event started at the infamous beer hall, Brouwer's Cafe. A panel of 12 judges tasted over 30 IIIPAs to determine the top 3 that reigned above the rest. Inspired by the hop craze caused by Russian River's Pliny the Younger, brewers in WA decided to take this madness into their own hands.
This year's winners:
1. Bale Breaker - Mount Saint Humulus
2. Georgetown Brewing - Boom Boom Boom
3. Reuben's Brews - Blimey That's Bitter
Below are my 3 favorites.
Bale Breaker // Mount Saint Humulus // Yakima, WA // 9.3% ABV 100+ IBU
The winner of this year's competition may have the upper hand based on the access to the best and most abundant hops in the state. Or maybe they're just that good at brewing.
Color: Bright, translucent orange.
Smell: Extremely aromatic tropical hops, made of Citra, Ekuanot, and Mosaic (the gem of Yakima Valley).
Taste: Smooth mouthfeel and overall profile with grassy and grapefruit hops.
Overall: Contains a beautiful and abundant hop flavor without ever being overpowered by the insane amount of malt it takes to make a triple IPA. I wouldn't even guess it was a IIIPA, besides the immediate buzz I got from 3oz.
Skookum Brewery // Almost Made It // Arlington, WA // 9.5% ABV 85 IBU
Skookum is truly making their mark in the Washington beer scene by constantly putting out solid brews. And while there seemed to be a bias against the cloudier IIIPAs by the old school brewers, the Almost Made It (a reference to how they almost made it to 10%) had one of the more steady and well rounded profiles.
Color: Hazy, bright yellow.
Smell: Lemony, citrus hops.
Taste: Incredibly juicy with a full, consistent body. No malt takeover - this was all hops.
Overall: The most consistent IIIPA I had with matching aromatics and taste. From color to smell to taste, the profile drank exactly how it presented itself.
Reuben's Brews // Blimey That's Bitter // Seattle, WA // 10.5% ABV 80 IBU
The local guys at Reuben's have been brewing Blimey That's Bitter since 2014, as a direct response to Pliny the Younger. Because they've been working on Blimey for a few years and not just as an event beer, they've been able to fine tune it - which means putting 90% of the hops in the last 10 minutes of the boil.
Color: Rosey, amber hue with a full, yellow head.
Smell: Orange citrus hops and pine.
Taste: A fuller body that still maintains balance while allowing the malt to shine through, complimented by toasty, bitter orange peel.
Overall: One of the bolder IIIPAs of the night that still held impeccable balance while allowing delicate hints of sweet malt, orange, and pine to shine through.