It’s not an easy style of beer to brew if you want to brew it well. Triple IPA presents certain challenges for brewers. The things that make a beer strong often mask the kind of hop-forward character that consumers expect in anything labelled IPA. That is, high gravity and big hops are usually mutually exclusive. By definition, Triple IPA should be at least 10 percent ABV and also very hoppy.
In part, this underlying challenge is at the core of Washington’s annual celebration of Triple IPA, the series of events known as Washington Hop Mob. This year Hop Mob celebrates its fifth anniversary. It all started out when Adam Robbings of Reuben’s Brews challenged his fellow Washington brewers to create beers that rivaled Pliny the Younger, the most ballyhooed Triple IPA in all the land. That beer is brewed by Russian River Brewing in California and is released to much fanfare each year in early February.
After that first year, Adam enlisted the help of the Washington Beer Blog and Brouwer’s Cafe to help organize and operate Washington Hop Mob, the Triple IPA Roadshow. We call it a roadshow because following the official kickoff event at Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle, there are other events spread out across the region.
Last year, the kickoff event featured over 30 Triple IPAs on tap in one place at one time. We are pretty sure that’s some kind of world record, but admit that it was a bit excessive. Also, last year over 50 breweries produced Triple IPAs and released them at about the same time. Again, must be a record, but a bit excessive. This year finds the whole shebang scaled-back a bit and we’re operating within reason.
Reuben’s Brews released Gobsmacked Triple IPA at its taproom in Ballard last Friday; more Triple IPAs from other breweries will find their way to market over the next month. On Thursday, February 7th Brouwer’s Cafe hosts the official Hop Mob kickoff party. Other events will follow over the next 10 days. Beyond the events planned in Seattle, other events are currently scheduled in Snohomish, Gig Harbor, and Renton. We hope to add more events in the coming days.
At each event, consumers can try multiple beers in reasonably size tasters. The object here is to showcase the prowess of the brewers, not to get people drunk. No doubt, another challenge is to responsibly offer a large selection of beers of this strength, which is why each roadshow event will offer some reasonable way for you to try multiple beers without losing your senses.
You can learn more about Washington Hop Mob on the official website: http://www.wahopmob.com. As i said, we expect to add more events as the date nears. Also, we expect to add more breweries to the list of participants.