On the heels of Washington’s impressive victory in the Concordia Beer Brawl III, held at the end of February, it is now time to gear up for Washington Cup IV. June 2nd through June 6th, the Concordia Ale House in Portland will host their annual Washington Cup. They will tap into a selection of 10 outstanding Washington beers from 10 of Washington’s best breweries. Patrons will sample the beers and choose their favorite.
It may not sound like that big of a deal, but we’re talking about Portland. The Concordia Ale House is a great beer bar to be sure—one of Portland’s best. To say that Portland’s craft beer drinkers are provincial would be an understatement. It is closer to the truth to call them isolationists or protectionists. The extent to which the beer drinking community of Oregon is fiercely loyal to Oregon breweries is truly impressive. The fact that 10 Washington beers will be on tap at once in Portland is newsworthy.
The Washington Cup is part of the larger Beer Brawl IV–the Concordia’s fourth head-to-head matchup of breweries from Washington, Oregon and California. As we said, Washington won Beer Brawl III.
The 10 beers in the Washington Cup come from 10 different breweries. This year, it is the brewer’s choice which style to enter. Patrons will order taster trays of all 10 beers, sample them blindly, and then select their favorite. The winning brewery becomes the Washington Team Captain.
In addition to the Washington Cup, the Concordia hosts a California Cup and an Oregon Cup (the Concordia Cup). For the Beer Brawl, which is the Concordia’s biggest event each year, the three team captains select three other breweries so that each state is represented by four breweries. Each state’s team brings a Pale Ale, a Stout, an Imperial IPA, and a brewer’s choice to the Beer Brawl. Pale Ales compete against Pale Ales, Stouts compete against Stouts, and so on.
Throughout all of the preliminary rounds and the Beer Brawl itself, breweries face off in blind tastings. In the end, one state gets to walk away and say, “We’ve got the best beer.”
I just called the Concordia Ale House and I tried to get a hint as to which breweries will be representing Washington this year. Not a chance. It’s a double-super-secret blind tasting event, after all. Last year the Washington Team Captain was Hale’s Ales Brewery. The year before, it was Lazy Boy Brewing. I’m not sure who won the inaugural Washington Cup, neither was the Portlander on the other end of the phone.