The fourth annual Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow kicks off tomorrow, Feb. 2, at Brouwer’s Café in Seattle, where you will find a whopping 32 Hop Mob beers on tap. Through Feb. 12, other Hop Mob events will follow in 8 western Washington cities, from Bellingham to Vancouver.
This year, 49 Washington breweries produced a triple IPA for this celebration, and 11 beer bars will host Hop Mob events, each with at least 8 triple IPAs on tap. Beer lovers can order either full-size pours or sample-size flights.
The frenzy surrounding the annual release of Russian River Brewing’s Pliny the Younger triple IPA helped inspire the annual Hop Mob event, which first started in 2014. Hop Mob organizers Nat Pellman of Brouwer’s Café, Adam Robbings of Reuben’s Brews and Kendall Jones of Washington Beer Blog created the event to showcase triple IPAs made by Washington breweries.
“Our initial thought was to show that Washington breweries can brew great triple IPAs, too,” Jones says. “And not only can we do that, but we do it more prolifically than any other state. In most states, I don’t think you can find a dozen breweries that produce a IIIPA. Period. We have 49 this year – all releasing at the same time.”
Beyond highlighting triple IPAs, the intent of the event is to promote Washington-brewed beer and Washington’s local beer scenes in general. Washington is currently home to roughly 330 breweries, which is more than any other state except California (which has more than twice as many breweries, but it also has more than five times the population).
What is a triple IPA?
Think of a “Triple IPA” like a Double/Imperial IPA turned up to 11. This loose style is widely debated and brewer interpretations vary, but generally speaking it’s a high-alcohol (10%+ ABV) and heavily hopped (often with triple-digit IBUs, aggressive hop flavors and aromas from a variety of hopping methods, such as whirlpooling, hop-backing, dry hopping, etc.) beer that is often made with large amounts of pale, pils, and sometimes wheat malts (while steering clear of dark malts and brewing methods that leave behind residual sweetness, which might push this beer into barleywine territory).
“Triple IPA is a challenging style of beer to brew,” says Robbings. “It requires the brewer to masterfully balance massive malt character with intense hop character … There are a lot of technical difficulties to get this style right – a great and clean fermentation, and a nice and bright hop character.”