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.”
Intensely hopped beers like these are best enjoyed as fresh as possible because the hop character will quickly fade and deteriorate, so seek these beers out soon.
In Bellingham, Aslan, Boundary Bay, Wander, Structures, and Kulshan have each brewed a triple IPA for the Hop Mob. And in Mount Vernon, Farmstrong is participating as well.
Friday, Feb. 10 at 5 p.m., Elizabeth Station in Bellingham will host a Hop Mob Roadshow event with at least 8 of these extremely limited triple IPAs on tap – available in flights or 10-ounce pours.
Jones says the Hop Mob is not meant to be a competition, and that its really about promoting Washington breweries and helping to foster a feeling of unity among local brewers. “Washington’s breweries don’t get a lot of recognition nationwide, and to a certain extent they don’t care, but nothing else like Hop Mob happens anywhere, ever,” he says. “We should be proud of that, whether the rest of the world notices or not. Less hype, more hops.”
For more information, visit wahopmob.com or click here for the list of Hop Mob events.