When I was out in Seattle a few weeks ago
from the time I write this, I tasted quite a few great beers. Many of them
displayed quite a bit of local malt and hop character, and almost all of
them were quite good indeed. But I think one of the most impressive
breweries I ran across was Snoqualmie Falls of Snoqualmie,
Snoqualmie Falls is about 30 miles inland from Seattle. I didn’t actually
get a chance to visit the brewery proper, though I did pick up a few of
their beers. They seemed to be quite ubiquitous in supermarkets and
convenience stores, at least where I was in the city and in Bothell.
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing has been making great beer since 1997 and they’ve
garnered quite a bit of recognition for their fine brews. That’s not always
an easy thing to do in the crowded beer market of the Pacific Northwest
region. In 2001, the company increased its capacity to satisfy demand.
The best of the lot of Snoqualmie brews that I tried was Wildcat IPA.
Wildcat is a true hophead’s delight, a malty and intensely hoppy IPA that
simply screams hops at you, both in the palate and in the long bitter
finish. Wildcat is a single hop IPA, with the Columbus variety used
exclusively to brew it.
Wildcat has an impressive 75 International Bitterness Units (a good amount,
trust me). Some of this is balanced by the generous malt in the palate, but
you will definitely not have a hard time finding the hops in this one.
Alcohol content is 6.6% by volume, about average for the style and the beer
has an original gravity of 1.062. At least that’s what they tell me.
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing does not bottle in six-packs, but you can enjoy
their beers in the local area on draft. They are also available in growlers
and kegs directly from the brewery. In supermarkets and other retail
locations Snoqualmie ales are available in 22 ounce “bomber” bottles.
Like most India Pale Ales, Wildcat IPA pours to an orange amber color
with a light creamy head and an intensely hoppy, juicy fruit gum nose. You
do notice the firm caramel malt body of the beer when you first sip. It’s
smooth and luxuriant as it rolls across your tongue.
But the hops quickly takeover with an immensely citric, grapefruit character
that dominates the palate. Indeed, the beer is packed with fruity notes and
wonderful Columbus hoppiness. It intensifies into the finish, where a huge
bitterness gradually increases and lingers powerfully on the tongue after
Snoqualmie says the beer is balanced, and I suppose a case could be made
that it is at both ends (malt for a brief moment when you first sip, then
hops in the finish). But I think this is a great showcase for the American
varietal, the Columbus and its grapefruit-like flavor. Either way, this is
one of the best IPAs you’ll ever taste.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.