I started out my “5 Questions from a Lazy Beer Writer” with Joel Vandenbrink of Two Beers Brewery. Next up is Drew Cluley, Brew Master at Pike Brewing. Cheers to Drew for taking the time to answer my questions.
1) I saw Chris Devlin’s post about the Double IPA you guys brewed for Seattle Beer Week. I was happy to see that Pike is brewing the inaugural beer and that it is something a bit outside your normal lineup. How is the beer progressing and what else can you tell us about it?
We were really excited to be asked by the Seattle Beer Week committee to brew the inaugural Seattle Beer Week beer. We collectively decided that the best beer to showcase the Northwest would be a Double India Pale Ale highlighting local hops from Washington. Dean Mochizuki our Asst. Head Brewer had recently brewed a Double IPA on his home brew system and I thought it was fantastic. Together we tweaked his recipe to fit our system, and to use locally available hops that we had in inventory. We invited the SBW committee [ Mike Baker; Nat Pellman; Ian Roberts; and Matt Younts ] to brew the first batch with us and they in turn invited Chris Devlin to photograph the event. We brewed 50 barrels on March 30; and another 50 barrels on April 7th. The first tank has all been put into 22oz bottles and the second tank will be put into 1/2 barrels later this week. We have released 30 cases to Dickerson distributing in Bellingham, 600 cases to Click distributing, and are keeping 70 cases for sale through the Pike Pub. Bottles have already been released (in stores now). The kegs will be released to distributors on April 29th and accounts that purchase them are requested to hold off on tapping them until 6pm on May 7th. At 5pm on May 7th we will officially open Seattle Beer Week at the Pike Brewing Co. by tapping 2 cask firkins of Pike Double IPA in the Museum Room as well as having the draft version available. Pike Double IPA will be available for a few short weeks this May around Seattle but we intend to keep pouring it exclusively through the Summer at the Pike Pub on 1st Avenue.
About the Beer: Pike Double IPA is a golden hued beauty in the glass. Weighing in at 8% alcohol and 80+ IBU’s it is strong yet balanced. It features Columbus; Chinook; Centennial; Cascade; and Amarillo hops – and is dry hopped with Amarillo and Columbus giving the beer a wonderful aromatic nose. Balanced and drinkable are the key words – like all Pike Beers.
2) What is your favorite Pike beer to brew, and is it also your favorite Pike beer to drink?
My favorite Pike beer to brew is the 5X Stout. I love the roasty espresso-like aroma that fills the brewhouse during mash in. I also love the flavor of the wort that I sip after checking the starting gravity. While I do really enjoy our stout, my favorite beer to drink, and the one you will most often find in my hand is our IPA – In fact it is also the one most often pouring on the draft system at my house.
3) If you could take a vacation to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Four years ago I spent a week in Belgium with my brother in law Bill Jenkins (of Big Time Brewing) and I think I’m ready for another trip there . . but given the question of “anywhere in the world” I think I’d have to say 6 weeks traveling around Australia and New Zealand with my wife Debbie sounds pretty appealing. I’ve been in love with New Zealand since seeing the Lord of the Rings, and Australia has always fascinated me.
4) In the past six months (or so), Pike has now brewed and bottled a barrel-aged stout and the upcoming Imperial IPA. Are there plans to continue down this road of having special releases to go along with the standard Pike lineup?
We are about to brew a much larger batch of Pike Entire – for release in October. We expect to release 400 cases and much more draft. Our Spring seasonal Monks Uncle is now a year round beer and we changed the yeast in the year round Tandem Double to a Belgian strain to make it a more authentic dubble. Pike Brewing is turning 20 on Oct. 17th and we will have a week long celebration – there may be some surprises in store.
5) I know you’re a big Phish fan….what’s your favorite song, and what was one of your most memorable shows?
Oh Geoff – Now for the hardest question. Favorite song! They have more songs then the Beatles. McGrupp and the Watchful Hosemasters; Fluff Head; YEM; Run Like An Antelope; The Curtain With; SOAM – I don’t know… Perhaps Harry Hood – Harry always puts a smile on my face..
Memorable shows: Amy’s Farm 8/3/91 my 6th show stands out. I was 30 feet back front and center. It was the first show I recorded which started a live recording passion in me.