Firkin-Firkin at Elysian

May 12th, 2009 · 11 Comments · Beer Reviews, California Beer, Events, Washington Breweries

The Firkin throwdown at Elysian Capitol Hill is definitely an event that stood out on the Seattle Beer Week schedule from the beginning. With some solid beers from WA breweries paired up against the likes of Firestone Walker and Pizza Port Calrsbad from CA, it was bound to be interesting. Kudos to Dave Buhler & Co. for bringing in some great competition for the WA breweries – maybe even a little too good. Here were a few thoughts:

– The Imperial IPA combo of Pizza Port Calsbad Poor Man’s IPA vs. Boundary Bay Imperial IPA was a pretty epic battle. The Pizza Port impressed with a good dose of citrus hops and slightly sweet caramel malts. But, the Boundary Bay did WA proud. It managed to be just as balanced most of the way through, while showcasing more hop flavor and a long bitterness. Drinking them next to each left no question for me: Boundary Bay kicked some butt here.

– I’m a big fan of the Pike XXXXX Stout. It’s a solid stout with plenty of roast, but next to the Stone Oak Aged Russian Imperial Stout…well, it just wasn’t quite fair. The Stone was a sublime example of an oaked impy stout, and it overshadowed the Pike in every aspect. It’s over 4% ABV higher than the Pike, which made it taste more like a porter after a swig of the Stone. It would have been nice to try the Pike Entire Oak Aged Stout up against this one, or maybe Flyers Sick Duck Imperial Stout.

– Along with the Stone Oak Aged Impy Stout & Boundary Bay Imperial IPA, the 21st Amendment Black IPA was my third favorite beer of the night. I love a good dark IPA, and this had lots of citrus hops along with light sweetness from the roast. It was a nice example of the style.

– The Snoqualmie Porter & Russian River Porter were a close match for me. The Russian River was more robust and flavorful, but the Snoqualmie body and texture won me over. It came across as a more traditional porter, with just enough chocolate and roast balanced with a drinkable smooth texture. I’d take either of these any day, but the Snoqualmie got my vote.

Here are all of the matchups:

Pale Ale – Walking Man Knuckle Dragger Pale vs Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
IPA – Big Time Scarlet Fire vs Firestone Walker Union Jack Pale
Imperial IPA – Boundary Bay Imperial IPA vs Pizza Port Carlsbad Poor Man’s IPA
ESB – Elysian The Wise ESB vs Marin Brewing ESB
Porter – Snoqualmie Steam train Porter vs Russian River Porter
Stout – Pike XXXStout vs Stone Russian Imperial Oak-aged Stout
Scotch Ale – Silver City Fat Woody Oak-aged Scotch Ale vs Bear Republic Heritage Scotch Ale
Specialty – Ram N-Gate Challenger Pale vs 21st Amendment Black IPA

The next time Seattle sees an event like this, it would be great to have the tastings done blind…

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11 Comments so far ↓

  • snakeoilpete

    Blind would have been fun. The double IPA was the toughest for me, but I also leaned toward the Boundary Bay. I’d take the Pike Entire over the Stone, but yeah, the XXXXX was no match. I really liked the Russian River porter, too. I gave my 4-4 tie to Washington with the Fat Woody as overall winner to break the tie. I love that stuff.

  • Kaiser

    I also ended up with a 4 – 4 tie going to WA, with the Boundary Bay eeking out the overall winner for me over the Stone. So hard to choose there, but I’m an IPA man when it comes down to it!

  • Beer Retard

    I thought the best matchups were the pales and the regular IPAs. All four of those were solid. And I liked the IPAs much more than the double/imperial IPAs. The Union Jack was my favorite beer of the night. I would’ve loved to put down a few pints of that beer. The imperials were both kinda okay to me. The Boundary had better hop aroma and flavor, but the Pizza Port was a lot more drinkable. The Stout and “Specialty” matchups really didn’t make sense as far as judging one over the other.

  • Russ

    Damn, I missed out…. I rolled up to Elysian at 8 but parking sucked ass. After the Deschutes thing at Uber, I gave up and called it a night. But damn, that firkin list had me drooling… *sigh*

  • Elvis

    i made it late and solo, with friends bailing on my 9pm meet up time for a Tuesday.

    decided to forgo the tasting and just have a pint of something, so tried the Firestone. Pretty good, but wishing I had tried the Port since I think that is gonna be a lot harder to get.

    the RR porter sounds fantastic since all their other stuff is stellar. great event, tho. looked like people were really digging in, even at 9pm

  • flop

    I likened the XXXXX as the good looking sister to the hot model – by herself she’d look great – next to the hot model, doesn’t have a chance.

    Beer of the day for me was the Fat Woody.

  • Kaiser

    Man, I wonder if I switched my Scotch Ale samples. I was not a fan of this cask of Fat Woody, but I remember trying it in the past & loving it. It’s sounding like I got them switched up.

    “flop” – that is the perfect description of the XXXXX.

  • Beer Retard

    The Bear Republic was the weird one of the Scotch matchup. A friend said it tasted like fruit leather and root beer.

  • Kaiser

    Fruit leather sounds about right (didn’t take notes on that one, though) for the bad Scotch Ale sample I had. Thanks for confirming that my dumb ass switched the samples more than likely.

  • Drew Cluley

    Unfortunately 5X got paired late in the game with Stone’s Russian Imp Oak Aged Stout. When David Buhler requested a firkin of 5X it was told to us that it was going to go up against 21st Amendment Stout – Well 21st Amendment sent a Black IPA instead – so David had to adjust the line up . . and Pike became the unfortunate casualty of an uneven matchup. C’est la vie!

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