Founders Devil Dancer Takes 1st Place at Brouwer’s Hopfest

September 13th, 2011 · 9 Comments · Beer Reviews, Events, Washington Breweries

Thanks to Russ for the photo. Check out all his beer shots on Flickr.

Last Friday, Brouwer’s Café turned  all of their 60+ taps over to hoppy beers for their annual Hopfest celebration. Brouwer’s festivals help to set this beer bar apart as one of the best beer spots in the country, and the lineup on Friday proved that once again. We showed up at 3pm expecting a full house, but we were amazed to walk right in and have our choice of quite a few tables. But by 5pm, the house was getting full, and people were enjoying their share of hops.

There was a voting box for patrons to vote for their favorite IPA of the fest, and the top 3 were:

  1. Founders Devil Dancer
  2. Hopworks Bourbon Barrel-Aged Ace of Spides
  3. Left Coast Hop Juice

I’m a little surprised the Devil Dancer got the most votes, but it’s also exactly what you’d expect from a bunch of beer geeks. Devil Dancer is a ridiculous, over-the-top 12% ABV triple IPA with “more IBU’s than any brewery has documented”. It’s really not a very enjoyable beer. The super-resiny, piney and earthy hops crush your taste buds. I love hoppy beers, but this is a big mess to me. So, why did it win? Because it’s a big beer and it is rare (they don’t distribute to WA).

A few of my favorites from the lineup included:

Oakshire “Welcome to Washington” Brouwer’s Double IPA – This Eugene brewery is pretty new to the Seattle market, and I’ve enjoyed everything I have tried from them so far. They have a bit of a reputation for special beers and experimentation, and I was pumped to see this special IPA on tap for the fest. Lots of hop flavor, an assertive bitterness, and a solid base of malts made this a pleasure to drink (twice).

Anacortes Rye – I’m not sure of the details on this beer, but what I’m assuming is essentially a Rye IPA was light and hoppy with spicy malt flavors and a whole bunch of pine/citrus hops. Refreshing, not too bitter, and it featured the hops perfectly.

Hopworks Bourbon Barrel Ace of Spades Imperial IPA – Ace of Spades is a fantastic beer by itself, so expectations were high for this one. The bourbon flavors were very forward, and the huge malt base of the beer complimented nicely. This was fairly complex, but mostly just strong and bourbony.

Honorable mention: Black Raven Beak Tweaker, Firestone Walker Dry-Hopped Union Jack (Firkin)

Also of note were the “hoppy” food items. Our table shared an appetizer of fried grasshoppers with bacon that was, um, grasshoppery. Actually, it wasn’t that bad; just really crunchy on the outside, and hard to chew on the inside. And, their legs were a bit sharp. Now that I’ve tried them, I see no reason to ever eat them again. A couple of us also sampled the kangaroo sliders, which were just fine. Maybe a little more gamey than your typical beef burger, but it might be hard to pick out if you didn’t know it wasn’t kangaroo.

Thanks for a great time, Brouwer’s. There still looks to be plenty left on tap, so stop on by this week to see what is pouring.


9 Comments so far ↓

  • Brian Jeffries

    I didn’t bother with the Devil Dancer at HopFest at all. I travel to Minnesota quite often and have had DD before. Have never liked this beer. Founder’s Double Trouble DIPA is much, much better.

    My favorites were: Firestone Walker 3 Matt’s Luponic Distortion, Walking Man Knuckle Dragger, and Fremont Sister Double IPA. Honorable mention goes to Boundary Bay for their double dry-hopped IPA. I’ve had their flagship many, many times and the x2 DH was fabulous.

  • elvis

    good round up. unfortunately, i started with the Ace of Spades, which just destroyed my taste buds. I put it aside and went to some more traditional beers. The Oakshire was great, the Firestone Walker beer they made for the event was outstanding, and I always love the Mad River DIPA. A shout out to the Big Time Meerkat, too, which I’ve had before and think is a wonderfully sessionable beer.

  • Kaiser

    Ah, that Firestone Walker 3 Matt’s was a great beer; forgot about that one.

    Double Trouble is indeed a much more enjoyable beer in my eyes.

  • Tiffany

    Love that Hop Juice!

  • Tiffany

    Love that Hop Juice! Hope to try some of the others mentioned someday. Thanks for sharing the event results.

  • Yuppers

    I missed this event, but had the Ace of Spades @ the Hopworks brewery last weekend in PDX. It was good, but really, the hop character was largely gone. Malty, bourbony, and oaky.

  • Dean Ruffner

    Yea, “big” and “rare” are tough to beat at these festivals.

  • elvis

    biggest disappointment was no HotD blue dot.

  • Mark

    Hop Juice was Hop Suck. 3 Matts from Firestone Walker was the clear winner to me. The founders was pretty good, but a little high octane.

    I would not normally admit to this, but I agree with Kaiser’s assessment of his other favorites.

    HotD Blue Dot … mmmm.

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