Two Beers Brewing, the SoDo brewery honorificked in our July issue beer feature as Most Outgoing, is releasing two new limited-edition beers. And one of them is knock-you-off-your-bar-stool boozy. The Ascension Triple IPA rings in at 18.2 percent alcohol by volume. For contest, here is our roundup of 93 local beers, sorted by ABV. The most potent one on this list is a still-impressive 10.1 percent.
The Ascension is being brewed as one of two flagship beers for the upcoming Seattle International Beerfest, July 6–8, though members of the brewery’s mug club can sample it in the tasting room early next week.
A triple IPA doesn’t actually signify three of anything, it’s more of a commentary on the insanely high alcohol level, and the fact that brewing this requires about 10 million acres worth of hops (one could say, triple the normal amount). When beer gets this boozy, giving it a balanced flavor becomes a tightrope walk of skill. Pliny the Younger, the cult beer whose annual release is the beer geek equivalent to a Taylor Swift concert (with more beards) is a triple IPA. So is Whiny the Complainer, Big Time Brewery’’s much-coveted February release. Two Beers brewer Joel VandenBrink said this creation required two weeks of constant attention to get it right.
The second beer, Backcountry Cascadian Brown Ale, is another relative rarity. Think of it as a hybrid of a typical brown ale, dark and sugary sweet, and Cascadian dark ale,—a newer style of beer dark in color, light in alcohol, plentiful of hops and associated with the Pacific Northwest. The Backcountry will be a bit more widely available than the Ascension; it hits taps this week (including Park Pub, Cooper’s, Beveridge Place, and the Noble Fir) and is already pouring at Two Beers’ tasting room.