Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Pike IPA – The Pike Brewing Company – Seattle, WA

People love to come visit me here in the Great North Left. I don’t know if it’s our awesome summers, killer views, or the fact that we have some of the best coffee on the planet…but every summer, my wife and I wind up making up the spare bedroom for some rarely-seen family member, in preparation for them making the pilgrimage west. So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, we’ve come up with what we affectionately refer to as the “Grey’s Anatomy” tour. I know it’s cheesy, but I’m talking about people who truly believe that there really is a “Seattle Grace” and that Seattle surely has been hit with numerous disasters over the years. The tour consists of a ferry ride, a cup of coffee, some great seafood…and a stop at the Pike Place Market. So, in anticipation of the company we’ll have this summer (sigh), I decided to review The Pike Brewing Company’s India Pale Ale. Maybe now I can skip the stop for coffee, and steer my guests toward this landmark brewery in the heart of Seattle.


In the Pike IPA, you’re treated with a powerful malt backbone that is complimented by a true herbal character. This wonderful balance is achieved through a nice earthy sweetness and a heavy hop background.


MALT VARIETIES: Pale, Crystal, Munich, Carapils
HOP VARIETIES: Columbus, Willamette, Chinook, Goldings, Amarillo
COLOR: Amber
YEAST: English ale


Although the history of the Pike Brewing Company goes back much further, the modern edition can be traced back to 1989, when Charles and Rose Ann Finkel opened The Pike Place Brewery in the Pike Place Public Market.

Okay, it wasn’t exactly "in" the market, but “under" the market in the La Salle Hotel at 1432 Western Avenue. It was one of the country’s smallest breweries with the tallest smoke stack. A four barrel copper kettle was custom made by Seattle's Alaska Copper and Bass Company and though tiny, the brewery was state of the art.

From the beginning the goal was to brew world-class ale to accompany great food. The Finkels wanted the beers of Pike to be the equal or better, and in better condition than any that they represented from Europe. Charles and Rose Ann favored beers that went well with food, especially the classic British brewing styles like Ales, Porters, Stouts, Scotch Ales and Barley Wines. There was great anticipation among the Seattle brewing community as a little red and white tile brewery in the lobby of a former bawdy house took shape. Articles appeared in newspapers and posters announcing the brewery opening and inviting friends and beer lovers to participate in the "World's Shortest Non-Motorized Uphill Parade", from the brewery to Cutter’s Bay House at the corner of Pike Place and Western Avenue were distributed to local pubs and retailers. The opening day weather was as good as the beer.

In the weeks and months that followed, Pike gained a following among the growing rank of beer lovers, became available at some of the finest restaurants, hotels and pubs in Washington and developed a loyal following.

The labels were created by Charles, inspired by views of the entrance to the art deco market. The original logo was cut out of a stencil. He later switched to a computer to do the designs, but always retained the stenciled look.



Wow, what a fantastic brew. I realize that there are a lot of IPA’s out there, but if you really want to treat yourself, grab a Pike IPA. The pour was crisp and clean. Immediately, the hopped-up aroma smacks you around. The aroma is strong yet inviting, and the brew is incredibly refreshing. The Hops is the dominant force though, as the spices, and earthy feel gently tingle the senses. This is one fantastic IPA.


8.5/10 – Refreshing

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