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Avista preview: Tops of the hops

This is the first in a series of posts exploring the beer lineup for this weekend’s Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival.

The Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival returns to Avista Stadium this weekend during the heart of fresh-hop season, and there will be no shortage of offerings for lupulin lovers.

This year’s lineup includes close to 20 beers brewed with freshly harvested hops, along with an array of other IPAs and pales among the almost 200 selections on tap Friday and Saturday:

Fresh sheet: Look for Centennial versions from Two Beers (6.2 percent alcohol by volume) and Dru Bru (7), an Amarillo/Centennial blend by Waddell’s (6.2) and straight Amarillo interpretations from Perry Street (5.5), Boundary Bay (6), Reuben’s (6) and Schooner Exact (6). Fremont is bringing its Centennial and Amarillo Field to Ferment releases plus the always-popular Cowiche Canyon organic blend (all 6).

Big Barn’s Midnight Harvest (6) is a black IPA brewed with Centennial, Cascade and Chinook from its first full-scale hop crop on the Green Bluff farm. Badass Backyard has homegrown hops in its Harju (5.6) and Young Buck uses local hops in its partially fresh-hopped Warp 4 (6.4), the latest in an experimental IPA series.

Simcoe stars in Twelve String’s session IPA (5), Paradise Creek’s Alpha Madness (6.8) and Blewett’s double IPA (9.5), while this year’s River City Funkadelicious (5.8) features Citra. And Perry Street has fresh-hopped the latest in its yearlong New England IPA series (6) with Simcoe and Loral.       

East Coast mentality: Hazy, juicy New England-inspired IPAs are the hottest style around these days, and a few more have made the Avista roster. Look for Reuben’s Nelson Crush (6), with winey Nelson Sauvin hops; Silver City’s Tropic Haze (6.4); Whistle Punk’s Cryo Hopped (7.1), with Mosaic, Citra and Simcoe hop powder; and Fremont’s Ales for ALS version (7.2), using a special hop blend for the benefit project.   

More experiments: Other adventurous approaches include Schooner Exact’s Wa’ Dat? (4.5), a dry-hopped blend of an IPA and a kettle sour; Iron Goat’s Blood Orange India pale lager (4.7), brewed with the winner of a homebrew contest; Steam Plant’s Boiler 5 Red IPA (5), using local Palouse Pint malt; and Bale Breaker’s Bale Finder collaboration with Founders (6.5), featuring experimental hop HBC 522.

Usual suspects: Among the more standard IPA offerings are Lumber House 3 C’s (5.5), Black Label’s Tropical Thunder (6), Top Frog’s Ribbiting Rye (6.2), Blewett’s Crikside Citra (6.5), Boundary Bay’s Cedar Dust (6.5), Diamond Knot’s Azacca (6.5), Dirty Bucket’s Sicyne (6.5), Hopped Up’s Speed Shifter (6.5), Icicle’s Bootjack (6.5), Northern’s Flume Creek (6.5), Pike’s Space Needle (6.5), Iron Goat’s Head Butt (6.7, Friday only) and Mosaic hop powder Brick and Steel (6.7, Saturday only), White Bluffs’ Nectar of the Gods (6.7), Reuben’s Crikey (6.8), Georgetown’s Bodhizafa (6.9), Bennidito’s IPA (7), Fremont’s Lush (7), No-Li Born & Raised (7), Little Spokane’s Sun Child (7.1), Ten Pin’s Head Pin (7.1) and Two Beers Wonderland Trail (7.1).

Double duty: Imperial IPAs include Hopped Up’s Mad Hopper (7.7), Diamond Knot Industrial (7.9), Steam Plant’s 1889 (8), V Twin’s Suicide Shifter (8), Bale Breaker’s Bottomcutter (8.2), Twelve String’s Electric Slide (8.3), 7 Seas Ballz Deep (8.4), Fremont’s Brother (8.5), Iron Goat’s Impaler (8.5, Saturday only) and Bennidito’s Clock Tower (9).

Lighter shade: And for plain old pale ales (an increasingly endangered species), there’s Top Frog’s Ekuanot/Cascade (5), Steam Plant Cutter’s (5.2), Lumber House Timber (5.9), Blewett’s BarnStorm (6) and No-Li’s #NoFilter (6.1), an unfiltered pale dry-hopped with Belma, Mosaic and Topaz.