Washington defeats Colorado at Firkin-Firkin Throwdown
May 31, 2011 - 12:13 PM--by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog--
On Wednesday, May 25th Elysian Brewing Company hosted the Firkin-Firkin Throwdown. The event matched up cask-conditioned beers from Colorado and Washington. The drinking public voted for their favorite beer and the state that they think won the overall competition. In my opinion, this has become one of Seattle Beer Week's most-anticipated events. It did not disappoint.
The participants from Colorado included familiar breweries like Left Hand Brewing, Avery Brewing, Great Divide Brewing, Odell Brewing, and New Belgium Brewing; however, the Colorado contingency also included less-common offerings from Trinity Brewing (Colorado Springs) and Ska Brewing (Durango). Representing Washington: Elysian Brewing, Silver City Brewing, Big Time Brewery, Diamond Knot Brewing, Black Raven Brewing, Pike Brewing, and Fremont Brewing. The complete list of beers is pictured below.
A Slightly Different Format
Unlike last year's competition with California (which Washington lost), this throwdown did not include style-by-style match-ups. It was a bunch of random beers from here versus a bunch of random beers from there. Overall the beers were excellent and I truly enjoyed sampling some interesting beers from Colorado alongside some of my local favorites.
Everything on the Washington side of the board was outstanding. A couple of our out-of-state guests suffered a bit. Without going into details about why, I'll just say that the Flo IPA from Trinity Brewing ended up being rather uninspired and easily overlooked.
The award for strangest beer—and not necessarily in a good way—was the Ska Decadent Imperial IPA, seasoned with chamomile and hibiscus. Maybe when you drink beer at 6,500 feet above sea level the herbs are less pronounced. Ska Brewing is in Durango, so we really shouldn't be surprised that they did something weird. Durango is an "off the grid" kind of place. I nicknamed this beer Sleepytime IPA, imagining a label with a little teddy bear wearing a sleeping cap, similar to Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea. While Ska certainly deserves points for creativity, the use of herbs was heavy handed and caused most people to raise an eyebrow and search for polite words.
And the Winner is...
In the end, Washington beers won the overall battle. Elysian's Hubris IPA won the people's choice for top beer. My top pick went to Big Time's Whiskey RIP. To be honest, my next three picks went to Colorado: Avery's Zwickel Pilsner, Left Hand's Milk Stout, and Great Divide's Bourbon Barrel-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout (come to Daddy and get in m' belly!).
This is what Elysian posted on Facebook regarding the results: "WA kicked butt! Top beer vote-getter was our Hubris Double IPA (honest!) - Tie for second went to Great Divide Barrel-Aged Yeti and Fremont Kentucky Dark Star - Not far behind were Odell, Black Raven, Silver City and Big Time. A lot of big beers this year!"
As expected, Firkin-Firkin 2011 was a great event and I'm already looking forward to next year.