Snoqualmie Falls, brewing up beer and history
May 6, 2011 - 8:42 AM--by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog--
This is as much a history lesson as it is the introduction of a new beer. Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA is out there. Very soon (if not already) you will find it on shelves at grocery stores and bottleshops, and also on tap at bars around the area. Most local beer-lovers are familiar with Avalanche and Spring Fever, the winter and spring seasonal offerings from Snoqualmie Falls. The release of Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA is part of a plan at Snoqualmie Fall Brewing to introduce an additional two seasonal beers each year.
Snoqualmie Falls Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA is the first summer seasonal. Each summer Snoqualmie Falls Brewing will create a new beer and name it after something of historic significance to the town of Snoqualmie and the surrounding area. Often thought of as a scenic tourist opportunity, Snoqualmie Falls (the waterfall) and its two powerhouses have provided electricity to the region for over 100 years. Show of hands: who knew that? Like I said, this is a history lesson.
An Engineering Marvel
As a Seattle native, I have always known about the powerhouses at Snoqualmie Falls, but did not know about their historic significance until a few months ago when I watched a PBS special about the construction of the Plant 1 Powerhouse.
Built in 1898, it was an engineering marvel of its time. As construction of the Plant 1 Powerhouse was underway, really smart and important people paid very close attention to what was happening at Snoqualmie Falls. Some of the best engineering minds of the day contributed to its construction. Plant 1 operates at the base of the falls, embedded in rock 270 feet below the surface. Perhaps even more significant than its place in hydro-electric history is its place in Seattle history. They built Plant 1 to fuel the continuing industrialization of a young Seattle.
Who knows what Snoqualmie Falls Brewing will name the summer beer next year? Presumably it will provide another interesting history lesson. Maybe they’ll go with something less scholarly and more cheeky, like Twin Peaks Pale Ale or Log Lady Lager.
About the Beer
By design, I do not typically concern myself with reviewing beers. That is, I do not provide a thumbs-up or thumbs-down review. I believe that every beer has its virtue and ultimately its goodness depends on your own opinion. I don’t want to break that tradition, so I will describe Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA by comparing it to Snoqualmie Falls Wildcat IPA, the brewery’s regular IPA offering and one of my personal favorite IPAs. Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA has a bigger malt backbone: less dry, more sweet. While significant, the aromatic hop character is perhaps not as joyfully overwhelming as that of the Wildcat IPA. That is, it doesn’t jump out of the gym but it’s got plenty of hops. If you are familiar with Rande Reed (Brewmaster at Snoqualmie Falls) and the beers he brews, you will not be surprised to discover that Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA is very well balanced.
Find Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA and give it a try. Personally, I think that in order to fully appreciate a draft beer, you need to sample at least 16 ounces of it. For bottled beer, 22 ounces usually suffices.
I should also point out that Snoqualmie Falls Plant 1 Powerhouse IPA (with a different name) will be the year-round house beer at the North Bend Bar and Grill. That makes me very happy because the North Bend Bar and Grill is one of our favorite places to stop when heading back down the mountain.
The Other New Seasonal Beer
The other new seasonal beer will be an autumnal release. Last year’s Triskaidekaphobia was the an anniversary beer brewed in the fall to celebrate the brewery's thirteenth birthday. Eric Carels of Snoqualmie Falls Brewing tells me that moving forward the autumn beers will continue to relate in some way to the brewery’s anniversary.