Since 1999, Yakima Chief - Hopunion LLC, Brewing News Publications and Three Floyds Brewing Company, have been scouring the country for the best hop-laden beers. Each year, a team of brewers and veteran beer writers test the vigor of their hoppy findings and crown an Alpha King, deeming his (or her) beer to be the holy grail of well-balanced and drinkable, yet highly-hopped ales. The Alpha King Challenge is a battle of the brews!
Congratulations to Mark Hastings of Überbrew in Billings, MT for claiming the 2015 Alpha King Crown with Alpha Force Double Tap Tactical IPA.
Alpha Force Double Tap Tactical IPA, is a dark brown to black, hop-heavy beer with 8.5% ABV and more than 100 IBUs. It is one of three dark IPAs in the Alpha Force series served alongside Black Hops Tactical IPA and Black Hops 2. As the creator of this popular series, Hastings is no stranger to the techniques of brewing a solid dark IPA. He and his team chose seven hop additions to be included the mash, kettle, dry hop and bright tank, featuring Warrior, Citra® and Simcoe® hops.
When asked about the winning entry, head brewer Hastings replied, “[With a] hop pellet nose; some dank, some green fruit, but mostly grapefruit; slight earthy nose with hints of roast and fennel/anise; soft bitterness with a big juicy hop flavor—this beer does not taste like it looks at all,” says Hastings. “We try and brew just about anything we can think of that is IPA-like or hop centric. Our black IPAs and double black IPAs seem to be very popular here at the taproom and in competitions.”
The entries in this year’s Alpha King Challenge represented many of the most notable, hop-famous breweries in the nation. The final round included beers from Cellarmaker Brewing, Sun King Brewing, Pizza Port—Carlsbad, Barley Brown’s Beer, Altitude Chophouse & Brewery, Cannonball Creek Brewery, Sunriver Brewing, Canteen Brewing, Second Street Brewery and Pinthouse Pizza. After careful deliberation by the judges, Belching Beaver's Pound Town Triple IPA took 3rd, Melvin Brewing Company's 2x4 took 2nd, and Überbrew's Alpha Force Double Tap Tactical IPA was deemed the top contender and crowned 2015 Alpha King.
Named in honor of Three Floyd’s Alpha King Pale Ale, the Alpha King Challenge is an annual competition held during the Great American Beer Festival® and is open to commercially licensed breweries throughout the United States. Entries are judged on overall quality and balance of flavor, and must have a minimum 60 IBUs (no barley wines allowed).
Questions regarding the Alpha King Challenge can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.