The name. The mountain. Mt Challenger anchors the NW boundary of the Picket Range, arguably the most remote, inaccessible area of the N Cascades. The main feature of Mt Challenger (maybe besides its jagged, rocky summit and sub-summits) is the Challenger glacier – the largest in the area spanning nearly 2 miles and about 3000 of vertical feet. It’s a great climb, with a long approach (which many might consider a climbing excursion in itself), fun glacier slogs, and a nice rock pitch at the end. A truly great mountain and great back country climbing excursion. A perfect namesake to our traditional NW IPA.
The Beer. We tried to emulate the stunning features of Mt Challenger in the IPA. We started by selecting 7 varieties of hops, each used at 1 specific time during the process to bring out a unique flavor and bouquet that had both the traditional citrus notes as well as other complementary notes, in this case stone fruit. The malts were chosen to support the hop character, add a little complexity, and give Challenger IPA a nice balance, one that would feature, but not owerwhelm with, the hops. The result is a nice drinkable hop forward IPA featuring citrus and stone fruits on a solid, medium bodied backbone.