Ever heard of a brewery starting because of a birthday gift given by a one-month old? According to Reuben's Brews co-founder "and Reuben's mama," Grace Robbings, it was her son, Reuben, who bought Adam Robbings, co-founder and brewmaster, the homebrew kit that would lead to the family brewery in Seattle, Washington. Like any first-time brewer, Robbings fell in love with making beer.
Soon enough, his hobby became an obsession, and then a profession. Robbings' beer recipes had much success at homebrew competitions, including winning the silver medal at the National Homebrewing Competition (NHC) in 2012, and his talent, along with a Kickstarter campaign that raised close to $11,000, eventually earned him his own brewery—Reuben's Brews officially opened in Seattle's Ballard district in August 2012. Since then, the team has accrued an astounding amount of accolades, including 15 World Beer Cup medals over the past three years.
Despite their many recognitions, Reuben's Brews remains a "small craft brewery operating on an artisan scale," committed to serving its local community. We were lucky to have a team member snag some of the small batch brews on a recent visit to Seattle, setting the stage for our latest tasting: Reuben's Brews' Crikey IPA and Imperial IPA. If you ever find yourself in the Ballad area, stop by on a Thank You Thursday, when the brewery donates one dollar per pint to a different charity each week.
6.8% ABV | 53 IBUs
With some sediment suspended in this golden-yellow IPA, the appearance resembled raw honey from a local farmstead. Frothy with sizable bubbles, the head was akin to sea foam—the substance, not the color—and sent sudsy bursts of resin, fresh sliced grapefruit and sweet, tropical scents swirling above our tasting glasses. This signaled to some that Cascade hops were most certainly used during and after the boil (or possibly Centennial). The aroma carried through to the palate, with its hop-forward focus present throughout the entire tasting. The bold flavor culminated in a bitter backend that one taster described as "a definite truckload of Cascade."
9.4% ABV | 80 IBUs
Boasting high alcohol and bitterness from the get-go, this boozed-up IPA appeared similar to the Crikey IPA with its honey/amber/orange tone. The head appeared a bit yellowed, like tobacco-stained walls in a European brown cafe. Any semblance of similarity to the Crikey IPA vanished upon taking a sniff; this IPA was herbal, earthy and not at all fruity, with some tasters noting unusual impressions such as "bready" and "boiled oatmeal," along with a slightly more common perception of sticky maple syrup.