From Burning Man to Big Time Brewery (Hopquality Imperial India Pale Ale)

By: Chasse Gunter

There are a lot of crazy stories floating around about burning man. Having recently gotten back from my sixth stint at the festival of art and debauchery in the Nevada desert, I’d be lying if I told you that it’s what you’ve heard times a thousand (assuming you’ve heard anything). But this year I decided to keep the magic tangible and explainable in just a couple incomplete sentences: 24. 7. Dive bar. My camp had a full service, free of charge dive bar with several bartenders working aorund the clock all the time; we also had a piano, beer bong, and pool table. So although I spent my time pre, post, and during the Burn, sitting at a dive bar, leaving Burning Man for the real world  is comparable to the transition from the default world, to—say—jail, for example. One doesn’t realize how much freedom one has until you take a shirt off in a bar or interrupt a family picnic at Alki beach. And out here, in this bright normal world, if I tell a cop car to drive around me, he probably won’t hand me a chapstick and pat me on the shoulder (that’s another story).


Too make a long story short, I’m undergoing a self-perscribed intensive decompression period—as to not frighten society types. So after some very slow thinking, I decide to unfurl myself at a university district brewpub with more awards than frames to hold them, friendly staff, and history making importance: Big Time Brewery (est 1988) The ever quotable Rick noted that original Washington state liquor laws prevented places that brewed beer to serve beer too, but Big time overturned that, and the first Washington brewpub was born…or so the Googleable legend goes.


First Impression: I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for casual bribery and T-Rexes in sports gear. Because, although my wallet had skin loose enough for the cards to all fall out several times a day, Rick kept offering me beer beer samples paired with factoids, peppered with history tid-bids and—for a suaver man than myself, superb openers for me to lean in and kiss my platonic female friend.

Pour: My friend didn’t hesitate to call out my stupidity as soon as I asked if the Hopquility Imperial IPA was a very hoppy IPA. Alright, so I guess I haven’t heard of many craft beer breweries that make a point to mislead drinkers. I was sold on the promise of a distinct lemon body and Amarillo hints and neutral towards the Magnum and Ahtannum. When the pint arrives, I note a beautiful glowing sunny wheat color.

Taste: I was pleased to find that the aroma of lemon took some of the bite off (yeah, I eat smell). So keep the nostrils flaired while drinking if you aren’t a hop fan—or if you’re somewhere in the middle like myself. Swishing it in my mouth, it is bitter, but there’s a subtle honey hue that pops in and out—as well as the lingering citrus notes that come in and out. There is some grassyness to it too (possibly the Amarillo, but I don’t have the credentials to make that call). The hoppyness grew towards the final sips thoughI begin to mention how odd it is to me that such a self dubbed liberal city as Seattle would “unofficially” choose India Pale Ale as “the” craft beer of choice–with the beer’s roots to imperialism. It was brewed with a high enough alcohol content to survive lng enough journeys to reach British troops conquering In—….but I get bored of talking part way and drink and write instead.

Final Impression: Sadly, very few of Big Time’s beers make it further than one hundred feet from where it’s made. An unfortunate but understandable tragedy to all. So, just stop in the brewpub for the amazing ever rotating selection. Everything I needed to say flavor-wise has been said: bitter (and a ‘lil honey-sweet), grassy, with an awesome citrus aroma. Also swell to my pallet was the Southbound Pachyderm IRA (the Pachyderm is important enough to be on their logo). Also, though it wasn’t on tap this time, I’d recommend trying their famous Old Sol Wheatbeer—next summer.
ABV: 7.7%
IBU: ?

Grade: A

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Big Time Brewery Hopquility Imoerial IPA