Nick Mader knows his way around a hop cone. The brewer-owner of Alma Mader Brewing opened his industrial-chic space on the Westside last year and quickly wowed us with his lagers.
You’ll still find some of the finest lagers in town available for pickup—Alma Mader’s smallish tasting room remains closed as the brewery has pivoted to selling to-go—but we’ve more recently been drawn to the brewery’s IPAs.
In the fall, that included classic fresh hop beers, which are made with the fresh-picked flower cones that are normally dried for use as a bittering agent in beer. Mader had experience with the style from his time at Fremont Brewing in fresh hop-crazed Seattle, which sits a few hours away from the Yakima Valley, where most of the continent’s crop is grown. Alma Mader’s version of the style, made with Midwest hops, had the resinous character of a fresh hop beer without veering into grass clipping territory.
More recently it also included Alma Mader’s version of a triple IPA. The boozy style is a challenge for any brewer, as it requires carefully balancing lots of sweet malted barley against the bitterness of hops. The West Coast style tends to be bracingly bitter.
Alma Mader’s version, called Here To There, is from the hazy East Coast lineage. Coming in at ten-and-a-half percent alcohol, it’s a big beer. But by double dry-hopping with four varieties (Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Simcoe), Mader managed to make it dangerously crushable. January is triple IPA season out west. Here’s hoping the beer makes a return to the brewery’s lineup, which changes every week.