Of course, we know what happened to all that. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, Seattle Beer Week was canceled, the official beer was scuttled and Skookum’s head brewer Hollis Wood and the folks at Old Schoolhouse were left holding the bag on a 1,000 pounds of experimental HBC-630 hops.
But when life gives you lemons … apparently you make delicious beer.
Wood took the hops that were once destined for the collaboration with Old Schoolhouse and spun it into another beer collaboration, this one with Chuck’s Hop Shop. Enjoyable Distraction is a tropical IPA made with spelt and oats and a whole mess of hops, including the Yakma Chief experimental hops HBC-630,
“We had these hops, so I figured let’s do something fun,” Wood said. “This was a perfect chance. I’m really liking the beer.”
Skookum canned the beer on Tuesday and will be delivering 50 cases to each of Chuck’s Hop Shop locations, Greenwood and Central District. The brewery will also be selling cans of the beer starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 20.
This is Skookum’s second collaboration with Chuck’s after brewing Chucklehead, a double IPA made with Amarillo, Mosaic and Southern Star hops, for the 2017 Seattle Beer Week. The connection between brewery and bottleshop goes back to when Chuck’s became a gateway for Skookum into the competitive Seattle market.
“Chuck’s was one of the first accounts to take our beer in Seattle,” Wood said. “They helped get us established in Seattle and I’ve always felt we owe them a bit for having given us a chance.”
As for the beer, Wood said it’s tropical with a hint of stone fruit like apricot and peach from the HBC-630. The other hops are Citra, Vic’s Secret and Azacca.
On Monday, Skookum released 16-ounce cans of its IPA Southern Glow and Parlor Trick, an imperial oatmeal milk stout brewed with cocoa powder and finished on strawberries. Along with Tuesday’s canning of Enjoyable Distraction, it’s a second major canning session for a brewery that had only canned its beers once before the pandemic. Wood said the brewery is planning to do more canning in the coming weeks.
The additional canning runs comes on the heels of Skookum digging through its cellar to sell the final bottles and kegs of crowd favorites like Heavy is the Head That Wears the Crown, a blend of barleywine and wheatwine, releasing a four-way barleywine blend called Quarantine and #BIL in crowlers and even selling kegs retail.
“We’ve had to bob and weave and change up our plans,” Wood said. “We decided early on we would do what we could to survive. We’re adapting to the current market.”
Look for more goodies from Skookum coming out soon. In the meantime, the Arlington brewery plans to return to its normal hours of operation June 1. Currently the brewery is open 3 to 7 p.m. every day.
Skookum Brewery/Chuck’s Hop Shop
A tropical IPA from Skookum Brewery and made in collaboration with Seattle bottleshop Chuck’s Hop Shop. Brewed with spelt and oat and Citra, Vic’s Secret, Azacca and HBC-630 hops.
From the brewery: In these dark times we’re all grasping for a semblance of normalcy. We brewed this collaboration IPA to remind you of better times, and that we’re all in this together.
Available at Skookum Brewery, and Chuck’s Hop Shop Greenwood and Central District locations
| Photo courtesy of Skookum Brewery.