Lucky Envelope’s Grapefruit IPA. Photo by Jacob Uitti

Seattle’s New Beer of the Summer

Move over Fremont Summer Ale. The Grapefruit IPA has arrived.

When the golden rays shine down on the Emerald City, I’ve always sought out the beautiful orange tap handle of Fremont’s Summer Ale. In fact, we published a column in April last year extolling the virtues of the stuff. But there’s a new leader of the pack when it comes to Seattle’s summer beers. Who is this new superstar? None other than Lucky Envelope’s Grapefruit IPA—which will soon be available for sale in 22-ounce bottles.

After walking into the Eastlake Zoo Tavern on a hot afternoon, I sat down at the bar and noticed a new tap in the rotation (next to Fremont’s Summer Ale, actually). Wanting to try something new, I ordered the Grapefruit IPA. My palate will never be the same. The beer has a beautiful body—not too big, not too thin—with a bright, bold, effervescent quality and a joyous, real grapefruit flavor. Now, one might not think grapefruit in beer alone would make a brew #1, but holy heck, it works.

“In my experience,” says Lucky Envelope co-owner, Barry Chan, “a lot of the grapefruit beers I tried tasted more like grapefruit candy or juice. I would rather have a beer that tasted like peeling a real grapefruit, where volatile oils twisting from the skin hit your nose with that unmistakably bright grapefruit punch. With that said, as we mucked our way through our first year of a brand-new business, a grapefruit beer wasn’t on my radar.”

But it’s not grapefruit alone that puts Lucky Envelope’s beer at the top. The base of the beer, says Chan, is the brewery’s flagship ENIAC Mosaic IPA. Mosaic, perhaps the premier hop of the age on the local craft beer market, offers a bouquet of pleasant aromatics with just a kiss of a sweetness to the finish. It’s pretty much a perfect ingredient, especially for a summer IPA. Oh, and the ENIAC Mosaic IPA just won the gold medal for American IPAs at the 2016 Washington Beer Awards. “My philosophy to infusing beer,” says Chan, “is that you need to make a solid base beer before infusing other flavors or, I believe, you compromise on the overall quality.”

Where Fremont’s Summer Ale is lighter, with an emphasis on refreshment, the Grapefruit IPA is a one-stop shop for bold, bright taste. But how did Lucky Envelope get started on a citrus beer, and how did that translate to a new great summer option? “Citrus beers jumped to the front of my mind during the planning of our first Chinese New Year celebration in January 2016,” Chan says. “We brewed up a small batch of pale ale, which used the lemony zest of the Buddha’s hand citron fruit. This beer had the intense, just-twisted citrus peel flavor I was seeking.”

But Buddha’s hand is not available year-round. Chan started tinkering with grapefruit. “After dialing in the grapefruit intensity and with the beer continuing to receive extremely positive feedback, we made a decision to make [it] available year-round,” Chan says. And that is how a great beer is born.

beerhunting@seattleweekly.com

More in Eat Drink Toke

Photo by Conner Knotis 
                                Jerk Shack’s jerk chicken.
Bring on the Jerk

Finally, the Caribbean stakes a spot in Seattle thanks to Jerk Shack.

Dennis Peron. Illustration by James the Stanton
The Cannabis Community Mourns Activist Dennis Peron

The grandfather of medicinal marijuana was 72.

Touch Down in Kerala, India via Kirkland

It’s 30 minutes east of Seattle, but Kathakali boasts some of the best Indian food in the area.

Working Nine to High

Can you keep your day job and your cannabis?

Patrons get their pong on at Spin. Photo courtesy of Spin and Victoria Kovios
Spin Gives Ping Pong Hustlers a Home

Slicing up the obsessively slick new downtown bar.

Joli’s French Twist in Phinney Ridge

The new resturant brings a feminine streak to bistro-style dining.

Courtesy photo
A Pizza Bar With a Pedigree, Potential, and Plenty of Hiccups

Supreme in West Seattle serves up New York-style pie and apologies.

Illustration by James the Stanton
Corporate Sharks Smell Weed in the Water

As more states legalize cannabis, big players take a big step forward.

Is poké, like this from GoPoké, a fad or a new fixture. Only time will tell. Photo by Suzi Pratt
A Year of Fads and New Fixtures in Seattle Dining

Neither money nor reputation guaranteed success in this frenzied year of dining evolution.

Remembering the American Mother Goddess of Medicinal Cannabis

Joanna McKee changed the conversation about marijuana.

The Liquor Industry Make a Play for Legal Weed

The landscape of cannabis in North America is potentially about to experience a hostile takeover.

Chef Soma and Her Cult of Soba Are Back

Kamonegi in Fremont serves up the underappreciated noodles, along with esoteric takes on tempura and other Japanese-inspired delicacies.