Seattle brewery Burke-Gilman Brewing Company was crowned the 2020 Alpha King Challenge Champion last week for its Fresh Hopotheosis, a juicy fresh hop DIPA.
Held each year, normally the Friday during the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, this year’s Alpha King Challenge was a bit different in the midst of COVID-19. The 2020 Alpha King Challenge was not held in-person this year and instead was held virtually at 3 Floyds Brewing in Munster, Indiana in conjunction with Yakima Chief Hops.
The Alpha King Challenge began 22 years ago when Ralph Olson of Hopunion and Bill Owens of Buffalo Bill’s Brewery wanted to find the hoppiest beer in America. The name was inspired by 3 Floyds Brewing and its iconic Alpha King IPA. For many years the competition took place in the lower level of Falling Rock, an excellent beer bar in Denver, and then moved to Rock Bottom in Denver in 2012.
The 2020 Alpha King Champion is Burke-Gilman Brewing from Seattle for its Fresh Hopotheosis, a juicy fresh hop DIPA made with Citra, Mosaic, Idaho 7, Strata and Galaxy Hops. This wasn’t the only award that the brewery won last weekend as Burke-Gilman also took home a Gold Medal in the Juicy or Hazy Imperial India Pale Ale Category for The Hopsplainer.
Burke-Gilman wasn’t the region’s only winner at the 2020 Alpha King Challenge as two other Washington breweries finished in the Top 20. Both Victor 23 Brewing for Jet Fuel IIPA from Vancouver and MIRAGE for Pleasure Race Fresh Hop NEIPA from Seattle also received acknowledgment for its entries into the competition.
Here is the list of the top 20 finishers in the 2020 Alpha King Challenge.
To enter a beer in the Alpha King Challenge all entries are to be 60 IBUs or greater, submitted by a licensed brewery, and only one entry per brewery no matter how many locations it may have. The competition is limited to 150 entries, which are fulfilled on a first-come basis.
All beer entries in the Alpha King Challenge were judged by a selected team of brewers, industry experts, and veteran beer writers. The competition follows a series of elimination rounds to determine a list of top finalists as well as three placed winners. The first-place winner receives the Alpha King crown and a sponsored video.
The 2021 Alpha King Challenge is tentatively scheduled for October 8, 2021 in Denver, Colorado during the Great American Beer Festival. Additional details will be available in Spring 2021.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.