Seattle’s Burke-Gilman Brewing Wins the 2020 Alpha King Challenge

Burke-Gilman Brewing - 2020 Alpha King Challenge Champion

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.

3 Floyds Brewing Alpha King Challenge
3 Floyds Brewing Alpha King Challenge Crown. (image courtesy of Yakima Chief Hops)

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.

Burke-Gilman Brewing Company *1st Place*
Seattle, WA
Fresh Hopotheosis DIPA w/ Citra®, Mosaic®, Strata®, Idaho 7® & Galaxy™, 90 IBUs

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company *2nd Place*
Decorah, IA

King Sue DIPA w/ Citra®, 100 IBUs

Metazoa Brewing Company *3rd Place*
Indianapolis, IN
Puma Thurman IPA w/ Citra®, Mosaic®, Idaho 7®, Loral® & Amarillo®, 80 IBUs

And here are the remaining Top 17 breweries in no particular order.

Wizard Works Brewing Company
Milwaukee, WI
Wizard’s Wrath English Strong Ale w/ Chinook, 70 IBUs

Four Seasons Brewing Company
Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Switchback IPA w/ Amarillo® & Mosaic®, 60 IBUs

Half Moon Bay Brewing collab with Hop Dogma Brewing
El Granada, CA
9th Grade Mullet DIPA w/ Simcoe®, Mosaic®, Nelson & CTZ, 85 IBUs

Minneapolis, MN
Tile Factory IPA w/ Nugget, Mandarina Bavaria, Mosaic® & Cascade, 70 IBUs

The Virginia Beer Company
Williamsburg, VA
Wet Powder Fresh Hop DIPA w/ Citra®, 65 IBUs

Ball Brewing
Glenwood Springs, CO
Small Craft Advisory DBIPA w/ Mosaic®, Moutere and Vic Secret, 90 IBUs

Victor 23 Craft Brewery
Vancouver, WA
Jet Fuel IIPA w/ Chinook & Eureka, 100 IBUs

Stone’s Throw Brewing
Little Rock, AR
New Hops, Who Dis? Triple IPA w/ Cascade, Columbus, Warrior®, Sabro®, Azacca®, Mosaic® & Enigma, 100 IBUs

Barnaby Brewing Company Juneau, AK
Hipsters Juicebox DIPA w/ Centennial, Cascade, Citra®, CTZ, Simcoe® & Azacca®, 77 IBUs

Revision Brewing Company
Sparks, NV
“DIPA” IIPA w/ Mosaic®, Simcoe® & Citra®, 75 IBUs

Medusa Brewing Company
Hudson, MA
Ruction West Coast IPA w/ Simcoe®, Cascade & Chinook, 65 IBUs

Outstate Brewing Company
Furgus Falls, MN
Edge Catcher NEIPA w/ ®, Centennial, Cascade & Mosaic®, 77 IBUs

Hi Sign Brewing
Austin, TX
Super Astronaut IIPA w/ Centennial, El Dorado®, Cascade, Citra® & Amarillo®, 65 IBUs

Seattle, WA
Pleasure Race Fresh Hop NEIPA w/ Centennial, 65 IBUs

Soundgrowler Brewing
Tinley Park, IL
Orange Haze Hazy West Coast IPA w/ Amarillo®, Warrior®, Centennial and Citra®, 70 IBUs

Twin Oast Brewing
Port Clinton, OH
Two Legit DIPA w/ Citra®, Mosaic® & El Dorado®, 80 IBUs

Woodstock Brewing
Phoenicia, NY
Endless Cycle NEIPA w/ Columbus, Mosaic® & Citra®, 70 IBUs

3 Floyds Brewing Alpha King roaming the Great American Beer Festival in 2008.
3 Floyds Brewing Alpha King roaming the Great American Beer Festival in 2008.

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.