Monday, February 22, 2010

Proud to be a Knothead: Diamond Knot IPA

I have been very fortunate as a beer lover to have had the opportunity to visit a number of brewpubs and breweries across the United States. My mantra has always been “go to the source” if and when you can, and it is a credo that has served me well. While I enjoy drinking bottled beer at home, for me beer has always been much better in a social setting, enjoyed on draught with family or friends. It is these first hand experiences with the beer, breweries, and people behind the breweries that have made the joy of drinking beer all the more satisfying for me.

Some brewpubs and breweries you instantly fall and love with, and such was the case for me when I made the trek to Mukilteo, WA and visited the Diamond Knot Brewery. When I first visited Diamond Knot a few years back I was able to sample all their beers at the source on a beer trip that had me visiting 15 brewpubs and breweries in Washington and Oregon. Diamond Knot was without question a very special visit. For beer geeks, Diamond Knot needs no introduction.

This tiny brewery established in 1993, has made quite a name for itself in the US craft brewing world for being on the cutting edge of the PNW beer scene, and one of the best craft breweries in Washington State. I first enjoyed this brewery’s beer in the mid 1990’s when I sampled their IPA at the legendary beer and BBQ joint Redbones, in Boston, MA during one of their annual PNW beer festivals. Right then and there, I knew Diamond Knot was a brewery that I just had to visit one day. When I finally did, it surpassed my expectations, and has become one of my favorite breweries of all times. This charming, cozy little brewpub/brewery is about a 20 mile drive outside of Seattle, WA and is located right by the ferry landing on the Mukilto waterfront, in a building that once was a bus garage.

Needless to say I was impressed with all the beers I tasted at Diamond Knot, but since this is the Pacific Northwest, I just had to review their phenomenal Diamond Knot IPA. IPA or India Pale Ale is the signature beer of the Pacific Northwest. These days, it is pretty easy to find an American IPA or pale ale any where in the US. But it is here in the heart of the hop growing region of the US, where brewers really have perfected this style, and bring out not only the aroma and bitterness of the hop, but manage to squeeze out the fullness of hop flavor. A great IPA is not all about mouth puckering bitterness, it is about hop synergy. I’ve had stellar IPA’s all over the US, but no where have I found more stellar examples than the PNW.

In the 15 brewpub/breweries I visited, every IPA/pale ale I tasted was exceptional. Diamond Knot IPA just might be the best of the best in the PNW, if not the entire US. This beer is brewed with four malts and three hops and is a true bench mark of what an American IPA should be.

Diamond Knot IPA pours to a beautiful, murky, copper color with a thick and creamy white head, and a vibrant carbonation. Diamond Knot beers are unfiltered and unpasteurized, making them extremely fresh and delicious, especially at their source. The nose on this beer just explodes with vibrant, zesty, citric hop aromas that food the nostrils in a big way. The smell of this beer alone will floor you, but you are in for so much more when you raise the glass to your lips. When you do, you will find that this IPA isn’t one dimensional hop juice, as it is built upon a rock solid base of pale, carapils, crystal, and Munich malts, This gives the beer a good buiscuty/sweet malt flavor which shares the stage with a very apparent citrus/grapefruit hop flavor under tones, that hit the back of the tongue. Diamond Knot IPA finishes with more malty/citric flavors up front, then ends with a very vibrant, zesty explosion of citric/piney hop bitterness that tattoos the back of the throat and lingers for what seems and an eternity.

A phenomenal example of IPA, one of the best I have ever tasted in all my years of drinking beer. This is the type of beer that you really must experience at the source and as close to the source as possible. Precious few barrels of this beer make it to other markets, so a trip to Diamond Knot is one a beer lover just must make. If you do, you will not be disappointed as the atmosphere, food, and of course the beers at Diamond Knot are all truly special. This beer lives and breathes hops. For more information about this beer and the brewery,visit the brewery’s website at

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