Sound to Summit Brewing, Snohomish
Stats: 6.2 percent ABV, 46 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and in 22-ounce bottles at the brewery and select bottleshops.
My thoughts: Sound to Summit Brewing owner John Sype and head brewer Grady Warnock have wanted to bottle their beers for some time. Bottling can help expand the footprint of a brewery’s beers, but bottling machines can be expensive for small breweries. So Sype looked to YouTube for inspiration.
After studying commercial bottling systems, Sype found a video of a homemade bottling machine and set about designing it. He went to Home Depot for parts and bought what other items he needed online. He then made his own bottling machine for a third of the cost he anticipated spending on a commercially made machine. Warnock said it’s not the fastest bottling machine he’s seen, but it works well.
The result is that now Sound to Summit’s beers are in bottleshops further afield than their kegs have ever been. I recently picked up 22-ounce bottles of the three beers Sound to Summit is bottling: 6-Gill IPA, Kiteboard Kolsch and Ubergrippen Stout. (Look for my thoughts on the kolsch in my summer beer preview in the inaugural North Coast Magazine out later this month.)
The 6-Gill IPA is a measured IPA. The citrus and tropical notes are delicate and its malt characteristics are more pronounced than most IPAs. It’s not the most refreshing IPA, but it is complex and has strong flavors from start to finish.
I’ve tried the beer on tap and in bottle and to be honest I couldn’t tell much of a difference. I guess that bottling machine is working just fine.
From the brewery: Named after the largest shark in the Puget Sound, this India Pale Ale is a big beer with a little bite. Aromatic American hops lend a citrus and tropical fruit character to the nose, while the malt backbone is balanced with a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.
— Aaron Swaney, Special to The Herald