The Interurban IPA is a textbook rendition of what a hop forward, refreshing IPA should be like. It’s not one of those 120 IBU hop bombs, nor an imperial/double IPA that borders on barley wine, nor a meager IPA too scared to add enough hops that it seems to be an off tasting pale ale.
The IPA gets its name from the statue in Fremont, “Waiting for the Interurban,” a strange statue of people and a dog waiting for a train. I’d wait for the train to head to the brewpub (or the nearby excellent restaurant Revel) for a taste of this beautiful blend of various unique Northwest hops such as Chinook that add a spice element to the traditional pale Bavarian malts. This is a smooth, satisfying IPA, potentially a session beer at just over 6 %.
Fremont Brewing Co. doesn’t bottle or can its beer, so be sure to head to its terrific brew pub full of bikers done with mega weekends rides, families, and beer loving dogs. There you can get samplers, pints, and growlers filled. Beware, the hours are funky. I noticed the IPA at Revel and the equally superb Universale Pale Ale, a bold version of the genre, at Safeco Field, perfect to watch with a Mariners win. Founded by Matt Lincecum and the beer making run by Matt Lincoln, Fremont isn’t an avant-garde brewery. It focuses on a very solid rotation, accented by some intriguing special beers and cask ales.
Fremont’s specialties are the pale ale and IPA, but their Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout captivates possibly even more with its alluring depth and perfect mélange of cacao and espresso notes. This is a definitive stout.
None of the beers missed the mark in the tasting, though a few underwhelmed slightly. I appreciated the citrus bite and levity to the Summer Ale, but it lacked any real depth. The merlot barrel aged Brother Imperial IPA had pleasing hops similar to the Interurban IPA. It lacked a narrative throughout, with mixed notes of vague grapes skipping in and out of the palette. The one cask ale called Peaches Sorrento is intriguing and neither a real winner nor guilty of any off notes. The body was thin like a typical cask style ale, where limoncello, soaked peach, nutmeg, and mint tea mingle together, with the latter two completely dominated by the first two. The Wandering Wheat and Old Snugglebunny Barley Wine are also almost always on tap.
Make sure to note the tasting room’s (Urban Beer Garden) strange hours of Thursday-Friday from 4-8pm, Saturdays Noon to 8pm, and Sundays Noon to 6pm. I was so paranoid of missing out on the hours that I came directly from the airport with my luggage. If only I could bring back a keg of the Interurban IPA in my baggage home.