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Lupulin Slam II : The Battle of the Big, Bitter Beers
By Chuck Cook


Lupulin Slam II contestants. Photo by Chuck Cook

The Lupulin Slam II, an event showcasing hoppy beers and their brewers from the Left and Right Coasts, was held January 12–13 at Dave Alexander’s Regional Food and Drink (R.F.D.) in Washington, D.C.

The West Coast combatants included Tomme Arthur of Pizza Port-Solana Beach, Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing, and Tom Nickel of Oggi’s Left Coast Brewing Co. Hailing from the East were Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Curt Decker of Nodding Head, Bill Madden of Founder’s (Alexandria, Va.) and Mark Worona of Stoudt’s Brewing.

The event featured lots of humorous gags and stunts, such as the East Coast team being flagged by Tom Nickel with a 15-IBU penalty (a la the Miller vs. Bud commercials of late) for serving under-hopped beer! The Left Coast team also heaped ridicule on the use of the “Randall” dry-hopping device invented by Dogfish Head to dry-hop beer when pouring, noting that true highly hopped beers need no such “help” to achieve the desired results. Vinnie Cilurzo hung a “No Randall Required” banner behind the stage to make his point. Not wanting to miss an advertising opportunity, the enterprising Vinnie had lots of “Pliny the Elder” stickers adorning the banner.

The East Coast team countered that malt and hop balance was desirable. Clearly, there was a serious difference of opinion between the two groups of brewers.

Standouts among the 15 beers sampled were Russian River Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger, Pizza Port Lou P Lin and Hop 15, Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Burton Baton, Oggi’s Iced Juice, and Founder’s Big Al Imperial IPA.

As this event was held in D.C., seat of democracy in our republic, it was appropriate for the beer-loving attendees to vote for the winners. The top beer? Chateau Neuf de Hop, which was a blend of Hop 15, Oggi’s Hop Juice and Pliny the Elder. The California cabal did the West Coast proud, also pulling out the overall victory over the East Coasters after a close loss in the Lupulin Slam I.

Congrats, gentlemen.

Chuck Cook is a freelance writer living in Richmond, Va. His passions are beer and travel, and he has written for various beer publications. He can be reached via e-mail at chuck@beerandtravel.com.


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