Mountain Sun wins Alpha King challenge

Brian Hutchinson of Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery in Boulder, Colo., was crowned “Alpha King” on Friday. Hutchinson’s Hop Vivant Imperial IPA took first place in the 2009 Alpha King Challenge, chosen from a total of 70 “hoppier-than-the average-beer” entries. The newest Alpha King Challenge winner is the first ever from Colorado.

Second place went to two-time previous winner, Tomme Arthur, for Hop 15 double IPA from Port Brewing Co., San Marcos, Calif. The beer won the Alpha King title in both 2004 and 2008.

Third place went to the first woman brewer to make the top 3 in the competition. Denise Jones’ Hopsickle XXXIPA Imperial IPA is from Moylan’s Brewing Co., Novato, Calif. Moylan’s Brewing owner Brendan Moylan previously won back-to-back Alpha King crowns in 2001 and 2002 with beers from his Marin Brewing Co., Larkspur, Calif.

Hopunion’s Ralph Olson presented each of the top three brewers at this year’s Alpha King Challenge with a small cash prize courtesy of Three Floyds Brewing Co., a gift certificate from White Labs yeast, plus an etched-glass stein with an engraved pewter lid for the winner and special glasses for the runners up provided by Rastal glassware from Germany.

A total of 70 beers from around the United States competed in the tenth annual Alpha King Challenge. The seven additional Alpha King finalists were:

* Barley Brown’s Brewing Co., Baker City, Ore., Turmoil black IPA, brewed by Shawn Kelso;
* Bear Republic Brewing Co., Cloverdale, Calif., Ken and John’s IPA, brewed by Ricardo Norgrove;
* Bear Republic Brewing Co., Cloverdale, Calif., Racer X double IPA, brewed by Ricardo Norgrove;
* Deschutes Brewery, Bend & Portland, Ore., PDX Hop Henge #4 Imperial IPA, brewed by Cam O’Connor;
* Dry Dock Brewing Co., Denver, Colo., Seven Seas Double IPA, brewed by Bill Eye;
* Founders Brewing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., Devil Dancer Imperial IPA, brewed by Jeremy Kosmicki;
* Russian River Brewing Co., Santa Rosa, Calif., Pliny the Elder double IPA, brewed by Vinnie Cilurzo.