This Saturday, February 26, 2011 (TOMORROW) for approximately 4 hours, you should go on a tour of the local craft brewing industry.
The Washington Beer Commission organized an Open House of sorts where local breweries open their doors to beer lovers providing them with the good stuff to make this an epic Saturday afternoon. From 12PM-4PM you can plan your route or pick an area of Washington to tour:
CENTRAL and EASTERN WA
NORTH and EAST of SEATTLE
American Brewing, Edmonds
Anacortes Brewing, Anacortes
Black Raven Brewing, Redmond
Boundary Bay Brewing, Bellingham
Chuckanut Brewing, Bellingham
Diamond Knot Brewing, Mukilteo
Foggy Noggin Brewing, Bothell
Gallagher’s Where U Brew, Edmonds
Lazy Boy Brewing, Everett
Redhook Brewery, Woodinville
Scuttlebutt Brewing, Everett
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing, Snoqualmie
SOUTH and WEST of DOWNTOWN SEATTLE
WEST of PUGET SOUND
This event will showcase a number of special beers, beer pairings and surprises at many locations. You will just have to go and find out what is in store. Don’t forget this Saturday is the Grand Opening of American Brewing Co.
This event is free but beer prices at each location will apply. Drive safely or don’t drive at all and ENJOY!
If you have yet to get out to Black Raven – shame on you. Come on, man. Black Raven is arguably the best brewer in the great State of Washington. Don’t fear Redmond.
In all seriousness, Black Raven is a must visit. Located in a tiny commercial park in Redmond, Washington, Black Raven produces some of the best beer in Washington. From big IPAs, to well-conditioned barleywine and all the way to their new imperial stout(Grandfather Raven), their beer is incredible.
Well, now you have more reason to get out and visit them. Black Raven recently underwent construction to expand their taproom and add a second bar. The taproom can now accomodate a much larger amount of people, which will make cask night a bit more comfy.
If you need an excuse to head out there – tomorrow is Cask Night. Each Wednesday, Black Raven and Redmond’s special bottle shop – Malt & Vine – do a dual cask event. Starting at 4 PM, both venues will host a special cask.
Due to my inability to post events on Sunday, I have decided to post on Mondays and give you events from Tuesday through Monday. Hope that is okay. If not, let me know!
This weekend, I indulged in a Black Raven Trickster, Cantillon’s Framboise, New Belgium‘ s La Folie, New Belgium’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Sah’ti, Deschutes Hop Henge and 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA. A pretty good weekend in beer, if I say so myself.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Holiday Beer Dinner: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Victory Brewing Co.
Nothing like the holidays to have an excuse to splurge! Check out this menu- its simply irresistible, $50.00 per person and paired with Victory Brewing Co. beers.
Duo of Soups
Red pepper bisque and puree of spinach
Served with Prima Pils
Prosciutto wrapped beer blanched asparagus with gruyere mornay sauce
Served with Rauch Porter
Cranberry and chestnut filled turkey breast cutlets with Pursuit giblet gravy and roasted seasonal squash
Served with Pursuit Pale Ale
Cracked barley encrusted oysters with Anaheim chili risotto and saffron aioli
Served with ESB
Cinnamon nutmeg spice cake with Dark Intrigue frosting
Served with Dark Intrigue
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Bourbon County Bottle Signing: Homer Glen, Illinois
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Kenwood Liquors
Bourbon County is one of the best stouts EVER and in my opinion the best beer made by Goose Island. Tonight, stop by one of the two Kenwood Liquor locations and pick up a bottle specially signed by Goose Island Founder John Hall.
12037 W. 159th Street
Homer Glen, IL 60491
10750 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453-5402
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Dogfish Head Bash: Montpelier, Vermont
7:00PM-2:00AM @ Three Penny Taproom
This epic tap list includes Dogfish Head‘s best beers:
- Chateau Jiahu
- Bitch’s Brew
- My Antonia
- Red & White
- Black & Blue
- Olde School
- 90 Minute
- 60 Minute
- Indian Brown
Friday, December 17, 2010
Week of Wild Friday Tastival: Eugene, Oregon
5:00PM-10:00PM @ Sixteen Tons Beer & Wine
Hot Damn- Featured breweries will include Block 15, Upright, Hair of the Dog, De Dolle, Cantillon, Rodenbach, Russian River, The Bruery, Orval, Cascade, Deschutes, Victory, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, De Ranke, Haandbryggeriet, New Belgium, Avery, Mikkeller, Ommegang, and more.
Tasting tickets are $1. Beers are 1-4 tickets for 3oz tasters. No entry fee. GO TO THIS!!!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Maui Brewing Launch Party: Denver, Colorado
1:00PM-5:00PM @ Freshcraft
Finally, Maui Brewing has reached Colorado. A state full of beer lovers, it’s about time! The long-awaited time when CoCoNuT Porter, Big Swell IPA & Bikini Blonde Lager hit Colorado are now over.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Twelve Days of Barleywine: Anchorage, Alaska
11:00AM-11:00PM @ Glacier Brewhouse
Stop by Glacier Brewhouse for some barleywines. It’s impressive that a brewery makes an array of this specific style. Today is the 10th day, so time is of the essence.
THE 10th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 19, 2010
1. 2011 Big Woody Barleywine aged in Ukrainian Oak barrel for 10 months. (9.00% abv)
2. 2010 Eisbock aged 8 months in Makers Mark barrels. (9.00%abv)
3. Cask conditioned selection. 2008 Russian Imperial Stout aged 2.67 years in virgin Czech oak barrels. (9.00% abv)
Pay as you go
Monday, December 20, 2010
Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest Kickoff: Santa Monica, California
6:00PM-11:00PM @ Library Ale House
$10.00, just $10.00 gets you:
Library Logo Tasting Glass and Your First Beer
…$2.50 – $5 Refills on ALL Holiday Ale Fest Beers throughout the Fest
10% off food during the festival
Tonight is the kick-off event and this will continue for two weeks. But tonight’s tap list includes:
- Nøgne Ø / Jolly Pumpkin / Stone Special Holiday Ale
- Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza
- N’ice Chouffe
- Dogfish Head Pangea
- Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
- Sierra Nevada Celebration
- Anchor Brewing’s Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale
- Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice
- Delirium Noel
- Gouden Carolus Noel
What is your favorite beer holiday event? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
First it was harvest season and in celebration we indulged in glorious IPAs, then it was Halloween, so we attended a Pumpkin beer fest. Now, the first snow has fallen (sending Seattle into a state of disbelif, terror and general panic) and it is time for Christmas brews and Winter ales.
This year’s Winter Beer Fest will not dissapoint. Here are the details:
2010 WINTER BEER FEST
DATES & HOURS
Friday, December 10th, 2010 5:30-9:30 pm
(WABL* Hour: 5:00-5:30 pm)
Saturday December 11th, 2010 12-4 pm + 5:30-9:30 pm
(WABL* Hour: 11:30-12 pm)
*Open exclusively to WABL members.
$23 advance/$25 at the door.
Admission includes a tasting cup and six 5 oz. beer tastes.
Additional tokens are available at $1.50 each.
Designated driver admission is $5 and available at the door only.
We accept cash and check only. Sorry, no credit cards!
Admission and token sales will end at 45 minutes before the end of each session and taps will close with 20 minutes left in each session.
This is a 21+ only event
Space is limited so get your tickets early!
Advance tickets are available online now.
Advance ticket sales end at 5:00 AM on Friday, December 10th, or whenever tickets allocated for advance sale are sold out. There will be additional tickets available at the door during the event.
Beers to look out for (and by look out for, I mean drink)-
7 Seas Saison
Airways Hot Chocolate Ale
Big Al Penut Butter Stout
Big Time Yulefest Winter Ale
Black Raven Old Birdbrain Barleywine
Black Raven Bourboun Barrel la Petite Mort
Boundary Bay 2008, 2009 and 2010 Cabin Fever
Elysian Bifrost Winter Ale
Flyers Brewery Daybreak Breakfast Oatmeal Stout
Fremont Brewing Bourbon Barrel Aged Abominable
Naked City Bing Spiked Cherry Ale
Schooner Exact Hoppy the Woodsman
Silver City Brewing Old Scrooge Christmas Ale
There are so many amazing beers being poured at this event- check out the full list here!
What beer puts you in the holiday spirit??
September 10, 2010 marked the opening day of Brouwer’s Cafe’s 2010 Hopfest. This was the fifth installment of Seattle’ festival of hops. We like it a lot – so we put in a full day.
Our preview was well-read, but unfortunately, several of the beers showcased alluded most of the crowd. Moylans Wet Hopsickle and Green Flash Palate Wrecker never seemed to hit the taps at Brouwers, while Black Raven’s Dry-Hopped Trickster and Wisdom Seeker, and Russian River’s Blind Pig, each ran out fairly quickly.
But, most of you were able to get a taste of much of our Top 5 beers, stated below. For this year’s festival – the diamonds were in the rough.
For our tasting experience, we took on a table of 4 people. Two Beer Blotter writers, Amateur Hour’s Erik Baldwin and a nice rotating seat of various friends who found the time to join us over the course of our 7 hour day. As time went on, we had a few extra people. So, some rounds include more beers than others.
We took to 10 total rounds of hop madness, pitting different types of beer against each other. We went rare, we went unknown, and we went frighteningly strange (here’s looking at you Elysian Idiot Sauvin). After 10 rounds, we think we found the beers you need to seek out and try. Want to know something great? Washington brewers showed up; they showed up strong.
So, here is our 10 round excursion and Top 5. Enjoy:
Round 1: Russian River Blind Pig, Black Raven Wisdom Seeker, Iron Horse Chinook Cask
Timperial: It had been quite a while since I last tried Blind Pig, and my memories of it were only so-so. Since there are a lot of respected beer folk out there that are incredibly fond of it, I figured I better get a refresher. It’s still boring. Ok, not really, but it’s not nearly as good as Pliny, and that’s where I’ll leave it. The Iron Horse cask was a little too yeasty to be truly enjoyed in all of it’s glory. Wisdom Seeker was the number one beer to get on my Guide to Hopfest. Our waiter didn’t even get a word out before I ordered it. It is, without a doubt, in my top 5 Imperial IPAs of all time. Perfect hop profile with a sizable dose of malty sweetness. A balanced imperial IPA is no easy task, and local heroes Black Raven made it happen.
Winner: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker
Round 2: Firestone Walker Union Jack Firkin, More Wisdom Seeker, Snipes Hopped Up
Timperial: Union Jack is an amazing IPA, simply one of the best around. There was no way that I’d miss out on sampling it in firkin form. Sadly, I much prefer the standard issue. It seemed that the gravity pour depleted the hop essence that is normally so perfectly crafted. Sometimes when you shoot, you miss. Beer Blotter has a serious love affair with Snipes lately. We were really excited to try Hopped Up, but I found it to have some off flavors. This is a very rare case with Snipes. In reviewing my notes from the event, I had noted that Hopped Up tasted like peperoni. I shit you not, I wrote that! Take it for what it’s worth.
Winner: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker (again)
Round 3: Mikkeller Trifecta – Single Hop Centennial, Chinook and Cascade.
Timperial: This little triple threat was high on my to-do list for the day, and I was very happy to have two close friends in my midst to share with. I honestly thought that they were all excellent. I remember saying “God I love Mikkeller!” several times while sampling. I, personally, was most fond of the Chinook, which was the one that I thought I would like least (not sure why, I love piney notes in my IPAs). I think it actually had the least traditional IPA qualities to it, which is probably why the rest of the group did actually like it least. I’ll never be surprised when I stand alone with my overly-sweet and malty IPAs.
Winner: Mikkeller Centennial Single Hop
Round 4: Georgetown Lucille Cask, Elysian Idiot Sauvin & Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster
Timperial: Lucille is a great IPA and the cask version was no exception. I found it to have pronounced notes of resin and earth that may have just been illuminated with the warmth of the bar top cask. Idiot Sauvin allowed me to pop my Nelson Sauvin hop cherry with style. It was very unique and enjoyable. Ultimately, the grapefruit bomb that was set off in my mouth with each sip of DH Trickster made it the best in round for me.
Winner: Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster
Round 5: Midnight Sun XXX Black Double, Midnight Sun Hop Dog Wheat, Stone Dry Hopped Ruination & Big Time Action Jackson
DSR: This is where it starts to get a bit blurry in Timperial memory bank – so I am taking over. This was an exciting round as we finally decided to into the Midnight Sun collection. Midnight Sun has become one of our favorite brewers, ever since beginning to ship beer to Seattle in the past year. They do so many inventive, off-the-cuff beers. The best part – they are always delicious. Again, they didn’t fail with either of the two beers served during this round.
The Hop Dog Wheat was extremely refreshing, with a smooth malt complexity that was inviting this late in the day. XXX was the top choice of our good friend Erik Baldwin (Amateur Hour). XXX is a monster of hops with a delicious roasty flavor. We all liked it – but it wasn’t spectacular. It took the title in an otherwise weak round. Stone’s dry hopped Ruination tasted exactly like Ruination out of the bottle. Big Time’s Action Jackson lacked serious flavor.
Winner: Midnight Sun XXX Black Double
Round 6: Two Beers Fresh Hop, Full Sail Lupulin, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Russian River Pliny the Elder and HUB Ace of Spades
DSR: More people show up – more beers to try. Two of the more famous Imperial IPAs are selected – Pliny the Elder and Ace of Spaces. Pliny experiences endless acclaim from West Coast beer drinkers. HUB’s big IPA fared incredibly well last year at this same event. That was the launching pad for HUB’s popularity in the region. Over the past few months, HUB has penetrated the Seattle market and we see it often.
We tried HUB’s Ace of Spades back in July, at Saraveza’s IPA Fest. That time, it failed to impress. We held out hope that it was just bad luck with a bad batch and tried it in Round 6. Again,. it failed to impress anyone at our table. Most people felt it was just another IPA.
The one that did impress: Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton. The Baton has been around for awhile and many have probably tried it – if you haven’t buy it tonight! This beer is a huge IPA, aged in oak barrels. The beer is actually part Imperial IPA and part Old Ale, blended and stored on wood. Everyone enjoyed this beer, especially wood fanatics, who thought it had just the right amount of woody flavor. Hands down, the victor.
Winner: Dogfish Head Burton Baton
Round 7: Boundary Bay Imperial IPA, Avery Maharaja, Walking Man Homo Erectus, Ninkasi Maiden Shade & Double Mountain Molten Lava
DSR: Round 7 and 8 were the “ok, its time to get these beers” rounds. With a nice group of 6 at the table, we were able to expand our orders and clean up the rest of the list. Some old favorites made it into this round, as Boundary Bay, Avery and Walking Man Imperials were ordered. Hopefully, many of you have had a chance to try Maiden Shade. Its a peculiar, but undeniably refreshing, beer.
In this round, we had division among the people. The Beer Blotter contingent has a widely known obsession with Boundary Bay’s Imperial IPA. On most occasions, I will admit that this is my favorite Imperial IPA to drink. It simply never disappoints. On this occasion, its the same old greatness we have come to expect. The only problem is that my palate has become shot. Now, it takes twice the flavor to curl my brow. Luckily, Boundary Bay continues to offer a dense flavor punch in the mouth, with one of the best malt to hop balances on the market. There is no doubt that this will be the BB.com selection.
But, we must acknowledge the group-think mentality that we had hoped to espouse. The crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of Walking Man’s Homo Erectus. Having just visited the brewery with many of the people at the table, it made sense that there was some positive support for the Stevenson, Washington brewer. Walking Man makes some of the best beer in the State of Washington; it is undeniably the best rated Washington brewery on RateBeer.com. We agree that Walking Man’s Imperial IPA is a damn good beer, but it lacks the punch that Boundary Bay routinely packs. Regardless, we give the people what they want and a tie results.
Winner: Walking Man Homo Erectus (crowd) & Boundary Bay Imperial IPA (Beer Blotter)
Round 8: Midnight Sun Meltdown, Skagit Bourbon Barrel Reverend, Southern Tier Unearthly, Naked City Ace in Hole, Stone 14th Anniversary & Port Brewing 4th Anniversary
DSR: Well now, Round 8 is here. I can barely tell that we have tried almost 30 hoppy beers. This round is probably the most widely anticipated. For the people who hadn’t yet tried Port Brewing’s Anniversary or Southern Tier’s Unearthly, it was a momentous occasion. For those who were interested in the two intriguing Washington IPAs, there were goosebumps.
Port Brewing made this Anniversary Ale for its 4th year in business. We first had it back at 5 Guys, Burgers and Fries, which was held during Seattle Beer Week. The beer is everything that you have come to expect from Port Brewing: viciously pungent, densely lupulined, and incredibly sweet. We cannot say no. Unearthly is a lesson in fermentation cessation. The beer is purposely crafted to leave a lot of residual sugar, which nicely complements the high alpha oil content of its hops. The problem is that the Oak-Aged version is so amazingly incredible that it overshadows its un-oaked version. Because of that, this beer wasn’t too much to talk about.
We were very excited to try Naked City’s Ace in the Hole, a fresh hop made with Sorachi Ace hops. Sorachi Ace is a Japanese varietal, but it is now grown down in Prosser, Washington. This beer had almost no malt, allowing the aromatic hops to dominate the sip. We give it a thumbs up. Unfortunately, it had to perform next to Skagit River’s Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB IPA. At this juncture in the night, a bourbon washed IPA was exactly what the doctor ordered! The beer had a rich malt complexity to match the tartness of the bourbon barrel. Everyone at the table was intrigued, and the BB.com people were floored. We love this beer and encourage you all to seek it out. Nice work from the guys in Mt. Vernon.
Winner: Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB
Round 9: Silver City Whoopass, Big Sky Imperial IPA, Left Hand Twin Sisters & Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA
DSR: Round 9 has an impressive guest list. These are all very big IPAs, packed with booze and lots of flavor. While we typically love to drink Whoopass, it failed to turn heads at the table. The same was true of Big Sky’s Imperial. Not much to it.
The other two beers were quite the opposite. Left Hand’s Twin Sisters is packed with Sorachi Ace and a bevy of other typically bitter hops. I was surprised when I checked the hop bill, which Left Hand provides for all its consumers on its site (we love it when brewers do that – kudos to LH). Twin Sisters has a light spice due to the rye malt and bitter hops, which was a nice juxtaposition with the utterly profound fruitiness of our next beer. At 9.6%, its toasty.
Port Townsend: thank you for showing up. Over the past few years, we have watched Port Townsend grow into a more diverse, more risky and more delicious brewery. Their IPAs had lacked at tastings in the past, but the last few visits to the brewery, and showings like this, suggest that they belong near the top of WA brewers. Port Townsend’s Dry Hopped Imp. IPA was incredible. The fruitiness was something unmatched by any other beer at the table. We tasted grapefruit, tangerine, mango and melon. Mixing that with a mild malt base allowed the hop oils to burst in your mouth. Every person at the table was impressed. We confirmed this the following day (see below).
Winner: Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA
Round 10: The Re-Run – Port Townsend Imperial IPA, Port Brewing Anniversary & Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend.
Round 10 came on a second day visit to Brouwers to try some of the favorites. This trip included a new party who had trust problems over our Skagit and Port Townsend selections. We wanted to make sure we were not making a “tipsy” choice.
Well, we stuck with our guns. Our new guest thought that Port Brewing’s Anniversary could not be beaten – she was wrong. Port could not withstand the incredible flavors offered by Skagit and Port Townsend. The two local grogs floored our new guest and our selections were vindicated.
Winner: Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB (Again.)
The Beer Blotter Top 5:
- Black Raven Wisdom Seeker
- Dogfish Head Burton Baton
- Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB
- Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA
- Boundary Bay Imperial IPA / Mikkeller Centennial Single Hop
Honorable Mentions: Midnight Sun XXX (voted #1 by Amateur Hour), Left Hand Twin Sisters, Port Brewing Anniversary and Walking Man Homo Erectus.
As you all know, we indulged in and celebrated all that is Humulus lupulus at Brouwer’s Cafe this past weekend. Highlights include Black Raven Wisdom Seeker, Dogfish Head Burton Baton and Skagit River’s Barrel Aged IPA (the only barrel aged beer on the list). We continued our hop adventure at home by cracking Dark Horse’s Imperial IPA. On Sunday, we enjoyed the weather on our roof, while drinking kegs of Lazy Boy Oktoberfest and IPA, finishing the weekend with a present from some friends who just got back from Hawaii, Maui’s Coconut Porter. My god. Although this beer, as well as their IPA, Big Swell and their Hefe are available at Whole Foods, they got a hell of a deal purchasing this beer on the motherland. But now for your week in beer.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Goose Island Invasion: Chesterfield, Missouri
7:00PM-9:00PM @ International Tap House
This tap list is outrageous. Goose Island features: 312, Honkers, their IPA, Harvest Ale, Sofie, Matilda, Pere Jacques, Bourbon County Stout, Bourbon County Stout VANILLA, Bourbon County Stout COFFEE and Pepe Nero. My god. Get Matilda, all the Bourbon County Stouts and Pere Jacques.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Double Bacon Event: Sherman Oaks, California
5:30PM-9:30PM @ Boneyard Bistro
Sip on Mikkeller Beer Geek Bacon and feast on a special tasting plate composed of about seven bacon themed bites that will compliment the smoky/salty richness of the beer. There will be a set price for the tasting plate and a glass of the beer. Sounds damn good.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
New York State IPA Fest: Peekskill, New York
6:00PM-12:00AM @ Birdshall House
An evening featuring IPAs exclusively from the Empire State. Participating breweries include but are not limited to Brooklyn Brewery, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Sixpoint Craft Ales, Southern Tier, Blue Point Brewing Co plus a few surprises.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Boulevard Beer and Food Tasting: Lawrence, Kansas
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Genovese
Cost- $35 bones gets you four courses of delicious foods and Kansas’ very own Boulevard beers!
First course: ZON paired with Wakarusa Valley Mesculan Salad with Grilled Pineapple, Local Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds
Second course: Tank 7 paired wit…h Crostini with Caponata, Sliced Steve’s Meats Beef and Mustard Aioli
Third course: Lunar Ale paired with Bucatini with Lobster, Calabrian Chilies and Toasted Pistachios
Fourth course: Bully! Porter paired with Broken Arrow Ranch Braised Wild Boar in Boulevard Beer with Roasted Squash and Shaved Pecorino
Friday, September 17, 2010
2nd Annual Saisonfest: Emmaus, Pennsylvania
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Tap & Table
What a great idea- a festival dedicated to the under appreciated (by Americans anyway) style of beer- Saisons. This draft list is to die for- check out all of the amazing breweries: *jolly pumpkin es bam, *st. somewhere saison athene, jandrain iv, jandrain v, nuova mattina, blaugies la moneuse, *dupont avec les bons voeux, bruery saison de lente, glazen toren d’erpe mere, *cigar city guava groove, *lost abbey red barn ale, hopfenstark saison de repos, bullfrog fran-tastique, hop ten dormaal blonde, *nogne-o saison, pretty things jack d’or, *saison dupont. Seriously – one of the best events this fall season. So if you have been waiting for an excuse to visit Emmaus, PA- here it is!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Iron Horse WABL Event: Ellensburg, Washington
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Iron Horse Brewery
Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg is inviting WABL members to their Pint and Potato Fest. The event will feature 6 varieties of Irish Eyes, freshly harvested local potatoes with unique dipping sauces, plus 6 Iron Horse beers on tap. Music by Abby Mae and the Homeschool Boys. $9 entry fee includes taters and dips but WABL members will receive $2 off admission. While you are in town make sure to visit Iron Horse’s new micropub in downtown Ellensburg!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Arcadia Brewing Co. Shipwreck Release Party: Grand Rapids, Michigan
7:00PM-2:00AM @ HopCat
This venue always has amazing beer events and this is no exception! Come for the relase of Arcadia Brewing Co.’s Shipwreck Porter. There will be beer specials, best pirate costume prizes and other great things. I mean, beer AND pirates- how could you not go?
As always, if you go to an event, want us to post about an event or just want to speak your mind, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Brouwer’s is the best beer bar that I have ever been to in America, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few good ones. There is a lot of reasons for my confidence in that stance, but one of the larger ones is the fests that they host. Yes, there is a decent number of bars in the country that host barleywine fests, and probably even more that organize IPA fests. It seems pretty doubtful that there would be many that put on sour beer festivals or stout festivals, but I’m sure there are a hand full out there. But, the question is, how many bars in America do all of those, and do them so well that beer nerds like myself take off of work to attend them? I’d say that the answer is probably very, very few. I love pretty much everything about Brouwer’s and HopFest is surely no exception.
So you know that I love Brouwer’s, you know that I love HopFest, you know that I will be there at the moment the doors open, and you know that I will imbibe many an IBU packed brew, but one more question need be answered: what will I be drinking? That’s where the guide comes in.
First, check out the full list that we posted on the 1st. After much consideration, I have developed a game plan. Granted, there is going to be a few additions and most likely, a few exciting surprises come Friday. If these surprises include Russian River Pliny the Younger or Firestone Walker Double Jack, you are going to want to forget the entire remainder of this article and just drink those until the kegs kick.
Top 10 beers to try:
10.) Russian River Blind Pig – I hear more and more people say “Pliny isn’t even their best IPA” in reference to Blind Pig. I personally don’t agree, but everything that Russian River makes is good…damn good. Blind Pig shows up in Seattle from time to time but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a decent contingent of folks out there that haven’t gotten a hold of it yet. Here is your chance.
9.) Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster – My boss at Lazy Boy always gives me shit for my blog claiming that Black Raven is the best brewery in WA. I’m sure he will also give me shit for not putting our Imperial IPA on this list (sorry boss, I feel a little weird self promoting. It is a damn good beer though.) Well, we stand by our claim about BRB. The people spoke over at The Bev when they voted it in as the house IPA. This brew is super solid in it’s regular form, I can only guess that the dry hopped version will be even better. If you have cheated and looked down at number 1 already, you have seen another reason why we are confident in our claim.
8.) Elysian Idiot Sauvin – I honestly don’t know what this beer is. That is precisely why I want to try it. Elysian and experimentation go hand in hand, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one had some peculiar adjuncts added. No matter what, Elysian makes great beer and this will likely be worth your money.
7.) Midnight Sun XXX Black Double – When Cascadian Dark Ales, or CDAs took over the craft beer world a little while back, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before the Imperial black IPAs would show up. Well here it is, and I must say, I’m intrigued. I’m even more intrigued knowing that Midnight Sun is behind it.
6.) Boundary Bay Imperial – There are two Imperial IPAs produced in WA that are head and shoulders above all the rest. This is one of them. This is a beer that, if it were distributed with greater reach, would bring some much needed respect to Washington state in the beer war for state supremacy. This is one of the very few beers that, if I hear that it is on tap somewhere close by, I will do all in my power to make it there immediately to get a pint.
5.)Hub Ace of Spades – I have only had this beer once before and it was at last year’s HopFest. I can’t believe that that was a year ago, I remember it so well. It was probably my favorite “new” beer (new to me) of the event. As it turns out, it was voted the second best beer of the fest behind Pliny the Younger. Now that Hub is distributing bottles in WA it may be easier to acquire this one, but I will still be ordering one and bathing in it’s brilliance.
4.) Mikkeller Single Hop – This is actually three beers in one (Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook), sorry to cheat. You probably don’t have to try all three, but it sure would make a fun experiment. I absolutely love the concept of single hop beers and I love Mikkeller for making this series happen. As a fledgling brewer I feel that spending time with these brews will help me gain a better understanding and appreciation for various hop varietals and their impact on scent and flavor. You can sometimes find these brews in 12oz bottles around town , but they are often over $6 a piece. I don’t think I have ever seen them on draft – this is pretty special and definitely a good opportunity to taste them for, potential, a little bit less dough.
3.) Moylans Wet Hopsickle – Hopsickle is a triple IPA and it’s huge. When you add the word “wet” before it, it means that fresh hops were used. I’m getting emotional just thinking about the potential that this beer has to be mind-blowing. God damn, I can’t believe it’s fresh hop season already! Yet another reason why living in the Northwest is spectacular.
2.) Green Flash Palate Wrecker – Green Flash is masterful when it comes to hops. Their West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA are both among the best made in America. Like the Elysian above, I don’t really know what this beer is, but I know I need to have it.
1.) Black Raven Wisdom Seeker – This beer walks around town with a hype attached to it that is so massive and heavy that I’m amazed it can even stand on it’s own two feet, but boy does it ever. When this beer hits a handle in the Seattle area, there is an instant buzz, and 20 minutes later (or less) she is out the door…gone…kicked. Black Raven has clearly taken cues from other perennial buzz junkies (like Pliny the Younger) in seemingly stunting production and causing such a skewed supply and demand curve that on the rare occasion that is it available, people freak out to get a taste. It would be silly of me to suggest that anything different will happen at HopFest. This should go very fast so get there early and order 2 at once.
I’ve decided to use the “Top 5 Lists” column to go ahead and give a brief dissertation on the Washington Brewers Festival. WaBF happened this past weekend out in Kenmore, Washington. We went out and had a blast.
As you might remember, we typically use this column to discuss our five favorite places for a beer in cities across the globe. There are quite a bit of cities – we travel often.
We plan on discussing the event more this week, but the time being, I wanted to share my five favorite places to have a beer at WaBF. This is a bit strange, considering its really all one place – a tent in one big field. But the column is more about the five great situations that I experienced at WaBF, and why I think they are significant.
Again, lets revisit the rules and disclaimer:
First, the rules: (these are the normal Top 5 rules, but they basically apply the same way here. I have edited briefly though)
- We go places because we want, not because someone asked. I cannot stress this enough. We were never enticed to these places by promises of freebies, attention, pats on the back or back room happy endings – we just went because we heard the word.
- We cannot be everywhere. Typically when we visit an event, we have limited time. This severely limits what we can visit. If there is a critically-acclaimed otherworldly thing to do that we did not make it to, we will try and asterisk it in the Top 5 list so that you know it exists.
- We are not millionaires. Wow, bet you could have guessed that one. We cannot purchase the best of the best all of the time. This limits what we might get out of a particular event. Just want you to know.
- We like all types of things. These lists are not “beer nerd” centric – far from it. In fact, you may find things that make you shake your head. But, if they have the total package of beer, character, service, food and aura – they get the mark.
- We try to poll our choices, but sometimes there is bias. This one doesn’t apply today – I am taking over.
Ok, now that we are through with the rules, lets move on to the Top 5 list for the Washington Brewers Fest.
Washington Brewers Festival
- Visits: Every year since 2007. This year, I attended on Friday, June 18, 2010.
- Area Brewers of Note: Probably every brewer in the great state of Washington (though not likely) and a few specials from out of state (Dogfish Head and Goose Island, among others). But this even included tiny nanobrewers 192 Brewing and Foggy Noggin Brewing.
- Festival Favorite: Look at the line above – Black Raven Brewing Co. In a short time of just over a year, this brewery had won the heart of locals and the attention of outsiders. I even had a discussion about them with the owner of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL! They are making waves.
- The Top 5…..
#5 – The Bloggers – Geoff Kaiser and Kendall Jones
Well we have to pull for our own, don’t we? Beer blogging is becoming a popular form of art. As more and more people become intrigued by the craft beer world, more and more local breweries find market share. This forces more and more localization of beer for the public, with even tiny nanobrewers finding a place to sell their goods.
All of this lends to one thing – a need for local beer communities. The local beer community in Seattle has spawned several beer-centric bars, craft bottle shops, micro and nanobrewers and now even local beer bloggers. Most bloggers do what they do because they simply love beer – and they recognize the need for a local resource. Believe me, no blogger thinks that they are the source, but if we can shave some time of your adventure through beer, steer you towards the great venues and give you a head’s up on happenings – we are lending a hand to the beer community.
When I saw that the two most read (probably) beer bloggers in Washington state had booths at WaBF, it made me proud to be a blogger. Seattle Beer News and Washington Beer Blog are written by Geoff Kaiser and Kendall Jones, respectively. Both of these guys do an excellent job writing about beer in Washington state. I tip my hat to each of them for their commitments to great material.
But, now they are even be accepted into the brewers world. WaBF is a festival for the brewers and it was a bit touching to see that Washington Beer Commission was willing to include both these great resources. Kudos to the event; kudos to Geoff and Kendall for jumping in.
#4 – The Nanobrewers
Some time ago, I wrote an article on BeerBlotter.com about some of the nanobrewing spots that you could visit around Seattle. Later on, the focus of that story, Gilligan’s Brewing Company, became the center of a story by magazine, All About Beer.
Its funny to look back at that article now and think: those guys were nanobrewers?! Yes, I might have played down the extent of brewing operations over at Seattle brewers Big Al Brewing, Two Beers Brewing, Schooner Exact Brewing, and Fremont Brewing. Big Al can be found all across Washington state, Two Beers is the house IPA tap at many of my favorite bars, Schooner Exact recently opened a tap room with over 10 beers, and Fremont Brewing is now in the process of canning! These guys are no longer the little guys on the block.
But, there have emerged a new breed of nanobrewers in the greater Seattle area. One of my favorite things to see at this years event: the little guys having a place to pour.
My favorite might be 192 Brewing, who is doing what they do – all in a 192 square foot space. This is what its all about. It doesn’t take $500,000.00 to get started, it doesn’t require a warehouse. All you need is some love and a few good test batches to make a tasty beer that the public can enjoy. 192 has the right idea.
Similarly, Foggy Noggin made my little eyes weep. These guys are making beer on a 1/2 barrel (15 gallon) gravity system, similar to the one that BeerBlotter.com brews on. I was so proud to see these guys, without all the wonderful equipment of its surrounding brewers, put out some good brew. It does a homebrewer proud.
I hope to see more of this over the next year. It doesn’t take much to add another tent or two to WaBF (I assume). Maybe we’ll even see some home brewers involved in the next few years.
I was just out in Wenatchee and made a quick stop in Leavenworth for some cheese and brats at the Munchen Haus. When we were down in the Cheesemonger, tasting some damn good cheese, we saw some bottles from Washington brewers – brewers we had never heard of.
What we saw were bottles from Old Schoolhouse Brewing. This brewery and pub is located out in little ole Winthrop, Washington – in the south end of the Okanogon National Forest. We met the owner and brewer, a father and son, respectively, and were utterly impressed with their kind demeanor and their tasty beer. Our favorite: the Imperial IPA (coming in at 9.6% ABV!).
Old Schoolhouse was just one of many rural brewers that us city folk down in Seattle do not regularly get to try. Because of a dense brewer population in the greater Seattle area, its difficult for a rural brewer to find tap space at your bar. So WaBF is one of those great events where you finally get to try some of their concoctions.
Other rural brewers of note were Skookum Brewery, out in Arlington, WA, Snipes Mountain Brewing, down in Prosser, WA, and Flyers Restaurant & Brewery, up in Oak Harbor, WA. Each of these brewers showcase wonderful ales, including top notch IPAs from Skookum and Snipes, and a potentially best in show porter from Flyers. If you get a chance to try their beers – grab one, its not everyday you see them.
#2 – The Crazy Beers
After awhile, you’ve just had too many IPAs. You want something a bit different don’t you? You want something that makes you go – What the &%$((%$?!
In the past few years, we have seen the emergence of more creative recipes, a larger presence of wood-aging, and yeasts we cannot pronounce. Most of this shift is due to the success of sour beers, higher alcohol beverages, and fearless brewers like Dogfish Head, Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin and Avery Brewing.
In my three years at this event, I have never seen more than a few “off-the-cuff” beer titles on the list. This year – the list was littered with unknowns. Some of the most mind-boggling:
Airways Triple Chocolate Stout (Stout)
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit (Witbier)
Big al 5 Star Chile IPA (Habanero Hot)
Black Raven’s Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary (Sour Mash Rye), Jerked Brown Porter (Herb & Spiced Ale) & Coco Jones (Coconut Brown Porter)
Foggy Noggin Christmas Duck (We just like the name)
Fremont Brewing Scary Monster Double IPA** (Ridiculous IPA)
Hale’s IX Gold on Sour Cherries (Belgian Strong Golden)
Harmon Scott’s Puget Creek Vanilla Porter (Flavored Brown Porter)
Lazy Boy Nacho Pilsner (Dry Hopped Chiles/Pilsner) & Oscuro Con Chiles** (Infused/Porter)
Snipe’s Cask Twangzister Sour Cherry Stout** (Barrel Aged Sour)
I also very much enjoy the slow emergence of more and more French and Belgian Farmhouse style ales. I have never seen so many, Biere De Garde, Saison and general white and wheat ales. I was very impressed with Double Mountain and Rock Bottom saisons.
Its a welcome change. Lets keep it up brewers.
You’d think I’d spend the most time talking about the #1 place on the list. But, this is a bittersweet love. As much as they deserve #1 – the place was inundated with a line that was no less than 10 times the length of any other line at the fest. Kudos to Black Raven for arriving on the scene – and blowing it to smithereens.
Black Raven is the best beer producer in Washington state. Its settled, there can no longer be a debate. The buzz behind everything they do can no longer be silenced, can no longer be inhibited. They are officially playing the role of the most popular brewer in the state.
Well, its not just a fad. Its really good beer, creative beer, inventive beer, flavorful beer and selective beer. They showcased several titles at the WaBF – every single one was impeccable. The Wisdom Seeker Double IPA is perhaps the best in the nation at its style. The bourbon barrel scotch ale was my #2 beer at the event. The Coconut Porter and the Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary are both Top 20 beers as well.
Look – we know they are good. Beer bloggers are helping to create this following with our perpetual ogling over all that they do. But, that being said, we cannot stop. No matter how big the buzz, we continue to peg them at the top of the list. Nothing changes over here at BeerBlotter.com. Black Raven rules Washington beer.
Live in Washington Beer Festival? Know the event? Hate something we wrote? Let us know below in our comments, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy belated Father’s Day! I hope all you dads had time to enjoy a beer yesterday. We had a blast on Friday at the Washington Brewers festival so many amazing beers ranging from sour stouts (Snipes Mountain), to epic IPAs (Port Townsend) and bourbon barreled scotch ales (Black Raven). Its still winter in Seattle (today is the official first day of summer) but here are your events around the country.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Come Meet the Genius at Rattle-N-Hum: New York, New York
4:30PM-7:30PM @ Rattle-n-Hum
Seriously, 21 Dogfish Head beers will be pouring tonight- almost everyone you can think of- Black and Blue- CHECK, Midas Touch- CHECK, Burton Baton- CHECK. Meet the man behind it all, Sam Caligione. What a great way to start the week. For a full list click here.
Tuesday, May 22, 2010
Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Providence, Rhode Island
6:00PM-8:00PM @ The Melting Pot of Providence
This $50.00 beer dinner (Please mention “Beer Dinner” when making your reservations) will provide you with a 5 course meal consisting of fine cheeses, a curry dish, a decadent dessert plus many amazing beers from Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Lagunitas Tasting: Chicago, Illinois
8:00PM-10:00PM @ Fizz Bar and Grill
Tonight will showcase Lagunitas Brewing Company from Petaluma, California during a free tasting at 8 p.m. Fizz chef Weslie Bellini will pair light Mexican bites such as ceviche with the brews. Enjoy!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Three Floyds Tasting Night: Michigan City, Indiana
5:30PM – 7:00PM @ Sahara
This event is $15.00 a person which includes 6-7 Three Floyds brews and appetizers to complement these fine crafted beverages. Pray for Dreadnaught (their double IPA).
Friday, June 25, 2010
First Day of San Diego International Beer Festival: San Diego, California
4:00PM-8:00PM @ Del Mar Fairgrounds
Tickets are $37 if purchased in advance for a four-hour session and $43 at the gate. Ticket prices include admission to the 2010 San Diego County Fair. Tickets are sold through the Del Mar Fairgrounds Box Office or at www.Ticketmaster.com. For more information on the Festival and the San Diego County Fair, please visit www.sdfair.com/beer.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Bell’s Fermented Eclipse: Minneapolis, Minnesota
3:00PM-10:00PM @ Stub and Herb’s
Music, Bell’s Brewing Co. beer and BBQ- Check this out-Stub and Herb’s has some Expedition Stout Barrels that they will be chopping up and throwing in a smoker for bbqing chickens. That just sounds amazing. The Bell’s beer trailer will be outside pouring this lineup: Batch 9000, Black Note, Bourbon-Barrel Hell Hath No Fury, Oatmeal Stout (1st time tapped in MN) plus 3 other special taps that are apparently secret thus far. Also look for Expedition Stout, Cherry Stout, Double Cream, Kalamazoo and Rye Stout on tap.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Cheese Loves Beer VIII: Burlington, Vermont
1:30PM-3:30PM @ American Flatbread Burlington Hearth
Stop by today and sample artisanal cheese and craft beer pairings. This event will highlight cheese makers new to the local artisanal cheese scene and pairing them with the exceptional beers crafted by Zero Gravity Brewery. This event is very limited and a pre-paid reservation is necessary to attend. See the host at the restaurant, or e-mail email@example.com to make a reservation. Cost is $30 per person.
Ok ok, you know we are from Seattle. Despite our best attempts to keep this blog all about beer and not just Seattle beer – it just tends to lean that way. Its our backyard!
In any event there are some great offerings out there in the NW corner this week – lets discuss:
Naked City Taphouse:
Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper – an incredible imperial stout with a kick of spice. If you have never had this you are missing one of America’s best Chrsitmas beers.
Naked City Hoptricity – the fourth (we think) offering in the Naked City regulars, this beer is supposedly stunning, raves Naked City’s own, Rachaal.
Avery The Czar – one of the top stouts, this beer will warm you up with its incredible body and roasty nose.
Black Raven Wisdom Seeker – my favorite NW IPA of 2009. This is extremely limited and is actually a double. Drink this before its gone.
Sierra Nevada Juniper Black Ale – have not heard too much of this offering. Sounds interesting though.
Malt & Vine
For you eastsiders. Also, did you all know that they recently updated and changed their website – much more manageable!
Anchor Our Special Ale 2008 – Last year’s version did fairly well among beer critics. This Christmas ale wont last long.
Ommegang Rouge – I love that this keeps popping up lately. Probably the most widely loved and sold sour in America, upstate NY’s brewer does it well.
St. Bernardus Belgian Christmas Ale – They make Abt 12. This is not very far off in quality.
Latona is rocking a heavy Big Time influenced menu – which is fine by us. This kicks off Winter Beer Series that is going down over the next few months:
Big Time Jeezum Crow IPA – This one was had at WA Brewers Fest and its sweet as hell (as in sugar content). Very enjoyable with some x-mas cookies i presume!
Big Time Dark Days – a dark IPA with some punch. Read The Pickled Liver’s review of it here.
Left Hand 400 Lb Monkey – another IPA that borders on the edge of too sweet. But worth the try alongside a Jeezum Crow.
I am skipping the pour list – though a nice pint of Flying Dog’s Gonzo sounds good – to discuss the post about their cellar sale that began late yesterday:
From the site:
Every year around this time we dive into our cellar and release a few of the goodies contained within. As always, bottle limits apply to certain items and quantities are scarce. Happy Holidays!
Allagash Victoria 2006 750ml (ME)
Avery Czar Imperial Stout 2008 22oz (CO)
Avery Fifteen 22oz (CO)
Butte Creek Train Wreck Barleywine 22oz (CA)
Dogfish Head Burton Baton 2007 12oz (DE)
Fish Leviathan Barleywine 2000 750ml (WA)
Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws 2006 12oz (OR)
Hair of the Dog Fred Batch #23 1.5L Magnum (OR)
Hair of the Dog Matt 12oz (OR)
Lost Abbey 10 Commandments 2008 750ml (CA)
Lost Abbey Judgement Day 2007 750ml (CA)
Maritime Jolly Roger 2005 12oz (WA)
Maritime Jolly Roger 2007 12oz (WA)
New Belgium Bottleworks X Anniversary 750ml (CO)
New Belgium La Folie 2007 750ml (CO)
Pike Old Bawdy 2006 12oz (WA)
Rogue Ten Thousand Brew 750ml (OR)
Russian River Deviation 750ml (CA)
Victory Storm King 2007 12oz (PA)
De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Reserva 2002 330ml (Belgium)
De Dolle Brouwers Oerbier Reserva 2006 330ml (Belgium)
De Dolle Brouwers Stille Nacht 2002 330ml (Belgium)
De Ranke Cuvée 2007 750ml (Belgium)
De Ranke Kriek 2006 750ml (Belgium)
Dubuisson Scaldis Noël 2006 750ml (Belgium)
Dupont Avec Les Bons Voeux 2006 750ml (Belgium)
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Noël 2004 750ml (Belgium)
Het Anker Gouden Carolus Noël 2005 750ml (Belgium)