I might as well stick with it. Let’s call it a trend. Today I hit up 2 Seattle area bottle shops [sic] that I have never visited before. One is very new, the other is newish, mostly “under new management”, or so I understand.
First up was Chuck’s 85th St. Market. I have been following these guys for a little while now via Twitter (am I obsessed?). They go by @chucks85th in case you’d like to follow. I noticed that they have been having a lot of tastings lately and that they seem to get most of the coveted releases, though often a bit later than the big(er) guys. They just tweeted that they got Firestone Walker Double Jack in and I have been in need of that ever since it hit the Seattle market. I had seen the place on many occasions, but never really believed that it would be worth a damn as a bottle shop. In fact, I used to run past it on a daily basis when I lived on Cleopatra Place NW, one block north of The Dray.
Speaking of The Dray, please check out this article at Seattle Beer News about the soon to be opened bar called The Yard by the same owners. I’m super excited!
Back to the bottles. Chuck’s is oddly similar to the Lake Stevens place that I posted about yesterday. It’s a god damn convenience store with a more than normal bottle collection. In this case, unlike that of Norm’s, the selection is, as Tim Webb may say, “smart”. There’s significantly less refrigerators at Chuck’s that are designated to beer as are at Norms, but there is much, much more excitement. Yes, you will find six packs of your standard, slightly cheaper micro varieties, but you will find almost equal parts eye poppers and “trendy” offerings. I walked away with a North Coast Twentieth Anniversary, a HOD Blue Dot and 2 Double Jacks. Great Success!
After a brief stop at 74th St. Alehouse to grab a pint of Two Beers cask Evo IPA dry hopped and infused with D’anjou pears and Pink Lady Apples (drool) I headed over to Seth’s (of Collins Pub/Hudson New American Public House fame) new bottle shop, The Last Drop.
I must admit that I’m massively jealous of what Seth has created here. From the first moment that I walked through the doors of Belmont Station in Portland I knew that pubs and bottle shops were meant to live in harmony, side by side. I promised myself that my bar/brewpub would have an adjoining bottle shop. I stand by that, and you know what, fuck it, you should do it too. The more options the better. Let us beer nerds take over the world…of commerce.
I digress. The Last Drop is a bit stark at the moment, but I have a strong feeling that Seth has made it this way to allow for it to grow organically with time. He was a lot of space to work with, which excites me. I want to work for him and help fill the voids, both figuratively and literally. There is a lot of potential there.
TLD has about 7 (I forgot to count) beers on tap behind the register for growler fills. Some solid offerings, no doubt. There’s a few wine options available as well, but beer is clearly the motif here. If it’s not clear by now, I’m a cranky old snob when it comes to bottle shops. If I want something cheap I’ll go to Safeway and buy a 12er of Rainier. When I go to a bottle shop I want the newest releases and I plan to spend $50. I want to build my cellar or I want to get something that I have never had before. I also work for a living and find it very challenging to arrive on the doorsteps of Bottleworks when this shit gets released. The Last Drop, at least as of now in its infantile stage, fucking rules my life.
It’s clear that Seth was buying/cellaring beers for his bottle shop long before the doors opened. I love him for that. Though some of the rarer offerings have been sicken with an up-charge, it’s to be expected, and honestly, it excites me because it inadvertently offers monetary fortitude to what I’ve cellared in the past 6 months. This is far different from offering horrible out of season beers like Norm’s does. This is offering a virtual get out of jail free card to the lazy or the busy (like myself). If I didn’t already have a 2010 Black Xanthus I’d have picked one up. If you don’t have one, get over to Last Drop now!
Allow me to state, for the record, that I know I can sound highly narcissistic at times when I write these articles. Please understand that that is my role here at beerblottter.com. I’m the uber-nerd that plays to the sensibilities of the Northwest beer connoisseur. For those that are not connoisseurs, please feel free to mock me, mostly for spending nearly all of my meager earnings on beer that I horde away and rarely actually drink. One day, most likely very soon, I’ll die and leave a god-awful amount of amazing beer to some lo-life that has zero respect/understanding for what I have and it’ll be all for naught. I repeat, mock at will.
Seattle is not at a loss for breweries and beer bars. That perfect place to have a pint is just around the corner. But what happens when you want to enjoy a beer at home, purchase a beer souvenir or contribute to your ever growing beer collection? That’s right, you visit a bottle shop.
Although here in Seattle, your local corner store will have a decent selection of micro-brews, a worthy bottle shop is about location, price, rotation, organization and of course, inventory. There are many bottle shops in the greater Seattle area, but I am going to focus on four, each with a very different reason for making the mention on this post.
Best Bottle Price
5909 Airport Way South
Seattle, WA 98108
Befriend this reasonably priced bottle shop on Facebook- cause that is what all of the cool kids are doing…
Full Throttle Bottles is located in the off beat neighborhood of Georgetown. Comprised of warehouses, biker bars and other edgy establishments, Full Throttle gives this neck of the woods a great selection at very reasonable prices. Although their inventory is smaller than several other bottle shops, you can’t beat their prices. I have acquired several special bottles for $1-$3 less than other places. An added bonus- spend over $10.00 ten times and you will get 11% off of a purchase. This Saturday, November 13, 2010 is Georgetown’s Art Attack- a great opportunity to support the local arts and grab some bottles to-go!
Best Selection and Most Knowledgeable
1710 North 45th Street #3
Seattle, WA 98103
Bottleworks is owned by the same people that created, built, own and manage Brouwer’s Cafe, so you can imagine this bottle shop has an amazing selection. If there is a release that makes its way to Washington State, then you better believe, Bottleworks will get it and get it first (and probably sell out first). Located in the Wallingford neighborhood among quirky store fronts, Bottleworks is the place you can go and enjoy a beer while you shop. Within this past year, Bottleworks installed 4 or 5 rotating taps. Grab a tasty beverage and peruse the store looking for your favorite IPA or the new release. From Belgium to Japan, sours and stouts, Bottleworks will meet your beer needs, every time.
A Bottle Shop for the Commuter
16851 Redmond Way
Redmond, WA 98052
As you may know, Seattle is home to Microsoft. After living here for about a week, you are bound to meet someone who works for Microsoft. The “campus” is located in Redmond, WA about a 20 minute (without traffic) drive from downtown Seattle. So what do you do after work in Redmond? And more over, why would a Seattlite who works in Seattle go to Redmond for beer? Well let me tell you. Malt and Vine not only offers a well-rounded, ever changing inventory, they always have amazing beers on tap- 10 or so at any given time. On a sunny day, you can sit down with a beer on the back patio or just window shop among the glass coolers. Just down the road is Black Raven Brewing Co., another reason to head to Redmond. But Malt and Vine makes the list for their selection and their approach to organizing the inventory- by brewery. Its quite the site to see 10 Midnight Sun beers all in one area glistening below the cooler lights. The staff here are very nice, knowledgeable and lovers of craft beer.
The Place to Go When Visiting Seattle
1926 Pike Place
Seattle, WA 98101-1013
Located in Pike Place Market- Seattle’s #1 tourist destination is the Pear Delicatessen. Although this specialty grocery sells fine cheeses, wines and simple groceries, they have a great selection of beers from the Western part of our country, mainly Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon. This is perfect for a local to stop by and grab some beers and snacks for guests and perfect for the visitor looking to take back a taste of the Pacific NW.
Thats right. You heard it here first. Today will live infamous amongst the various musings of beer writers in the Northwest. For today is……Hopfest.
Brouwers Cafe and Bottleworks both throw down today in the hoppiest way possible: by showcasing almost 70 hoppy masterpieces at their two locations. The festivities start at each location at 11:00 AM and will run until they throw you out. Both places promise to have hoppy ales on tap all through the weekend – until the keg runs dry.
Word to the wise: Bottleworks is out there lurking in the bushes. They have 9 taps now and will fill growlers. As a testament to their greatness and as a pseudo-means of crowd control, expect them to put up some pretty incredible IPAs today. Perhaps some you have never seen in Washington before.
We’ll pour out a lil hop juice (not too much) for our out of town homies, Kendall & Kim Jones, who are embarking on an epic trip to Great American Beer Fest. Follow their twitter stream to find out the amazing places that they are visiting.
See you there. Come by and tell us what you think of the beer – we really want to know what you like!
I have been dubbed Timperial Stout for one simple reason: I love my beers deep, dark and mysterious. Lucky for me, the people over at Brouwer’s Cafe have created a night to honor that holy opaque beverage we call stout. I’d be remiss to not mention it and provide my take on how one would work up a game plan for such an event. I’ve posted the list below, that was so thoughtfully provided by the folks over at Seattle Beer Week. In this case, it has proven very helpful that two members of the SBW collective get a paycheck from Brouwer’s. After each selection I have provided some commentary. I’ve tried to be brief, but you know…I love this stuff.
Allagash Black is delicious and unique, but it’s not all that rare so I’d skip it here and get a bottle at the bottleshop if you’ve never tried it.
Avery Black Tot on the other hand…pretty damn rare. This is the third release in Avery’s Barrel-Aged Series and is an imperial oatmeal stout aged in Gosling’s rum barrels. I’m sure this wont be cheap, but I’d bet it’s worth every penny.
Avery Czar is, in my opinion, one of the best regularly available imperial stouts out there, but for this event, “regularly available” = “skip it”.
Avery Meph Addict is Avery Mephistopheles with coffee added. I have never had (or seen for that matter) this one, so rare…yes. The original Meph is a beast of a brew. I recommend you tread lightly with these fellas, they are over 15% abv.
Avery Mephistopheles – See above
Beer Valley Black Madness – I’m either unaware of this beer or this is a mix up on words. Beer Valley makes Black Flag Imperial Stout and Leafer Madness Imperial Pale Ale, but I’m not so sure about Black Madness. The SBW site lists “Black Madness” again for the Firkin-Firkin event at Elysian, so I could be misinformed, or not informed at all as the case may be.
Big Sky Bottleworks 11 is going to be showing up at special events at Brouwer’s for a few years to come now I’d assume, considering the beer was made and kegged exclusively for them (Bottleworks, Brouwer’s, same difference). Never-the-less, it’s a very intriguing beer with some intense sour and vinous notes. Worth a taste if you missed out on the bottles.
Big Time Old Rip – Bill Jenkins knows how to make a beer folks. If you don’t make it to the U-district with much regularity, you may have never had this one. Go for it, drink local.
Boulevard Nitro Dry Stout – Boulevard out of Kansas City, MO has been doing a lot of experimenting lately. They seem to be really making things happen, and everything that I have had of theirs so far has been quality. They are still fairly new to the Seattle market…I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot a kegs come through. I would never get this because I don’t like dry stouts, but if you are into Guinness, Murphy’s, Beamish, Moylan’s Dragoons, etc, check it out.
Chuckanut Export Foreign Stout – The words “Export Foreign Stout” are not very commonly used, but they basically indicate a “bigger” stout, built for long journeys on boats and such. Considering the many recent accolades being tossed in Chuckanut’s direction, when I see that brewery name on something I want to try it. Seems like a great starter to the evening to me.
Dick’s Woodford BBN Oak Cream Stout – I, sadly, don’t know a lot about this one, but the words “oak” and “cream stout” get me excited. Worth a try, and possibly a bit more manageable in the abv category.
Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout – This one is extremely high on my list of best beers on planet Earth. ‘Nuff said. Oh, except beware of the strength – 18%.
Double Mountain Imperial Chaos is a draft only imperial stout from the impressive folks down in Hood River, OR. I’ve never had this one, but I have continually been impressed by 2x Mountain. I think I’ll be trying this one.
Elysian Dragonstooth Stout – One of the best single stouts in Washington, if not the country. Very underrated in this area, possibly due to its permanent availability and therefore lack of hype. Even still, I wouldn’t get it at an event like this. Get a bottle at Whole Foods and take it home.
Firestone Walker Parabola 10 is my number one on this list. I will scratch and claw to get it. It is a 13% imperial stout that was blended from all sorts of different barrels, vintages, what-have-you. It’s probably least rare this year then ever before in its existence, but still, very rare.
Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin is a fairly traditional oatmeal stout with a really great name. Decent beer by one of the premier breweries in America. I’d look for it on another day.
Full Sail Imperial Stout – Full Sail might be one of the largest breweries in the North West, but they still make really good beer, especially those in the Brewmaster Reserve series. This is not Black Gold, so it’s not barrel aged, but it’s a great beer. Worth getting on any other day, but there are better choices on this list.
Glacier Jack Daniels Impy Stout – Glacier is without a doubt one of Alaska’s finest. Sadly, even though we are the closest neighboring state, we don’t see all that much of their work. If this is in any way even close to matching the quality of their Big Woody Barleywine, this will be amazing. Get it!
Great Divide Espresso Yeti – Yeti, like Avery Czar, is one of the best regularly available imperial stouts out there. The espresso version is not as good in my opinion, but it’s a must try for all coffee junkies.
Green Flash Espresso Stout – I think this might be a keg only one-off brew. Sounds rare. Green Flash makes great beer. I’d go for it!
Hales Machete – This puppy is brewed right down the street from Brouwer’s. I give them a big “f%&@ yeah!” for the name but I think I’ll have to skip this one, only because of better options.
Hitachino Espresso Stout – This is the best espresso stout I have ever had, but you can get it in the bottle pretty easily. Not appropriate for this event.
Laughing Dog Dogfather – This is one of the best beers to come out of Idaho. I will skip it only because I still have a few bottles in the cellar, but it’s worthy of a purchase.
Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout – This one is released annually in the bottle, and can sometimes be found during the “off-season” at local bottle shops. This beer is really freaking good, but get a bottle.
Lost Abbey Serpents Stout is Tomme Arthur’s idea of a Belgian stout. If there is an actual Belgian brewed stout out there that is this rich and delicious, I have yet to find it. Alvinne Podge is about as close as I can think of. If you have never had this beer you need to get it. This is fairly commonly available in bottles so I’d skip it here.
Mad River BBN Export Stout – A quality California brew, but not up to par with some of the competition.
Moylan’s Ryan O’Sullivan – I don’t often think of this beer when I ponder the great impy stouts of America, but I should. It is a high quality brew, but yet again, a bit too common for this event.
Odin Sour Stout – believe it or not, I have yet to taste the nectars produced by Odin. I know, it’s crazy. I don’t know much about the sour stout but I must admit I’m intrigued. This night just might be my first dance with Odin.
Oskar Blues Ten Fiddy – One of the very few, if not only imperial stouts released in a can. That’s pretty damn cool, and it’s delicious to boot. If I was at Brouwer’s on a regular day, I’d get it, but not tonight.
Port Brewing Old Viscosity – This beer is great, but not as good as its older brother. Go with the older.
Port Brewing Older Viscosity – Regular readers will know that I’m mildly obsessed with this beer. It’s chocolate covered pretzels to a T. Get this and be like the stout fella above…meditate for a bit – you will go places. I will most likely only get this one late in the evening, well after my better judgment has evaded me. This is only because I have had it a bunch of times already.
Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper is a good impy stout, but it’s a bit thin for my liking. I’d skip it.
Porterhouse Nitro Oyster Stout – This is a low abv dry Irish stout. Sorry but…not interested.
Porterhouse Nitro Wrasslers 5x stout – Sorry Ireland, your stouts are boring.
Sierra Nevada Fritz & Ken – This was recently reviewed glowingly on this site by yours truly. It’s a damn good beer with a damn good story to tell.
Southern Tier Jahva – This is a member of the ST Imperial series, which should read “AMAZING”! Easily one of Beer Blotter’s favorite breweries in the world. Their stouts are impeccable. This one is just slightly less impeccable than the Oat below, so get that one.
Southern Tier Oat – See above.
Stone I.R.S. – This beer is very unique. I have never had an impy stout with such a strong tobacco flavor, which is a good thing in my opinion. Like Ten Fiddy, I’d order this in almost any other situation, but not tonight.
Victory Storm King – You might have heard that this was the first impy stout I ever tasted. I owe it a lot. Luckily for me, it’s one of the country’s best, so I started off on the right foot. I’d get it if I didn’t already have a bunch in the cellar.
Walking Man Black Cherry Stout – Beer Blotter finds this beer to be like soda. If that sounds good to you, hop on board. Not so much for me, but I do love Walking Man.
Waterstreet Stout – Skip is gone. I have little faith.
In summary, since that was probably a bit of a task to read, I offer my top 5, in order of importance.
5) Double Mountain Imperial Chaos
4) Avery Meph Addict
3) Glacier Jack Daniels
2) Avery Black Tot
1) Firestone Walker Parabola
Beer Blotter Belgium 2010: One Week Line Pops Up; The Gang Views In Bruges and Bottleworks 11th Anniversary
We leave in 7 days from the time this article goes to post. Wow. Its been quite a preparation and we are all ready to head out. Belgium – here we come.
With so much on the horizon, this past week kind of got the shaft. Traditionally we have celebrated the Belgium trip countdown with a bounty of posts about get togethers where we celebrate Belgian grub and grog in the Seattle area (mostly at home). But last week, we were sidetracked by our paying jobs and other wondrous beer celebrations. So, Belgian week took a hit.
First, Bottleworks hit the nail on the head. Its newest release, 11th Anniversary was an explosion of the full gamut of bottle aged flavor.
Bottleworks had a nice size supply of about a dozen cases of the 750 ml bottles of the new ale when we arrived at 4:30. By the time we had left at 6:00 – they were down to two cases. I’m fairly certain that supply was kicked by the end of the evening.
Matt Long presented the beer while standing atop the Bottleworks bartop. Long informed the crowd that he instructed to grab as many bottle age beers that he had laying around the brewery to blend this masterpeice. He did not disappoint Bottleworks’ owners, and certainly not their drinkers.
Bottleworks 11th Anniversary pours incredibly thick and oily. The immediate scent is that of cooked butter and crushed pretzels. The beer has an immense amount of flavor in its initial sip, including a surprising tartness that likely comes from the wine barrels that produced some of the ales blended into this monster.
While drank, the beer transforms several times. Its main ingredient, Big Sky’s Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout is prevalent but it comes and goes, hidden at times by the other flavors blended into the finished product.
Each of our three samplers would give the beer a big thumbs up – kudos to you Matt Long.
The next evening, Beer Blotter grabbed a nice meal and dug in to dive back into a little Belgium culture for the evening. Now, we understand that In Bruges is probably the furthest thing from an actual Belgium experience, but there is little on the market that roundly succeeds at both entertainment and education – we’ll stick with this tale of assassins hiding out in Bruges.
In Bruges stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Ralph Fiennes. The movie begins as Farrell, a young assassin, kills a minor while attaching a priest. A big no-no in the assassin trade, Farrell is told to get out of dodge and is sent to Bruges to blow off some steam. Unfortunately, Farrell is not so much a fan.
This movie reminds me of how much I love Brendan Gleeson. Ever since he showed up in Braveheart, and then mastered the role of “Monk” in one of my favorites of all time – Gangs of New York – I had hoped for more in depth roles from Gleeson. In Bruges is his film.
I tend to believe that both Gleeson and Farrell were asked to be themselves in this film. Farrell’s intolerance and humorous disrespect for all things makes him quite the counter to the old wise, sensible and caring Gleeson.
Gleeson also gives us our only shot at real culture in the film. His desire to visit the historical landmarks of this amazing town gives you a reason to watch if planning a trip on your own.
During the stay in Bruges, the two visit the Basilica of the Holy Blood, to view the blood of Jesus Christ; the Groeningmuseum (art history) to view Hieronymus Bosch’s The Last Judgment; the Belfry Tower to have a gun fight; and the meticulous canal system of the city’s center.
Of yes – and they drink the beer. Gleeson’s clamoring for the “gay beer” of Belgium, as Farrell so eloquently puts it, allows us to get a view of some of the taverns of the town. Now, we do not expect that the two visited ‘t Brugs Beertje (Beer Advocate and Rate Beer’s Top Bar in Bruges) or Bierbrasserie Cambrinus (Ratebeer 93), but the venues certainly had the feel of a bar on the square in Bruges.
In any event, regardless of the drama, it got our hearts pumping for a little time off in Bruges. The movie has a great finish and we do not want to deprive you of that glory.
We are thinking about some flemish art, a westy at ‘t Brugs Beertje and a ride along the canals. That ought to do us right.
If you have anything to share about Bruges – or about Matt Long’s amazing 11th Anniversary beer – please shoot a comment below.
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)