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Belgium Fest 2011- Get Your Tickets ASAP

January 6, 2011 1 comment

One of several beer fests in Seattle throughout the year, Belgium Fest is the first in 2011. On January 22, 2011 this festival, run by the Washington Beer Commission will begin. Due to the high demand of this event, the venue has been moved to Magnuson Park (it will be heated, do not worry).

Word on the street is that tickets are already being sold at an alarming rate, so go online NOW and secure your spot. This is a festival that requires some advance commitment. Waiting until the day of might not be the best idea. $30.00 advance and $35.00 at the door, if available. As always, the designated driver ticket is $5.00 and only available at the door- includes free water and soda.

You pick one of two sessions on Saturday, January 22, 2011-

Session 1: 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Session 2: 5:30-9:30 p.m.

The Workshop at Magnuson Park
6310 NE 74th St., Seattle, WA

Now for the important stuff. The beers. For now all I have are the breweries, but hope to have a list of all the beers in the next week or so.

Breweries expected to participate:
Anacortes Brewery
Baron Brewing
Big Al Brewing
Big Time Brewery
Black Raven Brewing
Boundary Bay Brewery
Der Blokken Brewing Co.
Elliott Bay Brewing
Elysian Brewing
Fremont Brewing
Georgetown Brewing
Hale’s Ales Brewery
Issaquah Brewhouse
Lazy Boy Brewing
Naked City Brewery
Odin Brewing
Paradise Creek Brewery
Pike Brewing
Ram Brewery
Redhook Ale Brewery
Scuttlebutt Brewing
Snipes Mountain Brewery
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Silver City Brewery
Two Beers Brewing

Its going to be a doozy!

52 Places: Empire Ale House, Mount Vernon, WA

August 4, 2010 1 comment

The entrance to the Empire.

Week 27 of 52

Empire Ale House

314 West Gates

Mt. Vernon, WA 98273

360-336-9944

Rank: 4/5

Type of Establishment: Ale house. Good beer, good food, plain good.

Visit: This past Saturday, during and after Bite of Skagit 2010.

BEERS ON TAP (16 handles)

Deschutes (Nitro) Obsidian Stout

Boundary Bay Oatmeal Stout

Bear Republic Rop Rod Rye

Deschutes Mirror Mirror

Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale

Dick’s Brown Ale

Skookum Amber’s Hot Friend

Scuttlebutt Imperial Red

Deschutes Miss Spelt Hefe

Lazy Boy Porter

Boundary Bay IPA

Guinness Stout

Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch

Glacier IPA

Green Flash IPA

Two Beers Blonde

BOTTLED/CANNED BEER:

Negative.

FOOD OPTIONS:

Empire has a full food menu, much like what you would expect at an alehouse.  My eyes, like always, went straight for the sandwiches.  There was plenty to choose from, all of which appeared to be delicious.

BAR OPINION:

Just over 61 miles north of the Beer Blotter home base, within the small but beer-filled boundaries of Mount Vernon, lies a comfortable, brick-walled ale house that we have never before visited.  On this day, we changed that.

First question…have you ever heard of this place?

If you are like me, and I think you might be, you most likely rely on ratebeer.com/beeradvocate.com, beer blogs and beer knowledgeable friends/acquaintances to inform you of the great beer destinations of this land.  ratebeer.com does have Empire in their system, but there are only 2 reviews (both are respectable).  beeradvocate has only one review of Empire and it yields a “B” rating.  Not really enough to catch my eye.   None of the blogs I read regularly ever seem to mention Mount Vernon.  None of my friends have heard of this place.  I only heard of it though talking with Dickerson Distributing reps at work.  Empire carries LBB beers.

As I’ve come to realize, Mount Vernon should be on every beer lovers list of “must visit” destinations.

Dickerson and the owner of Empire, Bruce Springer, both had a hand in the creation of the beer garden at Bite of Skagit this year, which was, literally, right outside the doors of Empire on Gates St.  I was pouring for both LBB and Skagit River Brewing, along side Flyers Restaurant and Brewery, so I was unable to really gather in the full experience, but the Bite is basically a street fair with a lot of food.  Live music and, of course, beer played a role as well.  It was a beautiful day for such an event and I had a blast talking to all the people who didn’t simply come up to me and say “I’ll have your lightest beer.”

Meeting and “working” with Bruce was a true pleasure.  He was extremely accommodating to all of my needs and offered me a free lunch from the Ale House for attending and pouring.  This was definitely not expected or necessary, but surely telling of his nature.  You might now be thinking that I’m writing this glowing review of Empire as quid pro quo, and I couldn’t blame you for it, but you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that this place really is fantastic (and honestly, I think you already get that feeling by seeing the impressive  tap list).

Decisions, decisions.

As you enter the front door, the bar is straight ahead, taps directly in your line of sight.  Briefly after your eyes recover from the surprise of the options at hand, they follow the bar as it continues perpendicular to your line of sight and then takes a hard 90 degree turn toward the far rear wall.  Between the front door and the bar there is a high top table with stools that seats four.  Another high top sits to the right of that one.

Here is where you must choose your destination.  Do you scooch up a stool at the bar or one of the high tops, or do you grab one of the four booths along the perimeter of the ale house to the right as you enter?  If you go the booth route, you will be flush up against some very rustic brickwork.  This could be quite comfortable, or…yes there is yet one more option, maybe you choose to climb the steps to your left as you enter and relax in the sofa lounge that overlooks not only all the action within Empire but all the action outside on Gates St. through the open windows.

No matter how you proceed, comfort and good service will greet you…oh, and good suds as well!  Oh my god, and good food too!

During my pouring duties I had a BBQ pork medallion sandwich with mango chutney that totally rejuvenated me and increased my capacity to continue to answer the same questions over and over again.  The cessation of the Bite allowed me to pull up a stool within Empire at the gorgeous bar, which seats about 14.  The woodwork of said bar is so nice that I was slightly afraid to place anything on it without a coaster or a barrier of some kind.  If you read my review of The Pub at Third Place, you probably know about my affinity for wood in bars.  Highly enjoyable.  The Glacier IPA played a serious role in my enjoyment as well, which is often hard to find in these parts.

60+ miles is no joke with alcohol in the system, so I limited myself to one, but I plan on returning very soon.  Not only is Mount Vernon a must visit because of Empire and Skagit River Brewing, but because there are two other world-class ale houses within city limits.  Due to its proximity to Empire (one block away), I stepped into Porterhouse Pub, just to catch a glimpse of the tap list, and was not disappointed.  Had I realized at the time that Trumpeter Public House was only one more block away I would have slid in there and scoped it out as well.  I hear it’s just as impressive.

It seems like you could make quite a day of it up there in tulip country.  I highly suggest you make it happen.

Beer Blotter’s Guide to WA Brewers Fest 2010

June 17, 2010 1 comment

A major highlight at this year's WA Brewers Fest

This coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the WA Brewers Fest.  You should go.  Support our great state’s breweries, both new and old.

Very few states in this great US of A have so many exciting breweries.  Unless you are some sort of professional brewery visitor and all you do from Monday through Friday is travel from brewery to brewery, trying everything available, there is no way you have tried all of the beers available at this fest.  Get out, educate yourself, have fun, challenge your palate, and be responsible.

The following is the complete list of beers available for taste throughout the weekend.  Well, I guess they won’t all be available throughout the weekend, some are Friday only (indicated with **).  I’ve chosen to steer clear of these, for the most part, for several reasons.   The biggest reason being that most of these beers have rarely been seen before, if at all, and thus I have very little information about them.  If they sound good, and most do, and you are able to get a pour, sip it down and let us know what you think.

Of the remainder, I’ve highlighted the ones that I feel are most worth checking out.  If you know about something special that I glossed over, please feel free to contact us.

Washington
192 Brewing*- Kenmore, WA
Granny’s Apple Ale (Fruit Ale)
Shticky Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Bier de Garde (Farmhouse Ale) - Timperial Stout loves saisons and is in a constant search for the world’s fairest.  A recent visit to The Dray allowed for our taste buds to experience the exquisite nature of Double Mountain Bonne Idee.  FL’s St. Somewhere probably makes one that’s even better.  How will this new brewery’s offering compare?
Shed Light (Light Ale)

Vanilla Stout** (Stout)

7 Seas Brewing*- Gig Harbor, WA
British Pale Ale (British Pale Ale)
Rude Parrot IPA (Spring/Summer Seasonal IPA)
Ballz Deep Double IPA (Double IPA)

Airways Brewing- Kent, WA
First Class IPA (IPA)
Jet City ESB (ESB)
Triple Chocolate Stout (Stout)Airways keeps eluding me.   The name of this brew alone makes my mouth water.  A must try for me.

Alpine Brewing- Oroville, WA
Alpine Pilsner (Pilsner)
Alpine HefeWeizen (HefeWeizen)- Alpine and Chuckanut are always battling it out for German style superiority.  A hefe is one of the very best styles for outdoor summer drinking.

Anacortes Brewery*- Anacortes, WA
Belgian Dubbel (Belgian Dubbel)
Mai Oh Maibock (Maibock)
IPA (IPA)
Hefeweizen (Hefeweizen)
Cask IPA** (Cask IPA)

Baron Brewing/Three Skulls Ales*- Seattle, WA
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit (Witbier)
Three Skulls Amber (American Amber Ale)
Baron Pilsner (German Pilsner)
Baron Schwarzbier (Schwarzbier)
Hop the Plank IPA (IPA)

Big Al Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Summer Lager (Helles)
Big Al Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Belgian Tripel (Tripel)
Brougham Bitter (ESB)
5 Star Chile IPA** (Chile IPA)

Big Time Brewery- Seattle, WA
Wheat beer (American Wheat)
Trombipulator (Belgian Tripel) - In case you didn’t know, bb.com has a strong affinity for Belgian ales.  Big Time is quite possibly Seattle’s best brewery, but it often slips under the radar with its U-District hideout and lack of bottle distribution.  I’ll take a little slice of Europe in the Emerald City any chance I get.
Ave Rat Malt Liquor (Malt Liquor)

Black Raven Brewing*- Redmond, WA – Ummm… I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that Black Raven isn’t messing around.  Every one of these is worth a try.  Wisdom Seeker is WA’s greatest effort to date for world hop supremacy.  Not to be missed.  Coco Jones won gold at the most recent World Beer Cup for “Herb and Spice Beer”.  A true rarity.
Wisdom Seeker (Double IPA)
Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary (Sour Mash Rye)
Jerked Brown Porter (Herb & Spiced Ale)
Splinters (Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch)
Coco Jones** (Coconut Brown Porter)

Boundary Bay Brewery- Bellingham, WA
German Tradition Single Hop Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
IPA (IPA)
Peach Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale)
Dunkles Bock (Dopple Bock)Silver medal winner at this year’s World Beer Cup.  Drink some suds from the nation’s largest brewpub.

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen- Bellingham, WA
Kolsch (German Ale)
Pilsner (German Pilsner) - It is extremely rare that I recommend a lager of any kind, especially a pilsner, but chances are good that you will find no better brew in the style than that of Chuckanut.

Diamond Knot Brewing*- Mukilteo, WA
Industrial IPA (Imperial IPA)
Scottish Ale (Scottish Ale)
Whip Ale (American Pale Ale) – This is Michael “Whip” Wilton of Queensryche’s beer.  Lazy Boy Brewing made it first, now it’s DK’s turn.  Let’s see if it has been improved.
Mystery Cask (changes daily)

Elliott Bay Brewing- Seattle & Burien, WA
Demolition Ale (Strong Pale Ale)
Wit von Boorian (Belgian Wheat Beer)

Elysian Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Loser Pale (Pale Ale)
Avatar Jasmine IPA (IPA)
Mens Room Original Red
Valhalla

Fish Brewing*- Olympia, WA
Fish Tale Organic IPA (IPA)
Fish Tale Organic Blonde Ale (Blonde)
Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hefeweizen (Alpine Style Hefeweizen)
Spire Mountain Pear Cider (Pear Cider)
Starfish Imperial Red Ale** (Imperial Red Ale)

Flyers Restaurant & Brewery*- Oak Harbor, WA
Pacemaker Porter (Robust Porter) - I’ve never had this one before, but a very reputable source once told me that this is the best porter in WA.
Afterburner IPA (Northwest IPA)
Humbles Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale)
Barnstormer Brown Ale (English Dark Mild)
Afterburner Mach II IPA** (IPA)

Foggy Noggin Brewing*- Bothell, WA
Bit O’ Beaver (English Bitter)
Christmas Duck (Porter) - Here is a good chance to check out one of our newest breweries.  At the very least, these guys seem to know how to name a beer.  I’m simultaneously hungry and thirsty right now.
Kastrated Dawg** (Strong Ale)

Fremont Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Universale Pale (Pale Ale)
Interurban IPA (IPA)
Solstice (Summer Ale)
Mystere de l’ete (Mystery beer) – We really like Fremont Brewing.  Whatever this ends up being, it should be tasty.
Scary Monster Double IPA** (Ridiculous IPA)

Gallagher’s Where U Brew- Edmonds, WA
Magnum PI…A (IPA)
Citra Blond (Blond Ale)
Eric the Red (Red IPA)

Georgetown Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Manny’s Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Lucille (IPA) – Those of you who read our work with any regularity know that we have done some gushing about this one.  Timperial has yet to try it.  It will be sampled.
Roger’s Pilsner (Pilsner)
Cask Porter** (Porter)

Hale’s Ales Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Supergoose (IPA) – Chances are good that you have had this one before.  Its presence on the market is very strong.  If by chance you haven’t, please do yourself a favor.  This beer is really good.
IX Gold on Sour Cherries (Belgian Strong Golden)
Kolsch (Kolsch)
SBW (Double IPA)
Saizon** (Saison) – Another saison for us to try.  Let’s see how a Fremont brewery interprets the farmhouse style.

Harmon Brewing*- Tacoma, WA
Pt. Defiance IPA (American IPA)
Scott’s Puget Creek Vanilla Porter (Flavored Brown Porter)
Rajah’s Royal IPA** (IPA)

Hood Canal Brewery*- Kingston, WA
Dabob Bay (IPA)
Big Beef (Oatmeal Stout)

Iron Horse Brewery*- Ellensburg, WA
Quilter’s Irish Death (Dark Smooth Ale)
High Five Hefe (Ginger Honey Wheat) – A recent bb.com trip to Ellensburg solidified our opinion that all things Iron Horse are worth drinking.  This hefe packs a punch, but should fit in very well at this outdoor festival.
Loco Imperial Red Ale (Big Hoppy Red)
Biere de Garde (French Ale)

Issaquah Brewhouse- Issaquah, WA
White Frog (Wit Bier)
Brutal IPA (IPA)

Chili

Beer

Plus

Lazy Boy Brewing*- Everett, WA - This is what they call “shameless self promotion”.  But seriously, all of these beers are delicious.  If for no other reason, get the chili beers so that all of the pain Shawn and I go through manually chopping those peppers is worth it.  Dry, cracked brewer hands + Scoville units = burning for days!

Nacho Pilsner (Dry Hopped Chiles/Pilsner)
Lazy Boy Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Oscuro Con Chiles** (Infused/Porter)

Mac & Jack’s Brewing- Redmond, WA
African Amber (Amber)
IPA (IPA)
Black Cat Porter (Porter)

Maritime Pacific Brewing- Seattle, WA
Double Dry Hopped Imperial IPA (Imperial IPA) – Just read the name.  ‘Nuff said.
Maybock Lager (Helles Style Lager)
Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale (Amber)
Special Aged Portage Bay Pilsener (Northern European Style Lager)

McMenamin’s Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Terminator Stout (Stout)
Herd of Eagles IPA (IPA) – OK, this beer is called Herd of Eagles.  I need it.
Whiskey Barrel Aged Terminator Stout** (Cask Stout)

Naked City Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Yankee Drifter (Pilsner)
Fleur d’ Elise (Saison) – Oh look, another saison.
Hopacalypse Now** (Double IPA) – Yes, this is a **, but bb.com had an extensive discussion with Don Webb about this brew a few weeks back and let me tell you…it’s a labor of hop love.  Strongest possible recommendation.

Northern Lights Brewing*- Spokane, WA
IPA (IPA)
Solar Winds (Strong Pale Ale)
Blueberry (Fruit Ale)
Chocolate Dunkel (German Style Dark Ale)
Cask IPA** (Cask IPA)

Odin Brewing- Seattle, WA
Odin’s Gift (Ruby Red)
Freya’s Gold (Kolsch)

Old Schoolhouse Brewery*- Winthrop, WA
Ruud Awakening (IPA)
Blazing Amber (American Amber)
Epiphany Pale (American Pale)

Pike Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Dry Wit (Belgian White Beer)
Naughty Nellie (Golden Ale)
IPA (IPA)
Kilt Lifter (Scotch Style Ale)

Port Townsend Brewing*- Port Townsend, WA
Hop Diggidy (IPA)
Brewer’s Surprise 1 – Ohhh I like surprises.
Brewer’s Surprise 2 - See above, number 2.

Pyramid Breweries*- Seattle, WA
Haywire (Hefeweizen)
Outburst (Double IPA)
Curveball (Blonde Ale)
Thunderhead (IPA)

Ram Restaurant & Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Barefoot Wit (Belgian Style White Ale)
Black Sheep IPA (IPA)
Cat Tread Red (Red Ale)
Cloudburst Cream Ale (Cream Ale)

Redhook Ale Brewery*- Woodinville, WA
Copperhook (Copper Ale)
Rope Swing (Summer Pilsner)
Big Ballard Imperial IPA (Imperial IPA) – Much respect for acknowledging those Ballard roots.  Plus, “imperial” is in the name.

Rock Bottom Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Raw City Red Ale (Irish Red Ale)
Saison au Printomps (Farmhouse Ale) – Ok, I think you get the point.  Looks like you could make a day of the saisons alone.  We likie.

Rock Bottom Brewery*- Bellevue, WA
Hop Bomb IPA (IPA)
Pretty N Pink (Raspberry Wheat)
Uberwit (Belgian Wit)
Milk Stout (Milk Stout) – I’m hoping to make a milk stout in the near future at Lazy Boy.  Every brewery should make one.  Sweet, creamy, delicious.

Roslyn Brewing- Roslyn, WA
Roslyn (German Style Dark Lager)
Brookside (German Style Pale Lager)

Schooner Exact Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Seamstress Union (Raspberry Wheat)
Gateway Golden (Golden Ale)
Gallant Maiden (Hefeweizen)
3 Grid IPA (IPA)
Imperial Project #2: Virgil Gamachinator** (IPA)

Scuttlebutt Brewing*- Everett, WA
Tripel 7 (Belgian Tripel)
Mateo Loco (Imperial Red Ale)
Homeport Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Cask Oaked Porter** (Cask Porter)

Seattle Beer News/Big Al Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Passive Aggressive Wheat (Hoppy American Wheat Ale) – Props to our buddy Geoff Kaiser over at Seattle Beer News for making this happen.  “Hoppy” and “wheat” rarely tangle together.

Silver City Brewery*- Silverdale, WA
Ridgetop Red (Irish Red Ale)
Fat Scotch Ale (Scotch Ale)
Whoop Pass IPA (Double IPA)

Skookum Brewery*- Arlington, WA
Off Kilter (Scottish Style Wee Heavy)
Olde Tom (American IPA)
Katspaw (Blonde Ale)
Mammoth Jack** (American Double IPA)

Snipes Mountain Brewing- Sunnyside, WA
Dos Borracho’s (Pilsner Lager)
IPA (IPA)
Cask IPA (Cask IPA)
Cask Twangzister Sour Cherry Stout** (Barrel Aged Sour)

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing*- Snoqualmie, WA
Summer Beer (Alt Style Pilsner)
Wildcat (IPA)
Haystack (Hefeweizen)
Black Frog (Nitro Stout)
Sunstroke** (Imperial Pilsner)

Trade Route Brewing- Pacific, WA
Midnight Ale (Brown Ale)
Chieftan Amber (Amber Ale)
Jetstream Lager (Lager)

Two Beers Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Crooked Belgian Wit (Belgian Wit)
Immerson Amber (Amber)
Evo IPA (IPA)

Alaska
Alaskan Brewing- Juneau, AK
Alaskan Amber (Alt Style Amber)
Alaskan Summer Ale (Kolsch Style)
Alaskan IPA (IPA)
Smoked Porter (Rauchbier) - This is a perennial favorite.  If you like liquid smoke, join in on the fun.

California
Firestone Walker Brewing- Paso Robles, CA
Double Barrel Ale (English Style Pale Ale)
Pale 31 (California Style Pale Ale)

Sierra Nevada Brewing- Chico, CA
Summerfest (Lager)
Southern Hemisphere Harvest (IPA)

Stone Brewing- Escondido, CA
Stone Lieviation Ale (Amber)
Stone IPA (IPA)

Colorado
New Belgium Brewing- Fort Collins, CO
Ranger IPA (IPA)
Trip VI (Spring Citrus Pale Ale) - In case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, the Trip series is a collaboration with Seattle’s own Elysian Brewing.  These rarely strike out.  Spring Citrus sounds really refreshing.

Oskar Blues Brewery- Lyons, CO
Dales Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Old Chub (Scotch Ale)

Delaware
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Milton, DE
Festina Peche (Berliner Weisse) – I don’t think that we could possibly talk up DFH any more.  These guys poop gold.  A low abv, peach flavored sour beer…are you kidding me!  The pinnacle of spring/summer drinking.
Indian Brown Ale (Brown Ale)

Hawaii
Kona Brewing- Kailua Kona, HI
Longboard Lager (Island Style Lager)
Wailua Wheat (Wheat Ale)

Illinois
Goose Island Beer Co. – Chicago, IL
Matilda (Belgian Style Ale) - I’m kind of amazed that these guys are going to be at the fest.  They are clearly quite serious about pushing into the WA market.  That’s very fortunate for us.  Goose Island makes killer brews and Matilda is no exception.

Missouri
Boulevard Brewing – Kansas City, MO
Unfiltered Wheat (American Wheat Beer)
Single Wide IPA (IPA)
Zon (Belgian Style Witbier)

Oregon
BridgePort Brewing- Portland, OR
BridgePort IPA (IPA)
BridgePort Hop Czar (Imperial IPA)

Deschutes Brewery- Bend, OR
Twilight Sumemer Ale (Light Ale)
Hop in the Dark (Cascadian Dark Ale) – CDA is another way of saying black IPA, or balanced to the extreme.  You can never go wrong with Deschutes.

Double Mountain Brewery- Hood River, OR
Kolsch (Kolsch)
India Red Ale (Hoppy Red Ale)
Hop Lava (Northwest IPA)
The Vaporizer (Pale Ale)

Ninkasi Brewing – Eugene, OR
Total Domination IPA (IPA)
Rudiant Seasonal Ale (Pale Ale)

Widmer Brothers Brewing- Portland, OR
Drifter Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Widmer Hefeweizen (Hefeweizen)
Sun Burn (Blonde Ale)

2010 Washington Brewers Fest WABL Beer
Three Tree Imperial Porter by Elliott Bay Brewing
Available exclusively to WABL members at the WABL/Merchandise Booth

So that’s the list.  Very impressive if you ask me.

If you happen to be at the fest early on Saturday or late on Sunday, swing by the Lazy Boy Brewing booth and say hi.

Seattle’s Lost Grog Spots: 3 Pubs, 1 Brewery and 1 Bottleshop

The inviting inside of Black Raven Brewing Company in Redmond, WA (photo by Lee Killough)

Sunday, November 29, 2009 marked Beer Blotter’s adventure to beer bars unknown and a brewery worth the trip.  This trip refers to a 25 minute drive from downtown Seattle to Redmond, Washington. “What is there besides Microsoft in Redmond?”  Well, that is why we are here, to stimulate your brain and your taste buds.

Stop #1 Black Raven Brewing Company

Known for their Trickster IPA (which won Beverage Place Pub‘s year round IPA tap spot), Black Raven Brewing Company’s brew pub is part of a commercial park.  Inside, the space is warming and welcoming.  We immediately walk up to the bar, order the sampler (and an extra Wisdom Seeker Double IPA) and take a seat at a wooden top table. Sunlight, well what Seattleites consider sunlight, streamed through the windows.  The bartender and bar regulars were very passionate about beer and Black Raven. Beer blotter would like to thank Lee Killough for the pictures and insider facts about the brewery.  Aside from the two IPAs, the Brown Porter and Second Sight Scotch Ale come highly recommended. The porter is surprising light for the style and is nutty with caramel undertones.  This brew was an experimental recipe when the brewery first opened and they got it right the first time around!

Black Raven is located at 14687  NE 95th Street, Redmond, WA 98052. Beware: This brewery might have great brewing equipment (which you can sit near in the back room) but they do not serve food. Menus are placed at every table for delivery option to the brewery.

Stop #2 Malt and Vine Bottle Shop

After a great time at Black Raven, we decide to stick around Redmond for a little while longer. This provides us with a great opportunity to visit the local bottle shop, Malt and Vine.  Like so many establishments in Redmond, Malt and Vine is located in a strip mall off of Redmond Way and my dear beer lovers, it is worth the stop in every way, shape and form.  Not only does this bottle shop have approximately 15 taps flowing at any given time, (Lets take a moment for some name dropping: New Belgium Love, Lost Abbey Angel Share) their bottle selection is amazing and the refrigerators are organized by brewery, not by style. This approach to organizing your beer coolers, in our humble opinion, makes bottle shopping easier and that much more enjoyable.  The only negative about this bottle shop is that the area in which one might enjoy one of these profound beers is not very welcoming and is reminiscent of a high school cafeteria.  If only high school cafeterias sold rare beer and had an amazing tap list…the world would be a better place….or not… But during our time spent at Malt and Vine, the world did seem a bit better or at least bearable.

Malt and Vine is located at 16851 Redmond Way, Redmond, WA 98052. Less than 5 miles from Black Raven Brewery.

Stop #3 Wedgewood Ale House

We had heard such great things, had such high expectations.  Maybe that was our problem.  A cold November day, we were looking for a place to walk into, to warm our hearts and fill our souls. The only thing warm about the Wedgewood Ale House was the Boundary Bay Brewing Cabin Fever and Port Townsend Winter Ale on nitro.  Although it was too cold and the wings were too small, Wedgewood Ale House has the quintessential bar menu and they support Washington breweries. With only Washington breweries on tap, the BB Cabin Fever is perfect for the winter/holiday season. It tantalizes your taste buds and tickles the back of your throat with hops and vanilla. The Port Townsend Winter Ale was inviting and spiced well with a malt balance.

The Wedgewood Ale House is located at 8515 35th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115

Stop #4 Fiddler’s Inn

Fiddler’s Inn has a hidden rustic quality upon first sight with a comfortable, “home for the holidays” atmosphere  inside.  Stuffed from our previous stops, no food was ordered, but the menu boasted pizzas and what we would call Italian fare. But food isn’t really why were are hear as the tap list and wall mounted taps prove their passion for the punch. A taste of this so-called “punch” included New Belgium Wild Ale, Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and Fremont Brewing Co. Little Woody Pale Ale. A quick side note about New Belgium Wild Ale, it is brewed with schisandra berries. WAIT! Keep reading.  This berry is known as the “5 flavored berry” presenting notes of sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. This beer is all that rolled into one.

Fiddler’s Inn is located at 9219 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

Stop #5 Pub at Pipers Creek

The space is awkwardly open and if you decide to take a seat that is not at the bar, your very far away from the only light that brightly shines. Taps form a crescent shape in the middle of the bar. At this point, food was the last thing on our minds, so we are sticking to what we know and love, beer. Big Al Brewing Winter Warmer had stout like qualities and was spicy, somewhat creamy and delicious.  We were all pleasantly surprised by Elysian’s BiFrost which has an undeniable hop presence as well as Dick’s Brewing’s, Silk Lady.

Pub at Pipers Creek is located at 10527 Greenwood Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98133

We met some friends along the way, tried some great beers, bought some bottles and beat the Sunday blues.  Let us know if there are other Seattle or Washington State beer bars for us to try. Hell, we will even leave the state or the country if need be.

Leave a comment or email your bar idea to beerblotter@gmail.com.



A Busy Holiday Week? There is Always Time to Drink Beer!

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Movember Mustache Party: Support Prostate Cancer Research at Great Divide Brewery

The week of Thanksgiving leaves Pacific North Westerners with little to do in the realm of beer events. As previously posted, Beer Blotter has a big week ahead with Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe and Winter Ale Fest at Hale’s Brewery. But in the name of introducing your weekly event blog, the show must go on.

Around the country, the week of November 23, 2009 holds exciting places to go and beers to drink. The following events are not chosen at random, they are selected as events that if we had a transporter, a magic carpet or could travel with Doc Brown we would go.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

  • Bell’s Stout Party: Minneapolis, Minnesota

7:00PM- 10:00 PM @ Bryant Lake Bowl

Enjoy Cream Stouts, Rye Stouts, Double Stouts, Java Stouts and more from Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery!

  • Great Lakes Night, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7:00PM- 10:00 PM @ The Devil’s Den

Although the beloved Christmas Ale of Great Lakes Brewing Co. will not be in attendance, the event’s draft list features Commadore Perry IPA, Burning River Pale Ale, Dortmunder Gold & Elliot Ness Lager.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

  • Southern Tier Pumpking Tapping, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ Old Eagle Tavern

A tasting quite fitting for the day/night before Thanksgiving. Southern Tier’s Pumpking will be tapped at 7:00PM and will be served all night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009 Turkey Day!

———> Keep in mind, the Pilgrims drank beer and so should you.<————

  • Boundary Bay Beer-to-Go, Bellingham, WA

10:00 AM- 2:00PM @ Boundary Bay Brewery

Head over to Boundary Bay Brewery to start your Thanksgiving day right! Grab some beer to go and head home to the feast that awaits you.

Friday, November 27, 2009

  • Belgian Christmas, Dayton, Ohio

7:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ Southpark Tavern

The day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the Christmas season and time to fully enjoy Christmas beers. Some of the featured Belgium Christmas ales are: St. Bernardus Christmas; Avec Les Bon Veoux; Scaldis Noel and Troegs Mad Elf. These beers will be tapped at opening until they run out. Should be a good drunken time. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

  • 3rd Annual Holiday Beerfest, Omaha, Nebraska

3:00 PM- 7:00 PM @ Beertopia

For $25.00 (in advance, $30.00 day of), you receive access to more than 75 winter beers at this annual event. 4 hours of 2oz pours will put you in the holiday spirit.

  • NOLA Cask Conditioned Ale, New Orleans, Louisiana

4:00 PM- 6:00 PM @ Avenue Pub

A city close to our hearts and a bar that is a must for beer lovers visiting the “Big Easy,” this event features local brewery, NOLA Brewing Company and their Brown ale, spun with oak chips and rock candy. Food recommendations: Budda’s Temptation (dried apricots stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried- yea…that’s right)

Monday, November 30, 2009

  • Movember Mustache Party, Denver, Colorado

6:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ Great Divide Brewing Company

Any event held at Great Divide Brewing Company would be worth attending. With beers such as the Chocolate and Espresso Yetis, Hercules Double IPA and the Fresh Hop Pale Ale (amongst many more), come drink up and support prostate cancer research.

To all our readers, if you attend one of these events or have an event you would like to share, please leave a comment. Beer Blotter would love feed back about beer events around the country!

Until next Monday, let us give thanks for beer and the people in our lives that we can share it with! Cheers!

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