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:
Big Al Brewing
Big Time Brewery
Black Raven Brewing
Boundary Bay Brewery
Der Blokken Brewing Co.
Elliott Bay Brewing
Hale’s Ales Brewery
Lazy Boy Brewing
Naked City Brewery
Paradise Creek Brewery
Redhook Ale Brewery
Snipes Mountain Brewery
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Silver City Brewery
Two Beers Brewing
Its going to be a doozy!
Week 27 of 52
314 West Gates
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
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
Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch
Green Flash IPA
Two Beers Blonde
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.
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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!