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A Seattle Beer Excursion Across the Pond

December 2, 2010 1 comment

Der Blokken means "the block."

Written by Jess R.

“The Pond” refers to the Puget Sound, a complex estuarine system of interconnected marine waterways and basins, with one major and one minor connection to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean. Yea…that’s right.

The day after Thanksgiving, we woke feeling better than expected and ready to hop on a Washington State Ferry and head across “The Pond” first to Silver City Brewing Co. on the Kitsap Peninsula, then to Bremerton Island for a drink at Der Blokken and then South to Gig Harbor were we indulged in some 7 Seas.

 

Silvery City Brewing Co.

 

We had expectations of Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, but due to the weather, the release was pushed back. Instead we were greeted with Old Scrooge and their non- BBN Imperial Stout. But first, before I excite your senses, a word about the atmosphere. Silver City is located near the Silverdale Mall and shares a parking lot with all those eager shoppers. There is something for everyone inside this large space–a plethora of seating areas and styles bar seats.

As a family friendly establishment, our preference is the bar area. Since it was a rainy holiday, this area was packed. However after just a few minutes and some lively conversation with a few local beer lovers we grabbed a few seats, an Old Scrooge, a Woo Pass Double IPA and the Imperial Stout. All of these beers are well crafted to the style. The Old Scrooge really caught our attention as a Belgium style ale with hints of Christmas cheer- i.e. nutmeg and cinnamon. After a bowl of delicious clam chowder (highly recommended) we bought a few bottles and headed back into the rain.

 

Der Blokken

 

The days become nights so quickly these days and by the time we arrived at Der Blokken, beer bar and new brewery on Bremerton Island, it is pitch black out. The rain glistens on the streets, reflected by the street lights.

This is my second time to Der Blokken. The last visit was on a beautiful spring day in the middle of a bike ride around the island. Tonight, we pulled into the driveway and had this weird feeling that Der Blokken was closed. My heart sinks.

Lucky for us, the owner of Der Blokken pulls in next to us and confirms the news. Due to the “snow storm” that hit Seattle and the greater Seattle area that week, many homes and businesses on Bremerton Island lost power. Just as we are about to sulk back into the car, the owner turns to us and invites us in to try his new beers. Der Blokken recently opened and even more recently started brewing beers.

A taster of the stout, IPA and Christmas wheat are presented to us in the empty bar along with these amazing sweet potato chips- house made. We are offered frites but do not accept as they would have to open the kitchen to do so. Is this hospitality or what?

Der Blokken is a wide open space with an exposed fermentation tank, a slick looking bar and large windows. Approximately 16 taps are always available with some staple beers such as Bittburger and rotating craft beer options. Tonight, due to the circumstances we stuck to the three tasters and I was impressed by all. The IPA is well-balance, the stout has an amazing body and the Christmas wheat had a welcomed hoppiness.

Thanks to the people at Der Blokken for being so welcoming. Der Blokken is worth the trip to Bremerton and is a place where I could sit and spend a day.

 

7 Seas Brewing Co.

 

Home of the ultimate proper pint.

We had some trouble find this place thanks to Google Maps, a dark, rainy night and the sheer location of this tasting room. Once we pulled into the parking lot, a gigantic fermentation tank towered over us. This tank verged on being comedic due to the size. As we past the beast, we noticed a quaint outdoor area, wet and abandoned. We open a wooden door to the excitement contained within this small space.

We walk in and it is packed to the brim. A tiny space that has windows which over look the brewing area- a nice touch. The small bar area is instantly approached. A Ballz Deep IPA and two Saisons are ordered in their sweet glassware. I have had Ballz Deep before and it did not disappoint tonight, but my taste buds were all consumed with the Saison in my hand. This delicious, refreshing, well-spiced farmhouse ale was one of the best I have had in the USA.

As you can assume 7 Seas Brewing Co. does not sell food, but they do offer free mini-snickers and these amazingly seasoned nuts. At this point, I was head over heels in love. So much in love I purchased a zip-up hoodie and this is now my most prized beer apparel. Check this place out, it won’t disappoint.

Have other suggestions about where to go and what to do on a rainy day? Leave a comment or email me at jess@beerblotter.com.

 

2010 Washington Beer Fest: Brouwer’s Cafe

It was all here. Washington beer.

Yet again, Brouwer’s Cafe rises to the occasion and presented local beer drinkers with the best of local beer. An entire 5 day stint dedicated to Washington state brewers. From Naked City to Silver City, Peaks to Paradise, Snipes Mountain and Iron Horse, it was a tap list to remember.

This post will be more informal then our other event reviews: less time = less beer. One subject that absolutely must be breached is the recent trend in WA to infuse tea with beer.  Our first experience was at Naked City, who, in the summer months, released an incredibly refreshing Ginger Peach Hefe where all of the the ginger and peach flavors came from infused herbal tea bags.  This night, we must give honorable mention to Port Townsend Brewing Co. for their Green Tea Golden Ale. We are generally not inclined to jump on the golden ale train, but PT gave it a twist and the tea like essence really came through. Several people at our table voted this their favorite of the night. It is flavorful, clean and aromatic.  The earthy green tea flavors really pop in the nose and playfully mingle with the light ale malts in the finish.

Yet another example came to us via Epic Ales Mathilda.  Though we have very little information about the ingredients used, Timperial’s love for both tea and beer seemed most inspired by this concoction.  It took some warming up, but this one seemed to grow on us like Ca…stan…za (Seinfeld reference, deal with it).  Initially, there was questions about…chamomile…no…mint…possibly both?  It was light in color and the epitome of curious in flavor.  Respect for ingenuity.

Der Blokken, a brewery out on Bremerton Island which recently opened showcased their Brown Porter. I thought I was ordering an IPA and despite the mix up, was pleasantly surprised. Dark and chocolaty, it had some bittering qualities and a perfect body. Not too thin, not to syrupy, just right!

Next, and is this really a surprise, but Black Raven’s All Washington Fresh Hops was amazing! It tasted like peaches with a perfect pairing of a bittering hop profile.

The Iron Horse Fresh Hop was a no brainer for Timperial, who sampled said beverage at the Yakima Fresh Hop fest 2 years ago and was floored.  This years version may or may not be the same in recipe, but surely produced a similar reaction as the ’08 did in him.  A near perfect example of a well balanced wet hopped IPA.  It’s a cloudy dark amber with amazing lacing.  The flavor profile is overwhelmingly syrupy sweet with a slight raw hop skunkiness in the nose and flavor.  A sizable pine profile accompanies the cannabus in both fronts as well.  Ultimately, very smooth in the mouth and a near perfect finish with little dryness and a lingering malt quality that rears many smiles.

Snipes 2 Fresh was another selection that took little to no effort to choose.  If you live in WA and drink fresh hop beers, you have most likely tasted something that Snipes head brewer Chris Miller has had a hand in.  He is the local fresh hop guru in these parts and has most recently assisted in the production of Black Raven’s and Naked City’s fresh hop IPAs.  This version, like Iron Horse’s had a green hop skunkiness and a respectable pine nose.  There was enough residual sweetness to make me happy, but not nearly on the plane of IHB.  Here, bitterness takes the reigns above and beyond anything else.  This is a great example of balance in a fresh hop and would be a supreme example for the newcommer.

At the recommendation of Brouwer’s manager Ian, a Yakima IPA 1 was ordered. Apparently, this is a different brew than the bottled version bearing the same name.  It was clear bronze in color with a stark white head.  I felt that this would have been a much more appropriate beer to begin with than to follow all of the above.  It seemed a bit thin, but the malt core had some legs.  This was a bitter bomb of an IPA with very little floral hop flavor.  The  malt profile made a gallant attempt at bringing balance, but inevitably it failed to compete against the bitter power that assaulted the back of the tongue well into the aftertaste.

Let us know which ones were your favorites!

Brouwers Cafe Publishes Washington Beer Festival Lineup

 

North Sound Brewing pouring two new IPAs at WBF

 

Last week we published an article about Washington Beer Festival, which begins tomorrow at Brouwers Cafe. Brouwers will be clearing every single tap in the house for Washington brewers and matching the exquisite beer offerings with some locally sourced food options.

If you want to check up on the event as it develops, check out Brouwers’ website. But, the bar released its initial version of the tap list. We are speechless.

Here it is. We have underlined a few that you should probably give a try!

 

Anacortes  Tenth Anniversary, Anacortes
Big Al Alt Bier, Seattle
Big Time Big Dance, Seattle
Birdsview Cardiac Arrest Strong Brown Ale, Concrete
Black Raven All Washington Fresh Hop, Redmond
Boundary Bay Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Bellingham
Chuckanut Pilsner, Bellingham
Der Blokken Sacred Hop IPA, Bremerton (fairly sure this is their first visit across the Sound)
Diamond Knot Whip Ale, Mukilteo
Dick’s Bottleworks RyePA, Centralia
Elliot Bay Mashing Pumpkin, Seattle / Burien
Elysian The Great Pumpkin, Seattle
Emerald City Dotties, Seattle
Flyers Proptoberfest, Oak Harbor
Fremont Harvest Saison, Seattle
Georgetown Choppers, Seattle
Hales Super goose, Seattle
Harmon ESB, Tacoma
Hood Canal Dosewallip, Kingston
Iron Horse Fresh Hop, Ellensburg
Laht Neppur Piper Canyon Scotts Ale, Waitsburg
Lazyboy Big Double Trouble, Everett
Maritime Bosuns Black Porter, Seattle
Naked City Fresh Hop Saison, Seattle (have yet to try; got to love the creativity)
New Belgium Trip VI,  Seattle / Fort Collins
North Sound Brewing Hop Chops IPA, Mount Vernon (loved the first few things i had from them)
North Sound Brewing X-batch Single Hop IPA, Mount Vernon
Northern Lights IPA, Spokane
Odin Smokey Bacon, Seattle (people have loved this!)
Palouse Falls Crimson Pride Amber, Pullman
Paradise Creek Dirty Blonde, Pullman
Paradise Creek Over the Hop, Pullman (ummm? who?!)
Peaks Trainwreck, Port Angeles
Pike Double IPA, Seattle
Port Townsend Green Tea Golden,  Port Townsend
Ram Northgate Locavore Fresh Hop, Seattle
Red Hook Eisbock, Woodinville
River Port BullseyePA,Clarkston (again, who?!)
Rogue Issaquah CASK Belgian Pale, Issaquah
Rogue Issaquah Wet Frog , Issaquah
Schooner Exact  CASK Cascade Dry-Hopped 3 Grid, Seattle
Schooner Exact Fresh Hop, Seattle
Seven Seas Ballz Deep, Gig Harbor
Silver City Blonde, Silverdale
Silver City Fat Bastard, Silverdale
Skaggit Black Jack Lager, Mount Vernon
Skaggit Gospel IPA, Mount Vernon
Skookum Mule Strong Ale, Arlington (loved the few things ive had from them; strong = interesting)
Snipes Two Fresh, Sunnyside
Snoqualmie Belgian Wit, Snoqualmie
Three Skulls Coconut Porter, Seattle (every coconut porter i’ve had has killed)
Two Beers Pumpkin Spice, Seattle
Two Beers Summer Hop, Seattle
Yakima Brewing Ipa 1, Yakima

 

Kitsap Octoberfest Offers Look at New Peninsula Brewers

September 23, 2010 2 comments

We'll be out in Kitsap on a gorgeous Saturday - Will you?

Have you ever taken the Kitsap beer trip? We have – its worth the boat ride.

Kitsap now showcases Silver City Brewery, Hales Ales, 7 Seas Brewing, Hood Canal Brewery and newcomers Der Blokken Brewery, Valholl Brewing and Grove Street Brewing. Close by, Jefferson County is the home of one of our faves – Port Townsend Brewing.

Recent expansion brought Silver City a second location in Bremerton, Hales Ales across the Sound to Silverdale and upcomer Der Blokken to the Kitsap fold (Bremerton). Remember, Hales is fresh off a gold medal at this year’s GABF!

So, lets celebrate the Peninsula with the coming of the Fall – Octoberfest! This Saturday, September 25, 2010, the Kitsap Mall will host the Kitsap Octoberfest. The party is billed as an all day family affair, filled with the Peninsula’s greatest brewers. Check out the list of breweries (and wineries) that will be pouring on Saturday.

This event is a one dang good deal – free. You will need to purchase your beer pours, but the festival will give you a great chance to sample a multitude of great West Sound beers from some brewers that you typically do not get a chance to see. We are particularly excited to finally sample Der Blokken, Valholl, and Grove Street.

Head on out Saturday morning and grab some breakfast in Bainbridge before heading West to Silverdale for the festival. The beer begins pouring bright and early at 11 AM and the weather is billed at 70 and Sunny. No better weather to be outside, drinking local beer and eating bratwurst.

Hope to see you all there!

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