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The Visual Art of Craft Beer Part 1 – My Top 5

March 25, 2011 2 comments

New and...improved?

There has been quite a few stories in the beer press lately that have really got me thinking about beer artwork.  There’s the new look of Red Hook (check out this post on Washington Beer blog), a new label design for one of my favorite beers of all time – Stone Imperial Russian Stout (see this post at beernews.org), the North Coast Brewing logo upgrade (the old logo has always been a favorite of mine) and most notably the new Upright Brewing Four Play label that has been subject to much controversy (please check out this article on Beervana).

When I first started thinking about it I was leaning toward the fact that there really aren’t that many labels/logos out there that are especially noteworthy.  There’s a few that really jumped out at me right way, but for the most part…far too many exist that fail to catch my attention.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I discussed it with friends, the more epiphanies I had and the more I realized just how wrong I was.

The Classic. Is is better?

There’s actually a lot of breweries out there that are putting serious attention toward their image.  Clearly, this isn’t surprising.  Anyone possessing even the slightest bit of entrepreneurial savvy knows how important branding can be to creating a successful business.  Here, in my Visual Art of Craft Beer Series, I plan to discuss some of my favorites.  Hopefully, in doing so, I will open up the floor for debate.  I’m sure there are a bunch out there that I either don’t know about or have simply overlooked.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to present them all in this initial article, so the debate just may have to wait.  Start thinking about your choices now and see if I end up agreeing with you.

The following is my top 5.  This is not limited to logo alone.  I feel that if it were, the scope of this exercise would be drastically diminished.  This includes not only the straight forward logo of a brewery but the labels of all, most, or some of their bottles/cans/mini-kegs/what-have-you.

5) Three Floyds Brewing – FFF does not mess around.  They make some of the most unique beers in the country and their labels follow suit.  In may ways, they remind me of Garbage Pail Kids.  All have a comic book/cartoon like quality.  Some are lighthearted and humorous, others are dark and disturbing, all are well designed and fun to look at.  I’m not sure whether I like the Clockwork Orange themed Moloko Stout, Zombie Dust, or the Dark Lord (above) the best.  No matter how you look at it, they are all undeniably bad ass.

 

4) Southern Tier Brewing – The logo above isn’t very glamorous, and it by no means is the sole reason why I have put STB in the number 4 position, but I must say that I’m a very big fan of it.  I find it to be very slick, clean and simple, yet highly effective.  The tools of the trade encircled by the ingredients of the trade.  Classic.  I’ve often thought of having a variation of that logo tattooed on myself.  Good logo aside, the continuity and simplicity of all of STB’s label designs is so well done that I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to find them being celebrated in HOW Magazine (or something similar).

 

 

3) New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith Series – Take a minute to gaze upon the above image.  Tell me you wouldn’t want a full size print of that framed and mounted in your living room.  It’s beautiful…and it’s just a beer label.  I could have posted a picture of almost any LoF label and it would be equally stunning.  Whomever is behind this is really doing fabulous work.  Give them a raise.

 

 

2) Stone Brewing Co. – This logo is absolutely unmistakable.  It may not be number one on my list but it’s very possibly the number one most recognizable beer logo in craft brewing.  It’s bold, like Stone beers and the attitude of the owners/brewers.  If you’ve ever taken the time to read the lengthy, screen printed text on any of Stone’s 22oz bottles, you know just what I mean.  Stone is hard fucking core and their dark, devious mascot exemplifies that to the t.

 

1)  Flying Dog Brewery – Can someone please explain to me how FDB got Ralph Steadman to illustrate all of their imagery?!?!  Whether you like his style or not, this has to be the most lauded, continual collaborative effort between a brewery and a world-famous artist of all time.

Yeah, I guess I do sort of get how FDB pulled this off.  Supposedly the owners of the brewery were friends with Hunter S. Thompson.  It’s quite clear that his influence is felt throughout much of FDB’s advertising and marketing campaign.  Since Ralph Steadman is most famous for his work with Hunter S. Thompson, in lies the connection.  God knows how much money they must dish out for his work, but I for one thing it’s worth every penny.

Spring Is Here! So Is Seattle’s HopScotch Festival

This year will mark our third year attending HopScotch- a beer and scotch festival at Fremont Studios in Seattle. Although I do not go for the scotch (or tequila), the vibe is always great, the beers are flowing and you are guaranteed to have a good time. What more could you ask for?

Oh you want some information? Below are some festival facts from the HopScotch official website:

Hop Scotch Spring Beer & Scotch Festival is a premier beer, Scotch, wine and spirit tasting experience benefiting the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). On April 1 and 2, Fremont Studios transforms into a swanky beverage tasting lounge featuring over 80 libations to swirl, sniff and sip.

Entrance includes tokens to sample beer and wine. For an expanded tasting experience, optional spirit samplers of Scotch or tequila may be purchased as well as an hour-long Scotch Seminar with the Master of Whisky. Develop your sense of taste at the stylish indoor setting of Fremont Studios on April 1st and 2nd, 2011 at Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival.

Hop Scotch is a benefit for the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). SIFF’s mission is to create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world. It is through the art of cinema that we foster a community that is more informed, awake and alive.

Hours are Friday, April 1 from 5PM-12AM and Saturday, April 2 from 1PM-12AM. Admission is as follows:

  • $30 General Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and five beer/wine tasting tokens. $25 in Advance
  • $35 Grand Admission: Admission, 5 oz. commemorative tasting glass and ten beer/wine tasting tokens. $30 in Advance
  • $15 Non-Tasting Admission: Admission and four tickets good for water or soda redeemable at the Hop Stop booth. Available at the door and online in Advance

Most importantly what breweries will be there- I have bolded and starred the ones to go for.

#1 Heineken | Lager

5%

A horizontal fermentation process results in unsurpassed clarity and brightness, and makes Heineken’s characteristic taste as good on draught as it is in a bottle. The smooth, full-bodied lager has a complexity that balances between fruity notes and a distinctive bitter taste.

 

#2 Heineken Light | Lager

3.5%

Heineken Light is a light-tasting, refreshing beer that maintains the subtle cues of the original Heineken signature flavor. With only 99 calories and 6.8 grams of carbohydrates per bottle, it represents the perfect opportunity to up-sell to domestic light beer drinkers.

#3 Dos Equis Lager | Lager

4.5%

Dos Equis Lager is a crisp, golden, and refreshing beer. It is brewed with pure malt, hops, and water to deliver a unique taste with a dramatic, bracing quality.

#4 Newcastle Brown Ale | Brown Ale

4.7%

Golden brown in color, with rich, full-bodied flavor, Newcastle is a dark beer unlike any other: an unparalleled combination of character and drinkability.

www.heineken.com

21st Amendment Brewery

At the 21st Amendment, they celebrate the culture of the great breweries of old, making unique, hand crafted beers, great food, and providing a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that invites conversation, interaction and a sense of community.

#1 Back in Black | Black IPA

6.8%, IBU:65

Brewed like an American IPA but with the addition of rich, dark malts, this beer has all the flavor and hop character you expect with a smooth, mellow finish.

#2 Bitter American | Pale Ale

4.2%, IBU:44

Our extra Pale Ale has lower alcohol but all the flavor and hop aroma you expect from a much bigger beer.

www.21st-Amendment.com

Alaskan Brewing Co.

Alaska has a rich history of brewing. From the explorers of the 1700s through the Gold Rush, many a thirsty Alaskan has been able to enjoy locally made beers. In 1986, 28-year-olds Marcy and Geoff Larson reignited that tradition when they opened the Alaskan Brewing Company, the 67th brewery in the country and the first brewery in Juneau since Prohibition. Alaskan beers reflect many of the same characteristics of beers that were brewed here during the gold rush era. From the historically based Alaskan Amber recipe to alder-smoked malts and Sitka spruce tips, Alaskan beers reflect Juneau’s local brewing history and innovation.

#1 Alaskan Summer Ale | Other Ale

5.3%, IBU:18

Alaskan Summer Ale is a Kolsch style ale that balances a softly malted palate with the clean freshness of hops. In the tradition of the style, neither overpowers the other. Both hops and malt come together to refresh and renew the palate. The straw-gold color and easy drinkability are an enjoyable way to celebrate summer.

#2 Alaskan Imperial IPA | IPA

8.5%, IBU:70

Rich in color and full in flavor, Alaskan Imperial IPA is Packed with Northwest hops over a sturdy malt body. The Latest from our “Pilot Series” is brewed in small batches.

www.alaskanbeer.com

BridgePort Brewing Co

Oregon’s oldest Craft Brewery. BridgePort means: “Bridges of Portland.”

#1 BridgePort KingPin | Double Red Ale

7.5%, IBU:65

Triple hopped, Double Red Ale that has the unique flavor of rye malt.

#2 BridgePort Café Negro | Coffee Infused Porter***

7.5%, IBU:65

The perfect blend of Porter with a bold flavor of roasted coffee. Rich and creamy.

www.bridgeportbrew.com

Crispin Cider

All natural hard apple cider. Made from fresh pressed Northwest fruit, not concentrate.

#1 Crispin Cider

5%

A classically styled, but untraditional hard apple cider. Fruit forward, with a fresh, crunchy appley nose and a deliciously creamy, refreshingly crisp mouth feel. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Whole Foods, QFC, Marketime Foods

#2 Fox Barrel Pear Cider

4.5%

This delicately balanced cider is like biting into a ripe pear. The hand crafted subtlety of this 100% natural beverage pays homage to finer French ciders. Our remarkably versatile Pear Cider is consistently awarded gold medals at national and regional competitions. Gluten Free. Where to Buy: Fred Meyer

www.crispincider.com

Deschutes Brewery

Deschutes Brewery, located in Central Oregon along the banks of the wild and scenic Deschutes River, has brewed a family of handcrafted ales since 1988. Starting out as a small brewpub in the heart of downtown Bend, Deschutes’ first beers were Black Butte Porter, Bachelor Bitter and Cascade Golden Ale.

#1 Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale | Pale Ale

6.4%, IBU:60

Red Chair NWPA is named after the oldest operating lift at Mt. Bachelor here in Central Oregon. As a debut Northwest Pale Ale, it’s an adventure all its own.  It has a plush body with satiny caramel flavors derived from seven varieties of malt.  Yet, despite it all, it remains a hop-forward ale with that distinctive citrusy punch.  Just minus any mouth-puckering bitterness. Where to Buy: Grocery Stores that Sell Craft Beer

#2 Hop Henge Experimental IPA | IPA***

9%, IBU:95

Several pounds of Centennial & Cascade  hops are in each barrel with a heavy dry-hop presence to top it off. A blend of crystal, pale and carastan malts creates an overall biscuity characteristic that is dense and muscular, building the alcohol base to support the monstrous hop profile. Where to Buy: Pubs and Grocery Stores that Sell 22 oz. Bottles

www.deschutesbrewery.com

Diamond Knot Brewing Co.

Since our humble beginnings in 1994, Diamond Knot has seen huge growth thanks to our loyal fans. We’re known for our Northwest-style IPA’s, but we also produce everything from a light Blonde Ale to a Dry Irish-style Stout. We currently offer four retail locations, three in Mukilteo and one on Camano Island, for patrons to enjoy fine food and our handcrafted ales.

#1 Diamond Knot India Pale Ale | India Pale Ale***

6.2%, IBU: 40

Copper-colored with a malty character up front. Intensely bitter with hints of grapefruit and cedar imparted by heavy-handed additions of Galena and Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound

#2 Slane’s Irish-Style Red Ale | Irish-Style Red

6.6%, IBU: 30

A sweet, caramelly aroma gives way to a distinct malty flavor and a smooth, creamy finish that will leave you thirsty for more! Where to Buy: Pubs and Groceries Throughout the Puget Sound

www.diamondknot.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company

At Firestone Walker Brewing Co. we integrate traditional brewing discipline, a fascination with wooden barrels and a passion for the craft to create some of the most awarded pale ales in the world. We believe our commitment to balanced and unique beers has helped fuel the revolution in taste that is sweeping across America.

#1 Double Barrel Ale | Pale Ale

5%, IBU:30

We’ve honored the traditions of the great British Pale brewers of Burton-on-Trent using our patented Firestone Union oak barrels. You’re left with a mild blend of vanilla and toasted oak flavor touched with an elegant hint of English noble hops. DBA is the flagship of our company and wildly popular. Where to Buy: Whole Foods

#2 Union Jack | IPA***

7.5%, IBU:70

Union Jack is the recipient of numerous awards including back to back wins at the Great American Beer Festival. Bold citrus and pineapple aromas meet savory malt flavors resulting in a truly balanced effort. A beer true to its origins; deeply hopped and bolstered for a long voyage. Where to Buy: Whole Foods and Local Liquor Stores

www.firestonebeer.com

Flyers Restaurant and Brewery

Full Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant features a fresh menu with everything from soups, salads, burgers and sandwiches to steaks and seafood. The bar has 14 taps with several rotating guest beers to compliment Flyers’ house brews and a full bar with premium spirits and cocktails. There are over 100 seats available with both inside and outside seating.

#1 Pacemaker Porter | Porter

5.5%

Robust Porter in style, this dark, full bodied ale has notes of roasted barley, coffee and bitter sweet chocolate. Fast becoming Flyers’ flagship beer. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID.

#2 Afterburner IPA | IPA

6.5%

A hop lover’s delight! Our I.P.A. is loaded from start to finish with five hop additions and balanced by English and German malts. Where to Buy: On Tap and in Bottles in WA, OR and ID

www.eatatflyers.com

Fremont Brewing Company

We are a small, family-owned microbrewery founded in 2008 to brew small-batch artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. We use barley from the Okanogan Valley in British Columbia, hops from a 4th generation hop-growing family in the Yakima Valley and water from the Cedar River Watershed in the Cascade Mountains. Located in the historic Fremont neighborhood of Seattle, you can drink our beer at our Urban Beer Garden, on draft at many fine bars and restaurants in the area — or pick up a keg or growler to go.

#1 Universale Pale Ale | Pale Ale***

6.2%, IBU:65

Fremont is the self-proclaimed “Center of the Universe” and Universale, our flagship product, honors the namesake of our unique location. Universale Pale Ale offers a distinctive Northwest twist on the classic pale ale, using a select blend of Gambrinus pale roasted malt and Old World malts balanced with classic Northwest hops to achieve a heavenly beer of rich malt flavor and subtle hop spice. This is beer. Enjoy. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma

#2 Interurban IPA | IPA***

7.5%, IBU:65

Named after Fremont’s most famous outdoor sculpture, Waiting for the Interurban, Interurban India Pale Ale offers the adventurous beer lover a warm embrace of Gambrinus roasted pale malt swirled with a hand-selected blend of flavor malts and filled with the rich spice of Chinook, Centennial and Cascade hops. Interurban India Pale is a session beer, eminently drinkable throughout the year. Where to Buy: Brewery, Seattle, Spokane, Bellingham, Tacoma

www.fremontbrewing.com

Georgetown Brewing Co.

Founded by Manny Chao and Roger Bialous in September 2002, Georgetown Brewing Co. is located in south Seattle’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. We are a true, local craft brewery, with all of our ingredients coming from the Northwest.

#1 Manny’s Pale Ale | Pale Ale

5.3%, IBU: 38

A careful selection of Northwest hops, premium barley, and our unique yeast give this ale a rich and complex malty middle with a snappy hop finish. It’s truly a micro that finishes crisp, clean, and smooth. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs

#2 Lucille IPA | IPA***

6.9%, IBU: 85

Columbus, Centennial, Amarillo and Cascade hops.  Floral, citrusy and awesome. Anything so innocent and built like that just gotta be named Lucille. Where to Buy: On Draught at Local Pubs

www.georgetownbeer.com

Kona Brewing Co.

In 1994, Kona Brewing Co. became the first craft brewery to take root on Hawaii (the Big Island). Since then, Kona Brewing Company has been committed to making handcrafted ales and lagers of uncompromised quality.

#1 Longboard Lager | Island Style Lager

4.6%

Longboard Lager is a beer originally introduced by Kona Brewing Company in Hawaii.  It is a crisp and moderately hopped pale lager, with an exceptionally smooth after flavor. Longboard takes over four weeks to ferment and cold condition, more than twice the time of Kona’s ales.

#2 Koko Brown | Brown Ale

5.5%, IBU: 28

Is there anything more iconic of the lush tropics than the coconut? The delicious heart of this island treasure has a nutty, toffee flavor and aroma that sends you straight to the beaches of Paradise. Kick back with a Koko brewed with real toasted coconut and savor the mahogany color and smooth, roasty malt taste.

www.konabrewingco.com

Lagunitas Brewing Company

From our earliest days of striving to make consistently good beer, and instead making beer that ranged from vile, to barely drinkable, to wonderful, to elegant, to questionable-at-best. From being castigated by our West Marin neighbors to finally suffering an ‘eviction’ by our West Marin septic system. From landing in the welcoming arms of Petaluma, and actually getting our beer into bottles, onto the streets, and into the hands of sympathatic beer geeks, to steadily losing less money each month. From all this and more, Lagunitas Brewing Company is emerging as a battle-tested brewery capable of making great beer out of goat’s milk, brambles, and asphalt on the surface of the Moon, if need be.

#1 Little Sumpin Wild | Other Ale****

7.8%, IBU: 65

Another Big Sister of the Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale…. Loads of Malted Wheat for a Curious Malt Foundation and a Light Color, But Our Belgian Yeast Leaves a Huge Flavor and Complexishness. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores

#2 Brown Shugga | Other Ale

9.9%

How Come you Taste So Good?? Boatloads of Pure Brown Sugar in Each Batch, That’s How! The Rich, Roasty and Mysteriously Drinkable Ale might best be described as… Irresponsible. It Leaves a Lot of Stories in it’s Wake. Where to Buy: Your Friendly Neighborhood Grocery Stores

www.lagunitas.com

Lazy Boy Brewing

Lazy Boy is a small family owned brewery. We pride ourselves in using the freshest ingredients to create delicious products.

#1 Lazy Boy Bavarian Hef | Hefeweizen

5%

German style hef that boasts the traditional flavors of banana and clove. Refreshing and delicious. Where to Buy: Local QFCs and Markets

#2 Lazy Boy Dry Hop IPA | IPA***

5.5%

This is new for us and has been well recieved. IPA infused with aromatics from dried oranges and corriander. A wonderful blend of hops and citrus. yum yum. Where to Buy: At the Brewery

www.lazyboybrewing.com

Mac and Jack’s Brewery

We are a draft only brewery located in Redmond Washington.

#1 Two Tun IPA | IPA

7%

Mac & Jack’s IPA is a refreshing, smooth, & balanced India Pale Ale. Using a variety of specialty malts and plenty of locally grown Yakima valley hops, we have created an IPA that has great hop flavor without being bitter. Pale roasted malts give our IPA a deep golden hue, and solid malt backbone, which nicely compliments its crisp hop finish. Copious quantities of hops are added very late in the boil giving the beer its floral aroma and hop forward character. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants

#2 Serengeti Wheat | Hefeweizen

4.7%

A crisp, refreshing American style Hefeweizen that is brewed with the best ingredients the Northwest has to offer. We use 50% locally sourced two-row pale malt and 50% locally grown northwest malted wheat well above the required 30% wheat additions to be called a wheat beer. This Northwest style Hefeweizen is unfiltered for a “cloudy” appearance and brewed with plenty of Yakima valley hops yielding a wonderful citrus finish, delicious with or without a lemon garnish. Where to Buy: Bars & Restaurants

www.macandjacks.com

Mad River Brewing Company

Mad River Brewing Company is located in the beautiful small town of Blue Lake, California in the heart of Humboldt County.  Now in our third decade we continue our commitment to producing award winning fine ales combining the most traditional brewing methods with an environmentally sound approach.

#1 Steelhead Double IPA | IPA

8.6%, IBU:95.2

Malty, hoppy and strong, Double IPA is dry hopped with Amarillo hops for a fresh piney and citrus flavor and aroma. Aggressive, but perfectly balanced.

#2 Jamaica Red Ale | Amber

6.5%, IBU:45.3

Our legendary red ale. This mahogany hued ale brings an intense spectrum of spicy aromatic hop character balanced by a full-bodied caramel richness.

www.madriverbrewing.com

New Belgium Brewing

Employee owned and 100% alternatively powered, New Belgium Brewing was started in the Basement of Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan back in 1991.  Fast forward a few decades and now New Belgium brews are sold in 26  states and are about to celebrate it’s 20th anniversary.

#1 Ranger IPA | IPA***

6.5%, IBU: 70

This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Where to Buy: Major Chain Stores and Bottle Shops

#2 1554 Brussels Style Black Lager | Other Lager

5.6%, IBU: 21

1554 Enlightened Black Lager uses a light lager yeast strain and dark chocolaty malts to redefine what dark beer can be. In 1997, a Fort Collins flood destroyed the original recipe our researcher, Phil Benstein, found in the library. So Phil and brew master, Peter Bouckaert, traveled to Belgium to retrieve this unique style lost to the ages. Their first challenge was deciphering antiquated script and outdated units of measurement, but trial and error (and many months of in-house sampling) culminated in 1554, a highly quaffable dark beer with a moderate body and mouthfeel.

www.newbelgium.com

MacTarnahan’s

#1 Mac’s Amber | Amber

5.1%, IBU:32

One taste of Macs and you’ll taste the tradition of a true Portland Original. Since the beginning of the craft beer revolution, MacTarnahan’s has been producing bold and flavorful brews . MacTarnahan’s is a deep copper-hued Amber Ale balanced with fresh Cascade hops from the great Northwest. Distinct, Bold and Original It’s hard to beat a Mac. It is damn good beer! Where to Buy: Everywhere

#2 Sling Shot | Pale Ale

6.2%, IBU:27

You always know better, but sometimes you just don’t care. Mischief is just creativity stretching its legs. Sling Shot is a seasonal Extra Pale Ale for the spring with rich golden color. Its lively hopped flavor makes for a mischievously good and refreshing ale that “hits the spot!”

www.macsbeer.com

Ninkasi Brewing Co.

Oregon’s Ninkasi is one the nation’s fastest-growing breweries, thanks in large part to an unsubtly named beer (Ninkasi was the ancient Sumerian goddess of brewing)-Total Domination, a potent, aggressive IPA with pungent hops and flavors of citrus rind and carmel.

#1 Total Domination | IPA***

6.7%, IBU:65

Multiple hops collide in balanced perfection, dominating the senses, achieving total satisfaction. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles

#2 Spring Reign | Pale Ale

6%, IBU:38

Notes of toasted malt up front, with a bright and crisp Northwest hop finish, it’s a session beer that everyone can enjoy! Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles

www.ninkasibrewing.com

Pyramid Breweries

The Seattle Alehouse, our original location, offers a world of extraordinary tastes waiting to be explored on draft including our year-round beers, rotating seasonals, as well as a few unique Pyramid offerings you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy a pint, explore a Pyramid Sampler, or order a growler of brewery fresh beer to go. Pair your brew with a tasty selection off of our full menu of classic brew house cuisine.

#1 Live Wire | Hefeweizen

7%, IBU:30

The first in the Series, Live Wire, is a bountiful Imperial Hefeweizen that takes Pyramid’s gold medal Haywire® Hefeweizen to impressive new heights. The gratifying result delivers a rich and full-bodied wheat character, robust hop balance, and punched-up alcohol content. Where to Buy: Pyramid Ale House and Local Restaurants, Bars and Stores

#2 Curve Ball | Blonde or Golden

5%, IBU:18

Our deceptively drinkable golden summer seasonal is a crisp, clean-tasting, cold lagered ale. This frosty thirst quencher is the perfect accompaniment to summer adventures. Where to Buy: Everywhere

www.pyramidbrew.com

Redhook Ale Brewery

Redhook has been brewing quality beers for 30 years! From its humble origins in Seattle’s Ballard & Fremont neighborhoods to a state-of-the-art brewery in Washington, Redhook continues to deliver outstanding craft beers to consumers. In July 1994, Redhook completed its Woodinville WA brewery, just 20 miles east of Seattle. The beautiful facility features expansive grounds and the Forecasters Public House, where you can  sample all of the Redhook brews and pub-style meals. Forecasters Pub is open daily please see our website for detailed hours.

#1 Redhook Pilsner | Pilsner

5.3%, IBU: 25

May not look it but has a dark side. Redhook Pilsner is brewed in a traditional Czech style. It offers a very soft palate and malt flavors that are offset by a medium dose of distinct Czech hops to bring out its authentic flavors. Available year round beginning March 21, 2011.

#2 Redhook Wit | Other Ale

5.2%, IBU: 12

Made with ginger but still has his place in his heart for Mary Ann. Redhook Wit is a twist on the traditional Belgian brew. A balanced mixture of spices, orange peel, coriander and ginger give this wheat beer a smooth yet distinct flavor. It is brewed with Kolsch yeast, and we decided to steep the spices in the whirlpool for 15 mins just prior to cooling and fermentation; similar to a finishing hop addition. As with cooking, this method keeps the spice flavors and aromas intact, and soft/subtle.

www.redhook.com

Samuel Adams

The Boston Beer Company began in 1984 with a generations-old family recipe that Founder and Brewer Jim Koch uncovered in his father’s attic. After bringing the recipe to life in his kitchen, Jim brought it to bars with the belief that drinkers would appreciate a complex, full-flavored beer, brewed fresh in America. That beer was Samuel Adams Boston Lager®.  Today, the Company brews more than 21 styles of beer.  The Company uses the traditional four vessel brewing process and often takes extra steps like dry-hopping and a secondary fermentation known as krausening.

#1 Samuel Adams Wee Heavy | Wee Heavy

10%, IBU:30

Was inspired by both traditional Scotch ales and Scotch whiskies, for a combination of deep roasted flavor and earthy smoke character. Traditional Scottish ales vary in intensity with the strong ales known as Scotch Ale or “Wee Heavy”. To create our own version of the style we added peat smoked malt to bring the unique flavor of Scotland to this complex and satisfying brew.

#2 Samuel Adams Rustic Saison | Saison

4.3%, IBU:35

An incredibly complex yet refreshing beer in the classic style of Belgian farmhouse ales, traditionally brewed to quench the thirst of farmers throughout the summer months. The unique character of our brew comes from its Belgian yeast that imparts floral, fruity, and estery flavors. These flavors are layered with slightly sweet herbal notes and a citrusy hop character for a bright and satisfying summer brew.

www.samueladams.com

Seattle Weekly

#1 Seattle Weekly Voracious Brew | Imperial Red Ale

8.2%

Brewed by Lazy Boy Brewing, the Voracious Brew is an Imperial Red made exclusively for the fine people at the Seattle Weekly. Lazy Boy has used four different kinds of malts to brew this bodacious beer. The hop flavors are a combination of Palisades and Magnum in the dry hopping stage. This 8.2% beverage is powerful yet remarkably smooth to drink. Enjoy!

www.seattleweekly.com

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Founded in 1980, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. is one of America’s first craft breweries and is highly regarded for their use of only whole-cone hops, and for the spirit of quality, and craftsmanship in everything they do. This pioneering spirit continues though their decades of innovation in the brewhouse, and through advances in environmental sustainability. Sierra Nevada sets the standard for artisan brewers worldwide with their broad line of beers including their iconic flagship Pale Ale.

#1 Pale Ale | Pale Ale

5.6%, IBU: 38

Inspired by the Sierra Nevada mountains, we created a unique beer highlighting the bold flavors and piney-citrus aromas of whole cone hops. Today, our all natural, bottle conditioned Pale Ale is recognized worldwide as a classic. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Beer is Sold

#2 Summerfest | Other Lager

5%, IBU: 28

Summerfest is a Pilsner-style lager brewed for your enjoyment on a warm summer days-featuring a slight malt sweetness, delicate spicy and floral hop flavor, and a crisp, refreshing finish. Where to Buy: Just About Anywhere Seasonal Beer is Sold

www.sierranevada.com

Silver City Brewery

Silver City Restaurant & Brewery is the Kitsap Peninsula’s premier destination for award-winning, handcrafted beers, outstanding food, excellent customer service, and great memories in a fun, friendly environment. Silver City was started in 1996 by Co-owners Steve & Scott Houmes, and it remains a locally owned and operated family establishment. Silver City Brewery’s award-winning, handcrafted beers are available at more than 350 Puget Sound area bars, restaurants, and grocery stores throughout Kitsap, Jefferson, King, and Pierce counties.

#1 Whoop Pass Double IPA | IPA***

8.5%, IBU: 85

Without a doubt the boldest and hoppiest mother of a brew Silver City has ever created. More than 50 lbs. of Washington State Columbus and Cascade hops are infused, injected or otherwise inflicted upon a single 15 barrel batch. Welcome to hop country! Where to Buy: Whole Foods

#2 Fat Woody Scotch Ale | Other Ale***

9.2%

What happens when Silver City brewers take a world class beer like Fat Scotch Ale and age it for over a month on American white oak? A completely unique and wonderful beer emerges. The slight peaty, intensely malty scotch ale and the complex vanilla character of the oak meld over time to create an exceptional beer.

www.silvercitybrewery.com

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing

Proudly making fine, hand crafted ales in Washington since 1997.

#1 Wildcat IPA | IPA

6.7%, IBU: 77

The balanced hop monster! This is one IPA with enough malt backbone to stand up to its 77 IBU’s from 100% Columbus hops. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Outlets

#2 Triskaidekaphobia | Other Ale

8.6%, IBU: 36

There is no need to be afraid of the number 13, we have actually created this Belgian style tripel in celebration of our 13th anniversary. Triskaidekaphobia is a great balance of crisp clean malt, lemony hops and spice. Unfiltered but clear to the eye, Trisky is made from 100% German pilsner malt, Belgian candy sugar, 100% Czech Saaz hops and Belgian ale yeast. Where to Buy: Select Grocery Stores in the Seattle Area

www.fallsbrew.com

Stone Brewing Co.

#1 Arrogant Bastard Ale | Other Ale

7.2%

This is an aggressive beer. You probably won’t like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. Where to Buy: Most Stores

#2 Stone IPA | IPA***

6.9%, IBU: 77

An “India Pale Ale” by definition is highly hopped and high in alcohol – you’ll find our Stone India Pale Ale to be true to style with a huge hop aroma, flavor and bitterness throughout. If you’re a hop-head like us, then you’ll love our Stone India Pale Ale! Medium malt character with a heavy dose of over the top hops! Generous “dry hopping” gives this beer its abundant hop aroma and crisp hop flavor. Where to Buy: Everywhere

www.stonebrew.com

Trade Route Brewing

Trade Route Brewing was established in 2007 to explore the beer frontier. Their taproom in Pacific, WA pours beer for the adventurous made with a bounty of ingredients from around the world.

#1 Joker Ale | Pacific Northwest Amber

6%, IBU: 40

This bold amber is hoppy and unfiltered in the classic Pacific Northwest Style. We combine premium pale and crystal malts to form a pleasant malty base, then add enough Cascade and Centennial hops to create a balanced beer with a citrusy hop finish. This beer is easy to enjoy by itself and pairs well with most foods. Where to Buy: On Draught in Washington

#2 Mango Weizen  | Wheat Beer***

5%, IBU: 3

A refreshing beer with the subtle aroma and flavor of mangos. We use 50% wheat malt in the brew, along with premium barley and a touch of Saaz hops. Fresh mango puree is added after fermentation to create a beverage great when enjoyed by itself or paired with your favorite barbecue. Where to Buy: On Draught and in 22 oz. Bottles in Washington

www.traderoutebrewing.com

Widmer Brothers Brewing

“I quit!” In 1984, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer, in the midst of dual quarter-life crises, decided to quit their jobs, follow their dreams and devote themselves to their true passion—brewing beer full-time. To this day, that rebellious spirit and love for all things beer define Widmer Brothers Brewing. Prost! to doing what you love.

#1 X114 IPA | IPA

6.2%, IBU: 50

Named for the experimental hop that came to be known as Citra, this aromatic IPA balances perfect proportions of big fruit and citrus flavor with hints of peppery spice, caramel malt sweetness and a bitter, but smooth finish. It’s one experiment that bears repeating. Often

#2 W’11 Russian Imperial Stout | Stout***

9.3%, IBU: 65

An extremely rich and complex beer with tremendous body and mouthfeel. Spicy hop aromas are apparent. As well as Chocolate and Coffee aromas. The generous use of roasted barley and other specialty malts, such as Midnight Wheat result in a deep opaque black beer and thick brown beer foam. Well hidden in this complex beer is nice layer of alcohol.

www.widmer.com

It is a blast every year. Expect some solid IPAs at this event. Enjoy! Cheers!

Early Details Leak On Elysian/New Belgium Trip VIII

The Seattle area’s most high-profile collaborative brewing project is about to welcome its newest edition.  Trip VIII is nearly upon us.

I can remember when the first one arrived.  Now I feel like an old Seattle beer geek and I’ve only lived here for 4 years now.  Well, maybe I’m not that old.  Maybe it’s just that NBB and Elysian are that damn prolific.  Actually yeah, they really are prolific.  The fact that Elysian can (and periodically does) do a tap takeover at their own brewpub, and NBB has more offerings in their Lips of Faith line than many breweries do in their entire portfolio, is more than enough proof.

For a great summary of the previous Trip beers, please check out our article from September of last year here.

Without further adieu, check out the dazzling details on Trip VIII below (courtesy of beernews.org).

The Trip VIII Imperial IPA was brewed at Elysian Capitol Hill with the help of Alex Jesse visiting from New Belgium.

“The main idea behind Trip VIII was to brew a true Northwestern Imperial IPA, instead of a Californian or American IPA….I thought the whole story behind the Falconers Flight hops was really cool: a blend of NW hops to commemorate a NW brewing Legend and help send brewers to Seibel was awesome… The craziest part was I had no idea that Markus from Elysian was the first scholarship winner! The Pale Malt is grown and malted in the NW also.” – Alex Jesse, New Belgium Brewing Co.

These newfangled Falconers Flight hops have been showing up a lot in NW brews lately.  They are said to “imparting distinct tropical, citrus, floral, lemon and grapefruit tones”.  Sounds awesome!

A Lost Post- Beating the Sunday Blues

March 8, 2011 1 comment

This was originally posted by bb.com back in 2009. Damn time flies. All of these places are worth a second post. So check ‘em out, if you haven’t before!

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.



New Belgium Celebrates 20th With Unique & Rare Take On Fat Tire

Solid as a rock.

New Belgium Brewing has been around for 20 years now.  Wow!  They have surely come a long way.  So long, in fact, that they find themselves sitting in the number 3 position in the rankings for top craft breweries (sales) .  There is very little doubt that their Fat Tire Amber has played a massive role in their great success.

In celebration, and in tribute to the beer that acted as a stepping stone for so many of us beer geeks into the world of better beer, New Belgium has packaged up the old classic in a new and exciting manner – unfiltered, dry hopped, and in cask format.  From what Seattle Ranger Todd told me yesterday, 6 total firkins were sent to the Seattle area, each dry hopped with a different hop variety.

This has never been done before at New Belgium and each tapping is going to offer a very rare and unique take on the beer that put the brewery on the map.  If I were you, I’d keep your ear to the ground (or your eyes on beerblotter.com) and do your best to attend as many of these special tapping events as possible.  It’s not only an opportunity to celebrate with NBB, but it’s a chance to thank them for all they have done for the craft community and, obviously, to have some tasty and rare beer in the process.  For me, it most exciting to get the chance to take in what each hop variety can lend to an amber ale.  It will be educational, without a doubt.
So when is the first tapping?  What hops will be featured first?  Tell me. tell me, tell me!!  Don’t fret, I have your answers!

This Thursday, February 10, the first two firkins will be tapped, simultaneously, across town from each other.  One in Magnolia, at Mulleady’s Irish Pub and the other in Green Lake, at Latona Pub.  Both are planned to be tapped around 5pm, for happy hour, and should be pouring for several hours.  This will give you ample opportunity to maneuver between the two and make a night of it, without completely destroying all hope of being productive on Friday (not that you ever are you crazy slackers).

The Mulleady’s cask will be spiked with one of the “Three Cs” – Centennial.  This is a moderate to high alpha hop that is very similar to Cascade and completely kicks ass!  It’s pungent, citrusy, and mildly floral.  Yum!  The Latona cask will feature the uber-high alpha and somewhat rarely seen Bravo hop.  This is surely a treat!  This one has the potential to be a bit harsh and is often described as having an earthy spice, herbal, fruity and floral essence.  Giddy-up.

Beer Blotter’s Guide To Brouwer’s Big Wood Fest 2010

December 1, 2010 4 comments

Can't miss.

If you live in the Seattle area and you like beer enough to read this blog, chances are pretty good that you will be hitting up Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe, if not on opening night (Thursday Dec. 2), at some point this coming weekend. Hopefully you have already gazed upon the outstanding preliminary list which can be found on our site here and on Brouwer’s blog.

Clearly, there’s a lot of options to chose from, and all of us, most unfortunately, only have one measly liver to assist us in tackling them.  This is where we come in.  We drink a lot of beer.  We have been to BWF several times now. If you want to make sure that you order your barrel aged beers wisely, heed our advice.  We don’t think that you will be disappointed.

I’ve decided to choose my top 15.  These are the beers that I plan to sample, based on the current list.  It’s my game plan.  I know what you are thinking, and yes, I actually do think that I can try 15 beers.  When bb.com goes to big beer events at Brouwer’s, where there is never a cover, we make sure to roll deep.  We bring out as many friends as possible, we direct them on what to order, and then we drink their beers (of course we let them drink ours too).  Always be sure to order the smallest size that is offered, every time.  These events are all about getting your hands, and tastes buds, on as many special and rare beers as possible.

This list is, as always with Brouwer’s events, subject to change because it is very likely that the final list will include a few eye-popping secrets.  This year I’m hoping to see a few more special Hair of the Dog beers, more vintage Bottleworks Anniversary beers like barrel aged Ivan the Terrible, and maybe some more killer locals like Petite Mort from Black Raven or some Big Time treats.

 

15. People’s Barrel Reserve – Brouwer’s has started a little trend in the past few years with bringing in some Midwest offerings that are rarely, if ever seen in WA.  Last year we were graced with Stoudt’s (PA represent!) Barrel Aged Fat Dog and some absolutely insane Founder’s beer.  I think it was a maple barrel aged Breakfast Stout or KBS.  Dunno but is was bonkers!  If this is the People’s Brewing Co. from IN, then this is a beer that you will most likely not see in Seattle for a very long time to come.  Why not give it a whack?

 

14. Skagit Oak Aged Gospel – Gospel is an IPA.  I had to have at least one IPA on this list, and I’m proud to support SRB.  You might remember reading us gush about the Bourbon Barrel Reverend at Hop Fest.  If this one is even close to as good we are in for a treat.  Brewer Mike Armstrong is an amazing guy and an amazing brewer.  He almost always attends these event on opening day so seek him out and shake his manly brewer hand.

 

13. Snipes ??? – What will it be?  My guess, Twangzister, their barrel aged sour cherry stout.  If I’m right, this beer deserves to be much higher on the list, but I can’t just go around making bold moves on pure speculation now can I?  I do feel confident putting this on my list either way, because Chris Miller makes amazing beer, some of the best in the state.

 

12. Cascade ??? – Those erotemes could easily read “Barrel Aged Bile” and I would still order it, yes…mostly because I wouldn’t believe that it was actually bile, but also because Cascade shits gold.  Hand me any Cascade beer, any time, any day, and I will love you forever.  Just get this, please.

 

11. Boundary Bay Imperial Oaked Oatmeal Stout – BBB Impy Oatmeal Stout is, like their Imperial IPA, a beer that I can never see and not order.  It’s just so smooth and dark and mysterious.  An oak aged version…shut the f…ront door!  Purchased! Beer Blotter couldn’t heart a brewery more than we heart Boundary Bay.

 

10. Hale’s Rye Whiskey Aged Imperial Stout – Ok, I admit it, I rarely recommend a Hale’s beer in my festival previews.  It’s not at all because I have a problem with the brewery, in fact, I’m a fan.  The things that they do with that hopback of theirs really impress me… but this is not an IPA…  What excites me about this one?  Well, it’s quite simple actually – when I see the words “Rye” and Whiskey” and “Imperial” and “Stout” all lined up in order like that, it’s such a thrilling sight that I absolutely must participate.  Yeah, I’ll be trying this one.

 

9. Stone Lucky 13 – According to Brouwer’s twitter/facebook, this is a blend of Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Bastard, and Double Bastard.  I guess that would make this aka Lukcy Basartd (yeah, that’s how they spell it).  Despite the fact that I don’t particularly like any of those three beers (I know, I’m pure freak), I’m really intrigued.  This is a one time, limited release from Stone, so give it some rare points.

 

8. Port Townsend Maple’s Best BBN Imperial Stout – PTB has always been a great brewery, but lately it seems that they have really been stepping up their game.  I have a personal rule, if I see a PTB beer on tap that isn’t one of their standard offerings, I will never let it pass me by.  I think you should have the same rule.  In this particular case, you had me with impy stout, and then you really rubbed in it with the maple.  Gimme.

 

7. Midnight Sun Beserker – MSB makes a lot of really sick beers that rarely make it out of AK.  Berserker is one that was bottled and came to Seattle in a very, very limited supply.  I only have a bottle in the cellar because DSR and Jess were in the right place at the right time and they hooked it up.  I think all that I really need to do to sell you on this one is to tell you the description… it’s a 12.7% imperial stout brewed with molasses and maple syrup and aged in oak.  Game over.

 

6. The Bruery Three French Hens – I was fairly recently informed that bottles of Partridge in a Pear Tree (the first in their 12 Days/Years of Christmas Series) were going for nearly $300 on ebay.  Ever since, I’ve gone to great lengths to find and procure each new release in the series.  The cellar is caught up, but you better believe that I’m not going to crack one for another 9 years, that is if I don’t just sell the set and retire young.  This will be my chance to actually try one, and you better believe I’m going to take it.

 

5. Hotd Matt – Just in case you had a brain aneurysm in the past few seconds, HotD stands for Hair of the Dog, and it’s in all three members of Beer Blotter’s top 10 breweries in the world list.  Alan Sprints is beer royalty.  We love Matt, which was specially brewed for the owner’s of Brouwer’s/Bottleworks for Bottlework’s tenth anniversary.  It’s sour, and like every beer from this Portland brewery, it’s fantastic.  We are very hopeful that this is not the only HotD on the taplist come Thursday, but if it is, we will never complain, because we just savored Matt (the beer, not the person, but hey Matt(s)…call me).

 

4. The Bruery Coton – I know, I’m sort of obsessed with The Bruery, but god damn it they deserve my obsession!  Coton is The Bruery’s second anniversary beer and it’s basically a blend of oak barrel aged Papier (their first anniversary beer) and a new, un-aged brew of Papier, which is an old ale.  When I bought a bottle of Papier in ’09 I thought it was a little overpriced, but Coton is probably the most expensive “new” beer I have ever bought.  Get it on tap, if for no other reason than the fact that it will be slightly more affordable.  Oh yeah, also because old ales are amazing and their version is beyond amazing, and very rare.

 

3. New Belgium Sour Blackberry Whiskey – So I’m not 100% sure of this, but some mild research has lent me to believe that this is NBB’s Love (true lambic, foeder #3, blended into La Folie & Le Terroir, insanely, amazingly good, amazed that it’s made in America and not Belgium…), transferred into whiskey barrels and aged with blackberries.  If I’m right, this might be the greatest beer on Earth.  Again, speculation, blah, blah…

 

2. Firestone Walker 14 – Like far too many beers, I went to great lengths to get this beer in the bottle and could only afford one, so I have it but have never had it, if you know what I mean.  DSR and Jess had it during SD Beer Week and said it blew their collective mind.  If I went into what this beer consisted of here…well…this article would take a lot longer to read than it has already taken you.  Just check out this post by the good people over at beernews.org and salivate yourself into a puddle.

 

1. Russian River Deviation – HAHA!  Wow…where to start.  Ok Tim, try to keep it together… Every time that I see this beer on tap at Brouwer’s I treat it like it’s the last time I’ll ever have it.  Deep inside I know that that isn’t really true, because I have a bottle in my cellar that I bought on the day that it came out in ’08, but who knows, my house could burn down some day or global warming could scorch the Earth’s crust and it could boil itself undrinkable.  I consider that bottle to be the most valuable bottle of beer that I currently own.  Yeah that whole Partridge in a Pear Tree thing, if it’s true, might prove me wrong, but there’s more to it than monetary value alone. 

Deviation is the best Russian River beer that I have ever had (and that puts it very high on my all time list, if not at the top).  Also, Bottleworks periodically pulls some out of their cellar and sells it for nearly $100 a bottle.  I think I bought it for $15.  This beer is the epitome of rare and the epitome of mind-blowingly delicious.  Please, don’t order this so that I can drink it all, that is, if it really does still exist…

 

Terrible

 

Beer Events for Week of November 1, 2010

Armsby Abbey will showcase an amazing Lost Abbey tap list this week

So sorry for the delay. I am finally recovered from Halloween weekend as a shark attack victim. As far as beers go, it was pretty low key: Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale, New Belgium Ranger IPA and some homebrew. But now for your week in beer.

Skipping Monday, old news.

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

 

Victory Brewing Co Takes Over the Taps: New York, New York

4:30PM-2:30AM @ Rattle- N- Hum

A must stop beer bar in NYC, Rattle – N- Hum’s 35 taps will be all Victory Brewing beers. We are talking the best of the best from Wild Devil to Storm King- its going to be one hell of a Tuesday night!

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

 

Lost Abbey/Port Brewing Tap Take Over: Worchester, Massachusettes

6:00PM-10:00PM @ Armsby Abbey

Another “Tap Takeover” and I’m loving the idea. Tonight in MA, Lost Abbey/Port Brewing are bringing out all of the stops, 22 of them which include, Mondo Double IPA (one of my favorite IPAs), Red Barn Farmhouse ale, 2008 Older Viscosity and Bourbon Santa’s Little Helper. A-m-a-z-i-n-g.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Jolly Pumpkin Multi-tap Night: Grand Rapids, Michigan

6:00PM-2:00AM @ HopCat

Event deets:

 

Join us as we celebrate Jolly Pumpkin from Dexter, MI in a rare multi-tap night. We will be featuring almost a dozen(hopefully) taps of one of our favorite breweries. We will be honored by special guest Mike Turriff, who will be on hand to fend any questions, comments, and notes of praise. Maybe even the Captain Ron “Spooky” Jeffries will be in attendance!-no promises. Party starts at 6pm and will end when the beer does…or at 2:30am Which ever comes first. Hope to see you there.
-Cheers

 

Still at the top of our must visit list - HopCat

 

Friday, November 5, 2010

 

San Diego Beer Week Kick Off: San Diego, California

Starting at 6:00PM @ all over San Diego

Beer Blotter is going to San Diego next week to hit up some amazing events. If you are in the area, check out the website and pick the events that intrigue you the most! San Diego Beer Week is sponsored by the San Diego Brewers Guild, a non-profit whose mission is to promote awareness and increase the visibility of fresh, locally brewed beer through education and participation in community events.

 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

 

Firestone Walker‘s 14th Anniversary Party Release: Paso Robles, California

12:00PM-3:00PM @ Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Firestone Walker is celebrating it’s 14th anniversary by having a beer release party for is anniversary beer “14″ and will include free samples of all component beers, free food, brewery tours, live music as well as other cool activities.

 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

 

Saison Sunday School: Dallas, Texas

3:30PM- 5:30PM @ The Common Table

First of all, love the concept. Second of all, this might be the first event I have ever posted in TX. Tonight, guests will explore the often overlooked and under-appreciated spicy and refreshing Belgian farmhouse ales known as Saison. We will do it the only real way I know how… drink some. There will be 6 Saisons paired with 6 different types of food. If you didn’t know already, Saison is beautiful with food. Email jeff@thecommontable.com to reserve a spot!

 

If you go to an event, want us to mention your event or just want to discuss something beer related that is on your mind, please leave a comment or email me at jess@beerblotter.com. Cheers!

 

The Release of Elysian Brewing Co. & New Belgium Brewing Co. Trip VI

September 30, 2010 1 comment

Trip VI is ready to roll! Fresh Hop IPA - delicious!

Over the past couple of years, Elysian Brewing Co. of Seattle, WA and New Belgium Brewing Co. of Fort Collins, CO have been teaming up and delivering stellar beers to the public.

Since 2008, these two breweries have brought you Trip I, II, III, IV, V and VI.

A quote from New Belgium’s blog from 2008 states:

 

While increasing efficiency and encouraging creative experimentation, we will make a bold collaborative step into the future of American craft brewing. This is an artisanal collaboration. Both of our brewing teams will use each other’s brewhouses while remaining independent enterprises. We’ll be brewing small-batch creative and experimental beers in Seattle like the Lips of Faith series while getting closer to our customers in the fertile Pacific Northwest brewing scene. Elysian in turn will brew larger batches in Fort Collins and be able to handle growing distribution needs as their beers become available in new U.S. markets, like New York, which opened July 1st of this year.

 

I bring to you, a brief description of each “collabeerative Trip” beer.

Trip I–>

Their own version of a Trippel IPA. Of course, this is a Belgian twist on a northwest version of India Pale Ale. We have seen this from people like Flying Dog, Troubadour and La Chouffe, but this is the first northwest version, with significant fruity hops.

Trip II–>

A deep, golden ale generously hopped with Magnum and the seldom-used Citra hop, which produces flavors of grapefruit, peach and passion fruit. Spiced with lemongrass and grains of paradise, Trip 2 is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain for a hop-forward ale and swirling fruit undertones.

Trip III–>

This gem of a beer was/is brewed at Elysian Capitol Hill. A sour brown with just the right amount of sourness, savoryness and sweetness. Elysian and NB blended a dark brew full of specialty malts with a wood-aged pale beer to provide a pleasantly-puckering sourness. Personally, I think this is such a well executed beer and always a must have when its on tap!

Trip IV–>

A juniper rye, an interesting beer with a ton of flavor! A traditional Rye Ale brewed with juniper, bittered with Cascade hops, finished with Cascade and Amarillo. Juniper boughs are added to the mash and juniper berries, orange and lemon peel are pitched in the whirlpool which presents a complex, refreshing taste profile.

Trip V–>

This is a cherry brown ale with cocoa, vanilla and bold cherry flavors. Lucious and bold, this beer has an incredibly natural flavor.

And now for your latest….

Trip VI–>

Notes straight from the bb.com team…A fresh hop IPA. A sweet IPA with grapefruit flavors and a smooth finish. A well-balanced IPA as there is an initial citrus sting, a sharp bitterness that enlightens your taste buds followed by a rolling honey sweetness.

At the release event, we were able to try Trip III, IV, V and VI side by side- what a treat. All of these beers are worth a try, a pint, a growler! The fresh hop came at the right time, during the right season and I look forward to more of it.

What is your favorite Trip? Let us know below in the comments.

Beers in the Hood: Phinney Ridge

August 24, 2010 2 comments

Phinney Ridge, a Seattle Neighborhood- check it.

Over the past three years, I have done my share of research on beer spots in Seattle. Every neighborhood has a beer bar, a bar with a decent tap list or a bottle shop to offer those that search the land for all that is fermented yeast. One of the things I love most about Seattle is the variety of neighborhoods (reminiscent of Manhattan) where you step out of one and into the next…almost immediately it becomes obvious that you’re in a whole new world.

Each hood offers distinct characteristics and charm. So in order to give each neighborhood their 15 minutes of fame, I will focus on one at a time.

Tonight: Phinney Ridge.

I’ll start with a nice wiki excerpt:

Phinney Ridge is a neighborhood in north central Seattle, Washington, USA. It is named after the ridge which runs north and south, separating Ballard from Green Lake, from approximately N. 45th to N. 85th Street.

I know for those of you who are not from Seattle or do not live in Seattle, the above quote means little to nothing. Phinney is a quaint neighborhood, very residential with your random spurts of bars, restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. Ballard’s subtly hip vibe seeps into Phinney, yet Phinney remains the more reserved, less frequented of the two. Here you will find beer.

The Dray

If you read Beer Blotter, then you have heard of The Dray, located on NW 65th right off of 8th and across the street from a massive Goodwill. This bar has so much to offer on any given day. First off, their “brand” is a squirrel, so expect to see some taxidermy on the shelves next to epic and rare Hair of the Dog and Dogfish head bottles.

Photo creds to phinneywood.com. Nice pic!

This tiny space is decked out in wood with slabs of polished tree trunks acting as your bar and table tops. On a cold winter’s night, you couldn’t be cozier. On a warm, sunny summer’s day you are guaranteed a breeze through the open garage doors/windows. The Dray molds to the weather outside; its like some kind of vortex.

Food options include some paninis, landjagers and pretzels with amazing stone ground mustard. I still haven’t figured out if you get charged for the pretzels, but I really doubt it.

But we also go here for beer- 12 taps at any given time. Yes, there are times I have stopped by here and been slightly disenchanted by their beer list, but 9 times out of 10, they will have something unique, something seasonal and something that your heart desires.

Off hand, Ommegang Zuur, New Belgium Love, Dogfish head Immortal Ale and Cascade Apricot come to mind as beers I enjoyed in the past. For that one time out of ten, The Dray has an impressive (and reasonably priced) bottle list, so be sure to check it out!

A gem of a bar, a comfort zone and a beer lovers day well spent.

Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon

Every time I  walk up to Sully‘s it reminds me of a lodge at a mountain resort in the Alps. With a pitched roof and a Bavarian facade, it couldn’t be more welcoming. Inside, it is a dimly lit, eclectic place with quirky decorations, as well as your quintessential Irish pub signs regarding how drunk, humorous, silly and stupid people get. This is another venue where I can spend an entire afternoon shooting the shit over a few pints of beer.

Props to seattleweekly.com for visual insight into Sully's

Like The Dray, Sully’s offers limited menu options. The items they do have include grilled cheese sandwiches, random snacks and some damn good chili. Other than that, throw a buck in the box and grab a bowl of peanuts.

You can always count on Boundary Bay IPA to be served on cask here, as well as several Deschutes taps and a decent IPA selection. I wouldn’t go here if your looking for a unique or rare beer, but quality brews such as Victory Hop Devil and New Belgium Ranger IPA have graced the stage here at Sully’s.

I remember sitting at Sully’s, drinking Boundary Bay IPA with the other 2/3 of Beer Blotter – we were sitting in a booth by the window and it started to hail, hail the size of golf balls. Just a sign from the gods that it was time to order another pint.

The Park Pub

Directly across the street from Sully’s, The Park Pub took much longer to get on our beer radar then the previously mentioned joints. This bar serves as a place to listen to live bands, play pool and grab some dinner.

Overall the ambiance is less comfortable and intimate but one glance at the tap list and all is well in the world. Arranged in a half circle, the taps glisten behind the bar.

Two times to phinneywood.com for having the neighborhood covered and taking great pics!

Note worthy beers currently on tap here: Boundary Bay IPA, Avery ‘Maharaja’ Imperial IPA, Stone Smoked Porter, Lagunitas ‘Lil Sumpin Sumpin’, Laurelwood ‘Hop Monkey’ IPA, Deschutes Organic Amber, Double Mountain Kolsch, Big Time Black IPA
and Rodenbach Grand Cru.

I would recommend this place for a Friday or Saturday night hang out session with a group. Good beers, music, activities and once in awhile, the neighborhood magician will amaze you and stick a card to the ceiling. Take a look next time you are there.

So that’s Phinney Ridge’s beer scene in a nutshell. I have many fond memories and have drank damn good beer at all three of these places. If you have a place that you love in this neighborhood, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

Next up: Ballard.

The Hop Brief: New Belgium Brewing Ranger IPA

The Ranger

Enjoyed on 8/16/2010

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Beer: Ranger IPA

Web: http://www.newbelgium.com/

Presentation: 12 oz. can

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: 70

Hops: Cascade, Chinook, Simcoe

Malt: Pale, Crystal

Commercial Description: Ever met a New Belgium Beer Ranger? They are our beloved folks out in the field. Spanning all 26 of our states from the Pacific to the Atlantic, our Beer Rangers do their best to protect, to pour and to partake. And explore many a beer from many a brewery, they do. The fellows up in the Northwest kept calling for “more hops!” Soon it became a common theme across the land. Rangers, fans and craft lovers everywhere were searching for hoppier beers.

So, here it finally is – New Belgium’s foray into the true American India Pale Ales. Bring out the hops! This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish, Ranger is a sessionable splendor for all you hopinistas. Thank your Beer Ranger!

Beer Advocate: B+ (3.85)

Rate Beer: 94 (3.54)

Timperial’s Notes:

New Belgium Brewing is a force.  According to the Brewers Association they are the third biggest craft brewery in America behind Boston Beer Co. (Sam Adams) and Sierra Nevada Brewing.  That’s pretty damn big, but it’s pretty much impossible to hate on them.  They may have what feels like endless funds to put into mass marketing, and their product often feels as though it’s pretty much everywhere, but ultimately, their conscientious nature will win you over.  NBB is an employee owned company.  They use wind power and sustainable energy.  They travel the country asking commuters to give up their cars in exchange for a bike, all in the name of reduced emissions.

Oh yeah, they also put a lot of effort into their product.  From the omnipresent Fat Tire Amber to Blue Paddle Pilsener.  From the Abbey Belgian Style Ale to the great wonders of the Lips of Faith series (they actually brought on a Belgian brewer from Rodenbach, Peter Bouckaert, to start their sour program).  These guys practically brew the entire gambit, except for an IPA.  Well, that’s what we were all saying about a year ago.  Finally, the Belgian inspired brewers came around to the great American craft brewing tradition.  IPA! Hops!  Once again, the PNW influence trickles down.

I doubt that there has been very many standard IPAs made in the last 5 years, especially by the larger craft breweries, that were released to more enthusiasm than Ranger IPA.  It seemed as though everyone wanted to taste New Belgium’s interpretation of the style.  I was definitely amongst them.  That’s what you get when you go so long, and do so many great things in brewing, without brewing an IPA.  They set themselves up for success with Ranger, and if you ask me, there was never any doubt that it would be good.  The question would become,  just how good?  We will answer that question in just a bit.

Bottles hit the market in early 2010, shortly followed by cans.  I for one, with the exception of keg purchases, have not bought more of any one beer in the last… probably 4 years, than Ranger in a can.  Whenever I found it, I bought it by the case.  A really good IPA in a can is a thing of beauty my friends.  Sadly, I understand that NBB has recently ceased canning Ranger, though I hear it just may return in the fall or winter.  New Belgium, if you are out there listening, hear me beg – please continue to can it.  I will do my part to make it worth your while.

My experience with this beer was as follows:

The color and head are magnificent!  The brew is a bright and clear orange color, leaning more toward yellow than amber.  The head is luscious – pure white with big bubbles and excellent lacing.  Massive clumps of foam adhere to the inside of the glass as the liquid level recedes.

The odor is very layered.  There is a lot of cascade hops present from the dry-hopping.  Citrus and pine come to mind first.  The crystal malts lend a wonderful caramel balance that makes my mouth water.  Deep within it all there is a slight burn, but at 6.5%, this must be pungent hop oils.  At times I get a waft of pure malts, like the smells that fill the brewery when mashing in, but the hops always return.  I sense that condensed pellets were used to extract the potency of the leaf.

The carbonation is spot on and the liquid is soft…not to dry, not too slick.  Nothing to complain about here.

The flavor is, ultimately, what we are after here.  Balance is what I need in an IPA, and I know that that isn’t always true for other hop lovers.  If you want a bitter bomb, this isn’t for you, it’s for me.  Yes, bitterness plays a role, but it is mostly corralled deep into the aftertaste.  “Hop candy” is the way I would describe my favorite IPAs, and though this is sweet, it’s not candy.  But then again, I can’t session hop candy, so this is just what I need.  Do you see why I buy this by the case?

The aftertaste is slightly dry and bitter on the back of the tongue, but all other bits of the mouth play host to caramel sweetness.  The sugars latch on and keep me sipping.  Though this may sound a bit primitive of me, due to the carbonation of our beverage of choice, there periodically comes a time when a burp just may sneak out, and I must say that it was pleasant not only to relieve the pressure within, but in flavor.  I felt as though I myself had been dry-hopped.

This is a really good IPA by a really good brewery.  You should drink it.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.96

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.89

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.55

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.90

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.84

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.00

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