Seattle’s Fremont Brewing announced today that they have tested their first run of cans. Guess what? The beer was delicious.
This has been interesting news for almost 1 year now. Back in April 2010, we ran an article about Fremont’s purchase of a used canning line. At the time of the article, we knew they weren’t ready but hoped that something would get cracking by Summer 2010. But Fremont went the appropriate route and focused on developing their beers and creating a public image. Now, the small brewer is one of the most recognizable faces in Seattle beer.
With some progress made, the team at Fremont has decided to give the canning line a go. They announced on Twitter today that the first batch of Interurban IPA had been test canned and that samples came back tasting great. While there is no official release date in the works, you might expect to begin seeing Interurban IPA and perhaps Universale Pale, in the near future.
A good canned IPA is just what the market needs. 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA is just about the only readily available IPA in a can on the market. Maui Brewing’s Big Swell and 7 Seas Ballz Deep Double IPA are both out there, but harder to find.
In other news, I have been meaning to post the new Fremont Brewing promo video for some time now (Sorry Matt). The team put together a few excellent videos that accurately depicts their collective spirit and attention to details. One is below, but check the site for more.
Looking forward to cans, coming soon!
Week 19 of 52
6644 S. 196th St, #T-100
Kent, WA 98032
Type of Establishment: Brewery Taproom
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —>
T-Tail Blonde Ale
Jet City ESB
First Class IPA
FOOD OPTIONS: I was very surprised to see anything other than a bowl of peanuts or hard pretzels, but they do offer landjager and soft pretzels.
BAR OPINION: Roughly 17 miles south of the Beer Blotter home base, in a beautiful (haha) business park in Kent, WA, lies a brewery that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
South-Enders rejoice, there is a new brewery taproom in Kent, WA! And it doesn’t suck!
You must admit, Kent is a very strange place to be… for any reason. I would imagine that owners Alex (brewer as well) and Dione (taproom manager as well) Dittmar got a pretty good deal on the brewery/taproom space. Lucky for the Kent residents I guess (what are there, like 27 of you?). Well, at the time of my visit, it was packed, so either every single Kent resident was there or there were a few travelers, like myself. If they got the impression that I did, it was well worth the visit for all in attendance.
Once within the doors of Airways Brewing, the look and feel of the place bares a shocking resemblance to that of Black Raven Brewing’s taproom in Redmond, WA. The bar area is just slightly off to your left as you enter, with seating in an “L” shape, creating a square area against the left and rear walls for the bartenders to roam and serve. The merchandise, mostly t-shirts, are hanging on the far left wall. Then there is a fairly small open area opposite the bar, on your right as you enter, that contains a few tables. Then there is a bathroom and a backdoor leading to the brewery (or so I assume, I didn’t get a tour). With the exception of Airways small outdoor seating area, and the lack of a backroom (additional seating), the space is identical to BRB’s. Must be a fairly generic architectural schematic for the Seattle outskirt’s business parks, but that’s quite alright, the small space works just fine. In fact, it seems to lend itself to relatively large social gatherings at strange hours of the day.
I say this because my visits to both occurred in the early afternoon on a weekday. Both times, there was sizable attendance. Both times there was a great bit of socializing amongst bar-top strangers. Both times I had a blast and drank good beer with good people. Nigel at Black Raven and Greg at Airways are both great barkeeps, both with tangible abilities to include everyone at the small bar into one single conversation. It’s a microcosm of big city bars, in a microcosm of a big city, and it’s just right for me.
I had the distinct privileged of meeting and chatting with Dione. I just missed Alex. After questioning Dione about the size of their brewing system, I was answered with the stunning words, “1/2 barrel”. This means that they can brew one keg at a time. 15.5 gallons. My friends, that is the definition of nanobrewery. Nan-frickin-o!
My dismayed look prompted an explanation. Airways has a great deal of their production contract brewed by a local brewery with a 7 barrel system. Now that makes a lot more sense. I must say, I was relieved. I’d love to be able to get more of their beer without having to drive down to Kent.
This brings us to the beer. Airways’ four standard offerings are clearly English influenced. They are well constructed and easy to drink. I ended up ordering a full pint of the IPA after my sampler, but it wasn’t an easy choice. The blonde was a bit too subtle for me at the time, but each of the others could easily have been chosen. Everything was reasonably priced as well, which is always appreciated. Like I said before, they have t-shirts for sale, as well as pint glasses and growlers to go.
One of my favorite parts about Airways Brewing is the imagery that they use. It’s really simple, but it’s cleaver… and sleek. It reminds me of the mind-blowing opening credits to the movie Catch Me if You Can. I had to take a pint glass home with me.
Airways was at last weekend’s Washington Brewers Fest. They had a Triple Chocolate Stout that I was unfortunately unable to acquire. I did, however, get to meet Alex. These guys are really kind and we are proud to support them as one of the newest breweries on the block.
Take a trip down south of the city and take a gander, drink a beer, and enjoy.
Nanobrew? What the hell is that? Well I am using it. I like the term and I think it applies to several of Seattle’s once-garaged-up breweries.
There are several breweries in the Seattle area that produce beer on a very small scale. These breweries typically serve beer at tasting rooms in the area and rely upon retail sales at their tasting rooms, as much as they rely upon their limited keg sales to local bars.
Its tough to be small and make it, so these breweries are the hardest working out there. They distribute directly – on their own; they sell growlers to make sure their beer gets taken home; they print swag to make sure their name is on the breast of the public.
Visiting a Nanobrewery is one of our favorite things to do. You really get face time with the brewers (who are often the only employees) and the aura of brewing (as you are typically corralled amongst the brewing equipment).
Here are some favorites in the area, who have tasting rooms that you need to visit:
Big Al is located down in South Park and they are generally known for their Irish Red, Smoked Porter and interesting seasonals (check out Brown Brother’s Scotch Ale)
These guys have a beer garden of sorts that is great in summer. But you can visit them year round:
big al brewing, inc.
Address – 9832 14th ave sw, seattle, wa 98106 - map
Phone – (206) 453-4487
Their tasting room is open 3:00-9:00 PM Monday through Thursday,
3:00-10:00 PM Friday, 1:00-10:00 PM Saturday, and 2:00-7:00 PM Sundays.
Since we work down in SODO – we like their location. They are on the cusp of SODO and Georgetown and have a tasting room that is open two days a week. Stop in for beer and pretzels to fill you growlers.
Address – 4700 Ohio Avenue South Unit A, Seattle WA 98134.
Phone – (206) 491-1439
The Tasting Room is open 3:00-7:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
From the site:
Come down for peanuts, pretzels, $3 pints, and HD TV on our 46′ LCD TV. Interested in renting the tasting room for a private party email us for rates and availability.
Where are these guys!? Luckily we just asked the same question. Hopefully we will get a response soon, but for now a little back story. Schooner Exact makes some damn tasty IPAs. Their use of the Randall (a fresh hop infuser) over the past year has made them one of my personal favorites.
They used to be located over in West Seattle, but have recently released information about their move to……..you guessed it – SODO! The only information that we have seen is that they will be located on 1st Avenue S, close to the West Seattle bridge (so are we – YES!).
So for now, we will stay tuned……
Aw schucks! They closed down their South Park commercial garage a few months back. But this was good news, as they have now moved into their new spot in Greenwood, Pillagers Pub. Though this place no longer has the tasting room feel – you can still get plenty of great beer. TRY THE RAUCHBIER!
Address – 8551 Greenwood Ave N Ste 5, Seattle, WA 98103
Phone – (206) 706-2779
The Pub is open from 3:00pm – 12:00am Monday – Thursday and 12:00pm – 1:00am Friday – Sunday.
These guys really stepped it up quickly! Former attorney Matt Lincecum turned an old warehouse in Fremont into a beer mecca. He has hired Matt Lincoln, formerly of Goose Island Belgians fame, as head brewer, and Aaron Golston, from Thirsty Bear in San Fran (we’ve been there!), as an assistant.
Because of the wealth of brewing experience between these three (Matt is also an avid home brewer) they have been able to turn out a plethora of beers in just a short time. Though only Universale Pale and a few versions of their IPA have made the taps, they have a wealth of small production beers you can get at the tasting room or for instance at Brouwers’ Big Wood Festival and their previous Hopfest (their IPA was in my top 15 for its unique quality).
Plans are underway to open a second floor beer garden, but this place is very cool as it stands right now. Take an afternoon and check it out:
Address – 3409 Woodland Park Avenue North, Seattle, 98103
Phone – (206) 420-2407
The tasting room is open Thursday, Friday & Saturday from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
This was a major part of our life. We have some great connections with Gilligans and the people who work there. But, due to changes in ActivSpace policies, they were forced to move out of their amazing place on the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont. But, do not fret, we spoke with owner Seth Gilligan over the weekend and plans are underway for the re-emergence of GBC in early 2010.
GBC will be using a brewpub format and serving up delicious food and grog. Stay tuned for more details….
Again – we aint geniuses and we are certainly missing some true tasting rooms. If you know of some – please continue the dialogue below with some comments!