Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Skookum Brewery’

52 Places: Empire Ale House, Mount Vernon, WA

August 4, 2010 1 comment

The entrance to the Empire.

Week 27 of 52

Empire Ale House

314 West Gates

Mt. Vernon, WA 98273

360-336-9944

Rank: 4/5

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

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

BEERS ON TAP (16 handles)

Deschutes (Nitro) Obsidian Stout

Boundary Bay Oatmeal Stout

Bear Republic Rop Rod Rye

Deschutes Mirror Mirror

Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale

Dick’s Brown Ale

Skookum Amber’s Hot Friend

Scuttlebutt Imperial Red

Deschutes Miss Spelt Hefe

Lazy Boy Porter

Boundary Bay IPA

Guinness Stout

Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch

Glacier IPA

Green Flash IPA

Two Beers Blonde

BOTTLED/CANNED BEER:

Negative.

FOOD OPTIONS:

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

BAR OPINION:

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

First question…have you ever heard of this place?

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

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

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

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

Decisions, decisions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer Blotter’s Guide to WA Brewers Fest 2010

June 17, 2010 1 comment

A major highlight at this year's WA Brewers Fest

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

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

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

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

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

Vanilla Stout** (Stout)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chili

Beer

Plus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.