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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.

Events for Week of March 21, 2011

EVENTS!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Milton, Massachusetts

6:30PM-9:00PM @ Abby Park

Smuttynose is one of my favorite breweries- their IPA, Wheat Wine and Barleywine are all amazing and hopefully on the menu tonight! Enjoy a 5 course specialty dinner paired with 5 Smuttynose beers for $55.00. Call 617-696-8700 or email Aja (aja@abbypark.com) for reservations.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Grand Teton Thursday Beer Tasting: Greenville, South Carolina

5:00PM-7:00PM @ The Greenville Beer Exchange

Grand Teton Brewing Company hails from Victor, Idaho and brews some extremely delicious beers! This week we will be tasting their Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass American Pale Ale, Pesephone Pils, and Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Drop in anytime between 5pm and 7pm this Thursday to experience four Idahoan beers (and how many of those can you say you’ve had?) completely FREE!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stone Brewing Co. Tasting: Boston, Massachusetts

5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine Emporium

Stop by tonight to sample Stone Brewing Co. beers all the way from Escondido, California (sounds warm and sunny): Featured beers will include:

Stone IPA
Stone Smoked Porter
Arrogant Bastard Ale
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
Ruination IPA
2010 Old Guardian
2011 Old Guardian

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dogfish Fest: Dallas, Texas

11:00AM-5:00PM @ The Common Table

The Common Table is tapping 12 Dogfish Head beers all on one day, Saturday March 26th- starts @ 11AM.

Here’s the lineup: HOT DAMN!

Bitches Brew
Burton Baton
90 Minute
Indian Brown
60 Minute
Raison d’Etre
Palo Santo Morrin
Chateau Jiahu
Red & White
Aprihop
90 Minute dry-hopped through a Randall
Midas Touch
Namaste (yet to be confirmed but likely will be available)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meet the Brewer, Cantillon: Escondido, California

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Spend two hours in the presence of beer holiness- Jean Van Roy, the head brewer of one of Belgium’s finest, Cantillon. Cantillon is known for brewing traditional lambics for over 100 years. We have been there, its amazing as are the beers.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Brown Bag Night “Stouts”: Los Angeles, California

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Blue Palms BrewHouse

The idea is that this is a way to strip away any pretensions and preconceptions about specific beers you are drinking, and to challenge and educate your palate about the flavors and aromas you experience.Price of admission? Just a bottle or two of beers that you bring in for the occasion. If you’re bringing a 22 oz. or 750 mL bottle, one should be enough. If it’s a 12-ounce bottle or can, please bring two (if possible– if you only have one, just bring the one).

If you want us to post about an event, go to an event or want to just drink good beer- email me at jess@beerblotter.com or leave a comment!

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!

Events for Week of February 21, 2011

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Stone World Bistro a.k.a. Stone Brewing Co. is pretty epic. Go there. Pic courtesy of beeranswers.com.

Your week in beer:

 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

 

Founders Tasting: Gahanna, Ohio

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Lounge 62

Not sure what the tap list is here, but its Founders, so its sure to impress! Check it out and report back!

 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

 

25 Beers for 25 Years: Ann Arbor, Michigan

11:30AM-12:15AM @ Ashley’s Restaurant & Pub

This is amazing- 25 years is epic and so is this tap list:

Celebrating Bell’s Brewery with twenty-two beers on draft all day and three special releases beginning at 9 PM.

9PM Hopslam Firkin release
9:45 PM Batch 10,000 release
10:15 PM Black Note release

Special guest Larry Bell, owner and founder of Bell’s will arrive around 8:30 PM.

Complete Bell’s Draft Line-Up:
Winter White
Two-Hearted Ale
Amber Ale
Sparkling Ale
Lager of the Lakes
Quinnanan Falls Special Lager
Hopslam
Oarsman
Cherry Stout
Expedition Stout
Milk Stout
Third Coast Beer
Third Coast Old Ale
Porter
Kalamazoo Stout
Best Brown Ale
Pale Ale
Batch 9,000
Smoked Stout
Raspberry Ale
Hell Hath No Fury
Double Cream Stout

 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

 

Mardi Gras Mambo with Oskar Blues: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

3:00PM-3:00AM @ The Sidecar Bar & Grille

I left a piece of me when I moved from New Orleans, so to honor the city- here is a Mardi Gras event….not in New Orleans…

 

You know us, then you know how we do, especially with the NOLA vibe – we’ll have the Oskar Blues premiere line on the taps, Chefs Brian Lofink & Kevin McCue with be throwning DOWN with the New Orleans fare and we’ll be spinning the best in New Orleans music – now and then~

Taps for the night will be updated soon!

 

Friday, February 25, 2011

 

9th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal: Seattle, Washington

2:00PM-2:00AM @ Beveridge Place Pub

Twenty-four (24!) dedicated taps for the biggest, boldest brews born between Bellingham and Boulder (and elsewhere, too)! Over fifty barleywines in all! This event will boast new beers through March 5.

 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

 

Washington Beer Open House: Seattle and outside of Seattle, Washington

12:00PM-4:00PM @ various locations

Today, breweries in and around Seattle open their doors for beer lovers to sample and experience their beers. Admission is free but beer prices at the various locations will apply. Check out the Washington Beer Commission’s website for details of where to go and what to do!

 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

 

Sunday Funday: Escondido, California

11:00AM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Every Sunday Stone offers something from “the cellar.” Today its 2005 Russian Imperial Stout. This stout is top notch, my personal favorite of all the Stone brews. Check out what the 2005 has to offer!

To add to the excitement, we’ve raided our cellars for some awesome rare and vintage brews. Every Sunday, we’ll have these special beers available either to purchase in bottles or to fill up your growlers.

 

Monday, February 28, 2011

 

Randall, Meet Bacon. Bacon, Meet Randall: Providence, Rhode Island

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Graduate Center Bar (GCB)

 

The first time that Randall visited the GCB he went nuts with peanuts and dried cranberries in Dogfish head’s Raison D’Etre… now he’s coming back and bringing the bacon…and roasted peppers. Keith will be with Randall and infusing Palo Santo Marron with thick cut bacon and roasted hot peppers. Come check it out!

 

If you want us to post about an event or if you went to an event and want to tell us about it, leave a comment or email me at jess@beerblotter.com! Cheers!

 

Events for Week of January 17, 2011

Sorry Im late. Busy weekend with a road trip and lots of football! But now for your week in beer.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Allagash Abduction: Burlington, Vermont

4:30PM-11:30PM @ The Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Allagash Brewery…need we say more? Brewmaster Rob Tod will be in the house with the full gamut of Allagash offerings.
We suggest coming early to this one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Duck-Rabbit Dinner: Durham, North Carolina

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Guglhupf Bakery And Patisserie

In honor of 1/3 of bb.com living the beer life in NC, I wanted to post about this event which features local NC brewery, Duck Rabbit. This menu along with the beer pairings is an event you dont want to miss:

AMBER ALE

TOASTED RACLETTE ON PAYSAN TOAST POINTS WITH HOUSE CURED DUCK AND RABBIT SAUSAGE, BRAISED CABBAGE AND CHIVE AIOLI.

BROWN ALE

HAZELNUT CRUSTED SCOTTISH SALMON WITH WHIPPED POTATOES AND WHOLE GRAIN MUSTARD SAUCE.

PORTER

SLOW BRAISED OX TAIL RAGU WITH CHESTNUT SPATZLE AND LOCAL ARUGULA.

BALTIC PORTER

MOLASSES LACQUERED BREAST OF VEAL WITH GLAZED BABY TURNIPS AND HOUSE SAUERKRAUT.

MILK STOUT

CHOCOLATE MALT TORTE WITH PRETZEL BARK AND CANDIED KUMQUATS.

We look forward to seeing you there! Contact Guglhupf to make a reservation.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Firestone Walker Pint Night and 14th Anniversary Release: San Diego, California

4:00PM-12:00AM @ Urge Gastropub

One of my favorite beers, Firestone Walker’s 14th Anniversary beer is amazing. One of the many epic beers I had in San Diego, 14th Anniversary is flavorful and complex. Tonight take home a pint, taste 14 and several other beers from Firestone Walker.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Firkin Friday Bell’s Hopslam: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

4:00PM-2:00AM @ Stubby’s Pub & Grub

Join us Friday 1/21 @ 4pm as we Tap into yet another Firkin! If you can’t make it right at 4, don’t worry it will be flowing for the duration of the evening, or at least till it’s gone.

Bell’s Hopslam is one of the Midwest’s most sought after beers, and Firkins of such a beer are surely a rarity. We @ Stubby’s are honored to get our hands on this beast of a brew and would like to invite all of our friends to come and enjoy it with us!

For those who aren’t too familiar, a Firkin is a cask conditioned ale in which the final stage of the brewing process and carbonation occurs right in the keg. A sort of old school way of making and drinking beer….the way beer should be and the Horizon Red is going to be phenomenal this way!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Belgium Fest: Seattle, WA

12:00PM-4:00PM OR 5:30PM – 9:30PM @ Warren Magnuson Park

This is a very popular event so don’t be disappointed if the tickets are sold out by the time you get to the door. For a full list of beers, click here!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter Beer Fest: Las Vegas, Nevada

10:00AM-10:00PM @ Aces & Ales

Details:

$15 entrance fee
Gets you a 7oz satin-etched commemorative sample glass, as well your first taste FREE and ~just $4 per 7oz tastes after~

For those of you who do not want to pay the $15 fee and get the glass, 12oz goblets of any beer on will be available for $8

In addition to all the mind-blowing beers you will be enjoying, we have lined-up a ‘who’s-who’ of the Brewing/Beer World daily for you to talk/learn/heckle/pick the brains of~! This line up is as follows:

Yuseff Cherney, Head Brewer – Ballast Point
Scott Wilke, Deschutes Brewery
Lisa Godbey, Southern Alebassadors
(Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, Firestone, Sierra Nevada)
Kellan Bartosch, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Ed Gebler, Stone Brewing Co
Greg Green, Bonanza Alebassador (Rogue, Deschutes, Stone)

Commemorative ‘Aces & Ales Winter Beer Fest’ Shirts will also be available for purchase for $15.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beer U: Strong Ales: Escondido, California

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Here at Stone, it’s no secret that we have a special place in our hearts for huge malty brews. Join “Dr.” Bill Sysak for a delicious evening featuring one of our favorite beer styles. Hear the story behind these big beautiful brews while you do some heavy duty hands-on learning!

Tickets are $25 and are available at the Stone Company Store or online at:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/140176

If you go to an event, want me to promote an event- email me at jess@beerblotter.com! Cheers!

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

 

Events for Week of November 15, 2010

November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Roman's Pub in Milwaukee, WI

My excuse this week. A little thing called San Diego Beer Week. So much more about that to come, on Alpine Brewing, Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, Stone Brewing Co., Allagash Night, Green Flash at Toronado and so much more. 

But now for your week in beer.

Skipping Monday. Sorry!! Re-coup day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Smuttynose Rare Beer Night: Greenville, South Carolina

7:00PM-10:00PM @ Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria

Tonight, some rare Smuttynose beers will be on tap. The list includes:

-Rouge d’Shire (Short Batch #9)
-Vunderbar (Short Batch #11)
-Wheat Wine Ale // 2007
-S’Muttonator Doppelbock // 2008

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Dogfish head and Three Floyds Collab Release: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

8:00PM-10:00PM @ Roman’s Pub

Release of this super rare collaborative brew by Dogfish head and Three Floyds along with special tappings of DH Worldwide Stout ’09, DH Bitch’s Brew and bottle sampling so far. Poppaskull is described as an “Old School, German Brown Ale with Palo Santo Wood and Botanicals.”

Thursday, November 18, 2010

VictoryBrewing Night: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8:00PM-10:00PM @ The Devil’s Den

Join us as we tap a selection of beers from Victory Brewing Company.

Victory people will be on hand pouring the following -

On Tap:

-Yakima Glory (Black IPA)
-Harvest Ale (Wet Hopped Pale Ale)
-Golden Monkey (Tripel)

On Cask:

-Storm King Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Dissedent Release Party: Portland, Oregon

5:00PM-12:00AM @ Deshutes Brewing Co.

Event details were too epic to reiterate.

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our 2010 The Dissident, wait no more! After almost 2 years in isolation our distinctive sour brown ale has finally been bottled. Our only wild yeast beer, brettanomyces and lactobacillus impart its characteristic sour taste. Lavished with whole western Washington cherries – pits and all – It’s our wildest, most extensively pampered beer.
Alcohol By Volume: 10.0%
International Bitterness Units: 25

We have very limited bottles available.

Our Bend and Portland Pubs will begin selling 22oz bottles of The Dissident after 11:00am on 11/19 and there will a 6 bottle limit per person. Check out the special dinner menu with 3 specialty food items paired with different sour brews including The Dissident, our Benderweisse, a sour cherry wheat and a sour cherry porter (Portland Pub sour brews may vary).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hair of the Dog’s 17th Anniversary Celebration: Portland, Oregon

10:00AM-8:00PM @ Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.

To celebrate 17 years of brewing, Alan Sprints, owner and head brewer of Hair of the Dog will be having a release party for Batch #2 Matt and the seasonal Doggie Claws. Check out our write up of this event here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Alligator and Allagash Beer Dinner: Blue Island, Illinois

2:00PM-6:00PM @ Maple Tree Inn

In honor of this amazing brewery, Allagash and some delicious gator, I present a unique menu and a beer pairing not to be missed.

First course:
Maple Tree Inn’s famous “Swamp” Alligator Soup paired with Allagash White

Second course:
Fried Alligator Po’Boy with Cajun fries paired with Allagash Tripel

Third course:
Alligator & Andouille Sauce Piquante paired with Allagash Black

Tickets on sale now at the Maple Tree Inn — $35 in advance; $40 at the door (if tickets remain). Limited seating only!

If you go to an event, want me to post about an event or just want to tell me a beer related story, email me at jess@beerblotter.com. Cheers!

Beer & Glassware: Not Just Any Beer, Any Glass – Part 2

November 11, 2010 1 comment

BBQ beer.

In case you missed Part 1, check it out here. I’m just going to get right into it.

 

Pint Glass – Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout

 

This strange one pours black with a tan rusty head.  The smells rising from the liquid are 100% mesquite.  I’m immediately reminded of the one and only other beer that I’ve had that could be described in that way, Arcadia’s Imperial Stout.  This beer is smokey and sweet at the same time.  Did they add barbecued wood to the boil?  The mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin, which seems odd considering the fact that the brewery went as far as to say that this is an oatmeal stout.  Oatmeal, being the key word.  I’d expect more luxury from the oats.  The aftertaste, however, is very lingering and allows for some chocolate and coffee notes to be uncovered.  At 5% abv, this beer feigns strength, but has no lack of intriguing flavor.  Good stuff from north of the border.

 

Pint Glass – Stone, Maui, Ken Schmidt Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter

 

We drank this beer, out of a pint glass, and it was good.  If you want to know what it’s like, read my full review of it here.

 

Mug – Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout

 

Ah Bell’s Brewing, a Mid-West stalwart.  There will never be a time that I’m not excited to swill some of their precious nectars, unless of course they are spoiled.  That’s what happened here.  Most likely, the store that we bought this from did not take proper care of the merchandise.  The 10 malts that are used to brew Double Cream Stout push the abv to a level that is probably a bit low for cellaring, 6.1%, but we have only had it down there for a little over 6 months.  I’m fairly confident that it wasn’t our doing, but who really know.

Everything started out just dandy.  It poured with a very attractive head of tan that rose an average height and then eventually settled completely.  There was coffee and some dark chocolate in the nose.  Though the smell was not necessarily exciting, it didn’t put me off.  The flavor, however, did put me off.  I found it to be bitter, oily and acidic, with some mal-brewed coffee lingering in the midst.  Then, as it lingered on my tongue, things went tart and I was assured that this was absolutely not what Bell’s intended.  Frustrating, to say the least.  We better move on.

 

I wish my house had its own ale.

 

Snifter – Traquair House Ale

 

This 7.2% Scottish brew departs its bottle with a clear brown, near red color and possesses a stark white, thin head.  I found it to smell exactly like Juicy Juice.  I guess that means it’s like a plethora of fruits mashed into one indistinguishable, homogeneous piece of produce.  Grape and cranberry might have been most prevalent, but it’s hard to say for sure.  The fluid has a very striking smoothness.  On the back of the tongue there is a lot of Belgian yeast fruitiness, possibly some bubble gum.  There is a very pleasant, sweet aftertaste.  In summation, this beer is just plain juicy, and it works…well.

The snifter is my favorite of glasses.  I like the way it looks, distinguished.  I like the way it feels in my hand, rounded and organic.  The way the circumference of the lip is slightly smaller than the apex of its width, it really allows for a slight “trapping” of the precious odors, all the better for me to smell my dear…

 

Memories rush back of Pelgrom in Antwerp

 

Chalice – Brouwerij Haacht Gildenbier

 

I really shouldn’t be in charge of writing about this beer.  This little gem that we brought back from Belgium with us is DSR’s little baby.  If you are ever in his presence, just mention Gildenbier, or “the archer beer”, or the beer we discovered in the underground, dungeon like brick lair that is Pelgrom in downtown Antwerp.  He may demand your attention for about the next hour with his tales, but believe me, it will be time well spent.  The man is passionate about Gildenbier, and I can’t blame him in the slightest.  It exists in a very special corner of our collective hearts.  It is Belgium in a bottle.  Let’s see how it tastes.

When the great archer is inverted, out pours a clear brown liquid with a subdued white head that soon dwindles to a spotty foam.  It has a very pronounced date aroma, but distinctly of Belgian descent.  There is a lot of malt depth to be found here, with some roasty, grain sweetness providing a sturdy body.  That all too familiar Belgian yeast fruitiness is very prevalent, and for me it mostly manifests into a very recognizable pear essence.  Ever so delightful.

 

And now we are in Cambrinus in Brugge

 

Chalice – Brouwerij De Bie Stoute Bie

 

This is another little nugget that survived the long flight back from Europe.  Our tongues first became acclimated with the work of De Bie in a pretty bad ass beer bar in Brugge called Cambrinus.  As time passed after Cambrinus, we realized that their beers were surprisingly hard to come across in Belgium, so when we found a bottle, we snagged it.  This, like the above Gildenbier, was slightly difficult for us to open.  In a perfect world we could keep them for years and years to come and eventually open them in a much more ceremonious way, where reminiscence may stand long overdue.  But we know better, and with Stoute Bie’s 5.5%, it would surely not last such a span of time.  So here we are, and here’s what it was like.

Stoute Bie pours black in color with the most glorious head ever.  The foam is crazy fluffy with orange, red, and brown highlights.  The nose is very, very complex.  It is wildly sweet and sour.  There is a fruitiness within that plays with the sour, lending thought of sour cherries.  Also in the nose, an oily coffee bitterness, and vinegar.  How perplexing?  The flavor is intensely sweet up front with many of the scents translating over.  The only flaw here is found in the aftertaste, which is plagued by that metallic flavor that we have previously discussed finding in many beers of Belgium.  We still don’t really get how that comes to pass.  If there is any redeeming aspect here with the Bie, it’s that the metal is slathered in a super sweet syrup.  Not enough to mask it completely, but enough to prevent it from spoiling the experience.

Want to chew on a molasses soaked log? I do.

 

Snifter – Deschutes The Abyss

 

You see that snifter next to The Abyss over there?  Yeah, that little puppy is made of crystal.  That gold rim, that is some high carat, real deal gold.  When Beer Blotter busts out the vintage Abyss, they drink it in styzile.

Just as a reminder, this beer is brewed with molasses and licorice and 33% of it is aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels.  It fills the crystal glassware with pure black oil liquid and a tan head that settles to a wisp and ring.  It is very earthy in the nose.  There is very little sweetness to be noted.  The wood and licorice come out in the nose, as do roasted malts, all of which seem to impart a barren dryness.  The flavor is very peppery up front, shifting into molasses soaked wood.  I can only think to call the flavor “mature”.  It reminds me, in a way, to Pu-erh tea.  It’s just so earthy that I feel it’s much more of an acquired taste than most beers.  So very dry.  In the exhale following the swallow, the booze and licorice mingle expertly.  Some salty pretzel notes simmer to the surface as the beer warms.  This beer is really unique and deserves it’s notoriety.

 

Beer & Glassware: Not Just Any Beer, Any Glass – Part 1

With love to Philly, with love to my taste buds.

One of my writers in crime here at Beer Blotter, Jess R., quite recently published a very well crafted article about glassware.  It reminded us all of the overwhelming importance of presenting beer in its proper vessel.

In turn, we were reminded of the the one place in the world where bartenders actually feel the need to offer a heartfelt apology for momentarily being out of the proper glass for the beer ordered: where else but Belgium.  Thoughts of Belgium take us down never ending roads of memory that we will most definitely not get into right now.

But for us three blotterers, a chance to get together, drink beer, and reminisce about our mighty Euro trip will never go unrealized.  In the midst of that exciting undertaking, we figured why not clear out a small corner of the cellar that drastically needed to be cleared, all the while bringing it full circle with just the topic that spawned the meeting, glassware.

This night was epic.  I guess we had a lot more cellar space to open up than we thought.  Time will not allow me to copy all of my notes on all of the beer-glass pairings of the night in one sitting, so here I present part 1.

 

Pilsner Glass – Victory Brewing Summer Love Ale

Though dubbed an ale right there in the name, this was most likely brewed with California Common yeast, which would indeed make it an ale but would attribute many characteristics of a lager.  Thus, the pairing with the pils glass, which allowed the head to stay compact and lively in the decreased circumference, where it would normally dwindle and lay dormant in short time.  This beer was specially made for Philly Tourism, who recently contacted us due to Timperial’s roots there.

 

We took our popular With Love, Philadelphia XOXO tourism initiative from campaign to consumer experience by partnering with Victory Brewing Company to create Summer Love Ale. Brewed locally in Chester County, PA with pale malts, German hops and water from the Brandywine River, the golden brew began flowing at bars throughout the Philadelphia region during the annual Philly Beer Week in June.

 

Check out this quote from Victory Brewer Bill Covaleski:

 

Summer Love starts with an all German malt base upon which we overlaid crisp German hops for that familiar, import quality that some many beer drinkers find attractive and comfortable, then we put bright, lemony Citra hops, grown here in the US, into the mix for an exciting aroma to start and refreshing and enduring finish. Kinda like Philly. Mostly familiar but always surprising!

 

My notes of the beer read as follows: This pours, not surprisingly, light in color, hazy yellow with a white head of very large bubbles.  The odor is very impressive in it’s hoppiness; floral and grassy.  This is very easy drinking with excellent sweetness coming from mild caramel notes.  From a light(er) beer perspective, this is really well balanced with a striking lemony, citrus hop profile.  I could drink this for days!

Spice-tastic!

 

Tulip Glass – Victory Brewing Saison Du Buff

This beer was originally released under Stone Brewing’s liscense as part of their collaboration series.  Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory teamed up to create this one, but each brewery is now releasing it under their own license and with their own distinctive artwork.

I found this beer to be hazy golden in color with intense carbonation.  To call it spicy and floral would be an understatement.  Herbal to the nth degree.  Some possible herbs at play are chamomile, ginger, coriander, citrus peel, rosemary, sage…  It’s a cornucopia.

The head quickly subsided to nothing at all, which I found to be very odd with respect to the lively carbonation.  Perhaps oils from the herbs had negative effects on the retention?

The aftertaste seemed to linger for days, and I also found it to be surprising that the finish was not super dry, which seems to be commonplace with saisons in general.  Damn good beer!

Wait, something impressive by The Bruery? No way!

 

Goblet – The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel

This is seriously no ordinary beer for no ordinary glass.  For branding consistency sake, I turned the glass around to the non-logo side for the picture (left) but just take my word for it that it’s a Westvleteren glass.  We got that shit straight from In De Vrede in West Flanders!  And the beer…well, it’s made by The Bruery…’nuff said!

This puppy weighs in at 8.1% and is brewed with rice and Thai basil.  It pours a soft amber hue with above average carbonation and pretty poor clarity.  Arising on the pour, a luscious white head that sticks around.  In the nose, that striking candy sweetness that accompanies nearly all true Belgian tripels.  There is also a malty sweetness that lends credibility to the brewer’s art.

The basil manifested itself into a simple, neutral spicy characteristic, and I also found there to be a very pronounced green apple quality.  The lacing on the glass is not to be scoffed at and all that sweetness lends to a fantastically smooth mouthfeel.

The aftertaste is mesmerizing as well.  Booze and grains come out as it warms, but I don’t find either to be negative here.

 

Flute – Ommegang Zuur

Ommegang and Liefman's collaborate with sour results.

This 6% Flemish Sour Ale was brewed in collaboration with the much heralded Belgian sour brewer Liefman’s.  It fills the glass with a brownish ruby red color and possess respectable clarity.

Initially, as it makes contact with the glass, the carbonation is wild and it’s very difficult to pour anything but a glass full of foam.  As quickly as the suds rise up they dissipate to not but a trace.  I find dark fruit in the scent, mostly the cherries that it was brewed with, and a good dose of funky, sour tartness, spot on for the style.

On the tongue, it’s prickly with the carbonation and tensing with tartness.  Puckering yes, but I’ve soireed with many Flemish ales with much more zing.  There is a pleasant bread-like maltiness in behind all the pizazz, but the overall body and intensity is underwhelming in the end.

Many respects for Ommegang for taking a swing at this exciting style, and though it’s very drinkable, it’s no Rodenbach.

 

52 Weeks: Big Mario’s Pizza, Seattle, WA

October 20, 2010 1 comment

 

Seattle's #1 Pizza Joint

Written by Jess R.

Week 38 of 52 (I can’t believe it’s almost the end of 2010)

Big Mario’s New York Style Pizzeria

1009 E. Pike St.

Seattle, WA 98122

(206) 922-3875

Rank: 4/5

Type of Establishment: Pizzeria

Visit: After arriving at Elysian Brewing Co.’s Pumpkin Beer Fest at 11:30AM, we were starved by 2PM. Big Mario’s was right down the street and had the potential to fill our stomachs and our need for quality beer.

Beers on Tap (at time of visit):

Lagunitas IPA

Stella Artois

Coors Light

Blue Moon

Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale

Miller High Life

Rolling Rock

Stone Porter

Sierra Nevada

Hales Kolsh

Maritime Flagship Ale

HUB Abominable Ale

Bottle List:

Expect your average Budweiser, Bud Light, Corona and Rainer in a can.

Food Options:

Now, I am a girl who grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Since then, I have lived in Ohio, New Orleans and Seattle and had yet to find a place that rivals the pizza I grew up on, the pizza that was easy to grab on-the-go and was always so good no matter what time of the day or night. As of Saturday, October 16th, 2010, my world has changed. Big Mario’s offers pies and slices with variety, weight and a price tag I appreciate. With a Lagunitas IPA in my hand, I ordered the sausage and pepperoni slice as well as the fresh basil and mozzarella slice (I was hungry). The slices are fresh, oily, cheesy, with a thin crust that has the perfect amount of soft, doughy texture. This is the best pizza in Seattle- hands down.

PIZZA!

Some background on the owner, Mario Velliotti may convince you of the authenticity even more. I present to you, a little piece of history from Big Mario’s website:

In the winter of 1964, Mario Vellotti emigrated from Naples, Italy to live and work on Mulberry Street in New York City. Mario made his early living tossing pizza and cooking in some of New York’s most notorious kitchens; Angelo’s, Casa Bella on Mulberry Street and Nanni Al Valletto on 59th Street. Later Mario joined his brother and uncle in the family business, opening their world-famous pizzerias in all five Burroughs, including Sal’s on Broome Street, Bensonhurst’s J & V and the original Patricia’s in the Bronx. Big Mario is in Seattle now…enjoy!

Bar Opinions:

Like some of the best pizza joints in NYC, Big Mario’s is open late, until 2AM on Monday through Thursday and Sunday and until 4AM on Friday and Saturday nights. Today, we waltzed in around 2PM. As we walk through the front door, there is a showcase of slices and pies to my right with the oven in the back drop and red booths to my left.

Big Mario’s boasts a narrow space and provides a pizzeria feel without the starkness. Instead, this venue is a pizzeria with a comfortable, neighborhood bar atmosphere. Baseball was on the one TV, several taps of micro-brews were available behind the bar and board games were there to keep you occupied. This is a place I could hang out at all day just grazing on pizza slices.

Located in the edgy Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle, I felt like I was back home in Brooklyn– hanging out with friends, watching the Yanks and eating delicious slices. With the addition of Seattle’s dedication to craft beer,  I must say, I am in love. From here on out, this is the place in Seattle that I will turn to and satisfy my pizza craving.

And if having amazing pizza and micro-brews wasn’t enough, Big Mario’s keeps things exciting this Halloween by celebrating with the best of them on Saturday, October 30th. Event details below.

Big Mario circa 1971

Sat Oct 30
1st Annual Big Mario’s Halloween Party & Lookalike Contest!
Dress like Modern Big Mario or 1971 Big Mario
1st Place winner each night gets $250 Tab at Mario’s, 2nd Place $100 tab
Free! 21+ Only.

This is going to be hilarious! So stop by big Mario’s for a delicious pie, a beer and maybe you’ll even meet the man behind it all, Big Mario circa 2010.

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