This was originally posted by bb.com back in 2009. Damn time flies. All of these places are worth a second post. So check ’em out, if you haven’t before!
Sunday, November 29, 2009 marked Beer Blotter’s adventure to beer bars unknown and a brewery worth the trip. This trip refers to a 25 minute drive from downtown Seattle to Redmond, Washington. “What is there besides Microsoft in Redmond?” Well, that is why we are here, to stimulate your brain and your taste buds.
Stop #1 Black Raven Brewing Company
Known for their Trickster IPA (which won Beverage Place Pub‘s year round IPA tap spot), Black Raven Brewing Company’s brew pub is part of a commercial park. Inside, the space is warming and welcoming. We immediately walk up to the bar, order the sampler (and an extra Wisdom Seeker Double IPA) and take a seat at a wooden top table. Sunlight, well what Seattleites consider sunlight, streamed through the windows. The bartender and bar regulars were very passionate about beer and Black Raven. Beer blotter would like to thank Lee Killough for the pictures and insider facts about the brewery. Aside from the two IPAs, the Brown Porter and Second Sight Scotch Ale come highly recommended. The porter is surprising light for the style and is nutty with caramel undertones. This brew was an experimental recipe when the brewery first opened and they got it right the first time around!
Black Raven is located at 14687 NE 95th Street, Redmond, WA 98052. Beware: This brewery might have great brewing equipment (which you can sit near in the back room) but they do not serve food. Menus are placed at every table for delivery option to the brewery.
Stop #2 Malt and Vine Bottle Shop
After a great time at Black Raven, we decide to stick around Redmond for a little while longer. This provides us with a great opportunity to visit the local bottle shop, Malt and Vine. Like so many establishments in Redmond, Malt and Vine is located in a strip mall off of Redmond Way and my dear beer lovers, it is worth the stop in every way, shape and form. Not only does this bottle shop have approximately 15 taps flowing at any given time, (Lets take a moment for some name dropping: New Belgium Love, Lost Abbey Angel Share) their bottle selection is amazing and the refrigerators are organized by brewery, not by style. This approach to organizing your beer coolers, in our humble opinion, makes bottle shopping easier and that much more enjoyable. The only negative about this bottle shop is that the area in which one might enjoy one of these profound beers is not very welcoming and is reminiscent of a high school cafeteria. If only high school cafeterias sold rare beer and had an amazing tap list…the world would be a better place….or not… But during our time spent at Malt and Vine, the world did seem a bit better or at least bearable.
Malt and Vine is located at 16851 Redmond Way, Redmond, WA 98052. Less than 5 miles from Black Raven Brewery.
Stop #3 Wedgewood Ale House
We had heard such great things, had such high expectations. Maybe that was our problem. A cold November day, we were looking for a place to walk into, to warm our hearts and fill our souls. The only thing warm about the Wedgewood Ale House was the Boundary Bay Brewing Cabin Fever and Port Townsend Winter Ale on nitro. Although it was too cold and the wings were too small, Wedgewood Ale House has the quintessential bar menu and they support Washington breweries. With only Washington breweries on tap, the BB Cabin Fever is perfect for the winter/holiday season. It tantalizes your taste buds and tickles the back of your throat with hops and vanilla. The Port Townsend Winter Ale was inviting and spiced well with a malt balance.
The Wedgewood Ale House is located at 8515 35th Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Stop #4 Fiddler’s Inn
Fiddler’s Inn has a hidden rustic quality upon first sight with a comfortable, “home for the holidays” atmosphere inside. Stuffed from our previous stops, no food was ordered, but the menu boasted pizzas and what we would call Italian fare. But food isn’t really why were are hear as the tap list and wall mounted taps prove their passion for the punch. A taste of this so-called “punch” included New Belgium Wild Ale, Anchor Steam Christmas Ale and Fremont Brewing Co. Little Woody Pale Ale. A quick side note about New Belgium Wild Ale, it is brewed with schisandra berries. WAIT! Keep reading. This berry is known as the “5 flavored berry” presenting notes of sweet, sour, salty, spicy and bitter. This beer is all that rolled into one.
Fiddler’s Inn is located at 9219 35th Avenue NE, Seattle, WA 98115.
Stop #5 Pub at Pipers Creek
The space is awkwardly open and if you decide to take a seat that is not at the bar, your very far away from the only light that brightly shines. Taps form a crescent shape in the middle of the bar. At this point, food was the last thing on our minds, so we are sticking to what we know and love, beer. Big Al Brewing Winter Warmer had stout like qualities and was spicy, somewhat creamy and delicious. We were all pleasantly surprised by Elysian’s BiFrost which has an undeniable hop presence as well as Dick’s Brewing’s, Silk Lady.
Pub at Pipers Creek is located at 10527 Greenwood Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98133
We met some friends along the way, tried some great beers, bought some bottles and beat the Sunday blues. Let us know if there are other Seattle or Washington State beer bars for us to try. Hell, we will even leave the state or the country if need be.
Leave a comment or email your bar idea to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Thursday night I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the two men behind one of the latest and greatest breweries to open in Western Washington, American Brewing Co. One of these men you will probably not be familiar with, the other…if you don’t know by name you should be ashamed.
Neil Fallon is a housing developer from Tacoma. Quite obviously, there’s better industries to be in these days, and he’s no dumby, so the time was nigh to invest in an industry with a little bit more stability. The craft beer industry is not only seeing steady growth in a down economy, but it’s full of kind, supportive people that hold strong values in community. People that work together as a team, even though, technically, they are competing against each other. This is a cornerstone of the craft beer world that Beer Blotter loves and embraces, and Neil feels the same way.
Neil knows all about building a classy space to house a taproom and brewery, but when it come to actually making beer, his knowledge is limited. That’s where the next player comes in.
Skip Madsen is a household name in the brewing community of Western Washington, and he is Neil’s number 1. When asked about the (seemingly) over density of breweries in the Seattle market, Neil responded, and I’m paraphrasing, “Yeah, that was a concern. I thought about opening my brewery in another part of the country, but once I joined up with Skip, I knew we could be successful anywhere”. We completely agree.
Skip has brewed for Pike Brewing, Big Time Brewing, Boundary Bay Brewing, and was an original founder of our beloved Water Street Brewing. He’s the man behind many stellar beers that you may still be drinking from those breweries. He has won many awards for his beers. He has mild celebrity status in this area, and it’s completely warranted.
Most recently, Skip produced Breakaway IPA under Baron Brewing’s license. Due to some personal circumstances and the fact that American Brewing seemed to be on the verge of becoming a reality, Skip stopped producing the hoppy concoction that pleased the palates of many Satellites, myself included. I remember the first time that I tasted the grog at The Pub at Piper’s Creek. I knew if Skip was behind it that it would be good, and it was. Still to this day I think that that beer might have the coolest tap handle of all time. It’s a severed hockey stick and blade. It stands out like none other.
I’m very excited to announce that Breakaway IPA, as we know it, will be transitioned to American Brewing and act as it’s flagship brew, and that the tap handles will come along with it!
ABC plans to break out the gate with 4 brews, but they may only have 3 done by the time the taproom opens. Neil is shooting for a January launch. The first beer that Skip will brew on the brand new 15 bbl brewhouse will be a blonde. The IPA makes two, then there will be a red ale and a stout. The fact that December is already half over is just one of several reasons why I’d be surprised if they opened by even late January, but I’m hoping they can pull it off. The brewery and taproom are still very much under construction. There seems to be a lot left to build and fasten. I, personally, would be a little fearful about that very first batch on a brand new system, but if anyone can do it, it’s Skip. Another worry is that ABC only has three fermentors, one 15 bbl and two 30 bbl. Though that’s enough to produce a pretty good amount of product, beer takes a while to ferment, and three fermentors means only three beers at a time. But I’m not complaining, just give me some of that Breakaway and I’ll be happy.
Though there are plans to eventually bottle, all of ABC’s offerings will initially be draft only. This is pretty common for a brewery upstart, just saying.
ABC is housed in an industrial complex right across from Arnie’s Restaurant on the Edmonds waterfront. It’s a pretty big space. Oddly, or maybe not, the room that the brewing equipment is in seems smaller than the area that the tasting room is in. One thing that I really like about Neil’s vision is that the tasting room will be a big component of what they do and who they are right from the onset. Because the tasting room is still under construction, it was very hard for me to envision what it might be like when it’s done. I asked Neil if he could think of any local tasting rooms that he may have had in mind when he designed it, or that he thinks might be slightly reminiscent of what it will look like. He struggled a little at first to come up with one, but eventually revealed that he thinks it would be a happy medium between the very industrial (think Trade Route) and the very glossy (think Black Raven). Sounds pretty good to me.
One aspect of the tasting room that was fully realized when I visited was the huge bay windows that separate the brewhouse from the tasting room. Though you can really only see the top of the tanks from the bar area, it’s a pleasant reminder that you are drinking beer that was created just a matter of feet from your seat. Another extremely bad-ass element of the tasting room will be the popcorn and hot dog machines. Way to kick it up a notch fellas!
I think it goes without saying that everyone that knows these two guys knows that they will be successful. This taproom is, without a doubt, going to be a serious beer geek destination on the Northside. Keep your eyes and ears open for details about the grand opening, hopefully in January of 2011.
Well, the results are in. GABF 2010 is officially over and the results have been tabulated. Thanks, Pizza Port, for not taking all of the medals.
While Washington put up a reasonable fight, the show was stolen by several Southern California brewers, who swallowed up all of the best brewpub awards this year at the GABF.
Here is what we see.
Washington shows up.
Washington appears to have turned in a respectable finish, earning a total of 7 medals (well, if you count Pyramid). Out of the total 237 Medals, Washington will take 1/34th of the medals. But, in a year where the event seems to have been dominated by San Diego brewers, its an ok finish.
Washington award winners include the following:
Hales Ales – Kolsch Ale – Gold Medal
Chuckanut Brewing – Vienna Lager – Gold Medal
RAM Tacoma – Total Disorder Porter – Gold Medal
Elysian Brewing – Dark O The Moon – Silver Medal
Pyramid Brewing – Apricot Ale – Silver Medal
Boundary Bay Imperial Oatmeal Stout – Bronze Medal
Chuckanut Brewing – Pilsner – Bronze Medal
San Diego is on fire.
This was the year for So. Cal. San Diego brewers, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey/Pizza Port, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss and Stone Brewing, took home a total of 14 medals. Los Angeles brewpub, TAPS, took home three medals, as well.
Pizza Port Carlsbad is the big winner with a total of 6 medals (almost matching Washington state). The brewpub is one of several brewpub locations for the retail line of Port Brewing/Lost Abbey. The Carlsbad location is headed by brewer Jeff Bagby, who took home the Best Large Brewpub of the Year, for the second straight year.
Pizza Port’s San Clemente pub took home the Small Brewpub of the Year, while also collecting the Gold Medals in the two most hotly-contested categories – American-Style IPA and Imperial IPA. We cannot wait to get a taste of these ales during San Diego Beer Week.
One other note: Fathead’s Brewery took home the Silver Medal in the American-Style IPA category. This is the same IPA that floored us during a recent trip to the Cleveland brewer’s pub. Try to get this if you ever visit.
Check out the complete list of winners by following this link. Start planning your trip for next year’s September event!
I am going to be honest: Do not expect to go to Wenatchee and have an earth shattering tour through beer. It will not happen. In most instances, you probably won’t even be happy. But, I want to make sure that I stress that before diving into this article. You should have zero expectations for Wenatchee – zero. If you start with that point of view, this article will be a bit uplifting.
Wenatchee, WA is a town of roughly 28,000 people situated on the absolutely beautiful confluence of the Wenatchee and Columbia Rivers. In fact, Wenatchee is actually situated on the west bank of the Columbia River with several nice park access points in the city.
Wenatchee is the apple capitol of earth. Seriously. Every single place you look – apples. Apple farm, apple stand, apple cider mill, apple candy store, apple toppings for everything on the menu. You cannot avoid the apple influence on Wenatchee.
Wenatchee is absolutely and undoubtedly gorgeous. One of the most shockingly diverse topographies that I have ever witnessed. The landscape at times looks Amazonian; rolling hills covered in green and shaded by low-flying clouds of moisture. We were most amazed by the contrast of snow-capped mountains with lush jungle-like hills in the foreground. Very amazing.
But the beer – its about the beer on this site. Well if you go to Ratebeer and Beer Advocate you will not find much. Luckily, one chap put up an interesting link to a place called McGlinn’s Public House on Ratebeer. After a brief background check on the place, we noticed an impressive food menu and chatter that they have several house beers. We put them on the list.
Other than that – we just went. We had no other places on the docket. Recent economic woes led to the closing of the only brewery in the vicinity – Cashmere Brewing. Another, Leavenworth Beers, was purchased by Fish Brewing many years ago. Though a new brewery is in the cards for Leavenworth – currently nothing is in the area.
So, we headed to Wenatchee. Weaving along curvy road, through heavily wooded areas and still snowy mountaintops, we found our way to the town in about 3 hours from downtown Seattle.
We first sought out a place to eat lunch. We had to go to the Wenatchee Conference Center for an event later that afternoon, so we had parked the car in the lot and noticed that a wondrous woody scent filled the air. We gazed about the area and located the source: Applewood Grill.
The Applewood Grill kind of looks like your run of the mill family friendly establishment in any small town. Except the fact that an intoxicating aroma emanates from within large stone walls that lay some 100 meters from the banks of the Columbia River. We had to go.
Upon entering we found that the decor was inviting and that they had a sizable bar. Behind that bar lay the glory – roughly 20 taps of micro-brewed ales. Much to our surprise, the bar had an impressive collection of Deschutes Ales, including roughly all year-round releases, plus premium drafts Jubel 2010 and Hop Henge Imperial IPA. Also on the tap were Kona FireRock Pale Ale, Leavenworth Dunkelweiss, Big Al Pale, Big Al Amber and several other enticing beers.
We strolled outside to the patio as the sun was blazing at a scorching 75 degrees. After ordering some Hop Henge we settled on their fish taco and chipotle grilled chicken panini. No lies – really good food. To our surprise, the “fish taco” was actually just one taco. But, the tortilla was massive and it was stuffed with about 1/3 lb of well seasoned fish. The chicken panini was incredible. The applewood grilled chicken was moist, seasoned and delicious.
We returned to the Applewood Grill later that night after finding little else to do. During our return trip, we found that the staff at the place was great. We enjoyed some more Hop Henge, some Jubel 2010 and some of Leavenworth’s delicious dunkelweiss. The owner explained to us that their taps were so heavily saturated with Deschutes beer due to an affiliation with Columbia Distributing. Nice work.
We stayed after the place closed down and enjoyed another round with the bar staff. We really enjoyed this place a lot.
The only other place we visited was McGlinn’s Public House. McGlinn’s had been cited on several reviews as having a bevy of microbrews on tap at all times. Additionally, they boast wood fired over perfect fro crafting amazing pizza.
We headed to McGlinn‘s for dinner at around 6 PM. The place was packed. Luckily, the people waiting all wanted to sit at a table. Ha! who sits at a table when the bar seats right in front of the taps are open!? We nestled up to the bar and took a gander at the list. Its pretty good, offering three house selections brewed by Washington breweries.
The house beers are impressive. First, was a pale ale created by Boundary Bay Brewing – I ordered this one. The other two are a Lager created by lager pros Roslyn Brewing and an amber ale made by Pyramid Brewing.
The rest of the list (which is seen in an image to the right) included three beers from Elysian Brewing, Bear Republic’s Racer 5, and Boundary Bay’s IPA, along with another 10 or so.
The menu is comprised of several wood fired items. Its extremely difficult to choose where to begin. For the first 20 minutes, I was convinced I was getting the ribs, then I wanted the whole chicken, then I wanted the pizza. We settled on the right thing to do – pizza.
But, first we started out with an order of their famous beer bread. Wow. They use a hefeweizen to make the dough and add just a bit of additional sugar to make this the best bread and butter I have ever had. Do not miss out on this item – its like $1.
Next, we grabbed some wood fired nachos! Smothered in lots of great greenery, these nachos were also the best I had had in a long time. Usually we steer clear of nachos – not this time. We weren’t disappointed.
Our pizza was magical. The pepperoni is essentially a fatty smoked canadian bacon. It was absolutely mouth-watering. The crust is wheat, which I typically do not enjoy. Fortunately, the wood fired over seemed to maximize its taste and it served the pizza right.
We ended up remaining here for about 3 hours. The staff, food, beer and atmosphere make this an absolute must if you are in Wenatchee. Today they rolled out a new beer menu too! The new menu features beers from Twisp, WA brewer Methow Brewing. This brewer has always alluded us, but we hear that their beer is quite tasty. Stop in and give it a try.
All in all, we successfully made a beer drinkers trip out of Wenatchee. I hope you will try as well. If you get out there and discover any hidden gems – give us a shout and post a comment!