The Northwest Brewing News has rolled out its annual Reader’s Choice Poll – its time to vote. The Brewing News is a national brewing publication, severed into seven regional publications. Our good friend Geoff Kaiser writes for the Northwest edition, when he’s not manning the ship at Seattle Beer News.
Every year, the Brewing News holds a poll asking its readers to select the very best in the Northwest. Categories for best brewery, brewpub, bar, beer store, home brew shop and perhaps the most heated category – best bartender – are divided state by state. You may vote on the best Northwest beer for each style, as well.
When going through this poll, we noticed that we hit a few stumbling blocks. How do you pick between Hair of the Dog & Cascade Brewing? Is Uber Tavern a better place to grab a beer than The Dray? What the heck is down in Northern California? Don’t be ashamed to have to Rate Beer yourself a group of candidates, as long as you have actually experienced the pub, brewery or beer you intend to choose. But, if you are stuck – let us recommend a few:
Best Imperial IPA
Even with heavyweights like Russian River, Hopworks, Walking Man and Midnight Sun in the mix, and with Washington rising stars Boundary Bay and Port Townsend making their own cases – there can still be only one choice for us. Black Raven’s Wisdom Seeker licked the competition at Brouwers Hopfest. We have no reservations about this choice.
Best Strong Ale
The Northwest has always somewhat lacked in the big beer categories. But, there is no doubt that one strong ale has dominated the Northwest for many year – Hair of the Dog’s Fred. Alan Sprints has been making this beer for ages. If you have a vintage bottle laying around, you know what makes this complex ale so special. Vote with confidence.
Best Sour Beer
For years, I would probably have said that Russian River had this category killed with Consecration. But after recently tasting Cascade Brewing’s Noyeaux, I have reservations. Noyeaux was recently described in a post by our very own Timperial Stout. Check this one out before you mark down one of Russian River’s excellent choices.
Best NorCal Brewpub
We pushed Russian River out of the competition above, but here they take the cake. Backed by unprecedented selection and incredible beer food – there is no better place to grab a collection of beer and a delicious meal.
Best Washington Brewery
Some would say Boundary Bay has the history and fanfare to deserve this award. Some would say that Black Raven is the young gun that should take the title. We don’t disagree, but lets consider a 3rd choice – Snipes Mountain Brewing? You might think we are crazy but the Sunnyside, Washington brewer has been turning heads. Just about everything that brewer Chris Miller has put out of late, has shocked and awed. Food for thought.
Best Washington Bartender
Wow, we have some great bartenders up here in Seattle. We have a ton of love for Rachel up at Naked City, Natasha at The Dray and certainly Amy, down at Collins Pub. These three wonderful ladies have excellent beer IQs and care about their patrons. This gives them serious consideration.
But, to find someone who can advise, entertain, and take excellent care of you, all without being a giant asshole – priceless. Chris Cavanaugh is that guy. Chris can be found at three, count them, three amazing beer spots in Seattle. Once a fixture at Brouwers Cafe, Chris had to leave to tackle cancer. Once he returned to the bar, Chris grabbed spots at Elysian Brewing (Capitol Hill), The Stumbling Monk, and time behind the bar at Brouwers Cafe. There is one reason that he is at these three places – everyone loves him! Chris will give you great attention, wonderful advice, and excellent entertainment. Not once have we ever heard one person dislike him. Vote for this man.
So take a stab at the poll and let your voice be heard! You can access the poll by following this link. Got any other suggestions for choices, please post them in the comments below.
Thats right. You heard it here first. Today will live infamous amongst the various musings of beer writers in the Northwest. For today is……Hopfest.
Brouwers Cafe and Bottleworks both throw down today in the hoppiest way possible: by showcasing almost 70 hoppy masterpieces at their two locations. The festivities start at each location at 11:00 AM and will run until they throw you out. Both places promise to have hoppy ales on tap all through the weekend – until the keg runs dry.
Word to the wise: Bottleworks is out there lurking in the bushes. They have 9 taps now and will fill growlers. As a testament to their greatness and as a pseudo-means of crowd control, expect them to put up some pretty incredible IPAs today. Perhaps some you have never seen in Washington before.
We’ll pour out a lil hop juice (not too much) for our out of town homies, Kendall & Kim Jones, who are embarking on an epic trip to Great American Beer Fest. Follow their twitter stream to find out the amazing places that they are visiting.
See you there. Come by and tell us what you think of the beer – we really want to know what you like!
I want to take a quick moment and point to Seattle Beer News‘ latest article on Initiative 1100, the proposed bill to privatize liquor sales and deregulate alcohol sales in the State of Washington. We briefly discussed this in the past, posting an article from BreweryLaw.com.
The author at Seattle Beer News, Geoff Kaiser, wrote a think piece about the new proposition, considering the Washington Brewers Guild. The Guild recently released a presser openly opposing the proposed legislation, citing concerns that “I-1100 is the greatest threat the Washington craft brewing industry has experienced in a decade.”
I first want to applaud Geoff for his very honest portrayal of the tug and pull he is experiencing on the issue. Truly, he is correct to say that there are many arguments to be made in support of, and in opposition to, Initiative 1100.
Chiefly, Washington brewers are focusing on the fear that an open marketplace allows massive beer sellers (Costco, Binnys, MillerCoors, etc.) free reign to cause disruption to the beer market in Washington.
Of course, the Guild is correct to state that passage of deregulation opens up the market and can cause disruption. But, as an open market fan, you certainly hope that opens opportunities to all people and businesses. The key in deregulation is to find your niche, become innovative and be more efficient. You have to beat the big guys – and Washington brewers can do that!
Anyways, we are not going to tell anyone how to vote. But, please read the Brewers Guild position, because you should see both the good and the bad of I-1100 before you decide to vote. Brewers know the business and their opinion should resonate well in the beer community. But, fear can be blinding.
Seattle’s newest bottle shop has opened up in West Seattle – bringing great craft beer across the bridge! We are very happy to announce that The Beer Junction has finally opened up in West Seattle. The new shop officially opened its doors on Saturday, July 3, 2010.
We have yet to pay a visit to the Junction, but we saw an article from Washington Beer Blog‘s Kendall Jones about the opening. Kendall’s article highlights the fact that two of our area’s best beer bloggers each will have a shelf to showcase their beer picks. A shelf will feature the picks of Seattle Beer News‘ Geoff Kaiser and Washington Beer Blog’s Kendall Jones.
Of course, we are very delighted to see area beer writers get some input. We would highly recommend that you take a look at their shelf when you visit – these guys know their beer!
Read more about Kendall’s picks by visiting his article. Seattle Beer News has yet to publish a listing of its picks – but check the website for more in the coming days.
The Beer Junction is located at:
4707 42nd Ave. SW
Seattle, WA 98116
Check them out.
If you know anything about the year that Black Raven Brewing (Redmond, WA) had, you are probably shocked to hear that they were in their rookie season. Undoubtedly, they are the brewing industry’s rookie of year for 2009.
Seattle Beer News posted a great little blurp on the brewery’s first anniversary party which is going down this Saturday. Blogger Geoff Kaiser, also a writer for Northwest Brewing News, knows a thing or two about Black Raven, having gushed over their earth-shattering Wisdom Seeker.
Here is some news on the event, from Seattle Beer News:
Head over to Redmond and join Black Raven at their brewery for their anniversary party this Saturday, May 1, from Noon to 10pm. There will be 2 beer gardens pouring their lineup, including some rare releases that they have saved up from throughout the first year. There will be live music starting at 1pm, including Essie Blue (bluegrass/americana) from 1pm to 3pm, TBD from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, and Seattle reggae band Dub Lounge International will headline from 6pm to 9pm. Pizza and grilled food will be available. And, don’t forget the live goats…
Hope to see you all there early!