One of several beer fests in Seattle throughout the year, Belgium Fest is the first in 2011. On January 22, 2011 this festival, run by the Washington Beer Commission will begin. Due to the high demand of this event, the venue has been moved to Magnuson Park (it will be heated, do not worry).
Word on the street is that tickets are already being sold at an alarming rate, so go online NOW and secure your spot. This is a festival that requires some advance commitment. Waiting until the day of might not be the best idea. $30.00 advance and $35.00 at the door, if available. As always, the designated driver ticket is $5.00 and only available at the door- includes free water and soda.
You pick one of two sessions on Saturday, January 22, 2011-
Session 1: 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Session 2: 5:30-9:30 p.m.
The Workshop at Magnuson Park
6310 NE 74th St., Seattle, WA
Now for the important stuff. The beers. For now all I have are the breweries, but hope to have a list of all the beers in the next week or so.
Breweries expected to participate:
Big Al Brewing
Big Time Brewery
Black Raven Brewing
Boundary Bay Brewery
Der Blokken Brewing Co.
Elliott Bay Brewing
Hale’s Ales Brewery
Lazy Boy Brewing
Naked City Brewery
Paradise Creek Brewery
Redhook Ale Brewery
Snipes Mountain Brewery
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Silver City Brewery
Two Beers Brewing
Its going to be a doozy!
Week 27 of 52
314 West Gates
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
Type of Establishment: Ale house. Good beer, good food, plain good.
Visit: This past Saturday, during and after Bite of Skagit 2010.
BEERS ON TAP (16 handles)
Deschutes (Nitro) Obsidian Stout
Boundary Bay Oatmeal Stout
Bear Republic Rop Rod Rye
Deschutes Mirror Mirror
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Dick’s Brown Ale
Skookum Amber’s Hot Friend
Scuttlebutt Imperial Red
Deschutes Miss Spelt Hefe
Lazy Boy Porter
Boundary Bay IPA
Odin Freya’s Gold Kolsch
Green Flash IPA
Two Beers Blonde
Empire has a full food menu, much like what you would expect at an alehouse. My eyes, like always, went straight for the sandwiches. There was plenty to choose from, all of which appeared to be delicious.
Just over 61 miles north of the Beer Blotter home base, within the small but beer-filled boundaries of Mount Vernon, lies a comfortable, brick-walled ale house that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.
First question…have you ever heard of this place?
If you are like me, and I think you might be, you most likely rely on ratebeer.com/beeradvocate.com, beer blogs and beer knowledgeable friends/acquaintances to inform you of the great beer destinations of this land. ratebeer.com does have Empire in their system, but there are only 2 reviews (both are respectable). beeradvocate has only one review of Empire and it yields a “B” rating. Not really enough to catch my eye. None of the blogs I read regularly ever seem to mention Mount Vernon. None of my friends have heard of this place. I only heard of it though talking with Dickerson Distributing reps at work. Empire carries LBB beers.
As I’ve come to realize, Mount Vernon should be on every beer lovers list of “must visit” destinations.
Dickerson and the owner of Empire, Bruce Springer, both had a hand in the creation of the beer garden at Bite of Skagit this year, which was, literally, right outside the doors of Empire on Gates St. I was pouring for both LBB and Skagit River Brewing, along side Flyers Restaurant and Brewery, so I was unable to really gather in the full experience, but the Bite is basically a street fair with a lot of food. Live music and, of course, beer played a role as well. It was a beautiful day for such an event and I had a blast talking to all the people who didn’t simply come up to me and say “I’ll have your lightest beer.”
Meeting and “working” with Bruce was a true pleasure. He was extremely accommodating to all of my needs and offered me a free lunch from the Ale House for attending and pouring. This was definitely not expected or necessary, but surely telling of his nature. You might now be thinking that I’m writing this glowing review of Empire as quid pro quo, and I couldn’t blame you for it, but you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that this place really is fantastic (and honestly, I think you already get that feeling by seeing the impressive tap list).
As you enter the front door, the bar is straight ahead, taps directly in your line of sight. Briefly after your eyes recover from the surprise of the options at hand, they follow the bar as it continues perpendicular to your line of sight and then takes a hard 90 degree turn toward the far rear wall. Between the front door and the bar there is a high top table with stools that seats four. Another high top sits to the right of that one.
Here is where you must choose your destination. Do you scooch up a stool at the bar or one of the high tops, or do you grab one of the four booths along the perimeter of the ale house to the right as you enter? If you go the booth route, you will be flush up against some very rustic brickwork. This could be quite comfortable, or…yes there is yet one more option, maybe you choose to climb the steps to your left as you enter and relax in the sofa lounge that overlooks not only all the action within Empire but all the action outside on Gates St. through the open windows.
No matter how you proceed, comfort and good service will greet you…oh, and good suds as well! Oh my god, and good food too!
During my pouring duties I had a BBQ pork medallion sandwich with mango chutney that totally rejuvenated me and increased my capacity to continue to answer the same questions over and over again. The cessation of the Bite allowed me to pull up a stool within Empire at the gorgeous bar, which seats about 14. The woodwork of said bar is so nice that I was slightly afraid to place anything on it without a coaster or a barrier of some kind. If you read my review of The Pub at Third Place, you probably know about my affinity for wood in bars. Highly enjoyable. The Glacier IPA played a serious role in my enjoyment as well, which is often hard to find in these parts.
60+ miles is no joke with alcohol in the system, so I limited myself to one, but I plan on returning very soon. Not only is Mount Vernon a must visit because of Empire and Skagit River Brewing, but because there are two other world-class ale houses within city limits. Due to its proximity to Empire (one block away), I stepped into Porterhouse Pub, just to catch a glimpse of the tap list, and was not disappointed. Had I realized at the time that Trumpeter Public House was only one more block away I would have slid in there and scoped it out as well. I hear it’s just as impressive.
It seems like you could make quite a day of it up there in tulip country. I highly suggest you make it happen.
At the brewery’s event at Beveridge Place Pub, Roger Bialous let us know that the brewery would be filling growlers of the new hop juice in the coming weeks. Yesterday, I decided to check up on that promise.
It turns out that Georgetown is currently pouring Lucille! An e-mail that I received from the brewery indicates that they expect it to run dry very soon, so I was a bit reluctant to share the secret with you all. But hey – that’s what this whole thing is about.
If you want to try the sweet malty, pineappled grog, I would suggest that you schedule a trip down to Georgetown in the next few days. Bring a growler and your excitement.
If anyone happens to be the lucky bastard who runs this beer dry down at the brewery, feel free to post a message to the beer masses here at BeerBlotter.com, letting them know the dream is over – and your address so we can find you for your beating.
The night centered around the two year anniversary of Beveridge Place Pub’s new location at the Fauntleroy and California junction. But the hit of the party was Georgetown’s first ever IPA release – Lucille IPA.
Throughout the event, we tweeted on several occasions, our initial reaction to the party and to the beer. Hopefully some of you were listening and high tailed your ass down to Beveridge Place.
But for the rest of you – lets talk beer.
We began our evening with a Black Raven Trickster and a Walking Man IPA. Both beers are very good – but very different. Trickster is now the house beer at Beveridge Place, after unseating perennial powerhouse – Boundary Bay. The beer is extremely hoppy, with a sweet and syrupy complexity. Most would say that this beer closely resembles Cigar City, Southern Tier, and Great Divide schools of citrusy IPA brewing. But add a bit more maltines, as this one finishes up with a caramel sweetness.
Walking Man is a different type of beast. This IPA is all about the bitterness – citrus, pine and herbal aromas. The beer virtually wipes out the malt, though the residual sugars are indicative that the malt was once there (and remains).
Both beers were used as precursors to trying the new Georgetown offering. One sweet and one bitter – we were ready to pounce on whatever Georgetown owners Roger Bialous and Manny Chao threw our way.
We spoke with Roger before the Lucille keg was tapped. Apparently, the namesake of Lucille actually was born from an endearing nickname given to the brewery’s hoe, or rake, used to clean the mash from the brewing system. Unfortunately, in an article on Wednesday, I had assumed that the name came from Lucille Road, a close block or two from the brewery. I was wrong – here is the fact.
Roger also discussed that the new IPA was composed from Centennial, Amarillo and Cascade hops. The plan to create an IPA had been in the mix for Georgetown over the past few years. But recent years have brought the hop shortage, and ensuing price gouge which shut down hoppy ales in the Northwest.
With stabilization in the market (and actually a surplus), more and more brewers can make an IPA – or even an Imperial IPA – nowadays. Thats exactly what Georgetown did this year.
Lucille IPA was crafted to test out on the public over the next few months and see whether or not it might join the normal rotation. Roger tells us that to do so would cause a major shift to the production schedule, as Georgetown does not currently have the capacity to brew another regular rotation ale. But, we will let them figure that out.
For its first outing, we are drinking Lucille from a glass keg provided to Georgetown by its distributor. The glass keg allows them better monitor the beer and makes for a hell of a party favor.
Lucille IPA is born from the brew kettle. In my opinion, its exactly what American IPA has been sorely missing in the past few years – since IPA took off.
When we all started drinking IPA we loved the floral aromatic and sugary sweetness that poured from the glass. But, times have changed and each and every brewer has now mimicked exactly that which made IPA famous.
Georgetown took the scent of the brewery on brewing day and condensed it into your glass. Thats right – this IPA is a malt monster. It carries with it an enormous scent of freshly roasted and brewed malt, along with an incredible fruity, pineapple scented hoppiness that undoubtedly results from the addition of Amarillo.
I could not put this glass down. There is something about making a difference in the beer world that makes a beer so darn sexy. Lucille carries that sex appeal. It has everything that beer brewers forgot about when they started figuring out what sold in an IPA. It marries a perfect balance of hop aroma and brew kettle malts.
We hope that the rest of the public agreed and poured praise over Georgetown’s owners for this amazing ale. Georgetown enjoys a wonderful tap listing in the city of Seattle. If they brew Lucille, we will see it across our fair city on a quite regular basis (similar to what we see with Manny’s Pale Ale).
Roger informed us that Georgetown will begin filling growlers of the new IPA in the coming weeks, at the brewery. If you have never visited the brewery – now is the time.
Aptly named “Lucille IPA” after the cross street upon which Georgetown Brewery sits, the beer will be the first (we think) true IPA that Georgetown has brewed in its short past. Other limited release hoppy ales such as SuperChopp have showcased what these guys can do with hops. There is reason for excitement.
Now, we are unsure whether the IPA will become a regular thing – but we can dream eh? In the past, Georgetown has brewed special beers for special events, not keeping them around for the regular rotation (see Lisa’s Chocolate Stout – mmm good).
Our hope is that the beer tests out well and Georgetown decides to carry it at least seasonally. Georgetown has one of the best local followings with an abundance of local accounts at your favorite watering hole. We would love to see their IPA on tap all the time!
Of course, Georgetown is famously known for its Manny’s Pale Ale, but also showcases an amazing Roger’s Pilsner and 9 Lb Porter. The brewery does not yet bottle beer (and who knows – maybe they wont), but you can always find their beer at the brewery in growlers and kegs, or at a multitude of grog spots across Washington state.
The event tomorrow (April 15, 2010) is slated to begin at 6:00 PM.
Bob’s Brown Ale Coming Soon…..
Also! Please remember that Georgetown will release Bob’s Brown Ale on May 14, 2010. All the proceeds of Bob’s Brown Ale go to the Ronald McDonald House. Last year the brewery raised close to $50,000! From their website:
Bob’s is a special beer brewed in honor of our friend, Bob Hirsch, who fought cancer valiantly for many years. He lived his final days to the fullest and he is an inspiration to all of us. Bob’s Brown Ale will be released every May 14th (Bob’s birthday). 100% of our proceeds from Bob’s will be donated in honor of Charles “Bob” Hirsch to the Seattle Ronald McDonald House to provide a “home-away-from-home” for Children’s Hospital patients and families.
Make sure to get out for both of the events if your calendar and wallet agree. We hope to see you there.