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!
Enjoyed on 12/21/2010
Brewery: Hale’s Ales LTD.
Location: Seattle, WA
Beer: Seattle Beer Week 2010 Double India Pale Ale
Presentation: 22 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style Double India Pale Ale
Hops: Columbus and Magnum in the bittering, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial in the late hop additions, and Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook and Simcoe in the dry hop.
Malt: Belgian Aromatic and Munich, oats, likely NW pale or 2 row or Maris Otter…possibly others.
Seattle Beer Week II Double IPA We do a couple different IPA’s here at Hale’s Ales, Mongoose, Supergoose, Aftermath, and so we were aiming for an IPA that was outside of these flavors. The big feature of this beer is the hops, so naturally we argued first and last about the malt bill. Our target was a rich orange color based around a couple of light color malts, Belgian Aromatic and Munich. We also were looking for a strong malt backbone to support a pretty aggressive hop bill, so we incorporated oats to allow for a rich body and mouthfeel. On to hops. Our goal was a blend of Northwest Hops emphasizing floral, citrus and pine characteristics. We did a couple of trial batches attempting to dial in the right hop character. We went a little heavy on Columbus in the first batch and ended up with a weird pineapple character. The second batch was dynamite on the flavor, but didn’t quite hit the perfect aroma. Our final batch incorporated Columbus and Magnum in the bittering, Chinook, Cascade and Centennial in the late hop additions, and Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo, Chinook and Simcoe in the dry hop. Late hop additions were 1.6 lbs/bbl. Dry hops were at 1.0 lb/ bbl.
Beer Advocate: A- (4.1)
Rate Beer: 97 (3.68)
Remember Seattle Beer Week 2010? I do and I don’t, if you know what I mean. It’s nearly impossible to exercise moderation during said week, and I partied like a rock star. Err…a beer nerd. That notion, non-existent moderation that is, seems to hold true when creating the week’s beer as well. The inaugural brew in 2009 was crafted by Pike Brewing and was also a Double IPA. When the Seattle Beer Collective gets down, they get down. They destroy palettes with booze and IBUs. The dates have already been set for SBW 2011, May 19 – 28, but the official beer’s brewer has yet to be announced. Who will it be? I can’t wait to find out, but for now, lets just enjoy my last bottle of the 2010 before the massive hop character becomes…well, less massive.
I’d say, based on looks, that Hale’s was right on with what they were aiming for. This brew has a rich orange hue that is very inviting. When the light isn’t quite so direct, the fluid takes on a more amber color, but when held directly to the light, SBW2010DIPA glows a gold flaked orange. Though the beer is hazy from the dry-hopping, there is barely any sediment to speak of. The carbonation is visible, but not so strong as to build an out of control head on the pour. The lacing is worthy of a double thumbs up, and the head sticks around throughout. Very impressive.
There is little doubt that this beer has a solid malt backbone. It’s possibly odd that I started this section with that statement. Yes, hops dominate. Was I supposed to mention that? I thought it goes without saying. I’ll get to the lupulin in a moment.
The first thought I had when evaluating the malt essence was Victory malt. There may or may not be Victory in the grain bill, possibly it’s the Munich, but I got a whiff of peanuts and a dash of popcorn. Those notes came right after the pour when the effervescence was at its peak. Now that the beer has calmed a bit, I can’t seem to discern anything other than a faint caramel stickiness draped upon the overpowering hoppy fruitiness.
I smell and smell again, and each time I seem to get a slight nuance from the hops. At times, it’s all fruit, mostly passion fruit or some soft tropical pleasure. Other times, it’s completely floral. Unfortunately, I’m no botanist, and therefore am unable to provide genus, but I can tell you that the potency is immense. I think of Elysian Jasmine IPA and its overwhelming ability to transport me to a Japanese tea garden. A garden, we surely are in.
As the beer warms, some more of the malt is uncovered, and it easily coalesces with the flora to place me directly within the leavened pores of a fruit cake. If you could take that scene in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids where they stumble upon the Oreo in the front yard and snack time ensues and replace the cookie with a fruit cake…yeah I’m doing a swan dive right into the fluffy cakey goodness right now.
As it warms even more, the booze enters the jaunt, and some slight uninvited vegetal scents pop in. Try to drink this one cold(er).
The body of this guy is truly lovely. I can’t say that I would have guessed there were oats in this, but since I do know, I’ll strap on my monocle, clutch my jolly old belly (lavishly draped in a vest of the Queen’s finest textiles) and bellow deeply in an English accent that this beer’s “silky smooth mouthfeel is made possible by the almighty oat”. The oats effect may also be responsible for the killer head retention, or maybe Cara-Pils could hold a minor percentage in the bill.
The carbonation is rocking well after the pour but never overbearing. All in all, a great success.
Much like the nose, this element seems to fluctuate, oscillate, ebb and flow. When the experience is averaged, balance is reached so astutely. Doubtless, the malts are mighty strong here, standing tall amidst the triple digit bitterness units. Bitterness… what a challenging topic right now. With the fear of skipping ahead and spoiling the aftertaste section below, I must reference the moments after the swallow to make any attempt to wrap my mind around the role of bitterness here.
If you’ve read my Hop Briefs in the past, you know that, ultimately, my enjoyment of IPAs rest in the bitter vs. sweet, hop candy battle. When this beer hits the tongue, the tongue recoils in fear. On a sensory level, one must then pay close attention to the aftershocks, not the heavy hitting initial blow, to fully appreciate this beer’s nuance and complexity. The aftershocks, or the aftertaste in this case, is so, so pleasurable. It’s sweet and hoppy and not at all dry. The malts are twinkling in the background and everything is right in the world. How this contradiction holds together in the rolling centrifuge across my tongue, I can’t explain, but allow me to again bellow, “Roll on my intrepid friend, be free!”
When it comes to the actual hop flavor, it still holds a lot of fruitiness, but not so much floraliness (new word discovery, chalk it up!). I’m actually getting a large dose of spice just at the moment that I swallow. If beer is liquid bread, this beer is a culinary joy ride. I’d feed on this one for days and days. It’s all too hop-laden to realize any specific, legitimate malt characteristic, but the balance is undeniable.
It’s glorious. See above.
The absolute best part about this beer is the fact that it seems to be a living organism. It’s like the sea breaching the shore – it attacks over and over again, but never twice in the same manner. By this right, this is the most complex IPA I’ve had in recent memory. Oddly enough though, complexity only goes so far with IPAs as far as I’m concerned. This one beer may have the aspects of 4 different IPAs, possibly more, but maybe only one of those would be a perfect 10 in my book. Though I deeply enjoyed the ride, the moments where SBW2010DIPA tasted like something slightly less desirable left a blemish with enough weight to set in scar. If for nothing other than to deepen my confliction, may it be that this scar lends an endearing quality and in time I regret not distributing the highest of marks. May time tell the tale.
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.94
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.98
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.70
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.88
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.48
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.
Written by our in-house cellar dweller, Timperial Stout.
When it comes to big, specialty releases that make waves on a national level, the Northwest is painfully lacking. Washington state, more specifically, pretty much has none. We don’t have a Dark Lord or a Black Tuesday or a Kate the Great or a Sexual Chocolate…
I can’t think of a single time that I rushed out to the bottle shop for a WA release. I have rushed out to bars to catch WA beers while they were on draft, but that is such a fleeting pursuit. I want to be able to add a bottle to the cellar and age it and show it off and pretend that I’m cool that I have a crazy barrel-aged imperial stout that’s 4 years old and nearly impossible to get. I have low self-esteem so if I don’t have an impressive cellar I have nothing.
But seriously, why can’t Washington brewers do this for me. I guess I do have that Black Raven wheat wine that they made for Malt and Vine‘s anniversary. Oh yeah, and those Pike Entires. Both are wax-dipped and shit, totally impressive. Well, whatever…I want more.
Our neighbors to the south are doing a little bit better than us on this front, but it’s by no means a landslide. Hair of the Dog and Cascade bottles are pretty sweet trophies to show off. I’ve got a New Old Lompoc Oak Aged Dopplebock down in my cellar. Pretty cool huh? I know.
The ultimate bottled prizes in the PNW come from Deschutes in Bend, OR. I know you know what they are. I know you are jealous of my ’07 Abyss. Your best bet to rival me in supremacy is to camp outside of your local bottle shop tonight, and every subsequent night until more bottle of The Dissident hit Western Washington (if we are so lucky). Then do the same thing in mid-December for The Abyss. Buy as many as they will allow, drink one of each on New Years and hide the rest in the deepest recesses of your cellar. In 15 years when your first-born turns twentyfun, make his/her first ‘legal’ beer be one of paramount class.
Friday, November 19th
We are super excited to officially announce the release of The Dissident, our sour brown ale brewed with Washington cherries, that takes 18 plus months to reach near perfection. A limited amount of bottles will go on sale at both Brew Pubs and our Tasting Room on Friday, November 19th at 11 am. Fans will be able to pick up six bottles of this beloved brew at a time.
Wednesday, December 1st
The wait is finally over for the fifth release of The Abyss, our imperial stout brewed with molasses and licorice aged in bourbon and oak wine barrels. Join us at our Brew Pubs on December 1st as we tap the first kegs and make the 2010 bottles available for you to add to your collection.
…Also of note, here is information on those two beers and other upcoming releases as it was received this morning from a brewery representative…
When: End of November
What: Reserve Series (22-ounce wax-dipped bottles and draft)
Finally…. perfection. After nearly two years aging in isolation, the 2010 Dissident has reached its pinnacle. Deschutes Brewery’s only wild yeast beer, brettanomyces and lactobacillus “critters” (a technical brewing term) create a distinctive Oud Bruin, Flanders-style sour brown ale, with a fruity aroma and flavor. To make things even more interesting, whole Central Washington cherries – pits, stems and all were also added to the mix. The result? A beer that’s anything but conventional.
Where: Very limited available in most states where Deschutes is sold
Beer Geek Information:
10.5% Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
What: Reserve Series (22-ounce wax-dipped bottles and draft)
The Abyss has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. Hints of molasses, licorice and other alluring flavors draw you in further and further with each sip. And at 11% alcohol by volume, you will want to slowly savor each and every ounce.
2010 marks the fifth release of this dark and mysterious imperial stout rated the 4th best beer on planet earth by BeerAdvocate.com.
Where: Available in most states where Deschutes is sold
Beer Geek Information:
~11% Alcohol by Volume (ABV)
Each and every time that I have perused the beer aisle or strolled into a bottle shop over the past few weeks I have noticed more and more winter beers on the shelves. I guess it’s officially that time of the year. The days are getting shorter, the trees are shedding, there is a nip in the air… we will soon be required to warm ourselves with thicker clothing, crackling fires, and most importantly, robust beers.
Yeah it’s true, the pumpkin and fresh hop beers will soon be gone for the year. As quickly as they come, they go, but let’s relish in it…enough with those hoity-toity additives…lets soak in the depths of the true beer ingredients, namely, malt, lots and lots of malt.
Winter beers are all about fending off the cold. It’s like a thick chowder that coats the inside of your belly, warms the innards, adds fat, and preps you for a lengthy hibernation. The booze levels often push boundaries, the sugar levels pose similar inner quarrels as that far to common holiday season overindulgence on cookies. It’s hearty through and through. Santa’s belly, not excluded.
And there exists not that boisterous Ho, Ho and inevitable Ho in the Seattle area without the annual Winter Beer Fest at Hale’s Ales. This year, the indulgence falls on the weekend of December 10th and 11th. One can only hope that WA’s finest will be in attendance. If you, personally, are not amongst the present, it’s quite clear that you care not about sustenance and suspension through the cold months, and you should, sooner than later, except your fate as a fallen entity…one existing only as a human icicle. Say your good-byes now.
Whether you prep for hibernation or not, attend winter beer fest or not, any beer drinker with pride for the local and the slightest holiday spirit should do their very best to seek out Washington’s finest Winter Beers.
Here is a list of some of the Washington brewed Winter Ales to keep an eye out for (note: all descriptions presented are commercial unless not supplied. Those not supplied are notated with a “*” and are provided by beerblotter):
Boundary Bay Cabin Fever – A strong ale or “Winter Warmer” with dark red-brown color and a very rich malty flavor. Dry-hopped lightly with Cascades for a pleasant aroma and slightly spicy hop finish. This big beer is deceptively strong, yet tastes very smooth thanks to extra long cold conditioning. Original Gravity: 1.072.
Fremont Abominable Winter Ale – tasty winter ale, limited release. Dark, roasty, chocolaty, malt flavors balanced by Noble hop aroma and subtle hoppy spice. Warm up to it. Don’t be Scared to be Abominable.
Lazy Boy Mistletoe Bliss – A new brown ale on steroids! Stock up now to warm those cold winter nights. ABV 7.5%, Grains: Pale, crystal, Munich, brown, Vienna, chocolate. Hops: Ahtanum.
Maritime Pacific Jolly Roger Christmas Ale – * This rich malt bomb has a dark red hue and flavors of dried fruits.
Diamond Knot Ho! Ho! Winter Ale – A robust, ‘Winter Warmer’ ale, ruby brown in color with a slightly sweet, fruity nose. Very hoppy, yet balanced with a residual sweetness.
Elysian Bifrost – Style: Winter ale, Body: Medium to Sturdy, TASTING NOTES: Pours golden with orange highlights. Smells alluringly sweet like caramel apples with a little spice and orange zest. Taste is bold and balanced with a good amount of citrus and earthy hop bitters to offset the bready, sweet malt character. Finishes dry with a bit of fruit. MALTS: Pale with small amounts of Munich and Crystal, HOPS: Bittered with Centennial, finished with Amarillo and Styrian Golding, ABV: 7.5%, IBU: 55.
Pike Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale – A winter treat (Wassail) dating from pre-Christian times. Celebrates the winter solstice. Festive and flavorful with delicious hints of orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Pyramid Snow Cap – Deep mahogany in color, our full-bodied winter warmer is brewed in the spirit of British winter ales. Crafted with a flurry of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, and generously hopped, it delivers a smooth finish that makes this beer the perfect cold weather companion. Original Gravity: 17.3, Alcohol by Volume: 7.0, IBU: 47, Malts: 2-Row Barley, Caramel 80L, Chocolate Malt, Hops: Nugget, Willamette, East Kent Goldings.
Redhook Winterhook Winter Ale – The 2010/2011 Winterhook Winter Ale is a rich, full-bodied beer with a red chestnut color. It combines imported and local Caramel, Vienna, Pils, Chocolate and NW 2-Row Malts for a complex profile balanced by four hop varieties added in the brewing to emphasize the end hop character (flavor and aroma). Beautifully balanced, the flavors meld to create an overall complex profile with no single ingredient out of harmony. ABV: 6%, Malts: Caramel, Pils, Chocolate, Vienna and NW 2-Row, Hops: Cascade, Willamette, Northern Brewer and Centennial, Bitterness Units: 42 IBU, Original Gravity: 15 degrees plato.
Schooner Exact Hoppy the Woodsman – Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Ale. Need you say more? A big brother to Hoppy Holidays, this winter ale has gained a level of complexity and intrigue during those months luxuriating in its bourbon barrel haven. Chocolate malt and a healthy dose of hops help maintain balance.
Scuttlebutt 10 Below – Style: imperial dunkelweiss, Aroma: crisp citrus, Taste: medium body with a rich chocolate finish, Hops: mt. hood & american saaz, 22 ibu’s, 7.4% alcohol by volume.
Silver City Old Scrooge – If Old Scrooge can’t get you in the Holiday spirit nothing can. A rich amber ale, ripe with fruit and spice, Old Scrooge’s character will fully develop as it warms. Intriguing notes of apple, cherry and apricot occur naturally as a result of its unique fermentation and extended aging – 9% ABV.
Hale’s Ales Wee Heavy – * This style is Scottish and piles on thick like a marching calvary of bagpipers. There’s malty ales of the old world, and then there’s wee heavys.
Port Townsend Winter Ale – Our winter ale is made from a blend of pale and crystal malts, roasted barley and Belgian aromatic malts. Cooler fermentation and a longer aging time adds further complexity to this Old Ale style. Original Gravity:1.072 Alcohol by Volume: 7.4%.
Two Beers Winter Hop – Winter Hop – The sun doesn’t shine much in winter around here. It’s darker, more subdued and subtle. If you enjoy this about winter, then there is a pretty good chance Winter Hop will find comfort with you. It’s darker, its slightly chocolate-y and dry-hopped with Amarillos. Cheers! IBU’s: 67, OG: 1.068, Hops Used: Amarillo, Galena, Magnum.
Ram Sleigher – * Brew pub chain…don’t make exciting beers…? You’re wrong folks, this is one of the best winter beers I have ever had.
Dick’s Double Diamond Winter Ale – Northwest style seasonal with massive amount of grain and several healthy additions of hops.
Fish Tale Winter Fish – Here is the full-bodied seasonal ale that brings meaning to “Winter Warmer”. With a snappy hop character, this isn’t just another brown beer masquerading as a seasonal. This is hearty fare brewed for the season of celebrations. Enjoyed at ease with friends and food, Winterfish will put a glow in the cheeks and warmth in the veins. Pale and honey malts provide an abundantly deep foundation. Then, for bittering, flavor, and aroma, we use 100% Yakima Chinook hops in the kettle. For additional flavor and aroma, it’s more Yakima Chinooks in the hop-back. Perfect for festive feast, this is the hoppiest winter ale we know of! Savor a pint and you’ll know why Northwesterners agree: An ice-cold Winter never sounded better! 7.5% alc/vol 1.071 O.G. 70 IBUs.
Week 23 of 52
Type of Establishment: Delicatessen
Visit: A Monday without work provided a great opportunity to get lunch at this very new sandwich shop in Pioneer Square, aka – The New Sandwich Center of Seattle.
BEERS ON TAP —>
Scuttlebutt Brewing Tripel 7 Belgian Ale
Hale’s Ales Pale Ale
Elysian Brewing Immortal IPA
Pike Brewing Tandem Double Ale
Pike Brewing Pale Ale
Terminal Gravity ESG
Full Sail Session Lager
Full Sail Session Black
This is a Deli. They have sandwiches here. Amazing, amazing sandwiches!
Allow me to quickly state, right from the onset, that this is not a Seattle beer destination. This is, however, a serious Seattle culinary destination. If you like sandwiches, this place is a MUST visit. I think, after reading this article, you will be very willing to take my word for it.
Luckily for us, they offer a few local craft beers to sip on whilst chewing.
Let’s get down to business. I’m an East Coast guy. I grew up just south of Philadelphia. There is nothing that I miss more about home, other than a few superior humans, than sandwiches. Breakfast sandwiches from street vendors, Tony Luke’s and John’s Roast Pork, Italian hoagies from Sarcone’s, Cheesesteaks from Jim’s. I’m getting emotional just thinking about it. I am totally serious when I yell you that the last time I went to Philly, my absolute first stop, before seeing family or friends was Sarcone’s for an Italian, everything sweet. That was shortly followed by a trip to Philly Soft Pretzel Factory. Food is even above beer for me when I go home, and that is surely saying a lot.
In Seattle, Tat’s is my savior. I can get a 12″ Italian hoagie there and all that is required to make it authentic is to request oil over the menu subscribed mayo. For those that don’t know, the piece of the puzzle that is very rarely attained in the West is the bread. Philly has good Italian bread…period. It makes the sandwich. Tat’s has the bread. Tat’s also had Tastykakes, but I won’t get into that now or this will be far too long of an article.
Most sandwich joints worth while in Seattle have good bread as well, just different from the bread of Philly. Many seem to use baguettes, which seems to work quite well most of the time. It is the opinion of this writer that there is no better sandwich in Seattle than the Cuban delights of Paseo. Just as an example of how highly I regard Paseo, I offer the following insight. My father is coming to town in a few weeks. He has never been to Seattle. My top-three list of non-nature related destinations to take him to, in order, are Pike Place Market, Brouwer’s Cafe, and Paseo. If I had to pick one place in Seattle to eat every meal of the rest of my life, it would be Paseo.
Moving on… Salumi is amongst my favorites, as is Tub’s and Honey Hole. Buffalo Deli is on my list of places to go, as is Homegrown. Delicatus, though I have only been there this one time, has been added to my list of favorites. I feel confident in doing this, not only because of the quality of the sandwich I had, but of the genius behind the available sandwich offerings. I implore you to brief the menu online, you will begin to salivate.
The only negative thing I have to say about Delicatus is that choosing a sandwich from the menu is impossible. I wanted everything. I initially narrowed my search to “spicy” sandwiches, I guess because I was in a spicy mood. The Pavo Diablo and the Fire of 1889 became my finalists, and the braised pork won me over in the end. Fire of 1889 it was. This little firecracker consists of spicy braised pork (as I just mentioned), jalapeno-lime aioli sauce, shredded cabbage, shaved and pickled red onions, hot peppers, and cilantro on a toasted Italian roll.
I can honestly say that I have never had a sandwich quite like this one. A unique marriage of flavors that worked ever so well. The cabbage gave a bit more of a crunch than your average run-of-the-mill lettuce. The aioli and cilantro mingled like royalty and reminded my of the special sauce of Paseo. Hot peppers have me the kick that I needed and the picked onions fought through all that stood in their way to shine but not overpower the flavor. The shaved pork, though not all that spicy, was still shaved pork, which is awesomely delicious.
I chose a beer that would wash a bit of the heat down but not overpower the flavors in the sandwich. Hale’s Pale worked wonders. The carbonation and light floral hopiness sliced just the right amount of heat out of the jalapenos in the aioli and the hot peppers on top. This was a Monday moment to remember.
As much as I find it a bit embarrassing that I speak so enthusiastically about sandwiches and have yet to hit all of the most respected spots in the city, it’s places like Delicatus that continually stand in my way. Once I find a place that I know I like, and they have a massive menu of mouth-watering, bread flanking treats to ingest, all I can think of is conquering the menu from front to back.
Something tells me that I’ll make it back for the Pavo Diablo sooner than later.