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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.
I’ve decided to use the “Top 5 Lists” column to go ahead and give a brief dissertation on the Washington Brewers Festival. WaBF happened this past weekend out in Kenmore, Washington. We went out and had a blast.
As you might remember, we typically use this column to discuss our five favorite places for a beer in cities across the globe. There are quite a bit of cities – we travel often.
We plan on discussing the event more this week, but the time being, I wanted to share my five favorite places to have a beer at WaBF. This is a bit strange, considering its really all one place – a tent in one big field. But the column is more about the five great situations that I experienced at WaBF, and why I think they are significant.
Again, lets revisit the rules and disclaimer:
First, the rules: (these are the normal Top 5 rules, but they basically apply the same way here. I have edited briefly though)
- We go places because we want, not because someone asked. I cannot stress this enough. We were never enticed to these places by promises of freebies, attention, pats on the back or back room happy endings – we just went because we heard the word.
- We cannot be everywhere. Typically when we visit an event, we have limited time. This severely limits what we can visit. If there is a critically-acclaimed otherworldly thing to do that we did not make it to, we will try and asterisk it in the Top 5 list so that you know it exists.
- We are not millionaires. Wow, bet you could have guessed that one. We cannot purchase the best of the best all of the time. This limits what we might get out of a particular event. Just want you to know.
- We like all types of things. These lists are not “beer nerd” centric – far from it. In fact, you may find things that make you shake your head. But, if they have the total package of beer, character, service, food and aura – they get the mark.
- We try to poll our choices, but sometimes there is bias. This one doesn’t apply today – I am taking over.
Ok, now that we are through with the rules, lets move on to the Top 5 list for the Washington Brewers Fest.
Washington Brewers Festival
- Visits: Every year since 2007. This year, I attended on Friday, June 18, 2010.
- Area Brewers of Note: Probably every brewer in the great state of Washington (though not likely) and a few specials from out of state (Dogfish Head and Goose Island, among others). But this even included tiny nanobrewers 192 Brewing and Foggy Noggin Brewing.
- Festival Favorite: Look at the line above – Black Raven Brewing Co. In a short time of just over a year, this brewery had won the heart of locals and the attention of outsiders. I even had a discussion about them with the owner of Cigar City Brewing in Tampa, FL! They are making waves.
- The Top 5…..
#5 – The Bloggers – Geoff Kaiser and Kendall Jones
Well we have to pull for our own, don’t we? Beer blogging is becoming a popular form of art. As more and more people become intrigued by the craft beer world, more and more local breweries find market share. This forces more and more localization of beer for the public, with even tiny nanobrewers finding a place to sell their goods.
All of this lends to one thing – a need for local beer communities. The local beer community in Seattle has spawned several beer-centric bars, craft bottle shops, micro and nanobrewers and now even local beer bloggers. Most bloggers do what they do because they simply love beer – and they recognize the need for a local resource. Believe me, no blogger thinks that they are the source, but if we can shave some time of your adventure through beer, steer you towards the great venues and give you a head’s up on happenings – we are lending a hand to the beer community.
When I saw that the two most read (probably) beer bloggers in Washington state had booths at WaBF, it made me proud to be a blogger. Seattle Beer News and Washington Beer Blog are written by Geoff Kaiser and Kendall Jones, respectively. Both of these guys do an excellent job writing about beer in Washington state. I tip my hat to each of them for their commitments to great material.
But, now they are even be accepted into the brewers world. WaBF is a festival for the brewers and it was a bit touching to see that Washington Beer Commission was willing to include both these great resources. Kudos to the event; kudos to Geoff and Kendall for jumping in.
#4 – The Nanobrewers
Some time ago, I wrote an article on BeerBlotter.com about some of the nanobrewing spots that you could visit around Seattle. Later on, the focus of that story, Gilligan’s Brewing Company, became the center of a story by magazine, All About Beer.
Its funny to look back at that article now and think: those guys were nanobrewers?! Yes, I might have played down the extent of brewing operations over at Seattle brewers Big Al Brewing, Two Beers Brewing, Schooner Exact Brewing, and Fremont Brewing. Big Al can be found all across Washington state, Two Beers is the house IPA tap at many of my favorite bars, Schooner Exact recently opened a tap room with over 10 beers, and Fremont Brewing is now in the process of canning! These guys are no longer the little guys on the block.
But, there have emerged a new breed of nanobrewers in the greater Seattle area. One of my favorite things to see at this years event: the little guys having a place to pour.
My favorite might be 192 Brewing, who is doing what they do – all in a 192 square foot space. This is what its all about. It doesn’t take $500,000.00 to get started, it doesn’t require a warehouse. All you need is some love and a few good test batches to make a tasty beer that the public can enjoy. 192 has the right idea.
Similarly, Foggy Noggin made my little eyes weep. These guys are making beer on a 1/2 barrel (15 gallon) gravity system, similar to the one that BeerBlotter.com brews on. I was so proud to see these guys, without all the wonderful equipment of its surrounding brewers, put out some good brew. It does a homebrewer proud.
I hope to see more of this over the next year. It doesn’t take much to add another tent or two to WaBF (I assume). Maybe we’ll even see some home brewers involved in the next few years.
I was just out in Wenatchee and made a quick stop in Leavenworth for some cheese and brats at the Munchen Haus. When we were down in the Cheesemonger, tasting some damn good cheese, we saw some bottles from Washington brewers – brewers we had never heard of.
What we saw were bottles from Old Schoolhouse Brewing. This brewery and pub is located out in little ole Winthrop, Washington – in the south end of the Okanogon National Forest. We met the owner and brewer, a father and son, respectively, and were utterly impressed with their kind demeanor and their tasty beer. Our favorite: the Imperial IPA (coming in at 9.6% ABV!).
Old Schoolhouse was just one of many rural brewers that us city folk down in Seattle do not regularly get to try. Because of a dense brewer population in the greater Seattle area, its difficult for a rural brewer to find tap space at your bar. So WaBF is one of those great events where you finally get to try some of their concoctions.
Other rural brewers of note were Skookum Brewery, out in Arlington, WA, Snipes Mountain Brewing, down in Prosser, WA, and Flyers Restaurant & Brewery, up in Oak Harbor, WA. Each of these brewers showcase wonderful ales, including top notch IPAs from Skookum and Snipes, and a potentially best in show porter from Flyers. If you get a chance to try their beers – grab one, its not everyday you see them.
#2 – The Crazy Beers
After awhile, you’ve just had too many IPAs. You want something a bit different don’t you? You want something that makes you go – What the &%$((%$?!
In the past few years, we have seen the emergence of more creative recipes, a larger presence of wood-aging, and yeasts we cannot pronounce. Most of this shift is due to the success of sour beers, higher alcohol beverages, and fearless brewers like Dogfish Head, Lost Abbey, Jolly Pumpkin and Avery Brewing.
In my three years at this event, I have never seen more than a few “off-the-cuff” beer titles on the list. This year – the list was littered with unknowns. Some of the most mind-boggling:
Airways Triple Chocolate Stout (Stout)
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit (Witbier)
Big al 5 Star Chile IPA (Habanero Hot)
Black Raven’s Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary (Sour Mash Rye), Jerked Brown Porter (Herb & Spiced Ale) & Coco Jones (Coconut Brown Porter)
Foggy Noggin Christmas Duck (We just like the name)
Fremont Brewing Scary Monster Double IPA** (Ridiculous IPA)
Hale’s IX Gold on Sour Cherries (Belgian Strong Golden)
Harmon Scott’s Puget Creek Vanilla Porter (Flavored Brown Porter)
Lazy Boy Nacho Pilsner (Dry Hopped Chiles/Pilsner) & Oscuro Con Chiles** (Infused/Porter)
Snipe’s Cask Twangzister Sour Cherry Stout** (Barrel Aged Sour)
I also very much enjoy the slow emergence of more and more French and Belgian Farmhouse style ales. I have never seen so many, Biere De Garde, Saison and general white and wheat ales. I was very impressed with Double Mountain and Rock Bottom saisons.
Its a welcome change. Lets keep it up brewers.
You’d think I’d spend the most time talking about the #1 place on the list. But, this is a bittersweet love. As much as they deserve #1 – the place was inundated with a line that was no less than 10 times the length of any other line at the fest. Kudos to Black Raven for arriving on the scene – and blowing it to smithereens.
Black Raven is the best beer producer in Washington state. Its settled, there can no longer be a debate. The buzz behind everything they do can no longer be silenced, can no longer be inhibited. They are officially playing the role of the most popular brewer in the state.
Well, its not just a fad. Its really good beer, creative beer, inventive beer, flavorful beer and selective beer. They showcased several titles at the WaBF – every single one was impeccable. The Wisdom Seeker Double IPA is perhaps the best in the nation at its style. The bourbon barrel scotch ale was my #2 beer at the event. The Coconut Porter and the Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary are both Top 20 beers as well.
Look – we know they are good. Beer bloggers are helping to create this following with our perpetual ogling over all that they do. But, that being said, we cannot stop. No matter how big the buzz, we continue to peg them at the top of the list. Nothing changes over here at BeerBlotter.com. Black Raven rules Washington beer.
Live in Washington Beer Festival? Know the event? Hate something we wrote? Let us know below in our comments, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Well we couldn’t wait any longer, so we are going ahead and rolling out to Kenmore, Washington today for the opening day of Washington Brewers Fest. We hope to see you all out there.
Check out our incredibly extensive Washington Brewers Fest Preview, which was published yesterday here at BeerBlotter.com. You might also want to check out the preview articles put together by fellow Seattle beer bloggers – Seattle Beer News and Washington Beer Blog. We are really excited to try out some of these amazing ales.
Hope to see you there! Remember to stop by the Lazy Boy Brewing stand Saturday and Sunday to say hello to our cellar king Timperial Stout.
Here are some sexy shots of recent interesting pulls from the cellar. We are going to be brief, but wanted to let you all know what we liked, and what some bottles are tasting like right now.
Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Imperial Stout): Cleveland, OH
ABV – 9%
Vintage – 2010
RateBeer – 100
Commercial Description –
A Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty malt body and bold hop flavor. Named after the infamous “Blackout of 2003” that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and fun.
Available in February & March.
One Sentence Note –
This high octane moster has a lot of mocha, coffee, and cinnamon flavor at a smoothness that you expect in your 5% stout, but at 9% you get so much more bang for your buck.
Cigar City Jai Alai IPA: Tampa, FL
ABV – 7.5%
Vintage – 2010
RateBeer – 99
Jai Alai India Pale Ale pays tribute to the original extreme sport. Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt, whilst the ball travels at speeds of up to 188 miles per hour! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dub this game, with its ball traveling at race car speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a busy Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the strong ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. To survive the journey the beers needed more alcohol and more hops (which act as a natural preservative). This “big” brewing practice made India Pale Ale one of the first “extreme beers” and a favorite among the Queens military men in India. Eventually it became a favorite style of the new crop of American brewers seeking more flavor and complexity than mass-market brewers were willing to offer.
One Sentence Note:
Sweet sugary hop monsoon batman – this malt goddess has a syrupy complexity with intense hop aromas, while remaining incredibly smooth drinking.
Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught Imperial IPA: Chicago, IL
ABV – 9.5%
Vintage – 2009
RateBeer – 100
A hophead’s dream beer. This Imperial India Pale Ale has an opening salvo of mango, peach and citrus hop aromas that sit atop a pronounced caramel malt backbone. Although Dreadnaught is a strong and intensely hoppy ale, its complex flavors is both smooth and memorable. 9.5% ABV, 100 IBUs.
One Sentence Notes:
In October we bought two, consumed one immediately much to our hop-fiendish delight, and saved the other for 6 months to let the malts develop – a decent idea but its beginning to reach its bitterness decline, so drink up on this incredible beer! (we pushed that sentence a bit)
Russian River Temptation Oak-Aged Sour Blonde: Santa Rosa, CA
ABV – 7.25%
Vintage – 2009 (1st batch of year)
RateBeer – 100
Is it beer, or is it wine? “Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak” sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The “Bret” gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation–a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.
One Sentence Notes:
We touched on it before, then re-sampled this champagne of beers (seriously, not High Life) whose sourness is not overpowered with intense malt flavors, making it perfect for the purist.
Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout: Portland, OR
ABV – 5.3%
Vintage – 2009
RateBeer – 98
Beer of the Ancients! Barley (Egyptian), Wheat (Mesopotamian), Oats (Egyptian), Amaranth (Aztec), Quinoa (Incan), Spelt (Mesopotamian), and Kamut (Egyptian) sustain the soul with a nutrients cultivated through the millennia. Finished with 15 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Hairbender espresso. Unlock the mystery entombed in darkness.
One Sentence Notes:
Holy smokes (literally) we were surprised by how incredibly well-crafted this NW stout could be with SEVEN ancient grains in the mash and a dump load of special Stumptown espresso – top NW single stout in my book, gets you your breakfast HOTD and pick me up.
Any new beers you have been drinking? Pulled something from the cellar that has been there a while and want to share how its doing these days? Please add a comment below.