A few years ago, I didn’t know a thing about craft cider. I was so focused on craft beer that I had virtually ignored the craft cider revolution that’s been gaining steam these past few years. I started taking more notice when one of my favorite local breweries: Two Beers Brewing Company, announced that they would be expanding and launching Seattle Cider Company – the first cidery in Seattle since the days of prohibition.
After tasting several different ciders (both at Seattle Cider Company and at various places around the Sound) and attending a few different cider events at Seattle Cider Company, including the 1st Annual Pacific Northwest Cider Awards and the recent 1st Anniversary celebration at Seattle Cider, I’m a bit more knowledgeable but still eager to keep trying new ciders and learning more.
Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) puts out some pretty amazing beers: Nothing But Flowers Session IPA, Old Birdbrain Barleywine, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale (and it’s barrel-aged cousin: Splinters), Wisdom Seeker Double IPA (one of my favorite double IPAs); the list goes on and on. Some Black Raven beers only come around once or twice a year, making them coveted treasures that can be difficult to find. One such beer is returning – today. That beer is La Petite Mort; a Belgian inspired strong abbey dark ale.
It’s been a warm Seattle Summer. With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s the other day, however, I know a lot of people who are glad that the rain is back, at least briefly, and the temperatures are dropping a bit. Personally, I don’t mind the warmer temperatures we’ve been having. Our Summers are traditionally pretty short here in the Northwest, so I say enjoy the heat while it’s here. Soon enough the clouds and rain will be back for months on end (*muffled cheers from the back of the room*).
If you’re a regular reader here, then you know that IPA is one of my favorite styles of craft beer. Single IPAs, double IPAs, Triple IPAs; I love them all and, with today being IPA Day, it makes me wish I’d planned ahead a bit better this year by stocking up on a few of my favorites before the ‘big day’ arrived. I usually do, but it’s been a busy Summer for me and I neglected to do so this year. That simply means my 2014 IPA day will be a bit more spontaneous, as I select from whatever IPAs I’ll find on tap once I’m off work this afternoon.
Thankfully, I made sure that I do have at least one bottle at home of Firestone Walker’s Double Jack, which I have verified through repeated blind taste testing is my favorite IPA (Double IPA that is). Taking advantage of the blind tasting options the past few years at both Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle during their annul IPApril and at Cooper’s Alehouse on Lake City Way during their annual IPA Fest, helped me narrow down what are probably my top 5 IPAs. No surprise to me, every one of them is a double IPA. Granted, this list is a bit limiting, even for me. I do also have several other favorite IPAs that I can either no longer get in this state (Blind Pig IPA from Russian River Brewing, for example), that I don’t find on tap or in stores as often as I’d like or that are considered seasonal (such as Fresh Hop IPAs, for example).
Burdick Brewery (CBM Sponsor) has been open for less than a year. They first opened their doors just this past October in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, where they share the building they occupy with Lowercase Brewing – another Seattle newcomer. Since then, they’ve been serving up a wide variety of small-batch beers including: Belma Pale Ale, Honey Rye Ale, Blonde Ale, Red Ale, a few different IPAs as well as whiskey barrel aged versions of their Red Ale, Blonde Ale and Rye Ale. They’ve also hosted several small music and poetry events as well as the occasional waffle breakfast on weekends.
Starting out with a modest 1 barrel brewing system and a few 2 barrel fermenters, owner and head brewer, Max Leinbach, has had his hands full keeping up with demand. Even though, up to this point, the only place you could taste Burdick Brewer beers was at their taproom in South Park. Max wants that to change. As a result, Burdick Brewery has decided it’s time to expand. The good news? They will be swapping out their 1 barrel brew system and 2 barrel fermenters for a new 7 barrel brew system and a couple of 15 barrel fermemters. The bad news? The Burdick Brewery taproom is now closed (as of August 2nd) and will remain closed for up to six months during their expansion,
It’s Summer in the Northwest and the aroma of hops is in the air. Next Friday, August 1st, is National IPA Day and it’s also nearly time for the annual crop of fresh hop ales to start showing up. It looks like Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) will be first out of the gate this year with their 2014 Fresh Hop IPA, which is set to make its debut on Saturday, August 9th at The Woods – the taproom Two Beers Brewing shares with their sister company, Seattle Cider Company.
If you’d like to be involved with helping Two Beers make this year’s Fresh Hop IPA, your chance is coming up this coming Monday, July 28th. On that day, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, head down to The Woods (4700 Ohio Avenue South, Seattle) and help Two Beers pick the hops for this special ale. Fresh hop vines will be trucked in from the Yakima Valley right to The Woods, and they’ll need as much help as they can get all the hops off the vines and into the brew. You’ll score a free 22oz bottle for your efforts when it’s released.
It seems these days that there’s a ‘National Day’ for just about everything. We have National Hamburger Day, National Random Acts Of Kindness Day, National Chocolate Chip Day, National Book Lover’s Day, etc. etc. The list is nearly endless, with more ‘National Days’ than there are days of the year. One such day on the list you may care about as a craft beer lover is coming up on August 7th. That day? That would be National IPA Day.
Granted, who needs a special day to celebrate IPA’s, right? For hopheads like me, nearly every day is IPA day. I don’t need to wait for a special occasion, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also enjoy it when a special day dedicated to one of my favorite beer styles comes around.
I’m quite a fan of Scotch Ales. Granted, I’m a major hophead and think that single, double and even triple IPAs are still my favorite overall style. However, when I’m in the mood for something more on the malty side, Scotch Ale hits the spot; particularly ‘Heavy 70′ or ‘Export 80′ Scotch Ale for you beer geeks out there. My favorite locally-brewed Scotch Ales are Fat Scotch & Fat Woody from Sliver City Brewery, Scotch Ale from Bellevue Brewing and, of course, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale from Black Raven Brewing (CBM Sponsor).
So, how do you take an already delicious Scotch Ale and make it even better? Barrel age it! That’s what Silver City does for their Fat Woody Scotch Ale, and that’s what Black Raven has done with Splinters: a bourbon barrel aged version of their Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale.
Burdick Brewery (CBM Sponsor) is one of Seattle’s newest craft breweries. They opened their doors just this past October in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood, sharing the building they occupy with another Seattle newcomer: Lowercase Brewing. Burdick is a great place in South Park to enjoy a few pints, catch some sports on their large-screen projection TV or even attend their occasional waffle breakfasts on weekends (Check Burdick’s Facebook page for upcoming events).
Dedicated to brewing great beers, including the occasional small batch bourbon-barrel aged ale, Burdick Brewery also seeks to provide a creative space for artists to express themselves and has hosted other musical artists in the past, including local singer/songwriter, Camila Recchio. It’s an intimate spot, where you can get up close and personal with the artists and, with our warm Summer nights back for a few months, Burdick will have their roll up door open so you can enjoy the Seattle evening air with your beer and music.
Reuben’s Brews was opened in Ballard back in August of 2012 by Adam and Grace Robbings. Named for their son, Reuben, the brewery has grown in popularity and has been putting out some great, award winning, beers. Reuben’s Brews is, perhaps, best known for their Rye beer such as: American Rye, Imperial Rye IPA and Roggenbier, among others.
Now, adding to their accolades, Reuben’s Brews has been named one of the top 10 breweries in the U.S., coming in tied for 4th place. They also picked up a few more medals for a few of their outstanding brews.