Firestone Walker Brewing Company got it’s start back in 1996, when they brewed their very first beer in a small facility rented from the Firestone Vineyard estate in Santa Barbara County, California. Five years later, in 2001, Adam Firestone and David Walker purchased the SLO Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California. They’ve been going strong ever since, creating one World class beer after another. Many of their beers are fermented using their unique Firestone Union system (inspired by the Burton Union systems invented by English brewers back in the 1830’s-40’s). This is a unique method of fermentation and, to Firestone Walker’s knowledge, is not currently being utilizied by any other brewery in the U.S.
The Firestone Union System
Firestone Walker is also known for their skill at the art of blending beers. Many of their offerings, such as Parabola, Velvet Merlin, §ucaba and many more are blends of several different beers. Some of these beers are special ones Firestone Walker brews just for blending purposes and are not packaged or generally available to the public (though you may be able to try a few at the brewery).
Are you ready to take flight and join a very exclusive club? Airways Brewing Company, the Kent brewery that has brought you beers such as: Sky Hag IPA, Jet City ESB, Starliner Stout and more is launching a mug club!
The ‘Mile High Mug Club’, which is set to take flight on September 8th, will be available to the first 50 people to sign up. It will offer exclusive benefits and discounts to its members. Members will also be able to earn ‘Frequent Flyer Miles’, which can be saved up and put towards rewards such as pint glasses, growlers, hats and more. Here is the full press release from Airways Brewing Company:
Did you know that Pike Brewing Company was founded in a space that was formerly a brothel? That’s right. After a hard days work, locals would come to the LaSalle Hotel, in search of their ‘Harlot’, their ‘Honey’, their ‘Pumpkin’. And now you can come looking for your ‘Pumpkin’ too!
Harlot’s Harvest Pumpkin Ale, created by Pike Head Brewer, Dead Mochizuki, is set for release on Wednesday, September 5th. Here is the full release from Pike Brewing Company:
September is just around the corner, and The Pine Box has a few events lined up that you might want to check out. First up, on September 2nd, is Cards Against Humanity. Described as “a party game for horrible people”, Cards Against Humanity is a card game where, during each round, one player asks a question from a Black Card, and everyone else answers with their funniest White Card. Created in 2011 as a party game for a New Year’s Eve celebration (and it should be at this year’s PAX – August 31 – September 2nd), it’s a fun game that’s great for groups. It’s so popular, it’s even reached the top 2 products on Amazon.com‘s Toys & Games category. Impressive.
Oktoberfest, held each year in Munich (München) Germany, is the World’s largest fair, with well over 6 Million people in attendance each year. In fact, Oktoberfest 2010 had over 6.4 Million visitors who, all told, drank over 7.1 million liters of beer. Wow! I was fortunate to attend Oktoberfest in Germany back in 2009 while on a European vacation with my wife. It was an amazing and very memorable experience. If you have the means, I highly recommend braving the crowds to experience the true Oktoberfest in Germany at least once in your life. I’m sure I’ll be back again when the opportunity presents itself.
For those of us who can’t always get to Germany for this incredible annual festival, there are several local options that will let you enjoy a bit of the feel and flavor of Oktoberfest closer to home. The true dates for Oktoberfest 2012, as you can see from the poster above, are September 22nd to October 7, 2012. Many people are not aware that Oktoberfest always starts, not in October, but in September. It ends the first week of October, and usually earlier than the 7th (click HERE to see the annual dates for Oktoberfest in Germany through 2015).
Here are six places where you can celebrate Oktoberfest right here in Washington State. This is not an exhaustive list of all Oktoberfest celebrations happening in Washington; just a few options for you.
Even if you’re not a fan of The Food Network, I’m betting you’ve heard of the show Iron Chef (and Iron Chef America). These are cooking shows where the chefs are challenged to come up with dishes, using a special ingredient selected by the show. Well, Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle holds occasional competitions based on this type of format. Brewers are pitted against each other, with Beveridge Place Pub selecting the special ingredient(s) they must use. Then, Beveridge Place patrons get to vote and one brewery is declared champion.
The last major Iron Brewer competition was held at Beveridge Place Pub back in May during Seattle Beer Week 2012. The pair ups for that challenge were:
Black Raven vs Odin – Brewing with Blackberry & Lavender
Seven Seas vs Port Townsend – Brewing with Coconut & Lemongrass
Silver City vs Airways – Brewing with Apricot & Almond
It may still be August but don’t forget that October and this year’s Great Pumpkin Beer Festival are only 2 months away. This is the second year the festival will be held at Elysian Brewing‘s new commercial brewing facility in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood.
This year’s fest will feature over 60 different pumpkin beers; 13 of which are from Elysian Brewing Company, including: Mr. Yuck Sour Pumpkin Ale, Night Owl, Great Pumpkin, Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout, Hansel and Gretel Ginger Pumpkin Pils, Coche de Medianoche (new!), Kürbitinus, PK-47 Pumpkin Malt Liquor, Headless Horsey (new!), Ursa Orange (new!) Mens Room Original Pumpkin Ale (new!) and Orange Manalishi (new!). Wow!
Tapping the Great Pumpkin
Things have changed a bit this year regarding tickets for the festival. All tickets this year will be pre-sold. They went on sale last Firday, 8/17, and you can pick up yours at all Elysian Pubs (Capitol Hill, Tangletown & Elysian Fields). You’ll need one ticket for each session:
Two Beers Brewing, located in the SoDo district of Seattle has just announced their latest seasonal beer release schedule. The ‘big one’ most people are probably looking forward to is their ‘Fresh Hop’, which will debut on August 31st. The others on the way include their ‘Heart of Darkness’ Imperial CDA and their Pumpkin Spice Ale. Below is the full press release from Two Beers Brewing:
SEATTLE (August 22, 2012) – As the most highly anticipated beer on the growing brewery’s impressive tap list, Two Beers Brewing is excited to announce the early release of its 2012 Fresh Hop. Hop-enthusiasts can enjoy their first sip of this long-awaited beer beginning August 31 at the Two Beers Brewing tasting room – the earliest release for this beer yet – followed by its release in bars, restaurants and retail establishments throughout the Pacific Northwest beginning September 3. Adding to the excitement, Fresh Hop will soon after be accompanied by Two Beers Brewing’s Heart of Darkness Imperial CDA and Pumpkin Spice Ale – now both available in 22-ounce bottles.
“We look forward to this time of the year at the brewery and the flavorful beers that come with it,” said Joel VandenBrink, Two Beers Brewing founder and head brewer. “Plus, we’re excited to add Pumpkin Spice to our lineup of 22-ounce bottles, meaning more opportunity for our fans to enjoy the delicious flavors of fall.”
One of my favorite annual Seattle Craft Beer events, Hopfest, is coming up fast. Brouwer’s Cafe decided to push back the date for Hopfest to a bit later in September this year, in hopes of getting a few more fresh hopped beers to feature at this year’s event. So Hopfest 2012 is set to kick off on Thursday, September 27th and run through the weekend.
This is the quintisential event for hopheads in the Seattle area. All of Brouwer’s 64 taps will be taken over by various IPAs. You can expect to see some popular IPAs, Double IPAs and other IPA styles, and Brouwer’s always seems to pull a few special rarities out of their hat as well. Each attendee at hopfest gets to cast their vote for their favorite IPA from the festival. Last year’s winners, by popular vote, were:
1. Founders Devil Dancer
2. HUB Bourbon Ace of Spades
3. Left Coast Hop Juice
The full tap list for this years festival has not yet been announced, but I will post it up as soon as it becomes available. My mouth is already watering in anticipation (UPDATE – See FULL tap list below).
Your admission price gets you a Cider Summit Seattle taster glass and 10 taster tickets. If you arrive between 11:00AM and noon, you can score 2 more ‘Happy Hour’ tickets. Also, SLU cardholders and WABL members can get 2 extra tickets (max 2 – you can’t combine the offers). Also, of course, you’ll be able to purchase extra taster tickets for $2 each. Tasters will be available in 3oz and 6oz sizes. Most are expected to be $2 (one tickets) tasters, but you will also see some that will cost you more than one ticket. Choose wisely! Many of the owners and cider-makers will be on hand at the Summit to answer any questions and help you decide. You can see the full list of ciders that will be pouring at the Summit HERE.