Halloween Choices For Craft Beer Lovers

Are you one of those people who never outgrew Halloween; someone who dresses up each year in an elaborate costume, sometimes to the point of non-recognition?  Or are you the more reserved type, prefering to just observe while you go about your business dressed as usual (or, as Wednesday Adams put it: “I’m a homicidal maniac- they look just like everyone else.”)?  Either way, weekday or not, there will be a lot of people out tomorrow night to celebrate Halloween.  If you’ll be one of them, do you know where you’re going yet?  Here are a few optiosn for you (this is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all Halloween gatherings aroud Seattle):

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The 7th Annual IPA Cask-O-Rama Is Coming November 8th At Beveridge Place Pub

Fall is a great time for hopheads in the Northwest.  It’s harvest time, so we get all the great fresh hop beers filling our taste buds with all that amazingly fresh hoppy goodness (and I must say that Fremont Brewing‘s Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop was my absolute favorite this year), the annual Hopfest at Brouwer’s Cafe and the Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival.  Then, as if that weren’t enough, we get both Hoptoberfest and the IPA Cask-O-Rama from Beveridge Place Pub.  What more could a hophead ask for?

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Hoptoberfest Wrap Up & House IPA Voting At Beveridge Place Pub

It’s IPA season at Beveridge Place Pub.  Hoptoberfest and the annual voting for their house IPA has been going on since October 4th.  It all started with over 18 different IPAs on tap to choose from.  Patrons are allowed one vote per person per day throughout October. 

By the end of tomorrow, 10/24, it will be paired down to the top eight nominees.  Then on Thursday, October 25th, you can go in for a blind tasting of the top 3 nominees.  Final voting begins on that date to determine which IPA will be Beveridge Place Pub’s house IPA for the next year and ends on November 4th.  The winning IPA will be announced at the start of Beveridge Place Pub’s annual IPA Cask-O-Rama, which starts on Thursday, November 8th. 

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A Smashing Time At The Great Pumpkin Beer Festival 2012

This past Friday and Saturday, October 19th and 20th was the 8th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival at Elysian Brewing‘s commercial brewing facility in Georgetown.  The festival was held in three sessions: one on Friday and two on Saturday.  I attended the 1st Saturday session with my wife, Lynn. The gates opened just before 11:00AM for this sold out event and, by about 1:00PM, things were getting pretty crowded.

The festival was arranged with eight pouring stations (2 inside and 6 outside) each pouring a different selection of pumpkin beers to try.  I grabbed my taster glass and tickets, including a few extra tickets for $2 each, and headed off to start sampling.  There were several pumpkin beers from Elysian brewing, along with selections from across the state, across the country and even one all the way from Norway.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to try every offering, so I relied on word of mouth from a few friends, including fellow beer blogger Brew Dad, and my own curiosity to lead me towards my first few selections before the lines for each tap station began growing too long.

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Two Beers Brewing Celebrates 5 Years

It seems like it wasn’t long ago that Joel VandenBrink, originally from Holland, decided to follow his passion for brewing and start Two Beers Brewing Company in a Seattle garage.  I can hardly believe it’s already been five years.  Today, Two Beers Brewing operates out of its 4,800 square foot brewery and taproom in Seattle’s SoDo district and creates 12 different beers, including five year-round, seven seasonal and a smattering of small-batch infusions including Jalapeno-infused Evo. IPA and Lime Ginger-infused Panorama Wheat. 

In just over two weeks, on November 3rd, Two Beers Brewing will hold their 5 Year Anniversary Celebration from 2-7PM at the brewery and taproom.  Here is the official press release from Two Beer Brewing:

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What To Do In Seattle If You Didn’t Make It To GABF

If you’re like me, you weren’t able to make it to this year’s Great American Beer Festival happing over the next three days in Denver, CO.  It’s been difficult reading Facebook and Twitter posts from those I know who are there enjoying themselves, but there’s some consolation to be found right here at home.  Here are a few craft beer related things you can do right here around the Sound this weekend. 

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There’s A New Beer Festival In Town

Washington is well known for beer festivals.  We have the Washingon Brewer’s Festival, Belgianfest, the Everett Craft Beef Festival, Sour Fest, the Hard Liver Barleywine Fest and many, many more scattered all around the Seattle area and across the state.  Well, I hope you have room for one more on your craft beer calandar, becuase coming up on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 is the first annual B-Town Brewfest – the Seattle area’s newest beer festival.  Proceeds from this festival will go to benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital

The full brewery lineup for the festival has been announced and will include:

Airways Brewing Co., Kent, WA
Diamond Knot Craft Brewing, Mukilteo, WA
Elliott Bay Brewing Co., Burien, WA
Harmon Brewing Co., Tacoma, WA
Iron Horse Brewing, Ellensburg, WA
Laurelwood Brewing Co., Portland, OR
Ninkasi Brewing Co., Eugene, OR
Northwest Brewing Co., with Flying Bike Coop Brewery, Pacific, WA
Odin Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
Schooner Exact Brewing Co., Seattle, WA
The Ram Brewery, Seattle, WA
Wingman Brewery, Tacoma, WA

The festival will be held at the Burien Community Center (14700 6th Ave SW, Burien, WA), and will be divided into two sessions.  The first is from 11:30AM  – 3:30PM and the second will be from 4:30PM – 8:30PM.  Tickets for the festival are $25 in advance or $30 at the gate.  Advance tickets are available for purchase now through  Brown Paper Tickets.  You can also CLICK HERE to sign up as a volunteer for the festival. 

Your ticket price includes admission to the festival, a festival program, a 5oz commemorative taster glass and 9 tasting tokens.  Additional drink tokens will be available for purchase for $2 each.  So mark your calendar now and maybe I’ll see you in Burien on October 13th.  I will be at the festival, working the Northwest Brewing/Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery booth.

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there. 

(Post partially re-created from my original post at beermonger.blogspot.com.)

The 10th Annual Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival Is Tomorrow

The Yakima Valley in Washington is one of the most prolific hop growing regions in the entire World.  Hops from this region are used across the U.S. and around the World to help create some of the beers you know and love.  This time of year, we’re fortunate to have a plethora of ‘fresh hop’ beers available to us due to the annual hop harvest.  To celebrate that harvest and all the fresh hop beers that come along with it, the 10th Annual Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival will be held tomorrow, October 6th in downtown Yakima, Washington. 

Last year’s festival winners included:

2011 Judge’s Awards

  • 1st Place – Ice Harbor
  • 2nd Place – Laughing Dog
  • 3rd Place – Fremont Brewing

2011 People’s Choice Winners

  • 1st Place – Icicle Brewing
  • 2nd Place- Fremont Brewing
  • 3rd Place – Lagunitas

Most of the time, the hops used in beer production are dried in a kiln before being used for brewing.  Fresh hop beers, on the other hand, are beers where the hops are added in ‘fresh’ (just picked) form. They can have a distinctly different character than other, similar styles (like hoppy pales or IPAs).  Several have already been available on tap around the Puget Sound over the past few weeks.  Perhaps you’ve come across a few?  Two of my local favorites this year include Fremont Brewing‘s Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Ale (Overflowing with the pleasing flowery and citrusy aromas and flavors of Simcoe and Citra hops) and Two Beers Brewing’s Fresh Hop Ale. 

According to the official Fresh Hop Festival website:

This premiere Washington beer festival celebrates the world’s number one hops producer, the Yakima Valley. For a brew to be considered a “fresh hop ale” for the festival competition, it must be produced with hops that were picked no more than 24 hours prior to brewing.

Now that’s what I call fresh!  So if you missed Hopfest at Brouwer’s Cafe, or you’re just in the mood for another serious hop onslaught, I suggest you head out to Yakima tomorrow to drink in your fill of delicious fresh hop beers. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

Final Departure Imperial Stout Becomes Airways Brewing’s First Packaged Product

Airways Brewing out of Kent, WA has just announced that their Imperial Stout, Final Departure, will become their first ‘packaged’ product to hit the market.  Up until now, Airways brewing beers have only available on tap or at other taprooms around the Seattle area.  I guess if you’re going to bottle your first beer ever, you want to get it done before the ‘End of Days’ arrive! 

Here’s the full press release from Airways Brewing:

KENT, Wash. (October 4, 2012) – Beginning today, Seattle and Tacoma-area craft beer lovers and prophecy enthusiasts can begin stocking up on Airways Brewing Company’s® Final Departure Imperial Stout™. The first packaged offering from the growing microbrewery – located just south of Seattle in Kent – Final Departure was brewed as a nod to the fast-approaching end of the Mayan calendar known as the “end of days” on December 21, ensuring the last beer you enjoy is one you’ll never forget.

“As our time on earth supposedly draws to an end, we’ve brewed up something special and truly unique for what may be the last beer you ever drink,” said Alex Dittmar, owner and head brewer at Airways Brewing Company. “Plus, we figured what better time to start bottling our beer – just in case.”

But don’t worry – this big, bold stout is sure to make those enjoying it forget what potentially lies just ahead. Intended to be opened on December 20, the day before the predicted end of the world, Final Departure Imperial Stout boasts a 9.9 percent ABV and 75 IBUs. As Airways Brewing’s darkest beer yet, notes of coffee and chocolate give way to a toasty finish accompanied by a firm hop bitterness. For those who dare to take a chance, this limited edition stout was designed get better with age, giving hope to a world after “the end of days.”

“We’re excited Airways Brewing has decided to bottle their amazing beer and we can’t wait to stock it on shelves,” said Erika Tedin, owner of Full Throttle Bottles, a specialty beer shop in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. “We’ve been patiently waiting to be able to share Airways beer with our customers and think Final Departure is a fabulous first introduction.”

Final Departure will be available in 22-ounce bottles throughout the Seattle and Tacoma area at select specialty bottle shops – including 99 Bottles, Special Brews, Full Throttle Bottle, Beer Junction, Dog and Pony, Beer Authority, The Red House, Malt and Vine, Pint Defiance, Vashon Thriftway and more – now through December 21.

For those who prefer to have their last beer be a draft one, Airways Brewing Company will be hosting an “End of Days” party on December 20 at the Airways Brewing Tap Room in Kent. Open from 3 pm to midnight, those anxiously waiting for the clock to strike midnight will enjoy three versions of Final Departure on tap – including the original, and two special versions aged in rum and whiskey barrels – plus Airways Brewing seasonal offerings and more.

For more information about Airways Brewing, Final Departure or the “End of Days” party, be sure to follow Airways Brewing Company on Facebook and Twitter, or visit www.airwaysbrewing.com.

So, be on the lookout for Final Departure Imperial Stout at your local bottle shops soon, and don’t foget about their “End of Days” party on December 20th at the Brewery.  Congratulations to Airways Brewing on the launch of their first bottled beer.  Cheers! 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.