The holiday season kind of snuck up on me this year. Just yesterday, my wife and I had to go out to run a few errands and we were amazed at how large the holiday shopping crowds were. Granted, it was pretty nice out this weekend; cold but sunny and clear, so I suppose there were a lot of people trying to get a jump on their shopping.
As busy as everyone gets this time of year with family, shopping and general holiday preparations, it’s important to schedule a few diversions; y’know, to get your mind off all the happy, merry, cheery, I’m going to go insane if I hear ‘Jingle Bells’ one more time, omnipresence of the season. To help you out on that front, here are 10 great craft beer events coming up between tomorrow, November 18th and Thursday, December 18th, just one week before Christmas.
The 9th Anniversary for Flyer’s Restaurant And Brewery is coming up and they’re ready to celebrate. Of course, they know it can be difficult for some to get all the way out to Oak Harbor to celebrate with them, so they’re bringing the party to you. Starting tomorrow, 11/18, at 6:00 PM, come out to Toronado Seattle to help Flyer’s celebrate their 9th Anniversary. Be sure to check http://ToronadoSeattle.com/Beers for the live tap list.
If you can’t make it tomorrow, or just didn’t get your fill of Toronado at the Flyer’s Anniversary Party, head back on Wednesday, the 19th for Take The Chalice Night with Rochefort. There are only 10 Trappist breweries in the entire World, and Rochefort Trappistes makes three delicious offerings. Come enjoy a “6” or Red Cap, an “8” or Green Cap or “10” or Blue Cap. Better yet, why not a flight of all three? Then take your Rochefort chalice home with you so you’re ready the next time you pick up a bottle.
If your glass cabinet is already overflowing (like mine), or Trappist beers just aren’t your thing, then skip Toronado and instead head up to Naked City Brewery & Taphouse for the Beer Church Holiday Ale Release Party. A portion of the proceeds from every pint sold at this event will benefit the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America – Northwest Chapter. Also taking place on Wednesday the 19th, five different local breweries created five beers for this event. Participating breweries include: Airways Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), Elysian Brewing Company, Georgetown Brewing Company, Naked City Brewery & Taphouse and Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), and all five beers will have these things in common:
- Brewed with Belma Hops – donated by Puterbaugh Farms
- Brewed with Two Row Base Malt – donated by Great Western Malting
- Shooting for beers around 6% ABV, designed to showcase the hops
You can get sample sizes of all five or enjoy them by the pint. Come enjoy some beers from some great local breweries, all while helping those with Crohn’s or Colitis.
It’s a good thing it’s cold out there. That will have you ready for the next event on our list, the Firestone Walker Ugly Sweater Party. Taking place at Brouwer’s Cafe this Thursday, November 20th starting at 6:00 PM, this 4th annual event is a great way to show off the ugliest holiday sweater in your closet, all while enjoying some excellent beers from Firestone Walker Brewing Company.
From Nathaniel Pellman with Brouwer’s Cafe:
There are games and lots and lots of prizes for those of you that show up dressed in your ugliest sweater. We usually host the Ugly Sweater off right around 8:30, or a little later. This year you will be able to cross stitch your own ugly sweater ornament, we will have someone helping those of you not familiar with cross stitch.
The Firestone Walker beers set to be on tap for this event include:
- 15th Anniversary
- Parabola 2013
- Mocha Merlin
- Velvet Merlin
- Union Jack
- Wookie Jack
- DBL Jack
Don’t have an ugly sweater? No problem. Wearing one is not mandatory, but you’ll still get to enjoy all the delicious beers on tap.
Pumpkin beers can be divisive. Some people really enjoy them, while other’s can’t stand them and think pumpkin has no business being in a beer. Elysian Brewing Company would strongly disagree with those in the second group. Elysian makes a number of different pumpkin beers each year, most for their annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival,which was held this year on the weekend of October 3rd. If you didn’t get enough pumpkin beers then, or if you missed this year’s festival, here’s your chance to fill up on them again. Taking place next Wednesday, November 26th, the Elysian Brewing Pumpkin Roadshow comes to Brouwer’s Cafe.
Here are the pumpkin inspired beers you’ll find on tap for this event:
- Great Pumpkin
- Night Owl
- Dark O the Moon
- Mr. Yuck
- BBL Dark O the Moon
- Almanac Brewing Company – Dark Pumpkin Sour
- Reuben’s Brews – Pumpkin
- Port Brewing / The Lost Abbey – Avant Gourde Pumpkin Brett Beer
- Gigantic Brewing Company – Commons Pumpkin Dinner Not Desert
- New Belgium Brewing Company – Pumpkick
- Midnight Sun Brewing Company – Treat
- Schooner Exact Brewing Company – Whiskey Dick Cantwell (Hey Matt Where’s My F~~king Pumpkin Beer!?)
- Southern Tier Brewing Company – Pumking
This season can be stressful. We could all use something to lighten the mood. Well, The Pine Box has you covered. Also happening on Wednesday, November 26th is An Orphan Thanksgiving: Stand Up Comedy at The Pine Box.
This evening of comedy will feature local comedian: Mona Conception and special guests: Billy Anderson, Douglas Gale and Luke Severeid, with Derek Sheen as the headliner. The event will be hosted by Meredith Flanders. Doors open at 7:00 PM and the show gets under way at 8:00 PM. Admission is free, so come on down, have some great craft beers and get your laugh on.
Next up are two beer releases I already told you about a couple of weeks ago. However, the release date for one of those beers has moved up. The day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 28th, Fremont Brewing Company will release their popular Bourbon Abominable Ale (affectionately referred to as ‘B-Bomb’). This beer was originally set to be released on Monday, December 1st. I checked with Fremont Brewing yesterday and they told me that B-Bomb should be available both on tap and in 22 oz bottles when they open their doors at 11:00 AM on 11/28.
5:00 PM – Fremont Brewing will tap 5 different B-Bomb infusions.
7:00 PM – Fremont’s head brewer will discuss the history of B-Bomb, key ingredients, stats, the aging and blending process and how the beer will change over time.
“Rumor has it that the B-Bomb Yeti will be making an appearance and available for holiday photos during the party from 5-9pm!”
From Fremont Brewing Company:
Our 2014 Bourbon Abominable Release will be on Friday, November 28th! B-Bomb will be on tap and available for purchase in 22oz bottles beginning at 11am (no bottle limit). At 5pm we’ll tap five awesome B-Bomb infusions, and at 7pm one of our brewers will be discussing the history of B-Bomb, key ingredients and statistics, the barrel aging and blending process, and how the beer changes with age. We hope to see you there!
Also, just a reminder that the popular Old Wooly Barleywine from Big Time Brewery & Alehouse will be released on tap in in 22 oz bottles at Big Time Brewery on Monday, December 1st when they open at 11:30 AM.
Later that same week, kicking off on Thursday, December 4th, is one of my favorite festivals of the year. I may be a serious hophead, but I also love a good barrel-aged beer. If you’re the same way, then you won’t want to miss the 8th Annual Big Wood Festival at Brouwer’s Cafe. Every beer at this festival has been aged on wood – either in barrels or on wood chips.
From Brouwer’s Cafe:
Our annual celebration of all things that have spent time in a barrel or with chips from Stout to Sour. This is one of , if not our favorite festival of the year. We work all year collecting some of our favorite beers around the world and put them on draft for your imbibing pleasure.
The breweries that have been confirmed for this amazing event so far include:
- Avery Bainbridge Island
- Ballast Point
- Bear Republic
- Black Raven
- Crux Fermentation
- De Struise
- Engine House #9
- Full Sail
- Great Divide
- Holy Mountain
- Jolly Pumpkin
- Goose Island
- Lost Abbey
- Midnight Sun
- New Belgium
- Schooner Exact
- Seven Seas
Things get under way when Brouwer’s opens their doors at 11:00 AM. If you plan on coming to the kickoff of the Big Wood Festival on the 4th, expect a line. I’ll see you there, bright and early.
Last but most definitely not least on our list is an event the Pine Box started a few years back: The 12 Randalls Of Christmas. This popular annual event pairs up 12 different holiday beers with 12 different randalls, making for some pretty unique experiences.
I didn’t make it to last year’s event, but here is a list of the beers/randalls they had in 2012:
- Big Time Breakfast Cereal Killer w/Candy Canes
- Elysian Bi-frost W/ Nutmeg & Coriander
- Fremont Abominable w/Ginger, Cinnamon, & Cloves
- Lagunitas Brown Shugga w/Vanilla Beans
- Maritime Jolly Roger w/Rum Raisin Coconut
- Ninkasi Sleigher w/Bourbon Cherries & Chocolate
- Schooner Hoppy Holidays w/Fruit Cake Goodies
- Sierra Celebration w/Becherovka Soaked Apples
- Sound Brewing Tripel w/Gran Marnier Soaked Cranberries
- St. Bernardus Christmas, W/Anise
- Rodenbach Grand Cru w/Rums Soaked Currants
- Tieton Wild Washington Apple Served Hot w/Mulling Spices
The list won’t be the same this year, of course, but these are the types of beers/randalls you can expect to find at The Pine Box. This event takes place on Thursday, December 18th, starting at 5:00 PM.
With so many great events coming up, you might have to pick and choose. I certainly won’t make every event on this list but I will at least see you for B-Bomb at Fremont, Old Wooly at Big Time, Big Wood at Brouwer’s and probably the 12 Randalls Of Christmas at The Pine Box. I might also make it to the Firestone Walker Ugly Sweater Party, even though I don’t have an ugly sweater, just so I can have a few of those delicious Firestone Walker beers on tap. Whichever event(s) you choose to attend, try to stay warm and don’t let the holidays get you down.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.