There’s never a shortage of craft beer festivals here in great Northwest. The Washington Beer Commission hosts several different craft beer festivals throughout the year in various locations around the Sound and one of my favorites, Belgianfest, is right around the corner. I love a good Belgian beer, but often don’t seem to get enough of them. Dubbles, Triples, Abbey Style, Saisons, Lambics, etc., I love them all and Belgianfest is a great way to sample a wide variety of locally-brewed Belgian style beers all in one place.
Set for next Saturday, January 31st at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center (Pier 66), Belgianfest will be held in two sessions: noon – 4 PM and 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM. Tickets will run you $35 in advance or $40 at the door – separate tickets are required for each session. I don’t suggest taking your chances with buying your tickets at the door, however, since Belgianfest usually sells out before the doors open. Tickets have been on sale since mid November, but the festival isn’t sold out quite yet. Don’t delay.
Yesterday, the big news broke about Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Elysian Brewing. Reactions ranged all over. Some people congratulated Elysian. Many people got angry. Others just didn’t know what to make of it.
I myself decided to have a little ‘fun’ with Elysian by posting their original label design for “Loser IPA”, which carries the words: “Corporate Beer Still Sucks” (see below). I couldn’t help but find it a bit ironic, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons, and I guess I wasn’t alone in that. I posted it in jest on both Facebook and Twitter, and was frankly surprised at the reach it had/how many people responded to the image. It was even picked up by and used in a brief article that appeared on Eater Seattle.
So, today, I’d like to clarify a few things regarding my thoughts on this merger:
Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca, David Buhler and everyone else at Elysian have worked very hard over the years to make Elysian Brewing a successful, nationally (and even internationally) recognized brewery that puts out some damn fine beers. They have done an amazing job of building their brand and nobody can say they haven’t earned the reputation they have in today’s craft beer World.
Seattle is home to some pretty great craft beer bottle shops. Whether you’re in the heart of the city, in the North end, on the East side or down South, you can still find a craft bottle shop without having to search too far and most of them, though not quite all, have taps as well. Let me tell you, nothing compares to shopping for craft beer while sipping on a craft beer.
One of my favorite craft bottle shops, and the one I probably hit up most often, is The Beer Junction in West Seattle. With over 45 taps (and even more coming soon) and well over 1,300+ bottles from over 50 countries, you’d be hard-pressed to not find something you’ll love either on tap or in the bottle.
Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) has several eagerly anticipated releases each year. Their most recent release, Raven de Garde, was delicious. I enjoyed one on tap at The Raven’s Nest (the Black Raven tap room) and took a few bottles home with me to age for a bit.
Now it’s time for another release. This release was originally set for earlier in January but Black Raven got a bit busy with Raven de Garde and with brewing up their Birdserker Triple IPA for the upcoming Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow (and the follow up Session IPA, Son of Birdserker). So now, Coco Jones Coconut Porter will arrive on Wednesday, January 28th.
Are you a fan of cask beers? Do you know what makes a beer a cask beer? Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is beer that is usually unfiltered and unpasteurized and is conditioned in (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask with no additional CO2 or nitrogen pressure added. This means that cask beers have a different character than beers you’ll find on tap; including the fact that they may be both served at warmer temperatures as well as being generally less carbonated.
Not everyone I know is a fan of cask beers. The low (in some cases nearly flat) level of carbonation can be a turn off for some, but I think it allows you to explore other flavors and aromas you wouldn’t necessarily find in the very same beer if it was being served from a traditional keg rather than on cask. If you’re curious about cask beers and want to try more, the 2015 Cask Fest, hosted by the Washington Brewer’s Guild, is a great way to explore the world of cask beers.
If you’re a craft beer drinker in the Seattle area, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been to Elysian Brewing Company. They have three brewpub locations around the city: Capitol Hill, Tangletown and Elysian Fields down by the stadiums, as well as their new Elysian Bar down on 2nd Avenue downtown. If you ever make it to Georgetown, then you’ve also likely seen their big production brewing facility down on Airport way, where they have held their Great Pumpkin Beer Festival for the past few years.
Founded in 1995 by Head Brewer and Founder, Dick Cantwell, CEO and Founder, Joe Bisacca and Founder, David Buhler, Elysian Brewing has grown to become one of Seattle’s largest and most respected craft breweries. They brew several iconic beers that are well known around the Puget Sound and indeed across the country. Now, Elysian prepares the latest release in their ‘Dick’s Picks’ Series: Knock On Nelson Wood Aged IPA.
Earlier this month, I told you about the expansion plans currently under way at Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) and Seattle Cider Company. This latest expansion will make The Woods (the shared taproom for Two Beers and Seattle Cider), a much larger space for their beer and cider fans to enjoy. The expansion however, as I noted before, is about much more than just providing a larger tap room.
Seattle Cider Company has grown so quickly since launching in 2012 that they must expand in order to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for their ciders. To that end, the current expansion will boost Seattle Cider’s production capacity up to 44,000 barrels a year. That’s a more than three-fold increase from their previous annual production capacity. The expansion will also allow Seattle Cider to widen their reach, as they move into at least 6 new states in 2015. First up are Wisconsin and Minnesota this Spring.
Do you have beer hunting skills? Are you a devoted beer hunter? Have you ever searched website after website, made call after call, gone shop to shop searching every dusty back shelf or perhaps even talked in hushed whispers in a dark bar room with someone ‘in the know’ in order to find that one particular wiley and elusive beer you just had to get your hands on? Then maybe, just maybe you have what it takes to join a select group of people and a very special club at Fremont Brewing Company.
If you enjoy seeking out the best beers you can find as well as attending special tastings of rare and, in some cases, never before seen beers, then read on. This might be the event for you.
Toronado Seattle first opened their doors just this past August. They’re the sister bar to the original Toronado in San Francisco (est. 1987) and their second location in San Diego, which opened back in May if 2008. Toronado has a reputation as a craft beer bar with a great tap list and Toronado Seattle doesn’t disappoint. With 40 rotating craft taps, an extensive bottle list and an eclectic menu featuring local, sustainable ingredients and a chef practiced in the art of charcuterie, it’s a great new place to have some excellent craft beers and some delicious food.
Over the past few months, Toronado has hosted several brewery tap takeover nights and ‘take the pint’ nights (where you get to take the glass home with you), but they have yet to host a full on ‘festival’. Well, that’s about to change. Starting on Thursday, January 29th and running through Monday, February 2nd, Toronado Seattle will be hosting the first (annual?) Rise Of The Centaur Cellar Fest. Set to feature 30+ barrel-aged beers, sour beers and other rare beers, it’s a great excuse to head to Toronado, especially if you haven’t check them out yet.
There are plenty of solid craft breweries out there today that are doing it right and creating some truly delicious craft beers for all of us to enjoy. Of course some are doing it a little better than others, releasing beer after beer that gets people talking and, of course, drinking. One of those breweries is Black Raven Brewing Company in Redmond, WA (CBM Sponsor).
Each year, Black Raven has several releases that get people talking and even lining up, eager to get their hands on a few precious bottles or perhaps a growler fill (for those beers where growler fills are available). Just a few that come to mind include: Bourbon Barrel La Petite Mort, Grandfather Raven Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Gunpowder Plot Nitro Porter, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale and Wisdom Seeker, Black Raven’s wildly popular Double IPA, just to name a few.