The West coast is a wonderful place to be a craft beer fan. Within Washington, Oregon and California you’ll find what I believe are some of the very best breweries in the entire World. I don’t really have a single favorite brewery, but if I were forced to choose I’m betting my selection would be from one of these three states. Don’t get me wrong; there are excellent craft breweries all across the U.S. that do an amazing job and put out some incredible and highly sought after beers that I thoroughly enjoy, but the West coast is somehow special to me. In part, of course, because I live here, but I love the passion and dedication evident in nearly every brewery I’ve visited out here in the West.
As I said, I don’t have a single favorite brewery but one that’s always near the top of my list is Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles California. The quality and consistency of their beers is absolutely top notch and they’re on my list of breweries that don’t put out a single beer I don’t like. Each year, Firestone Walker has several special releases, including Parabola Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout and their annual and extremely popular Anniversary release which arrived just this past November. Next up for Firestone Walker is their annual release of §ucaba Barleywine.
2015 is here and, along with it, comes yet another expansion for Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor). Since their modest beginnings back in 2007, brewing just 100 barrels a year, Two Beers Brewing Company has continued to grow to meet the ever-increasing demand for their brews. Also, since launching their incredibly popular sister company, Seattle Cider Company, in August 2013, the need for more space has become clear to anyone visiting The Woods (the shared taproom for Two Beers Brewing Company and Seattle Cider Company). Things can get pretty crowded these days, even on weeknights. In order to fulfill the demand for more space, The Woods will be moving. Don’t worry though. They’re only moving about 50 feet. Two Beers/Seattle Cider recently took over the space immediately to the North of their current location (the space formerly occupied by Resolute lighting).
A larger tap room isn’t the only reason for the expansion. Two Beers Company and especially Seattle Cider Company have been growing so quickly, this expansion is an absolute must. When Seattle Cider Company first launched less than 2 years ago, they planed things out carefully and set a sales goal of how much cider they wanted to be selling within 5 years. To their astonishment, they reached that 5 year goal in just 6 months, which is pretty incredible.
If you’re a fan of IPAs, like me, then you know that some of them can definitely pack a solid punch due to their higher than average alcohol content. I don’t usually mind that, but what happens if you want to enjoy more than two or three at a sitting? Enter the ‘Session’ IPA. Session beers, by definition, are designed to be lower in alcohol. This allows you to enjoy a few more of them before you have to take a break.
There are several different Session IPAs (SIPAs) on the market today. Some hit the mark and give you that hoppy punch you expect from an IPA. Others fall a bit short in my opinion. One that hits the mark for me is Son of Birdserker from Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor). One thing that might help, at least for me, is that Son Of Birdserker has some Rye in the mash and I’ve found that I really enjoy beers with a bit of Rye in the malt bill. Set for release today, January 6th, Son Of Birdserker is generously hopped and uses a variety of hops, including: Bravo, Nugget, Calypso and Comet.