How many different craft beer styles can you name? Can you rattle off a long list or is your style vocabulary limited to just IPA, Stout and perhaps a few others? I hope you can name a few more than that, but if you can’t don’t worry. You can always keep learning.
One style most casual beer drinkers aren’t familiar with is Altbier. When most people think of German beers, they think of lagers; and that’s true. Most German beer styles we know today are Lagers. However, long before they were known for Lagers, Germans brewed Ales – as far back as 3,000 years ago. “Not many specific styles of beer can be traced thousands of years, however Altbier is one of them. The name Altbier was put to use back in the 1800’s when much of central Europe decided to switch to onslaught of light-coloured lagers, while the local beer drinkers in the Rhineland stayed loyal to beers brewed the old school way (ales). ” (*)
Our Spring came early this year in the Northwest. Spring officially started back on March 20th, but I feel like it’s been here a lot longer. Along with Spring’s return has come a plethora of Spring Seasonal beers, including all those delicious Barlwywines recently enjoyed at Beveridge Place Pub and Brouwer’s Cafe for their annual Barleywine Bacchanal and Hard Liver Festival respectively.
Now, Pike Brewing Company is set to bring back their Spring Seasonal: Saison Houblon. This hoppy Saison is more like a Saison/IPA hybrid and the perfect Spring treat for anyone who enjoys both the Saison style as well as the big, bold aroma and flavor of floral, hop-forward beers.
Earlier this month, I told you aboutReuben’s Brews teaming up with Zeeks Pizza for a special Pale Ale that will be available only at Zeeks Pizza locations around the Sound. In that post I also told you about Reuben’s current expansion plans, and how they’re converting their current/old brewing space to a new experimental brewery.
Now, Reuben’s is pleased to announce that Dean Mochizuki, who has been with Pike Brewing Company for over 12 years and their head brewer since 2011, is leaving Pike and joining Reuben’s Brews as their new head experimental brewer. This is a great move for Dean who, I’m sure, will have a great time experimenting and coming up with delicious new brews for Reuben’s.
Last April, I told you about a preview event at Safeco Field where I, along with several other members of the local media, were invited to sample some of the food and drink set to be offered for the 2014 Seattle Mariners baseball season. It was quite a spread, with delicious food including: Dungeness crab rolls, ‘Dirty’ Tots, Manny’s Beer Battered Fish And Chips, and several other delicious offerings. Plus, of course, one of the best beer selections offered at any major league baseball stadium.
I’ve been invited back again this year to check out some new offerings for this year’s menu, including: Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs, the Seattle Burger, Edgar’s Tacos and more. Plus the addition this year of Pike Brewing Company beers on tap and Peet’s Coffee.
The return of Spring in the Northwest brings with it a desire to enjoy more beers outside. This wonderfully warm and early Spring we’ve been having is beginning to turn my palate away from all those dark, silky, luscious Stouts and Porters and back towards the hoppy goodness of IPAs. I just want to sit out on a patio on a nice, sunny day and enjoy a pint.
Many of the IPAs I seem to enjoy the most are Double/Imperial IPAs, meaning they are both hoppier and higher in alcohol than most single IPAs. There’s something about that extra hop and alcohol punch that really agrees with my taste buds. Of course, there are other times where I still want the hops, but I want something lighter than I can enjoy more than just one or two of before having to stop. That’s where the ‘Session’ IPA (SIPA) comes in.
Often a Seasonal offering (though I did just recently tell you about Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack, which is now available year round), Session IPAs are more prevalent in the Spring and Summer months. Now, Bellevue Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is set to release their Session IPA.
Whenever I’m asked what my favorite beer is, I don’t really have a good answer. Sure, I’m a Hophead (and s Stouthead, and a Sourhead) but I really enjoy all styles of beer. So selecting just one favorite from the vast ocean of choices out there is a rather daunting, if not impossible task. My ‘favorite’ beer is the freshly poured one in front of me, which I’m enjoying at this very moment. Beyond that, I really don’t think declaring a favorite matters much.
That doesn’t mean I don’t prefer certain styles over others. In general, I’m much more of an Ale drinker than a Lager drinker. That can probably be said for most craft beer fans too, since the vast majority of craft beers out there are Ales (though there are some very fine craft Lagers out there too). I’m starting to wonder if that attitude isn’t becoming more prevalent across the nation as well, as evidence by Budweiser’s falling sales and craft beer, for the first time ever, reaching double digits in market share.
The ‘Session’ IPA has become a popular style for hopheads who sometimes want a lower alcohol brew, so that we can enjoy more of them in an afternoon without getting too sloshed or being ready for a nap. I have a few local favorites (including Trailhead ISA from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) and Son Of Birdserker from Black Raven Brewing (CBM Sponsor)), however both of these beers are Seasonal and not available year round.
The same was true of Firestone Walker’s Easy Jack Session IPA when it first arrived last Summer. Due to its popularity, Firestone actually ran out of the hops needed to make this tasty brew. To ensure that won’t happen again, Firestone’s own Matt Brynildson traveled to Germany last year to secure the necessary supplies of the hops he’d need. As a result, Firestone Walker Brewing Company is now set to offer Easy Jack Session IPA year round.
We don’t need to wait for the 20th, and who knows what that silly groundhog was thinking. Spring has definitely arrived early this year in the Northwest and we’re loving all that sunshine and unseasonable warmth. Seattle Cider Company has noticed too, and are very excited to announce their new Spring Seasonal release: Basil Mint Cider.
Made with an amazing 118 pounds of fresh basil and mint in each batch, Seattle Cider Co’s Basil Mint cider replaces their popular Gin Botanical, which was previously their Spring Seasonal but, due to it’s popularity, is now available year round.
Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is at it again. Since the start of 2015 they’ve already brought us Raven de Garde, Coco Jones Coconut Porter and La Mort Rouge (which arrived just yesterday). Not to mention La Petite Mort’s appearance at Belgianfest in January. Now, arriving tomorrow, March 14th, Black Raven brings us Feral – 2015 Vintage.
A Gold Medal winner at the 2012 North American Beer Awards (Experimental category), Feral is a Hybrid Saison, brewed with Washington wine yeast.
One of the smallest production breweries in Washington is gearing up for a big celebration. Foggy Noggin Brewing Company‘s founder and head brewer, Jim Jamison first received a homebrew kit from his wife way back in 1992 and was hooked. It may have taken a while but 15 years later (after Jim spent several years with Northwest Brew News), he discussed the idea of opening a brewery with his family and finally, in March of 2010, Foggy Noggin Brewing was born.
Brewing on a small 1/2 barrel system, Jim has his hands full keeping up with demand. He’ll often post about double and even triple brew days, working hard to ensure there’s enough Fn beer to go around. Now, 5 years after first opening their doors to the public, it’s time to for Foggy Noggin to celebrate their 5th Anniversary. There will be an anniversary cake, 10 taps flowing and a special Anniversary Ale.