Fall is upon us and Winter is fast approaching. As the holiday season returns, so do all those wonderful holiday beers. Dark, roasty, malty, spicy and many with an ABV that will help warm you up a bit on those cold nights, winter/holiday beers are a welcome return each year for many craft beer fans. Also, don’t forget that the 2015 Winter Beer Festival is coming up fast so get your tickets now.
Today, Wednesday, October 28th, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is bringing back a local holiday favorite: Festival Holiday Ale. Brewed with cranberries, citrus peels and a secret blend of holiday spices, Festivus is a holiday beer… for the rest of us.
I’m a fan of just about every different style of craft beer available today, and there are indeed a wide variety of styles to choose from. There’s no denying, however, that the IPA is the current King of all craft bee styles. In fact IPA sales accounted for a full quarter of all craft bee sales in 2014* and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.
Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) founder, Joel VandenBrink, is an IPA fan as well and is also an avid hiker. So it makes perfect sense that this new addition to their award winning, year-round lineup is named after a famous local hiking trail. “Inspired by the Wonderland Trail, an exhilarating 93-mile trek around Mount Rainier, this hop-forward beer was developed to honor the treasures of the Pacific Northwest – hikes, hops and all.” Joel hiked this very trail himself, solo, just last year.
Last year, I told you about a new idea Lagunitas Brewing Company had for bringing new meaning to the word ‘Fresh’. They had released a new Fresh Hop Pale Ale named Born Yesterday. Just as the name implied, Lagunitas wanted to brew a Fresh Hop Ale, and then have it delivered to their main markets by the very next day.
The delivery to most markets was a success. Unfortunately, the deliveries to Washington got delayed and took a day or two longer. Hopefully, that won’t be the case again. This year’s batch of Born Yesterday was brewed and bottled yesterday, 10/26/2015, and should begin arriving today in select markets across the nation (including Seattle).
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has been releasing an Anniversary Ale each year, starting with their 10th Anniversary Ale a decade ago. I’ve tried most of them, though I never did manage to get my hands on a X, XI or XII. I have, however, been fortunate to taste every vintage since XIII (released in late 2009). They’ve all been different, and I’ve enjoyed every single one. Each year’s offering is a rich and complex ale, thanks to skilled barrel aging and blending. This year’s version is a blend of four different barrel aged Firestone Walker beers, each one a distinctive and enticing ale in its own right.
Over the past few years of Anniversary releases, Firestone’s head brewer, Matt Brynildson, felt that hoppier beers (such as Double Jack and Wookey Jack) were starting to make the Anniversary blend a bit too hop-centric. He wanted to reverse that trend this year, so XIX doesn’t have much of a hoppy component, by design.
Ahh 2009. Back in those days, Craft Beer Monger wasn’t even a glint in my eye. I was still involved with blogging about console gaming; specifically Xbox and Xbox 360. I still enjoy gaming, but my passion for craft beer took over and I started my first craft beer blog (beermonger.blogspot.com) back in February of 2011.
Lots of other things were happening in Seattle back in 2009 as well: Obama was inaugurated as President, Michael Jackson passed away, etc. One big local event in particular, however, was the opening of Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. I’ve become a big fan of many of Naked City’s beers since they first opened. Head brewer Don Webb (and Assistant Brewer Isaac Hatter) definitely love their work and that love comes through in the quality of the beers they produce.
Pike Brewing Company is a Seattle icon. They’re popular with locals and tourists alike and The Pike is always a great place to go for a few cold beers paired with some delicious food. They’ve been at it for nearly 26 years now, and it’s time once again to celebrate.
Whether they know it or not, Seattle craft beer lovers owe a lot to Pike founders Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, who helped pioneer the Seattle craft beer movement of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Learn more about their story by reading up on Pike’s history (see below).
I’m usually a fan of Fall but, I must admit, I’m missing those warmer Summer temperatures we were fortunate to enjoy this year. The one consolation I’ve had is the return of so many wonderful Fall and Winter beers. Bourbon barrel stouts, pumpkin ales of every variety, rich, smooth Porters and more; my palate is welcoming them all back with open taste buds.
Now, McMenamin’s is ready to get in on the act. Arriving tomorrow, October 15th, is their Black Widow Porter.
With Washington Cider Week behind us, Washington State cider fans don’t have too many more events to look forward to until 2016. However, there is one more cider celebrating coming up that wouldn’t be too difficult for someone from Washington to attend. I’m speaking, of course, about BC Cider Week, which is set to kick off next Saturday, October 17th – presented by the Northwest Cider Association.
This is the inaugural year for BC Cider Week; an eight day craft cider celebration with cider tastings, tap takeovers and festivities taking place throughout British Columbia, Canada.
Counterbalance Brewing Company hasn’t been around for too long. They first opened their doors just this past February in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood and have been growing in popularity ever since. I need to visit a bit more often but, so far, I’m a big fan of their Bad Wolf Dark Ale in particular and their Kushetka Russian Imperial Stout.
I recently featured Counterbalance Brewing (along with several of their neighbors) in a piece about visiting Seattle’s South End breweries. Now, with October upon us, you have even more reasons to come visit Counterbalance. They have several events lined up throughout the month, starting with today’s release of their Tabletop Supernova Imperial IPA. Also, coming up soon is their Mariners/Sounders Doubleheader, which I told you about back in August.