Winter officially starts tomorrow, December 22nd and, like many of you, my palate has already become accustomed to drinking darker, stronger, heavier beers as the temperatures outside drop below my usual comfort level. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’ve been enjoying all the wonderful Bourbon Barrel Aged beers that have been arriving recently from several local breweries. Fremont Brewing Company’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Abominable Ale or B-Bomb, for example, or their Bourbon Barrel Aged Darkstar. I think the Coffee Cinnamon variant of B-Bomb is my favorite.
Even with all these wonderful Barrel Aged beers available, however, a hophead like me still wants the occasional IPA to lighten things up a bit. As much as I do enjoy a good, thick, dark Stout or Porter (especially the Bourbon Barrel Aged variety), I need a break from them every now and then. That’s where Fremont’s next release comes in. Returning next Tuesday, December 29th is Fremont Brewing’s 77 Select Session IPA.
The hits just keep coming from Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor). Last month they gave us Corvus Frambicus (a delicious raspberry sour that was only available on tap), and Grandfather Raven Imperial Stout, which I picked up a couple of bottles of for my cellar.
Also, just this past Tuesday the 15th, they brought back one of their more unusual releases, which is one of my favorites from Black Raven: Kitty Kat Blues – a Pale Ale brewed with dried blueberries, vanilla beans and organic mountain grown catnip. Yes; catnip. I wasn’t able to make it out to Black Raven for this year’s release of Kitty Kat Blues, so I’m hoping they’ll still have some available tomorrow.
Reuben’s Brews has been through some big changes in the past year. They opened their new taproom at 5010 14th Ave NW, just two blocks from their previous taproom, which they retained as an ‘experimental’ brewery and barrel warehouse. They also brought on Dean Mochizuki (formerly of Pike Brewing Company) as their Head Experimental Brewer. In addition, for those who may not have heard, Reuben’s Brews was recently selected to brew the official beer for Seattle Beer Week 2016 (the style has not yet been announced).
Now, along with all the other wonderful Fall and Winter beer releases that have been happening lately, Reuben’s is ready to release their 2015 Vintage Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (BBIS). In addition, they’ll be having a very special limited single-barrel release of this same beer known as ‘Barrel 7’.
Craft beer has been growing in popularity for years. Bit by bit, many beer drinkers across the nation and the World are slowly abandoning bland, tasteless, corporate-controlled, mass-produced lagers like Bud and Miller and are welcoming all the varying styles of craft beer to their palates instead. It’s helped the number of craft breweries in the U.S. reach an all time high (as of December 2015, there are 4144 breweries in the U.S. according to the Brewer’s Association), while sales of mass-produced lagers continue to decline.
While this is a great thing, to be sure, it seems that a number of the newer craft beer ‘converts’ out there don’t stray too far away from IPAs, Pale Ales and a few other styles like Red/Amber Ale, and a few Stouts or Porters. If you fall into this category, it may be time for you to expand your horizons even further and start looking at the wonderful and varied Belgian styles of beer available from local breweries.
Sorry for starting this post a bit off topic, but I’d like to apologize to my readers for the extended period of no new articles. I was on vacation around Thanksgiving, but then I wound up getting sick after that and I’m still struggling to return to the land of the living. Unfortunately, that means I missed a couple of really great events, including the Winter Beer Festival last weekend at Magnuson Park and Hale-Finkel-Kemper at Beveridge Place Pub on the 82nd Anniversary of the repeal of prohibition. Heck, I was so under the weather, I wasn’t even able to celebrate repeal day with a beer.
Thankfully, there are always more great craft beer events around the Sound and another one is coming up this Thursday, December 10th. On that date, Beveridge Place Pub will celebrate their 12th Anniversary. This might be confusing to some, since Beveridge Place celebrated their 11th Anniversary way back in 2012, but there is an explanation. Beveridge Place took over the old Full Moon Saloon in 2001, but didn’t take the name Beveridge Place Pub until 2003.