New breweries are popping up in Seattle with such frequency, that I still haven’t been able to visit all of them yet. One of the newer kids on the block I still need to get to is Optimism Brewing Company on Capitol Hill. Founded by the husband and wife team of Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore, Optimism wants to battle the pretension and snobbish ‘beer geek’ trends that have crept their way into some parts of the craft beer World and, as such, they don’t like to categorize their beers in to styles.
As Optimism puts it: “We do not use style names to describe our beers. Part of this is because we don’t brew beers to fit a style, we brew them to taste the way we want them to taste. Moreover, we believe that beer is “the every(wo)man’s drink”, not something that should be intimidating, pretentious or expensive. For this reason, we try to make beer approachable to everyone by describing our beers in ways that everyone can understand without beer-geek jargon. Most beer-drinkers do not even know that beer styles even exist, let alone have all 120+ memorized. We believe using flavor descriptors and a photo is the best way to encourage people to try beers that they otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Wine can be pretentious and filled with esoteric jargon to maintain an elitist status. Beer doesn’t need that.”
While I am a trained beer judge (BJCP), and have learned to judge beers according to how well they conform to the expected criteria of a particular style, I have also come to realize that there are some limitations to judging beers in this manner. Sometimes, I don’t really care if a beer I’m drinking fits perfectly in to a particular style category, as long as drinking it is an enjoyable and satisfying experience. There are certain intangible qualities to a great beer that can’t always be specifically categorized, so I can certainly understand where Optimism is coming from in that regard.
In case you weren’t aware, June is Gay Pride Month and in honor of that, Optimism is preparing to launch their latest beer: Pride. A light and fruity Saison, Pride was brewed to help support Gay City, a neighborhood non-profit organization that supports the local LBGTQ community.
Gay City will receive $1 from each pint of Pride sold, and that donation will go towards Gay City’s mission to promote holistic wellness among the many facets of Seattle’s LGBTQ community, which includes free and anonymous HIV testing, supporting queer arts and artists and connecting people to the services they need. Pride will be available starting this Saturday, June 11th at Optimism Brewing, located at Broadway and E Union on Capitol Hill.
Pride T-Shirts with the Optimism Brewing logo will also go on sale starting on June 15th, with part of the proceeds going to Gay City.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.