The end of Summer and the return of Fall is a double-edged sword in the Pacific Northwest. The downside is that we start to lose our Summer sun and Summer temperatures. The upside, however, is that Fall brings along with it all those wonderful, aromatic, tasty Fresh Hop Ales.
Hellbent Brewing Company is celebrating this Fresh Hop season in a big way. They’re throwing a big party on Saturday, September 30th, featuring the release of their own Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA.
Last night my wife and I were fortunate to attend a special beer-pairing dinner at Urbane, located in the Hyatt hotel at Olive 8 in downtown Seattle. It was a preview of a few of the new dishes Urbane will be adding to their Fall menu, all expertly paired with beers from Seattle’s own multi-award-winning (over 30 awards received so far in 2017 alone) Reuben’s Brews, one of the fastest growing breweries in Washington State with production set to increase by more than 50% this year over 2016.
The dinner was hosted by Urbane’s Executive Chef, Brian Pusztai and Reuben’s Brews was represented by brewery rep, Conrad Hermosillo. Brian, Conrad and a few other members of the Urbane chef’s team greeted us upon our arrival and we prepared ourselves for a 3-course tasting menu by getting to know each other a bit while snacking on a very tasty cheese and charcuterie board.
Some of the first Fall Seasonals I started seeing this year were appearing as early as mid August. I suppose planning ahead isn’t a bad thing but, here in the Northwest where the Summers are notoriously short, we don’t need those early reminders that our sunny Summer days are numbered. Don’t get me wrong. I love many different Fall styles and welcome their return, I guess I’m just a little sad to see Summer come to a close this year.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when Fall arrives though, it’s that along with it comes all the different Fall seasonal craft beers (even if some of them start appearing a bit early), including pumpkin and squash style beers. I haven’t found myself as excited for the plethora of pumpkin and squash ales that always make their way to craft bottle store shelves this time of year, but there are always a few new, interesting ones that catch my attention. One such beer is Wine Barrel-Aged sQUASH Ale from Lowercase Brewing Company.
People are sometimes confused by the location of Counterbalance Brewing Company. Based on the name most locals assume, understandably, that they would be in or near the Queen Anne neighborhood. They are not. Counterbalance is, in the West end of Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. They went with the Counterbalance name because that’s where founders Frank Lawrence and Jeff Howell grew up.
Now that you know where they are, why not come for a visit this weekend and help them welcome the return of Fall? Coming up this Sunday the 24th, Counterbalance Brewing will host a release party for their Oktoberfestbier and Fresh Hop Ale. Come join them for these two new releases while watching the Seattle Seahawks beat the Tennessee Titans.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has two different series’ of IPAs going right now. First is the Luponic Distortion Series, which is currently in its 7th iteration (featuring Australian hops), and then, of course, they have the Leo v. Ursus Series. Both series take an experimental approach, and they allow Firestone Walker to be constantly coming out with something new and unique – which is the industry trend these days. Innovate or be left behind.
Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007 arrived just last month and now, Firestone Walker is ready to bring us the next iteration in the Leo v. Ursus Series: Inferos. An unfiltered Rye IPA that’s absolutely jam packed with over 4.7 pounds of Galaxy (and other) hops per barrel, Inferos sounds like a rye loving hop head’s dream. I’ve always been a big fan of beers with rye in the malt bill and Inferos has an almost unheard of 25% rye in the malt bill. With all that rye and all those hops, this sounds like a beer I’ll really enjoy.
Are you a fan of sour ales and sour ciders? Not everyone is. I wasn’t always a fan of sours. Ten years ago, the very idea seemed odd to me. Why would I want a sour beer, I thought to myself? Then again, most people don’t consider bitter a flavor they seek out, yet IPA is the most popular style of craft beer around (even before they style became flooded with murky, ‘juicy’ IPAs that taste more like citrus juice).
As with many things, the enjoyment of sour ales can be an acquired taste. Elliott Bay Brewing‘s Brother Barrel location understand this and would like to give you the opportunity to taste a few of their own sours, along with sour ales and ciders from other local local producers. They’ll all be coming together at Brother Barrel one week from today for their first ever special event: Pucker Up: Washington.
Fresh Hop Season is upon us. The first few Fresh Hop beers have already arrived and we’ll be seeing many more Fresh Hop releases in the coming weeks. With so many Fresh Hop beers to try, it would be nice to have a single place where you can try a bunch of them at once. Thankfully, the Seattle Fresh Hops Festival returns next month.
Packed to the brim with Fresh Hop beers from all across Washington, the 2017 Seattle Fresh Hop Festival is a dream come true for all you serious hop heads out there.
Brewed with over 400 pounds of Centennial Hops fresh off the bine at Goschie Farms (less than 2 hours from hop field to brew kettle!), Green Haze is about as fresh as you can get and should bring those grassy, Earthy notes you’d expect from a well made Centennial Fresh Hop Pale.
Football season has returned, much to the delight of NFL fans everywhere and especially Seahawks fans right here in Seattle. After sweeping the pre-season 4 – 0, the ‘Hawks are ready to take on the challenge of making their way towards Superbowl LII (that’s 52 for those of you who aren’t up on your Roman numerals), and they’re going to need the help of you 12’s.
Of course, to cheer the Seahawks on properly, you’re going to need some good game-day beer. Sure, Marshawn Lynch is with the Oakland Raiders now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a beer inspired by Lynch’s time with the ‘Hawks. That’s why Foggy Noggin Brewing Company is bringing back their popular football season brew: Cease & Desist IPA (Formerly 12th Man Skittles IPA – but I trust you see the legal issues he ran into there(?)).
Can you have too many craft beer festivals? It’s a quiet, behind-the-scenes type of debate here in the Northwest where breweries and craft beer festivals are plentiful. We have so many annual festivals that some attendees and some breweries can sometimes get festival fatigue. Those on the other side of the coin argue that there can’t be too much of a good thing and any reason one can find to create a new craft beer festival should be taken advantage of.
I can understand the viewpoint on both sides of this debate but I figure, as long as all these festivals can still find enough interested craft beer lovers to attend, then we’ll keep getting more. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Seattle Harvestfest, which will be coming to Utah Avenue South next Thursday, September 14th. Brought to you by Cask Creek Productions, this festival is a celebration of all the Fall/Harvest season styles we all enjoy.