Breakside Brewery out of Portland Oregon has a pretty diverse portfolio. I’ve had quite a few of their beers over the years; everything from their IPAs to their Stouts and Sours and, for the most part, they’ve been pretty solid.
More recently, Breakside has been working to expand their barrel-aged Sour program. Perhaps you’ve had their In the City of Flowers or their popular Qualia (one of my favorites of the series). Now, as 2018 draws to a close, Breakside is preparing to release Quiescence – a blend of 13 casks of wood-aged sour beer aged for 12 months in Archery Summit Pinot Noir barrels.
Seattle is a city that’s just bursting at the seams with craft breweries. No matter were you are in the city, you’re likely not more than a few stones throws away from a craft brewery. With so many breweries to choose from though, how do you decide who the standouts are? How do you know which breweries to recommend to people here for a visit or those asking about which Seattle breweries they need to keep an eye on?
Two factors that can help you decide are, of course, the quality of the beers the brewery is putting out, and the demand for those beers whenever there’s a new release. By those two measures, among others, Fremont Brewing Company has become one of Seattle’s best known breweries, even outside of Washington. Many of their beers, particularly their barrel-aged offerings, have caught the attention of craft beer lovers both near and far. They even have a super secret society of members who “solemnly swear to devote themselves to the pursuit of the finest beers that ever were” – the Heron Hunting Club. Fremont Brewing already distributes their beers to 6 states, including Washington, and now they’re ready to expand into Montana with the help of Hayden Beverage Company.
More often than not in the craft beer World, it seems like hops are the big stars. Much of this is due to the fact that IPA is still king when it comes to craft beer and, while I still enjoy drinking IPAs through the Fall and Winter, I really start to appreciate the complex malt character of less hop forward beers like Stouts, Porters and Scotch Ales to name a few. I also enjoy many beers that have been barrel aged in Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch or other barrels and, let’s face it, there aren’t that many barrel aged IPAs out there (though they do exist).
I’m also rather picky about my Scotch Ales. There are only a few locally made Scotch Ales that I really enjoy, and one of them is Second Sight from Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor). Now, Black Raven is preparing to release Second Sight’s more mature brother, Splinters Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch Ale.
Of all the breweries in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, I think I’d have to say my favorite is Reuben’s Brews. The quality and consistency of their beers are top notch and I honestly have yet to be disappointed with any of their releases. So when I heard they were getting ready to launch their first barrel-aged sours, I was intrigued and delighted.
Reuben’s has show themselves to be the masters of Rye beers, hazy and West Coast IPAs, Goses and more, so I have high hopes that their new sour Ales will be at the same high level of quality I’ve come to expect from Reuben’s. Over 17 months in the making, the first releases from their barrel-aged sour series will be “Brettania” and “Tropical Funk”.
Specializing in Belgian-style beers, including sour/wild beers and aged, blended/mixed cluture styles, Tin Dog has been honing their craft, and their work has paid off. I’d like to offer my congratulations to Tin Dog Brewing Company for taking home Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in this year’s wild sour beer category at the Washington Beer Awards and Brewer’s Choice Awards, taking home Gold, Silver and Bronze.
In the craft beer World, some breweries create more buzz than others. It usually has mostly to do with the quality of their beers. The greater the perceived quality of the offerings from said brewery, the greater the level of buzz and, of course FOMO.
One such brewery that often creates a buzz around their releases is Alesong Brewing & Blending out of Eugene, Oregon. Their creations, which are often Belgian inspired and/or barrel-aged, are quite popular – and quite tasty. I’m a particular fan of their Sour Ales and particularly enjoyed their Peche Sour, which was poured recently during Seattle Beer Week 10 at Brouwer’s Cafe for Sour Fest. Now, Alesong is preparing to release four new beers, in bottles and cans, on May 27th.
Wild and Sour Ales have really grown in popularity in the last few years. For the uninitiated they can seem intimidating to approach at first but, once you get past that initial uncertainly and try a few different Wild and Sour styles, most people find something they really enjoy.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Barrelworks is no stranger to Wild and Sour Ales. They’ve put out several extremely popular selections like Agrestic (American Wild Red Ale), Krieky Bones (Wild Ale Fermented With Sour Cherries), SLOambic (Wild Ale Fermented With Blackberries) and more. Now Barrelworks is ready to release the latest in their Wild Ales Series: UnderCurrants (Wild Ale Fermented With Black Currants).
Ten years ago. That’s when it all began. That’s when Seattle area craft beer lovers got to experience the first ever Seattle Beer Week and the first ever official Seattle Beer Week beer (a double IPA from Pike Brewing Company). Back then, many of our favorite local craft breweries and craft beer bars didn’t even exist yet. Whereas today, it seems, we have a craft brewery or craft beer bar around almost every corner.
More craft breweries and more craft beer bars means even more Seattle Beer Week events. Are you ready? Surviving the week (actually 11 days) will take careful planning. I’m here to give you some suggestions on which events you might want to check out. So sit back, if you’ve managed to pick up any yet, grab yourself a can of this year’s official Seattle Beer Week beer – Citrus Galaxy IPA from Georgetown Brewing Company – and take a look a Craft Beer Monger’s Picks for Seattle Beer Week 10.
Everyone loves a good party, especially when that party involves craft beer. Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) definitely knows how to throw a great craft beer party, and they prove it every Spring with their annual Flock Party/anniversary celebration.
This year is Black Raven’s 9th anniversary/Flock Party and it’s set for Saturday, May 5th from noon till 8 pm. As always, the Flock Party will feature several live music acts, plenty of ‘rare birds’ (rare and unique Black Raven beers, including some special cask infusions), delicious food, a retail merchandise booth and they usually also have an outdoor cigar lounge/booth.
Seattle Beer Week #10 is right around the corner (watch for an article from me soon on my top event picks for SBW10), and one of my favorite SBW events each year is Sour Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe. I love a good sour Ale. Years ago, I approached them with caution, not knowing what to expect, and I fell in love.
If you haven’t gotten into sour Ales yet, then Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is bringing back one that you might want to check out. Arriving today, 4/27, at The Raven’s Nest (Black Raven’s taproom in Redmond) is their popular Corvus Frambicus American Sour Ale with Raspberries.