Two Special Releases From Counterbalance Brewing & 2bar Spirits

I’ve always been an advocate for Seattle’s South end breweries.  Living in the South end myself I, of course, spend a lot of time at these places and enjoy seeing them succeed.  A couple of years back I penned an article with some great reasons to visit Seattle’s South end breweries and, earlier this year, I told you about the newly formed South Seattle Brewery Coalition.

That’s why I was very pleased when I heard the news that Counterbalance Brewing Company had teamed up with 2bar Spirits (who also happens to be in Seattle’s South end) for a unique Whiskey/Stout collaboration.

Aging Stouts in Whiskey barrels is nothing new.  Breweries have been doing it for years and indeed Whiskey and Bourbon barrel aged Stouts are some of my favorites.  This time, however, things went a bit in the other direction.  2bar Spirits used the actual mash bill from Counterbalance’s Kushetka Imperial Stout to produce this particular Whiskey, then aged it for 2 years in 2bar Whiskey barrels.

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Craft Beer Monger’s Top Picks For Seattle Beer Week #9

Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the past year has flown by so quickly.  Seattle Beer Week #8 almost feels like it was just a few weeks ago.  Yet here we are, with Seattle Beer Week #9 kicking off in just two days.  Have you had an opportunity to look over the ever-growing list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website?  With so many events to choose from, many of which happen on the same day or even at the same time, you may have to make some difficult choices regarding which events to attend.  Here are my top picks for Seattle Beer Week #9.

Things get under way with the Official Seattle Beer Week Kickoff this Thursday, May 4th.  There are  5 stops on the Seattle Beer Week (SBW) kickoff tour.  Things start off at 4:30 pm at the new Flatstick Pub location in Pioneer Square.  The other stops on this year’s kickoff tour include: Beveridge Place Pub (6:30 pm and Cask-O-Rama will be going on), Brouwer’s Cafe (7:45 pm), Naked City Brewery & Taphouse (9:00 pm), with the evening closing out at The Pine Box (10:30 pm).

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Discover The New Growler USA In Redmond

What happens when you take the basic concept of a growler refill station and decide to take it National?  Well, what happens is, you get something like Growler USA.  Founded in 2013 by Dan White (CEO), Dave Shaw (President), and Vern Whittaker (Retired CFO), Growler USA now has 10 locations across the U.S. and are slated to open 50 more throughout 2017-2018.

Each location boasts up to 100 taps of beer (including microbrewed craft beers), hard cider, draft wine & kombucha, plus an extensive food menu. Their tap list varies by location, of course, in order to offer locally-sourced options for their patrons, and their “True to the Brew” system ensures that each brewer’s vision for their product is honored.  Things are kept tightly controlled all the way from keg delivery and storage (using ‘gentle’ keg handling systems to avoid sloshing), to a meticulously maintained tap system and the proper glassware for each pour. Yesterday afternoon I took a trek out to their Redmond location, courtesy $30 in credit from Growler USA, to see what they had to offer first hand.

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Black Raven’s 8th Annual Flock Party & Ravenmaster Club Open Enrollment

Each year around this time, there’s a big party out in Redmond.  If you’re a fan of Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), then you know that I’m referring, of course, to their annual Flock Party anniversary celebration.

Set to take place on Saturday, May 6th from noon – 7 pm, this year’s Flock Party will include live music, plenty of ‘rare birds’ (rare and unique Black Raven beers, including some Tiki-drink inspired infusions this year), food, a retail merchandise booth and even an outdoor cigar lounge/booth.  Well-behaved and leashed dogs will also be welcome and, if you run short on cash, there will be an ATM on site.

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La Mort Bourbon Returns From Black Raven Brewing

Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) makes lots of excellent beers.  Their popular Kitty Kat Blues was recently added to their year-round lineup and what is probably their most overall popular beer, Wisdom Seeker, just made it’s annual return as well.  Now, Black Raven is preparing to bring back one of my absolute favorites.  Arriving this Friday, March 24th is their popular and award-winning La Mort Bourbon.

Part of Black Raven’s Corbeaux Series and crafted by aging their equally popular La Petite Mort in Kentucky bourbon barrels, La Mort Bourbon is a complex beer that satisfies fans of Belgian Ales and bourbon-barrel aged beers alike.  I’m a big fan of both, which helps explain why this is one of my favorite offerings from Black Raven.

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Fall Line Russian Imperial Stout Returns Today From Two Beers Brewing

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I’m a fan of all different styles of craft beer, but I think my two favorite styles are barrel aged Stouts and IPAs (actually, double IPAs).  So, whenever I hear of an impending barrel aged Stout release, I get a little excited.

Unfortunately, since I’m currently doing a dry 30 days (no alcohol from January 26th to February 25th), I won’t be able to enjoy the latest Alta Series release from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) until this Saturday.  For the rest of you, however, drop by The Woods today when they open their doors at 3 pm and grab yourself a few bottles of Fall Line Russian Imperial Stout. They’ll also have it on tap for you to enjoy.

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2017 Old Birdbrain Barleywine Arrives This Weekend From Black Raven

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Barleywine season is almost here.  The 15th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival is coming up next month at Brouwer’s Cafe and the 15th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal will happen at Beveridge Place Pub in March.  With these and other barleywine festivals on the way, local breweries are working hard to get their 2017 barley wines ready to go.

To that end, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is just about ready to release their 2017 Old Birdbrain Barleywine, which has been a multiple award winner at the annual Great Alaskan Beer & Barleywine Festival. This year’s vintage will arrive this coming Friday, Jaunary 27th.

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Bravo Is Coming In 12 oz Bottles From Firestone Walker

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Firestone Walker Brewing Company has been quite busy lately.  They introduced their new Luponic Distortion series of IPAs. They discontinued their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers (including: Opal, Double Jack and Wookey Jack), and they recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary including, of course, the release of their XX Anniversary Ale.

Now, Firestone Walker is ready for another first.  All of Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve barrel-aged beers will be moving from from 22-ounce bombers to individually boxed 12-ounce bottles. The first beer up for the 12-ounce treatment is Bravo Imperial Brown Ale, which is being bottled for the first time in 12 years.

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Lagunitas Brewing Has Arrived In Seattle

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Last night, I was fortunate to attend a sneak peek preview party for media and industry friends at Lagunitas Brewing Company‘s newest location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.  As you’ve probably heard, they took over the space formerly occupied by Hilliard’s Brewing, which was purchased last year by Odin Brewing.  Lagunitas treated us to food, live music, acrobatic and sideshow performers mingling among the crowd and, of course, great craft beer from one of my favorite California craft breweries.

Lagunitas has made some small but significant changes to the space, including a new, spacious island bar in the middle of the taproom, large, sturdy beer hall style tables with bench seating and brand new, restaurant-quality bathrooms.  They want to open to the public as soon as possible and, from what I saw last night, they’re just about ready.  You should be enjoying your favorite Lagunitas beers there before the end of this month.

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Schooner Exact Prepares For Their 10th Anniversary

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Seattle’s South end craft beer scene has really grown up.  Less than a decade ago, it was a struggle to find any craft breweries (besides Georgetown Brewing or Pyramid Brewing) South of downtown.  Now, the South end rivals Ballard for the sheer number of breweries you can visit (if you include SoDo, Georgetown and Columbia City).

One of the South End breweries that’s been around the longest is Schooner Exact Brewing Company.  They started as a small nano-brewery back in 2007 and have grown steadily into an excellent craft brewery and restaurant.  Now, several expansions, remodels and menu changes later, Schooner Exact is just about ready to celebrate their 10th Anniversary with a 10-day long celebration.

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