Sierra Nevada Brewing Company was one of the first craft breweries I discovered years ago when I made the switch from bland, mass-produced lagers to the wonderful World of craft beer. They’ve been at it since all the way back in 1979 – just one year after homebrewing became legal again at the Federal level in the U.S. (Thank you very much Jimmy & Billy Carter!)
One of Sierra Nevada’s biggest annual events these days is their popular Beer Camp, which first made it’s debut back in 2014. Dubbed the largest craft beer celebration around, Beer Camp 2017 is going Worldwide this year. They’ve collaborated with 6 U.S. based craft breweries and 6 overseas craft breweries. Now, they’re preparing to take it on the road. They’ll be hitting 8 major U.S. cities starting on June 3rd and ending with a bang in Seattle on June 30th.
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.
That chill in the air is just starting to fade and the official start of Spring is just 5 days away, on March 20th. To mark the occasion, Beardslee Public House in Bothell has decided to host a Spring Solstice Brewer’s Dinner next Tuesday, March 21st.
This special dinner will be comprised of 4 distinct courses, plus a dessert course and each course, including dessert, will be paired with a different Beardslee beer. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase the limited bottling of their Barleywine 2-packs at a discounted price.
Each year, the Washington Beer Commission puts on several different festivals to celebrate the diversity and excellence of Washington craft beer. These festivals are a great way to discover new Washington breweries and to explore different craft styles that you may not be as familiar with.
It may still be a full month away, but tickets are already on sale for one of my favorite Washington Beer Commission hosted festivals: Belgian Fest 2017. Set for 2 sessions on Saturday, January 28th, Belgian Fest 2017 will feature well over 100 different Belgian style beers from over 40 different Washington State breweries. Featured beer styles include Tripels, Dubbels, Saisons, Wits, Abbeys and Lambics. In keeping with this unique style, all of the beers are brewed with Belgian yeast.
There’s something special that brettanomyces yeast (or “Brett” for short) does to a beer. Lambics and Gueuze style beers owe their unique flavor profiles to Brett, as do wild yeast Saisons or Farmhouse styles.
When Brett is used in a hoppy Pale Ale or IPA, however, it can impart a decidedly juicy character to the hop flavors. I’ve noticed this in the Pale Ales and IPAs I’ve had that were fermented all or in part by Brett yeast.
If you haven’t tried a Pale or IPA fermented with Brett, then this is your chance. Coming up this Saturday, December 10th, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is releasing the next beer in their Corbeaux Series: Raven de Brett, a dry hopped Pale Ale.
Sometimes, saying goodbye to an old friend can be difficult. While selecting just one beer as my favorite is a virtually impossible task, I do have a few favorites for several different craft beer styles. Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Double Jack double IPA, for example, is on my list of favorite IPAs (double IPAs actually). Now, it looks like I’ll have to say goodbye to Double Jack and a few of his brothers. Read on to find out why.
Part of the reason I don’t have a single favorite beer or a large number of set favorites is that new craft beers come out at such a brisk pace these days. It seems you can hardly go a week lately without discovering one or more new beers on tap each time you visit your favorite craft beer bar or even some local breweries. Sure, there are some breweries out there who come out with their set list of beers and hardly ever change or introduce something new, but that approach can seem downright boring next to the plethora of breweries who are constantly coming up with something new. After all, craft beer drinkers are explorers. Most love trying new things, so we don’t tend to fall into the same rut as those who prefer mass-produced American Lagers like Bud or Miller.
Sometimes, which breweries you tend to frequent will depend as much on location as it does on beer quality. This is one of the reasons I don’t get to a few of my favorite Seattle breweries as often as I’d like to. I work somewhat odd hours and live in the South end. So visiting any Seattle breweries that are farther North in the city requires a bit of effort on my part, largely due to our craptacular traffic.
One of Seattle’s North end breweries that I don’t visit nearly as often as I’d like to is Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood. Owner and head brewer, Don Webb, really enjoys his work, and it shows in the quality of beers Naked City continually puts out. I’m particularly fond of The Big Lebrewski, their award-winning White Russian Imperial Stout.
There are lots of animal lovers in the Seattle area, including myself. Most local breweries and craft beer bars (at least those that don’t serve food) are even dog friendly and encourage us to bring our furry friends along for a visit.
Counterbalance Brewing Company loves animals too, so they’ve organized an event this coming Saturday to benefit Vet Techs Without Borders, dedicated to improving animal welfare worldwide by connecting volunteer veterinary support staff to the organizations that need their help. Also, coinciding with this event, Counterbalance will be releasing a new beer, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale.
For most craft beer fans, seeking out a particular beer is a simple matter of checking a few of your local craft bottle shops to see if they have any in stock. This works just fine for most beers out there. However, there are those occasional and highly sought after beers where, if you really want to get your hands on a bottle or two, you’ll want to head to the bottle release at the brewery.
Fremont Brewing Company brews several beers that are popular enough to draw a line on the day of their release. The most recent was last month’s release of The Rusty Nail – a delicious, bourbon barrel aged Oatmeal Stout. Now, Fremont is ready to release another beer that could draw a crowd: The Lamb.
Many of Seattle’s neighborhoods are tight knit communities. Each is different in its own way and in the Phinney neighborhood, the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) helps bring the community together. In their own words, the PNA exists to: “Build, engage and support our diverse community through programs, services and activities that connect neighbors and foster civic engagement.”
One of the best ways I know of to help connect the people in a community is an outdoor social gathering, and what better social gathering than a beer tasting? Coming up this Saturday, July 23rd is the 10th Annual PNA Summer Beer Taste.