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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Beer Camp Across The World Kicks Off In June

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.

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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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Beardslee Hosts A Spring Solstice Brewer’s Dinner

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.

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Belgian Fest 2017 Happens Next Month

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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.

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Raven de Brett Arrives This Saturday From Black Raven

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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.

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Firestone Walker Retires Proprietor’s Reserve Series Beers

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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.

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Naked City Prepares For Their 8th Anniversary

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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.

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Ales For Animals And A New Beer From Counterbalance Brewing

 

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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.

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