Craft Beer Monger’s Picks For Seattle Beer Week 11

Even though I knew it was coming, Seattle Beer Week (SBW) kind of snuck up on me this year. I can’t believe it kicks off in just 2 days! There are a few events that happen each year that I usually attend so I’m set there. However, I didn’t find much time until this past weekend to look over the rest of this year’s SBW events and choose which ones I’d either like to attend myself and/or that I’d like to suggest to you. I’m here to fix that.

How about you? Have you found the time to look over the ever growing list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website? If not, don’t worry. I took the time to read through the details of every event that’s been posted for this year’s festivities, and I’m here to give you my suggestions for the best events to pick from for Seattle Beer Week #11.  Here we go!

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Sam Adams Updates The Recipe For Their Summer Ale

Do you have any favorite recipes? If so, do you share them freely or do you keep them a secret? Colonel Sanders did everything he could to protect KFC’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, and Coca-Cola keeps their secret recipe in a pretty serious looking vault, which is actually on display at the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta. In case you weren’t aware, recipes can’t be copyrighted, which is why KFC, Coke and many other companies go to such great lengths to keep their recipes secret.

Craft breweries may not protect their recipes as fiercely as KFC or Coke, but they still don’t usually make them public or easy to share. They’ll often let you know what hops they use, what malt(s) they use and even which strain of yeast they brewed the beer with but that’s mainly because, for many craft beer enthusiasts, knowing those things can influence their choices. However, unlike KFC or Coke who keep their recipes the same year after year (‘New Coke’ notwithstanding), breweries will sometimes alter the recipes for some of their favorite beers based on feedback from their customers or their own taste buds.

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Hellbent Brewing Prepares To Release Their Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout

Spring is here. Temperatures are on the rise and Summer feels like it’s just around the corner. For some people, this might mean it’s time to put many of the darker, heavier craft beers on the back shelf and bring the lighter, fruitier, earthier, more floral Pales, IPAs, Hefeweizens, Golden Belgian Ales and other lighter styles forward.

You know what I say to that?  I say go to Hell – Hellbent brewing that is. Now don’t get me wrong. I love all those lighter styles too but, warm weather or cold, I always enjoy a rich, dark complex bourbon barrel aged Stout, and that’s exactly what Hellbent Brewing Company will be delivering next month on May 15th.

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Help Two Beers Brewing Climb For A Cause At Their Beer + Gear Sale

Do you enjoy craft beer? Do you enjoy hiking, climbing and other outdoor activities? Do you enjoy buying your outdoor gear at a good price, all while helping raise funds for Washington’s National Park Fund (WNPF)? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) has an event coming up this weekend you might be interested in.

This Sunday, April 20th, Two Beers Brewing kicks off their 4th Annual Beer + Gear sale to benefit WNPF. Last year they raised over $25k, and they’re hoping to outdo themselves this year. Don’t need any beer or new gear? No problem. You can still make a donation to help out WNPF. Details below.

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Cascade Brewing Releases One Way Or Another 2017

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m a big fan of Sour Ales. That puckering tartness they impart can be too much for some, but it tickles my palate’s fancy and I’m always ready to try a new Sour Ale. We have some great local breweries that make some truly amazing Sour Ales, but most of them are relatively new. Before their existence, the best Sour Ales around always came from Cascade Brewing Company out of Portland, Oregon.

Cascade is still tops in my book. They’re one of my favorite Northwest breweries (as my #FF tweets can attest to), and I always keep tabs on what they’re working on next. To that end, I’m pleased to share the news with you that Cascade has released their One Way Or Another 2017 project. The 2017 version is a complex Sour Ale featuring Northwest-grown marionberries and Meyer lemon zest with Sour Blond Ale aged in oak barrels for up to 16 months.

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Introducing Marathon Brewing And 26.2 Brew

Are you an avid runner, cycler, etc?  If so, what do you use to quench your thirst and get your electrolytes back in balance after a hard workout?  You may have heard that beer can actually serve as a very worthy replacement to sports drinks as a recovery beverage.

Apparently, Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams) heard this news as well and wanted to take the idea even further.  So, say hello to Boston Beer’s newest project: Marathon Brewing and their first offering, 26.2 Brew.  This beer has actually been available for the past seven years in and around Boston during the Boston Marathon, but now Boston Beer Company/Marathon Brewing want to bring 26.2 to the rest of us.

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Bretta Tangerine Is Arriving Now From Firestone Walker

I wasn’t always a fan of Sour Ales.  They weren’t a big thing when I first got into craft beer back in the 80’s but, since first discovering them several years ago, I can’t get enough. Super sour or just mildly tart, fruited or not, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of Sour Ales.

They weren’t the first Sour Ales I’ve ever had, but I’ve enjoyed just about every sour offering from Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Barrelworks series. Each year they keep expanding their wild/sour portfolio and this year is no exception.  Say hello to the newest offering from Barrelworks: Bretta Tangerine.  Brewed with Murcott tangerines, Bretta Tangerine is the latest beer to build on Barrelworks’ signature Bretta Weisse base beer.

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Urban Family Brewing Is Coming (Back) To Ballard

I can remember when Urban Family Brewing Company wasn’t yet a brewing company.  They were a craft beer bar on Ballard Ave NW, pretty much across the street from The Noble Fir.  As a craft beer bar, I only visited them a couple of times before they closed and moved across Salmon Bay to their current location on 26th Avenue West in Magnolia.

I think Urban Family is a bit homesick for Ballard though. They’ve just announced that, later this year, they will be moving the brewery to a new location, back in Ballard.  Sentiment isn’t the only reason for the move though.  They’re starting to outgrow their current location, and their new spot in Ballard will give them more room to expand, including more space for barrel aging and additional outdoor seating.

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Best Of Hands Barrelhouse Opens March 8th

There are lots of great breweries in Seattle and the surrounding area, and many of those breweries are definitely worth the short or even long trip required for a visit.  Most of the time though, unless there’s an event or a gathering that might draw us farther away, or we’re out specifically to try a new place/new places, most of us tend to drink more often at the craft breweries that are closer to where we live. That’s a part of the reason I’m such an advocate for breweries that are more in Seattle’s South end (including West Seattle), but definitely not the only reason.  Sure, their proximity to me and my commute route makes them convenient, but most of them also make some damn fine craft beers.

There aren’t that many craft breweries in West Seattle (although Future Primitive Brewing did recently open in White Center), but now we have another newcomer nearly set to go.  Coming up on March 8th, Best Of Hands Barrelhosue will open their doors to the public.  Founded by Gregory Marlor and Nicholas Marianetti (former servers at The Beer Junction – and level II Certified Cicerones), along with their partner Chris Richardson, Best Of Hands will specialize in mixed-fermentation barrel aged sours and European inspired farmhouse ales.

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Dark Heron IPA Returns For Emerald City Comic Con

Seattle is known for many different things.  Two of the most prominent are, of course, coffee and craft beer.  What some of you might not know, however, is that Seattle has a huge video game and comic book community.  The annual PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) started here (which I used to report on annually when I wrote about video games), and Emerald City Comic Con has been happening every year since 2003.  Last year’s attendance was over 95 thousand comic fans.

A few years back, Fremont Brewing Company partnered with ReedPOP, producer Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC), to create an ECCC-themed beer.  The result was Dark Heron IPA. Now returning for its fourth year, Dark Heron features artwork by local Seattle artist Julia Reck and will be available on tap throughout ECCC’s run, and in cans for the first time.  

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