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.
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.
One of the South end breweries I’ve been telling you about since they first opened in 2014 is Tin Dog Brewing down in South Park. Proprietors Lisa and Eric Rough have been quietly cranking out primarily Belgian inspired wild and sour blended Ales from their spot on S. Cloverdale Street and have garnered a small but loyal following. Last year they won a Gold Medal for Best Sour Beer at the Brewer’s Choice Awards for their Melange Deux and have also won Silver and Bronze medals at last year’s Washington Beer Awards.
Tin Dog doesn’t usually host many big events, but they’ve got one coming up that might pique your interest. On Saturday, February 23rd, you can join Tin Dog for an amazing evening of flamenco, paella and craft beer.
How long can a duck stand on one leg? Well, the mascot for Counterbalance Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) has been doing it for nearly 4 years now and he’s definitely ready to party. You may recall that Counterbalance’s Multipass IPA came in as one of the finalists during Novemberfest at Beveridge Place Pub late last year and now they have another Fifth Element inspired beer coming your way as they prepare to celebrate another trip around the sun.
Come join Counterbalance Brewing this Friday and Saturday, January 25th and 26th, as they celebrate their 4th Anniversary with some new and returning beer releases, including their 4th Anniversary Big Bada Boom Hazy Double Mango IPA and 2019 Bourbon Barrel Kushetka Imperial Stout aged in 2Bar Spirits Bourbon Barrels.
Even though we have a large number of breweries right here in Seattle, many of us often take trips away from the city to explore breweries farther away or perhaps to visit some favorites we’ve found on previous craft beer excursions.
One popular destination for those leaving Seattle on one of these excursions is the city of Bellingham, WA. I myself am a big fan of many Bellingham breweries including: Wander, Kulshan, Chuckanut, Structures and, of course, Aslan. Well, if Aslan Brewing Company is on your list of favorite Bellingham breweries, then I’ve got some great news. This Summer, Aslan will open a location in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
Are you a homebrewer? Do you think you’ve gotten pretty good at it? Do you think your beers are good enough to be brewed on a large scale, canned and sold to the craft beer masses here in Seattle? Then Ruben’s Brews has the contest for you. Returning for the third straight year, Reuben’s Brews presents: “Hop Idol”.
It’s time to refine your best hoppy recipes and hone your brewing techniques so you can put your best brew(s) forward. Don’t wait too long to start either, because the cutoff date for entries is February 27, 2019. It all comes down to you and your brew, because (Best Ryan Seacrest impersonaltion) THIS………. is Hop Idol!
The fires this year in California have been devastating – particularly the one known as the Camp Fire. Entire communities have disappeared and thousands have been displaced. It is also the deadliest wildfire in California state history, with the death toll reaching at least 81 people – and that number is expected to rise as the number of missing/unaccounted for people is still over 870 people.
Fortunately, I don’t know anyone directly affected by the fire(s) (though I do have relatives in Chico – where it got pretty close!), but I know a few people who have family and/or friends who have lost their homes. It’s a heartbreaking situation, but Sierra Nevada Brewing Company wants to help.
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.