I love a parade – especially when it’s a parade of Fresh Hop Ales. I say keep ’em coming and I know I’m not the only one! Local breweries are definitely hearing that call and answering back in a big way. So far this season, I’ve enjoyed Fresh Hop Ales from at least 8 Northwest breweries (mostly Seattle, but a few from Oregon), and I’m looking forward to having even more in the coming weeks.
Now Stoup Brewing Company in Ballard has announced their Fresh Hop lineup for the 2018 season, and it doesn’t disappoint. Stoup if keeping it fresh with at least 5 different Fresh Hop Ales coming our way over the next few weeks.
Are you a seasonal craft beer drinker? In other words, do you find that the style(s) of craft beers you crave tend to change with the seasons? If so, you’re not alone. Fall, for example, often makes us crave beers like Ambers, Bocks and Fest-style beers (like Oktoberfest). Winter has many people seeking out thick, strong Stouts and Porters. When Summer arrives though, most people like something a bit lighter on the palate.
Pyramid Brewing Company understands how your tastes can change with the seasons, but they also know that there are craft beer drinkers out there (like myself) who can enjoy any style just about any time of year. That’s why Pyramid’s new Coast Day Dry-Hop Hazy Lager is being released for Summer, but will be available year-round.
I’ve been following Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) almost since they first opened and I think the first beer I ever had from them was their flagship EVO (Evolutionary) IPA. Loaded with Simcoe (one of my favorites), Amarillo and Centennial hops from the Yakima Valley, then dry-hopped with more Simcoe and Columbus, EVO is still a solid IPA.
However, ever since Two Beers came out with more IPAs like their Wonderland Trail Double IPA, Mango Passionfruit IPA and new The Other Coast Hazy IPA, EVO doesn’t get quite as much attention as it used to. Two Beers has noticed this so they’ve decided to shake things up a bit and turn EVO into an IPA that will be constantly changing throughout 2018, utilizing new, experimental hop varieties from Yakima Valley. It seems quite fitting that a beer named ‘evolutionary’ is now evolving.
Have you ever been down to Tin Dog Brewing Company in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood? Sure, they’re a bit out of the way if you don’t live in the South end, but they’ve been quietly operating out of their space on Cloverdale St. for nearly 4 years now.
Tin Dog recently released their third French Oak Wine Barrel Aged Wild Blend Bottle: Mandala Blended Wild Ale, which has been dry-hopped with Mosaic giving it tropical notes. You can find it at the brewery and at several local craft bottle shops, including Chuck’s Hop Shop locations and Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown. Now, they’re preparing to celebrate their 4th Anniversary.
Despite the wide range of styles available to craft beer drinkers, it’s impossible to deny that the IPA is still king. In fact, just last year, the Brewer’s Association‘s annual craft sales figures showed that at least one out of every five craft beers sold in the U.S. is an IPA. Even though I try to vary the styles I drink as much as possible, I’m definitely a big IPA fan too as are most other craft beer drinkers I know.
That popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing down either. In fact, it almost seems to be expanding. Even with the incredible influx of new IPAs that are constantly hitting the market these days, most manage to find their audience and sell out, making way for the next IPA(s) coming down the pipe. I say, keep ’em coming.
After retiring their Proprietor’s Reserve Series last year (which included one of my all time favorite IPAs, Double Jack), Firestone Walker Brewing Company embarked on two new series of IPAs. First came the Luponic Distortion series, which is currently on version #6 and then came what is probably my new favorite IPA from Firestone Walker, Fortem; the first in their new Leo v. Ursus series.
I’ve been enjoying plenty of Fortem since it arrived in late February. Now, I’m eager to try the next beer in the Leo v. Ursus series: Adversus. It was released at Firestone Walker back on June 10th and should start arriving on Seattle store shelves and taps any day now.
Is it too early to start thinking about Spring? I know we’re still in the middle of Winter right now, but it hasn’t been too horrible this year and who knows what news the groundhog will have for us this Thursday (Groundhog Day is February 2nd). At Pyramid Brewing they’ve been doing a bit more than just thinking about Spring and earlier this month they announced the release of their Spring seasonal, Triangulate Citrus Pale Ale. Dry hopped with Lemondrop™ hops and real lemon peel, Triangulate brings us Spring a bit early this year.
Also arriving now from Pyramid is their limited time Brewer’s Reserve Railroad Avenue, which will be available from mid-January to late April. An Imperial Porter, Railroad Avenue uses deep roasted malts and roasted barley with dashes of vanilla, cinnamon and dark brown sugar. According to Pyramid: “Railroad Avenue is a big, malty brew that conducts the palate to a nicely spiced, mildly sweet finish.”
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.