Four Breweries Team Up To Host Ballard Oktoberfest

Is it really getting to be that time already?  Summer, especially in Seattle, always seems so darn short.  A couple of weeks ago I was already seeing pumpkin beers appearing on craft beer store shelves and now, here come the Oktoberfest announcements.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Fall and the Seasonal craft styles that come along with it, but it’s a bittersweet reminder that the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and Summer is starting to fade.

Of course, as I just mentioned, Fall’s arrival also means Oktoberfest biers and Oktoberfest celebrations.  The Märzen/Oktoberfest style is probably my favorite style of Lager.  Sure, a well made Pilsner is great on a hot Summer day, but I love the more toasty malt flavors of a good Märzen.  If you’re also a fan of a good Märzen and other German/European styles (Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Kölsch, Vienna Lager, Roggenbier, etc.) then you’ll want to mark your calendar for September 16th and this year’s Ballard Oktoberfest.

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50 Craft Breweries Unveil Their Recipes For Homebrewers

Are you a homebrewer?  Even if you aren’t, but you are a craft beer fan, I’m willing to bet you know at least a few people who are homebrewers.  I myself first started homebrewing well over 20 years ago (but I’m between systems right now, which is killing me!) and back then, just like today, many homebrewers started out by trying to recreate some of their favorite craft beers at home.

Back in my early days, when craft breweries were few and far between, the holy grail for many homebrewers was to successfully reproduce or ‘clone’ beers like Sierra Nevada Brewing‘s Pale Ale.  If you could do that as a homebrewer back in the early 90’s, then you really knew your stuff.  The challenge was that you pretty much had to come up with the recipe on your own.  The homebrewing community was much smaller, there were few helpful recipe guides and there was no brewing software like BeerSmith or Brewtarget  to help you out.

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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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2016 US Open Beer Championship Winners

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The winners have just been announced for the 2016 US Open Beer Championship.  Unique in it’s format, the US Open Beer Championship is the only brewing competition to allow award winning home brewers to compete against commercial breweries Worldwide.  Beers from 95 different categories (including non-alcoholic) were ranked and the top 10 breweries and medal winners were also listed.

Four different breweries from Washington State took home awards, including: Reuben’s Brews, Heathen Brewing Company, Icicle Brewing Company and a sweep in the gluten free category by Ghostfish Brewing Company.  Congratulations to all the winners.  I’d also like to offer a special congratulations one of my favorite breweries, Firestone Walker Brewing Company, for being named National Grand Champion (details below).

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Try A Traditional German Beer Flight At Altstadt

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Most craft beer fans I know gravitate towards Ales more than Lagers, and I think the reason is obvious.  Pale Ales, IPAs, Stouts, Porters, Barleywines, Saisons and other Belgian Styles, etc. are all Ales, not Lagers.  There are a few Lagers out there in the craft World but, for the most part, most of us tend to lean towards the Ale side of things much more often.

Unfortunately, that sometimes means we don’t take the time to appreciate some of the classic Germany styles (which are mostly Lagers) that are readily available at several places around Seattle.  One of those places is Altstadt in Pioneer Square.  To help you explore and appreciate some of these styles, Altstadt is serving up three different German beer flights, featuring classic German beer styles.

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