Football season has returned, much to the delight of NFL fans everywhere and especially Seahawks fans right here in Seattle. After sweeping the pre-season 4 – 0, the ‘Hawks are ready to take on the challenge of making their way towards Superbowl LII (that’s 52 for those of you who aren’t up on your Roman numerals), and they’re going to need the help of you 12’s.
Of course, to cheer the Seahawks on properly, you’re going to need some good game-day beer. Sure, Marshawn Lynch is with the Oakland Raiders now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a beer inspired by Lynch’s time with the ‘Hawks. That’s why Foggy Noggin Brewing Company is bringing back their popular football season brew: Cease & Desist IPA (Formerly 12th Man Skittles IPA – but I trust you see the legal issues he ran into there(?)).
After a long Fn week. I bet you could use a Fn beer, am I right? Now, are you a fan of English style IPAs? They differ a bit from American style IPAs with their bitter yet smooth finish and a pronounced but never over-the-top hop character. American style IPAs tend to be much more in your face with the hops, slapping you with a big blast of hop aroma and flavor. American IPAs also tend to have, on average, a higher ABV than English style IPAs.
Foggy Noggin Brewing Company up in Bothell has lots of experience brewing English style Ales. In fact, it’s their specialty. Now, they’d like to devote a special day to just English style IPAs so, this coming Saturday, June 24th, Foggy Noggin will be hosting their first ever/first annual English IPA Tap Takeover.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company puts out some truly exceptional beers. Their Proprietor’s Vintage Series (which includes beers such as Bravo, Parabola, Stickee Monkee and more) can’t be beat and they make some excellent IPAs as well. Their Double Jack Imperial IPA used to be my favorite (determined through repeated blind tastings) but, in late 2016, they decided to retire their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers which included Double Jack, Opal (a dry-hopped Saison) and Wookey Jack (Black Rye IPA).
I was initially disappointed when Firestone discontinued Double Jack but I later realized that they were merely adjusting to the ever changing landscape defined by all the craft beer enthusiasts out there. Lately, the underlying attitude seems to be that having a few well known beers, even if those beers are excellent and highly rated, isn’t enough anymore. Sure, you’re still respected and people will still think highly of your beers but, if you want to keep that buzz going and stay on the forefront of what’s happening in the craft beer World, you have to keep constantly coming out with something new and exciting.
Are you a fan of English style barleywines? If you aren’t familiar with the style, English barleywines, as compared to American style barleywines, tend to be just a bit more on the sweet side with a more subdued hop character and more fruit esters.
Are you also a fan of small batch breweries? Then Foggy Noggin Brewing Company out of Bothell (ones of Washington’s smallest production craft breweries) has an event coming up that should be right up your alley. Next Friday, February 17th from 6 pm – 8 pm, Foggy Noggin is hosting a vertical tasting (2013, 2015, 2016) of their English style barleywine: Duck’s Ass. There are only 20 spots available for this special vertical tasting and the cost is $30 per person.
Now, Firestone Walker is ready for another first. All of Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve barrel-aged beers will be moving from from 22-ounce bombers to individually boxed 12-ounce bottles. The first beer up for the 12-ounce treatment is Bravo Imperial Brown Ale, which is being bottled for the first time in 12 years.
Pyramid Brewing Company has been around for quite a while. They began as Hart Brewing way back in 1984 and have been through several small changes, including changes in ownership, since then. While their main brewing operation today is in Portland, they continue to produce beer at their Seattle brewery location on 1st Avenue South, right across from Safeco Field. Pyramid produces a number of different Ales, including their popular Winter Warmer, Snow Cap.
It’s amazing to think that Pyramid has been producing Snow Cap for 30 years now. That’s longer than some of you reading this have even been alive. Now, Pyramid is preparing three special releases in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Snow Cap.
One of my favorite California breweries has hit an amazing milestone. This year, Firestone Walker Brewing Company celebrates their 20th year. To help them celebrate, they are, of course, releasing the latest version of their annual anniversary Ale: XX Anniversary Ale.
I’ve been enjoying Firestone Walker’s Anniversary Ales since their XIII Anniversary Ale release back in 2009. Each release is expertly blended together from a plethora of other Firestone Walker Ales by an entire team of experienced brewers and winemakers, and the blend is different every year. Some have been more malty and some a bit more boozy, while others have been more on the hoppy side. I’ve enjoyed them all, but I think their XIV Anniversary Ale may still be one of my favorites. I’m really looking forward to tasting XX Anniversary 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.
There are several breweries in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Most of them do great work but, for me, there are a few standouts who are head and shoulders above the rest. One of those standouts is Reuben’s Brews. They’ve earned over 100 medals at various competitions since first opening back in 2012 (quite an achievement for such a young brewery), and they make some of the best Rye beers I’ve ever had.
Now it’s time to celebrate those achievements in style. Coming up this weekend is Reuben’s Brews’ 4th Anniversary celebration. They’ll be tapping 25 different beers, including a brand new IPA dubbed Hopped off the Press!
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.