Do IPAs have a season? Years ago, I used to think of the IPA as a bit more of a Spring/Summer beer, but their unrelenting popularity and proliferation has allowed the IPA to defy any kind of seasonal constraints. As the #1 most popular, style of craft beer that makes sense and explains why it’s so easy to find IPAs on tap all the time, and pretty much anywhere you go.
Fort George Brewing Company out of Astoria, Oregon clearly understands this demand for IPAs. In addition to all their other great IPAs, each year since 2013 Fort George has searched for other breweries to collaborate with in order to bring us that wonderful IPA known as 3-Way. Now, in collaboration with Cloudburst Brewing Company and Ruse Brewing, this year’s 3-Way is ready to make its debut.
When you’re at a local craft brewery or craft beer bar and you find a beer on tap that you really enjoy, the first thing you usually want to know is whether or not they package that beer to go. As I’m sure most of you are aware, there are quite a few craft beers out there that don’t get bottled or canned – especially beers that are one-offs. That means, if you want to take some of that great new craft beer you just discovered home with you, your best bet is to see if the brewery or bar can fill you a growler to go.
Growlers are a great option and, varying opinions notwithstanding, I think they do their job quite well. However, using one means you’d have to already own one and remember to have brought it with you, or else you’ll need to spend a little at the brewery or bar (assuming the bar has some to sell) to purchase one before having it filled.
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!
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.
Cycling is huge in the Northwest. Far more than just a recreational vehicle, bicycles are the primary mode of transportation for many people around the Puget Sound. That’s a big part of the reason that Chainline Brewing Company in Kirkland is so cycle/outdoor activities-focused. Their name was inspired by the active, outdoor lifestyles that are so prevalent in the Northwest and their brewery and taproom is located right next to the Cross-Kirkland’s bicycle corridor.
Now, I’m not much of a cyclist myself, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy their beers all the same. Their most popular offerings include their Tune Up IPA and their Polaris Pilsner, which won a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017. Perhaps you’ll even find a few new favorites from Chainline this weekend, as they prepare to celebrate their 4th Anniversary with the release of 4 different styles of a Saison from their Old Growth Series and the return of some of their most popular offerings from the past.
Festivals are a big part of the craft beer World, and a great way to discover new beers and new breweries. New festivals seem to pop up nearly every year and some, including myself, might say we’re starting to get too many. I have a lot of respect, however, for the festivals that helped start the craft beer festival craze and the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, which has been running for more than 30 years now, is definitely one of them.
We have great craft beer here in Washington State for sure, but we also recognize that there is a plethora of craft beer awesomeness coming out of our neighbor to the South. Showcasing all that embodies craft beer (and cider), this year’s Oregon Brewer’s Festival is set for July 24th thru the 27th.
A hot dog and a beer or soda have always been the quintessential food and drink of baseball. Throw in some peanuts and Cracker Jack and… well, and you might think this piece is being written by some old geezer from the 1940’s. Not quite. I don’t know if 50 qualifies me for geezer status just yet, but I can still fondly remember the days of my youth when a hot dog, a soda (hey, I wasn’t always drinking age!) and a box of Cracker Jack were a big part of what I looked forward to when attending a game.
Things have sure changed, especially at T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field), where your game time food and drink options have become decidedly more gourmet. The food and beer selection at T-Mobile Park has been called some of the very best in the nation. That’s a big reputation for this seasons newcomers to live up to, but I think they can handle the challenge.
Yesterday evening, I attended a preview event for Seattle’s newest brewery, Best Of Hands Barrelhouse. I first told you about Best Of Hands back at the end of January, when they announced their opening date of Friday, March 8th. Since then I’ve been eagerly anticipating the opening, and with good reason. These guys really know what they’re doing, and the beers I enjoyed yesterday proved it beyond any doubt.
If you visit The Beer Junction in West Seattle with any regularity, you may recognize two of Best Of Hands’ founders: Gregory Marlor, and Nicholas Marianetti (both are level II Certified Cicerones®). They both worked at The Beer Junction before leaving recently to launch Best Of Hands with their partner, Chris Richardson. The Beer Junction was also the first place to tap Best Of Hands’ Phantom Boots IPA last month.
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.
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.