There’s a lot going on right now at Schooner Brewing (formerly Schooner Exact Brewing Company). They’ve finished their remodel and re-branding from the old Schooner Exact taproom, but the changes aren’t so dramatic that you won’t recognize the place. They’ve updated the style, added more seating, updated the menu and started rolling out some new beers. Don’t worry though, your old Schooner favorites like 3 Grid IPA, Profanity Hill Porter, King Street Brown and more are still around too.
If you’re ready to try a new Schooner beer though, why not stop in for a pint of their SODO IPA, which is on tap now. Also on tap for these waning days of Summer is their very popular Seamstress Union Raspberry Wheat. Not your thing? Then hang on till the first week of October when Schooner Brewing’s Comet Fresh Hop will make its debut.
Harvest season is upon us. For those of us here in the Northwest, that means lots and lots of Fresh Hop Ales – which makes me quite happy. However, the abundance of wonderful Fresh Hop beers we get this time of year can sometimes obscure the start of another great annual beer tradition: Oktoberfest.
I’m a serious hop-head, but when Fall arrives, my palate sometimes needs an occasional break from the hops and starts craving something with more of those rich, toasty and bready malt flavors. I’m referring, of course, to the traditional, German style Märzen/Oktoberfest.
Seattle has lots of unique neighborhoods, each with their own identity and feel. One such neighborhood is Phinney RIdge and each year, the Phinney Neighborhood Association hosts a craft beer event known as the Summer Beer Taste. This year’s luau-themed event, Brewkilau, is set for this coming Saturday, July 21st.
Your $30 ticket for this event ($25 for PNA Members), gets you 10 beer tastes from 30+ different, local craft breweries and cideries, plus an assortment of pub snacks.
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.
Here in the Northwest, we take a lot of pride in our craft beers. While we recognize that there are excellent craft beers available from around the nation, most of us have a special place in our hearts (or is it livers?) for beers made in Washington State.
That’s why I’m always glad when Spring arrives and the Washington Beer Commission brings back their annual Washington Brewer’s Festival. Set this year for Friday, June 15th through Sunday June 17th at Marymoor Park in Redmond, there are a few changes you’ll want to be aware of regarding how drink tokens will work at this year’s fest.
Ten years ago. That’s when it all began. That’s when Seattle area craft beer lovers got to experience the first ever Seattle Beer Week and the first ever official Seattle Beer Week beer (a double IPA from Pike Brewing Company). Back then, many of our favorite local craft breweries and craft beer bars didn’t even exist yet. Whereas today, it seems, we have a craft brewery or craft beer bar around almost every corner.
More craft breweries and more craft beer bars means even more Seattle Beer Week events. Are you ready? Surviving the week (actually 11 days) will take careful planning. I’m here to give you some suggestions on which events you might want to check out. So sit back, if you’ve managed to pick up any yet, grab yourself a can of this year’s official Seattle Beer Week beer – Citrus Galaxy IPA from Georgetown Brewing Company – and take a look a Craft Beer Monger’s Picks for Seattle Beer Week 10.
Oktoberfest you know. Everyone does. There are Oktoberfest celebrations all around the World every year – although may places improperly start their Oktoberfest celebrations in October. Traditionally, Oktoberfest ends the first week of October, so September is really when you want to do most of your celebrating.
What about Mayfest though (aka Maifest)? Do you know that one too? While Oktoberfest celebrates the harvest season, Mayfest/Maifest celebrates the return of Spring. Mayfest is starting to grow in popularity in the U.S. and has actually been celebrated in Cincinnati since 1873. The Queen Anne Beerhall has decided they’d like to get into the Mayfest spirit and will be hosting a Mayfest celebration for two weekends in May, the 11th-12th and the 18th-19th.
Have you ever been a member of a craft brewery mug club? If you find that you’re a frequent visitor to some craft breweries more than others, joining a mug club could be a good way for you to save some money over time and even get access to special events and special releases. I myself have been a member of the mug club at Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) for several years now. Since they’re one of the breweries closest to my house, I tend to stop there quite a bit.
Now, with Spring upon us, Two Beers Brewing has announced the annual renewal for their mug club memberships. As with most mug clubs, not every member renews their membership each year. Any un-renewed membership slots are then available for new members to join. If you are already a member and are renewing your membership, there may be a few benefits for you as well.
Do you homebrew? I started homebrewing way back in the late 80’s and I have more than 25 years of homebrewing experience. Sadly though, when I moved a few years back I didn’t have a good place to brew so I actually wound up selling my 10 gallon, all-grain brewing system rather than let it sit, gathering rust and dust (I’d rather see a brewer put it to good use). I have every intention of getting back into brewing again – and on an even larger system – but I’ll have to wait a few more years before I can make that happen.
I still have a great interest in homebrewing, even though I’ve allowed me membership to the American Homebrewer’s Association lapse until I have a new system, and I’m often impressed by some of the stellar beers being produced by homebrewers today. Equipment has improved, techniques are evolving all the time and homebrewing is as popular as it ever was, if not more so. This year marks the 40th year for the National Homebrew Conference (Homebrew Con), and thousands of homebrewers from across the nation will come together in Portland this June 28 – 30 to talk homebrewing, attend workshops, learn new techniques and more.
Bicycling and beer seem to just go together. There are even several cycle-themed breweries here in the Northwest, including HUB in Portland, Flying Bike in Greenwood, Peddler in Ballard and, of course, Chainline Brewing Company in Kirkland. Situated along the new Cross Kirkland Corridor Trail, they’re in the perfect spot for craft beer lovers who prefer 2-wheeled, human-powered transportation.
I’ve been to Chainline Brewing several times (I drive there though – sorry), and I really enjoy their beers. Their Polaris Pilsner (2016 – GABF Silver Medal winner) and Tune Up New England Style IPA (2016 Best of Craft beer awards Silver Medal Winner) are solid and I’ve also enjoyed many of the special one-off beers they’ve produced. Their Flowtron Strawberry IPA was definitely one of my favorites and, lucky for me, it’s making a return for Chainline’s 3rd anniversary celebration coming up this weekend along with their first ever canned beer (Polaris Pilsner).