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).
Craft beer and food pairings are everywhere these days, as they should be. I’m glad we’re finally starting to reach the point where pairing great craft beers with great food is nearly as ubiquitous (at least here in the Northwest) as pairing wine with food. In fact, I think that the range and diversity of craft beer styles offers even more exciting food pairing options than wine.
Beer and food parings are serious business. In fact, next month during Seattle Beer Week, you’re sure to find some pretty amazing craft beer pairing dinners/events. Not all pairings have to be so serious though. Perhaps you’ve read one of the recent articles about pairing craft beers with Girl Scout cookies? It’s in that vein that Lowercase Brewing Company, along with their sister company Side Hustle Coffee & Doughnuts, are pleased to announce the return of their Doughnuts and Beer pairing event this Wednesday, April 18th from 6-9 pm.
Last month was women’s history month. I hope you took the time to celebrate some of the amazing women in our nation’s history – and those around you every day. Well, that special month may be over but that’s no reason to stop celebrating women.
Coming up in May, during Seattle Beer Week #10, Pike Brewing Company is once again hosting their Women In Beer event to celebrate women who are a part of the Northwest craft beer industry, along with women owned and run restaurants, cideries, wineries, confectioners and more.
When you head to Safeco Field this year to watch the Seattle Mariners I sure hope you come hungry and thirsty, because the Mariners, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Centerplate and several local restaurants and breweries have teamed up to make your dining experience for the 2018 season something to remember.
At yesterday’s preview event, I had the opportunity to sample many of the new food and drink offerings you’ll find waiting for you at the ball park this season. You’ll have to come try them all for yourself, perhaps at the home opener next Thursday, March 29th as you cheer on the Mariners against the Cleveland Indians.
Safeco Field already has a great reputation for providing some of the very best food and drink available at a major league stadium. Every year since 2014 I’ve been telling you about all the amazing gastronomic delights and wonderful, local craft beers you can enjoy while watching the Seattle Mariners play.
Now, with the 2018 season getting under way, it’s time once again to check out what you can expect at the Safe this season, including two big new names: Din Tai Fung and Jack’s BBQ. Tomorrow, 3/21, I’ll be attending a special media preview of new Safeco Field menu items for the Mariners 2018 season, courtesy the Seattle Mariners, Centerplate and Ethan Stowell Restaurants.
Looking for a fun way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Seattle this year? It’s just one week from Saturday (3/17) and five Ballard breweries are teaming up to bring you the first annual St. Pat’s Parade O’ Pints.