Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the past year has flown by so quickly. Seattle Beer Week #8 almost feels like it was just a few weeks ago. Yet here we are, with Seattle Beer Week #9 kicking off in just two days. Have you had an opportunity to look over the ever-growing list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website? With so many events to choose from, many of which happen on the same day or even at the same time, you may have to make some difficult choices regarding which events to attend. Here are my top picks for Seattle Beer Week #9.
Things get under way with the Official Seattle Beer Week Kickoff this Thursday, May 4th. There are 5 stops on the Seattle Beer Week (SBW) kickoff tour. Things start off at 4:30 pm at the new Flatstick Pub location in Pioneer Square. The other stops on this year’s kickoff tour include: Beveridge Place Pub (6:30 pm and Cask-O-Rama will be going on), Brouwer’s Cafe (7:45 pm), Naked City Brewery & Taphouse (9:00 pm), with the evening closing out at The Pine Box (10:30 pm).
One of the things that many people enjoy about the local craft beer scene is that the majority of craft breweries and craft beer bars (at least those that don’t serve their own food) are dog-friendly. That means we’re free to bring our well-behaved, furry, four-legged family members along with us when we visit many of our favorite craft beer spots.
Sadly, there are still too many dogs out there who are in desperate need of help, and that’s where rescue organizations like Rez Dog Rescue come in. With a focus on the Yakama Nation Indian Reservation and Yakima County in-general, Rez Dog Rescue does all they can to help abused, injured and unwanted dogs and cats and help them find their furever homes. To help them in their mission, The Brewmaster’s Taproom in Renton is hosting a BBQ fundraiser during Seattle Beer Week, with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit Rez Dog Rescue.
We’re fortunate in the Seattle area to have such a plethora of craft beer festivals to attend, pretty much year-round. In addition to being a great way to enjoy and share our love of craft beer, many of these festivals also serve to benefit various non-profit organizations and other worthy causes. Well, get ready for one more festival in town as Elysian Brewing Company prepares to host the first ever Search Party this July at the Seattle Center.
This one-day festival will be a celebration of beer, food, music and the arts, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting The Vera Project. With music and the arts no longer part of the core curriculum at many schools, it’s more important than ever to find other ways to cultivate a love of music and the arts in young people and to provide the necessary skills to pursue careers in those fields. That’s what The Vera Project does. According to their Mission Statement: “The Vera Project fuels personal and community transformation through collaborative, youth-driven engagement in music and art.”
How would you like to visit five of Seattle’s South end breweries, have some poker-themed fun and help out Washington Wild and Brewshed Alliance at the same time? Sound too good to be true? Well Washington Wild is making it a reality as Poker N’ Pints returns to South Seattle on February 18th.
Last night, I was fortunate to attend a sneak peek preview party for media and industry friends at Lagunitas Brewing Company‘s newest location in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. As you’ve probably heard, they took over the space formerly occupied by Hilliard’s Brewing, which was purchased last year by Odin Brewing. Lagunitas treated us to food, live music, acrobatic and sideshow performers mingling among the crowd and, of course, great craft beer from one of my favorite California craft breweries.
Lagunitas has made some small but significant changes to the space, including a new, spacious island bar in the middle of the taproom, large, sturdy beer hall style tables with bench seating and brand new, restaurant-quality bathrooms. They want to open to the public as soon as possible and, from what I saw last night, they’re just about ready. You should be enjoying your favorite Lagunitas beers there before the end of this month.
When I first got into craft beer, I was a big fan of Amber or Red ales. Two of my favorites were Boont Amber from Anderson Valley and Red Tail Ale from Mendocino. Unfortunately, these days, Red Ales are often relegated to the background; pushed out of the way by many in favor of IPAs, Stouts, Porters and (more and more these days) even sours styles.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad to see people branching out more. I just wish I’d see people ordering Red ales a bit more often. I’m a fan of Ninkasi Brewing Company‘s Dawn Of The Red India Red Ale and now, another popular Red Ale is making its return from Ninkasi: Believer Double Red Ale.
Back by popular demand, Believer joins Ninkasi’s Seasonal Release Series available late December through April. This release of Believer Double Red Ale will also benefit three different non-profit organizations. A portion of all Believer sales will be donated to Conscious Alliance, Team River Runner, and Women Who Code through our Beer is Love program. Your votes will help determine how the donations are allocated.
Brunch at CenturyLink, featuring bacon, cocktails, floats, fun and games and a huge beer lineup? Yes please! Seattle’s largest, locally produced brunch event, Bacon, Eggs & Kegs is returning for its third and biggest event next Saturday and Sunday, August 27-28 at CenturyLink Field from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
This over-the-top event will feature tastings from 30+ local breweries and cideries, boozy root beer floats, a 30-foot Bloody Mary bar with vodkas by Heritage Distilling Co., an Irish coffee bar, bacon butchery demos by Heritage Meats, 20+ local restaurants and chefs serving bacon and egg focused dishes, putt putt golf and duffleboard by Flatstick Pub, bacon bingo, dueling pianos, and much more.
There are lots of animal lovers in the Seattle area, including myself. Most local breweries and craft beer bars (at least those that don’t serve food) are even dog friendly and encourage us to bring our furry friends along for a visit.
Counterbalance Brewing Company loves animals too, so they’ve organized an event this coming Saturday to benefit Vet Techs Without Borders, dedicated to improving animal welfare worldwide by connecting volunteer veterinary support staff to the organizations that need their help. Also, coinciding with this event, Counterbalance will be releasing a new beer, a Belgian Golden Strong Ale.
New breweries are popping up in Seattle with such frequency, that I still haven’t been able to visit all of them yet. One of the newer kids on the block I still need to get to is Optimism Brewing Company on Capitol Hill. Founded by the husband and wife team of Troy Hakala and Gay Gilmore, Optimism wants to battle the pretension and snobbish ‘beer geek’ trends that have crept their way into some parts of the craft beer World and, as such, they don’t like to categorize their beers in to styles.
As Optimism puts it: “We do not use style names to describe our beers. Part of this is because we don’t brew beers to fit a style, we brew them to taste the way we want them to taste. Moreover, we believe that beer is “the every(wo)man’s drink”, not something that should be intimidating, pretentious or expensive. For this reason, we try to make beer approachable to everyone by describing our beers in ways that everyone can understand without beer-geek jargon. Most beer-drinkers do not even know that beer styles even exist, let alone have all 120+ memorized. We believe using flavor descriptors and a photo is the best way to encourage people to try beers that they otherwise wouldn’t have tried. Wine can be pretentious and filled with esoteric jargon to maintain an elitist status. Beer doesn’t need that.”