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.
Seattle is definitely a wonderful place to live if you’re a fan of great craft beers. The high concentration of excellent breweries in the city make it one of the best craft beer destinations in the nation. However, don’t forget to take a trip out of town every now and then, because there are several breweries outside Seattle – from the Oregon border all the way up to Canada – who are doing great work.
One outside-of-Seattle destination I don’t make it to very often is the Olympia area, which is home to several craft breweries including Top Rung Brewing Company in Lacey. You may not be as familiar with Top Run as some other Olympia area breweries, because they haven’t started bottling or canning most of their beers yet, but they’ve been brewing good beers in Olympia for nearly four years now, and it’s time to celebrate. This Saturday, April 21st, Top Rung Brewing Company will celebrate their 4th anniversary.
A couple of years ago I told you about a beer delivery service named Tavour. They send you daily emails with different beers you can order (from breweries both near and far) and then, every couple of weeks, Tavour ships the beers you’ve ordered out to you – or you can pick your orders up at their warehouse location in Seattle.
One of the many local breweries Tavour has teamed up with is Three Magnets Brewing Company out of Olympia and they’d both like to invite you to a tasting and beer release party at the Tavour Warehouse this Thursday, August 31st. This is a ticketed but free event where you can taste some Three Magnets beers, including their new GoldStorm Double IPA and their Gold Medal winning, Tavour-exclusive: Autumnal Dark Farmhouse Ale, all while listing to Americana music by Joey Capaccio and Kend Winter.
Fish Tale Ales has been cranking out craft brews in Olympia Washington since October of 1993. You know them as the most recognizable brand from Fish Brewing Company. What you might not be aware of though is that, through various mergers and acquisitions through the years, the name Fish Brewing Company now also includes the brands: Leavenworth Biers, Spire Mountain Cider and, added just last year, Vitis Spirits (Aka: Grapeworks Distilling).
Fish Tale Ales is popular with the organic crowd, thanks to their Organic IPA, which is made from 100% locally sourced organic malted barley and hops. Now, as part of their commitment to sustainability, Fish is expanding their organic line to include Organic Porter and Organic Red Ale. All three beers will now be available in both 12 oz cans and 22 oz bottles.
What do you do when you’re a firefighter with a passion for craft beer and you’re looking for a hobby to keep you busy in your down-time? You start homebrewing, of course. At least that’s how things got started for Top Rung Brewing Company founders, Jason Stoltz and Casey Sobol.
First opened in April of 2014, Jason and Casey launched Top Rung to fill a need they saw for more craft beer choices in the Olympia area. Now, they’re preparing for their third anniversary celebration.
A few years back, IPA fans in Washington were dismayed to discover that Russian River Brewing would no longer be distributing their beers to Washington State. That meant no more Pliny The Elder or Pliny The Younger for Washington (among many other great Russian River beers). That drought of Pliny (and the over-the-top clamoring for it during the years when we could still get it here) led many Washington breweries to start crafting their own Triple IPAs.
The first two Triple IPAs I recall seeing, which were intended partly as a joke due to the insanity surrounding Pliny releases, were Big Time Brewing Company’s ‘Whiny The Complainer’ and Naked City’s ‘Cry Me A River’. Super strong and over-the-top hoppy, I was an instant fan of both. Since that time, more and more Washington breweries started crafting their own Triple IPAs and soon after the Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow was born. That first year, just 14 Washington breweries participated.
The craft beer scene in the Puget Sound is rather large, so there are a number of different writers out there covering it. Beyond Craft Beer Monger, of course, we have the Washington Beer Blog, Northwest Beer Guide, Northwest Brewing News, Two Brew Review, BrewDad and many more.
Each of these writers, including myself, have a passion for great craft beer. Now, BrewDad writer Mike Besser is taking his passion for great craft beer beyond writing and opening up his own tap and bottle shop. Next month, Northwest Caps & Taps in Bonney Lake will become BrewDad’s of Bonney Lake.
I finally had the opportunity to visit Top Rung Brewing Company down in Lacey a few weeks back at their 2nd Anniversary celebration. I had a fun, if extremely crowded visit (it was their 2nd Anniversary celebration, after all) and even went home with a growler of their delicious Shift Trade IPA.
Now, with Spring upon us and Summer not far behind, Top Rung Brewing is ready to release their Raspberry Wheat Seasonal Ale.
There’s no denying that IPA is the most popular style of craft beer out there. While most beer lovers I know enjoy a wide variety of styles, the IPA is still king for many. There’s just something about the right combination of malt and the right hops in a good IPA that can be quite satisfying with a good meal or all on its own.
Even with the incredible number of different IPAs out there though, many of them still manage to set themselves apart, particularly to those with more discerning palates. Piney, citrusy, dank, earthy, floral and herbal, along with fruit notes of all varieties and other undertones, are just a few of the many adjectives one might use to describe the dizzying array of aromas and flavors found in a well made IPA. Over time, some IPA lovers get to know the flavors of their favorite IPAs so well they an even pick them out blind.
I don’t get down to Olympia that often, so I have yet to visit Top Rung Brewing Company. With Summer on the way, however, I’m hoping to get my motorcycle back on the road soon. Then I can plan some day trips to visit several of the Washington State breweries that I haven’t had the chance to check out yet, including Top Rung.
Top Rung is the only 10bbl production brewery with a tasting room on site in the Lacey area and was founded by full time firefighters Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz with the support of their families and investors. They’ve been at it for a while now and are pleased to announce their 2nd Anniversary celebration coming up later this month.