As I get a bit older (Nooo!), I’m not as much of a fan of Winter as I used to be, but I am indeed a fan of several of the craft beer festivals that come around in the Winter months. Just last month was the Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe and, of course, the IPA Cask-O-Rama at Beveridge Place Pub. Also coming up next month is the 16th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival at Brouwer’s and the Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow – coming to multiple locations. I’ll provide more info on those events as they draw closer.
Before indulging in all those barleywines and triple IPAs, however, how about a quick trip to Belgium? I’d love to take a real trip to Belgium but, for now, I’ll settle for attending the 9th Annual Belgian Fest, which is coming to Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on Saturday, January 27th. Presented by the Washington Beer Commission.
Sometimes, which breweries you tend to frequent will depend as much on location as it does on beer quality. This is one of the reasons I don’t get to a few of my favorite Seattle breweries as often as I’d like to. I work somewhat odd hours and live in the South end. So visiting any Seattle breweries that are farther North in the city requires a bit of effort on my part, largely due to our craptacular traffic.
One of Seattle’s North end breweries that I don’t visit nearly as often as I’d like to is Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood. Owner and head brewer, Don Webb, really enjoys his work, and it shows in the quality of beers Naked City continually puts out. I’m particularly fond of The Big Lebrewski, their award-winning White Russian Imperial Stout.
The winners have just been announced for the 2016 US Open Beer Championship. Unique in it’s format, the US Open Beer Championship is the only brewing competition to allow award winning home brewers to compete against commercial breweries Worldwide. Beers from 95 different categories (including non-alcoholic) were ranked and the top 10 breweries and medal winners were also listed.
I’ve been a fan of great craft beer ever since having my very first craft beer (a Red Tail Ale from Mendocino Brewing Company, if memory serves). However, I didn’t really immerse myself into the Seattle Craft Beer scene until sometime in 2010. Before that I was, of course, still enjoying craft beer, but my journalistic focus was geared more towards the console video game market. I used to operate a couple of console gaming review sites (focusing mostly on Xbox), which are now closed down.
That means I haven’t been attending Seattle Beer Week for as many years as some of you out there. The first time I attended a Seattle Beer Week event (and actually knew that I was doing so), was back during Seattle Beer Week #4 in 2010, and the first Seattle Beer Week I ever wrote about was Seattle Beer Week #5 in 2011. Right now, that sure seems like a long time ago.
Now, with 2016 upon us, we’re just one week away from the kickoff of Seattle Beer Week #8. That means it’s time once again for me to give you my picks for what sound like the best events at this year’s Seattle Beer Week, just as I’ve done each year since 2012.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company puts out some pretty amazing beers. Their Double Jack IPA is probably my favorite double IPA and they are well known for several of their other beers, particularly those from their Proprietor’s Vintage Series, which includes their §ucaba Barleywine and their Parabola Imperial Stout, as well as their annual Anniversary offerings.
One particular beer from this series is a bit unusual, since it has existed much longer than it’s been available for sale. That beer is Stickee Monkee. Originally brewed as a blending component for a few of Firestone Walker’s other beers (for example, it’s been a component of their Anniversary offerings since their XIV’th Anniversary), Stickee Monkee was not originally intended for public release. However, a few kegs of it started leaking out a few years back as some special events and tap takeovers. My first taste of it was at the Firestone Walker & Homebrew Chef dinner, which took place during Seattle Beer Week back in 2011.
As more people got to know about Stickee Monkee, they started asking Firestone Walker to release it on it’s own since it was so delicious. Firestone Walker finally relented in 2014 and released the first bottles of Stickee Monkee. Now it’s back for a second year, and should be arriving in local bottle shops by the end of the month.