Last night my wife and I were fortunate to attend a special beer-pairing dinner at Urbane, located in the Hyatt hotel at Olive 8 in downtown Seattle. It was a preview of a few of the new dishes Urbane will be adding to their Fall menu, all expertly paired with beers from Seattle’s own multi-award-winning (over 30 awards received so far in 2017 alone) Reuben’s Brews, one of the fastest growing breweries in Washington State with production set to increase by more than 50% this year over 2016.
The dinner was hosted by Urbane’s Executive Chef, Brian Pusztai and Reuben’s Brews was represented by brewery rep, Conrad Hermosillo. Brian, Conrad and a few other members of the Urbane chef’s team greeted us upon our arrival and we prepared ourselves for a 3-course tasting menu by getting to know each other a bit while snacking on a very tasty cheese and charcuterie board.
Some of the first Fall Seasonals I started seeing this year were appearing as early as mid August. I suppose planning ahead isn’t a bad thing but, here in the Northwest where the Summers are notoriously short, we don’t need those early reminders that our sunny Summer days are numbered. Don’t get me wrong. I love many different Fall styles and welcome their return, I guess I’m just a little sad to see Summer come to a close this year.
If there’s one thing you can be sure of when Fall arrives though, it’s that along with it comes all the different Fall seasonal craft beers (even if some of them start appearing a bit early), including pumpkin and squash style beers. I haven’t found myself as excited for the plethora of pumpkin and squash ales that always make their way to craft bottle store shelves this time of year, but there are always a few new, interesting ones that catch my attention. One such beer is Wine Barrel-Aged sQUASH Ale from Lowercase Brewing Company.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company has two different series’ of IPAs going right now. First is the Luponic Distortion Series, which is currently in its 7th iteration (featuring Australian hops), and then, of course, they have the Leo v. Ursus Series. Both series take an experimental approach, and they allow Firestone Walker to be constantly coming out with something new and unique – which is the industry trend these days. Innovate or be left behind.
Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007 arrived just last month and now, Firestone Walker is ready to bring us the next iteration in the Leo v. Ursus Series: Inferos. An unfiltered Rye IPA that’s absolutely jam packed with over 4.7 pounds of Galaxy (and other) hops per barrel, Inferos sounds like a rye loving hop head’s dream. I’ve always been a big fan of beers with rye in the malt bill and Inferos has an almost unheard of 25% rye in the malt bill. With all that rye and all those hops, this sounds like a beer I’ll really enjoy.
Football season has returned, much to the delight of NFL fans everywhere and especially Seahawks fans right here in Seattle. After sweeping the pre-season 4 – 0, the ‘Hawks are ready to take on the challenge of making their way towards Superbowl LII (that’s 52 for those of you who aren’t up on your Roman numerals), and they’re going to need the help of you 12’s.
Of course, to cheer the Seahawks on properly, you’re going to need some good game-day beer. Sure, Marshawn Lynch is with the Oakland Raiders now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy a beer inspired by Lynch’s time with the ‘Hawks. That’s why Foggy Noggin Brewing Company is bringing back their popular football season brew: Cease & Desist IPA (Formerly 12th Man Skittles IPA – but I trust you see the legal issues he ran into there(?)).
It’s harvest time up in the Yakima Valley, the #1 hop growing region in the World. Our proximity to the hop fields of Yakima Valley means that the Northwest, particularly Washington State, is in a prime location to enjoy one of the best benefits for craft beer lovers this time of year: Fresh Hop Ales.
As has become the norm, Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) was first out of the gate, releasing their Fresh Hop IPA back on August 23rd. Now, Fremont Brewing Company is ready to release the first of their Fresh Hop Ales for 2017. Field To Ferment Fresh Hop Pale Ale (each release featuring Centennial, Amarillo and Citra hops respectively) arrives today, 9/6, in Fremont’s Urban Beer Garden.
Bale Breaker Brewing Company brews some pretty tasty beers. You’re probably familiar with their popular Field 41 Pale Ale, Topcutter IPA or Bottomcutter IPA, since these three beers are part of their ‘Everyday’ (year-round) lineup. They also, of course, brewed the official beer for Seattle Beer Week 2017: Fresh Off The Farm IPA.
Now, Bale Breaker is adding a fourth beer to their Everyday series: Leota Mae IPA. It was named for the great-grandmother of one of Bale Breakers owners, and was created to honor the history of planting and harvesting hops in the Yakima valley, where Leota Mae used to work out in the hop fields.
Even before Firestone Walker Brewing Company retired their Proprietor’s Reserve Series of beers (which included their extremely popular Double Jack Imperial IPA), they started experimenting a bit more and coming out with some really unique and delicious IPAs. By the time Double Jack was gone in late 2016 we were already seeing the 3rd beer in the Luponic Distortion Series and, by early 2017 we got Fortem, the first in Firestone’s new Leo v. Ursus Series of IPAs.
Now Firestone Walker is ready to debut the 7th iteration in the Luponic Distortion Series. Just released in California and hitting the Seattle market within the next couple of weeks is Luponic Distortion Revolution No. 007, featuring three different Australian hop varieties.
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.
It took me a while to warm up to cans. I grew up in the era where the vast majority of beer that came in cans was horrible, mass-produced American Lagers. That likely tainted my response a bit, but I also still believe that beer tastes better out of bottles than out of cans. I’ve even read a few studies/blind tests that confirm this conclusion (albeit by a narrow margin).
Even so, I’ve come around on cans. The taste difference between can vs. bottle is virtually imperceptible to most and there’s also the fact that many new, highly sought-after beers only come in cans now (some also on tap, if you can find ’em). Now, Ninkasi Brewing Company has decided to jump on the can wagon and just announced that they’ll start canning their beers.
Things are moving pretty quickly in today’s craft beer World. New craft breweries are popping up everywhere like weeds and exciting new beers are being released constantly. Many of these new beers can only be found on tap but if they become popular enough, they usually find their way into bottles or cans.
Ninkasi Brewing Company loves hoppy beers and believes in “brewing without limitations.” It was in this spirit that they added First Rule IPA to their Rare & Delicious Series back in March. Now, they’re ready to promote this beer that’s been so popular on tap to their Special Release Series in 12 oz and 22 oz bottles.