I’ve been a Washingtonian for nearly 20 years now. I love the Washington craft beer scene and the plethora of wonderful craft breweries in the state, but some of my favorite breweries are still from California. One such brewery is Firestone Walker Brewing Company out of Paso Robles, CA.
Each year since their 10th Anniversary, Firestone Walker has released a special Anniversary Ale. They hold an annual blending session, with both brewers and winemakers in attendance, in order to craft the perfect blend for each year’s Anniversary Ale offering. Now, Firestone Walker is preparing to release the latest version: XXI Anniversary Ale.
With so many breweries in Seattle, it seems like there’s always an anniversary celebration just around the corner (not that I’m complaining or anything!). Over the past few months I’ve told you about anniversary celebrations from such local breweries as Lucky Envelope, Hellbent, Stoup and Naked City and there’s still more anniversary celebrations to come before the year is out.
Now Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is getting ready to celebrate a major milestone. Coming up on Saturday, November 4th, they’ll be celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Rather than celebrating for just one day, however, Two Beers has nearly an entire week of events lined up, culminating with the Grand Celebration on the 4th.
This time of year, my taste buds are always in eager anticipation of all the upcoming delightful, dreamy, dark and delicious barrel-aged beers that begin to arrive as our days grow shorter and shorter. My wallet isn’t always so happy about it (There are a lot of releases to keep up with!), but my taste buds usually win that battle.
We’ve already seen a few barrel-aged releases this season and now Ninkasi Brewing Company is ready to get in on the action with the return of their popular, ‘space yeast’ utilizing, Ground Control Imperial Stout. This November they’ll be releasing two Bourbon Barrel-Aged versions of this popular brew in 22 oz bottles. It will also be available on draft in select markets. You can also get a taste of Ground Control at two special Oregon events: the Ninkasi Space Beer Dinner at OMSI on November 7th and the Space Oddity Ball at the Ninkasi Tasting Room on November 11th.
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.