Summer is waning and Fall is drawing closer each day. That must mean it’s Fresh Hop time! Each year, when it’s time for the hop harvest up in Yakima Valley, many local craft breweries prepare to brew their annual Fresh Hop beers – loaded up with fresh-picked hops right off the vine.
Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) prides themselves on always being the first local brewery each year to debut their Fresh Hop IPA, and this year is no different. They held their annual hop picking party, and brewed their Fresh Hop IPA back on August 9th. By next week it will be ready to serve, and Two Beers is welcoming it with a Fresh Hop IPA release party on Wednesday, August 23rd.
Each year, as Fall approaches in the Northwest, it’s hop harvest time. That can only mean one thing: Fresh Hop IPAs are coming. Most beers are brewed using kilned or dried hops, usually in the form of compressed hop pellets. Fresh Hop or Wet Hop beers, on the other hand, utilize fresh, un-kilned hops straight off the vine. This allows them to retain all of their natural oils (some of which can be lost or reduced during the kilning/drying process), and impart a more Earthy and natural character to the finished beer.
When brewing a Fresh Hop Ale, the hops must be utilized with 24 – 48 hours after picking to ensure freshness. Any longer and they’ll start to become soggy and begin to develop mildew and rot. So, when the season arrives, you’ll see plenty of trucks from local breweries making day-trips up to the Yakima Valley to procure their fresh hops for brewing.
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).
Summer is almost here. It may not officially start until June 21st, but things are warming up out there and we’re starting to see other signs of Summer’s return as well. For example, the return of Lima Loca Mexican Lager from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor).
This Summer-inspired brew returns this year as pat of Two Beers’ new Pub Series and even has a brand new look. It will launch next Tuesday the 2nd with a Taco Tuesday release party from 3 pm – 9 pm at The Woods taproom (the shared taproom for Two Beers Brewing Company and Seattle Cider Company), and will even be available in three limited-edition infusions: Raspberry Lima, Agave Rosemary Lima Shandy and Coconut Lima.
SEATTLE (April 17, 2017) – Pyramid Brewing Co. today debuted an invigorated brand aesthetic and experience encompassing an expanded line of canned brews, the addition of Outburst Citrus IPA to Pyramid’s year-round line-up, all-new packaging and revamped digital channels across its website and social media.
The new branding for each beer is pictographic and shares the story of its ingredients by paying homage to iconic Pacific Northwest (PNW) sceneries with a bold color aesthetic. For example, Outburst Imperial IPA’s new label art celebrates the iconic Mt. St. Helens near the brewery’s founding home in Kalama, Wash. and Hefeweizen celebrates classic Pacific Northwest scenery of a tree-lined mountain lake. The bottom of 6-pack carriers will have a call-out to fans to share their adventures with Pyramid. Whether exploring mountain lakes and coastal beaches, walking orchards in Hood River County Fruit Loop, smelling the aroma of hop fields in Yakima and Willamette Valleys, or sipping brews at Pyramid Alehouse before a baseball game, these scenes honor the region’s beautiful surroundings and represent Pyramid’s brand ideals of adventure, curiosity and discovery.
Spring has finally arrived in the Northwest and that means, of course, the return of baseball. For the past few years, I’ve kept you up to date on what delicious craft beers and gourmet food choices you can expect to find each Seattle Mariners season at Safeco Field.
Well, it’s that time again and I’ve been invited back to check out some new offerings for this year’s menu. Ethan Stowell has, once again, partnered with Centerplate and the Seattle Mariners to bring you some amazing creations including: Seattle ‘Wings’ (Taylor Shellfish Farms fried oysters with Frank’s RedHot sauce), authentic Oaxacan chapulines (toasted grasshoppers with chile-lime salt seasoning), and frozen custard cookie sandwiches.
Sumerian Brewing Company has a lot on their plate right now. They continue to add new accounts, so you can now find their beers at 9 Costco locations, Xfinity Arena, 7-11, Haggen stores and Safeway stores, in addition to your local craft bottle shop. They’ve also worked to get their beers onto Washington State ferries and will also be one of several local craft beer choices available at Safeco Field for the coming 2017 Seattle Mariners season (watch for a Mariners 2017 Season Food & Drink preview coming in early April).
In addition, Sumerian is preparing for their 2nd Anniversary celebration and have also started to release their first canned beers thanks to their new canning line. The first of their beers up in cans will be Hopruption – formerly known as Eruption Double IPA.
Pyramid Brewing Company was one of the first breweries I ever visited in Seattle, before I even moved here from California back in ’98. In those days there were far fewer breweries in Seattle. In fact, I’m not sure any of my current favorite Seattle breweries even existed back then. So Pyramid has been playing the game for years now, and they still have a few new tricks up their sleeve.
Today Pyramid is pleased to announced the limited release of their new H7 IPA. This unfiltered, imperial offering joins their new Brewer’s Reserve Series which, so far, only includes H7 and their Super Snow Cap, which I told you about just last November.
Since I live in the South end, I’ve been a bit of an advocate for Seattle’s many South end breweries. Back in 2015 I even published an article encouraging craft beer lovers to check out all of the breweries in SoDo, Georgetown, South Park and Columbia City. As I pointed out in that article, the South end rivals Ballard for the sheer number of breweries you can visit, albeit spread out a bit more than the concentration in Ballard.
In order to continue encouraging craft beer fans to visit Seattle’s South end breweries, they have come together to form the South Seattle Brewery Coalition (SSBC), which encourages you to “be disloyal” and drink someone else’s beer. According to the SSBC: “We love challenging one another to make better beer, to provide more excellent service, and to better educate the wonderful people who have chosen to support our businesses.”
Many of the commercial ciders on the market today tend to be too sweet for my palate. Measured on a scale called Brix, many of those ciders come in at a Brix rating of 4, 5 or even higher. I think that’s why I enjoy so many of the ciders from Seattle Cider Company. They keep their ciders low on the Brix scale, which means they aren’t as cloyingly sweet. Their Dry cider, for example, is 0 (zero) Brix and their Semi-Sweet cider clocks in at just 2.6 Brix.
If you’re also a fan of ciders that stay a bit more on the dry side, then you’ll be excited to learn that Seattle Cider Company is ready to bring back their Spring Seasonal: Basil Mint Cider. Coming in at 6.9 ABV and just 1.8 Brix, this Spring Seasonal starts off with a base of 100 percent fresh pressed Washington apples, accompanied by 100 pounds of fresh basil and 100 pounds of fresh mint. Muddled on site, the basil and mint are then added directly to the cider during fermentation, providing savory and floral characteristics and a clean finish.