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.
One of the best things about the cold, dark days of Winter are all of the dark, delicious Stouts that come along with it. Sure, you can drink a good Stout anytime, but Fall and especially Winter are when our palates seem to turn more towards the dark side and crave all those deep, rich, coffee/chocolate/roasty and often barrel-aged flavors that a good Stout provides.
February is Stout Month and Fort George Brewery is ready to celebrate with a full month of events and beer releases. Don’t worry if you can’t make it down to Oregon for some of the Traveling Carnival Of Stouts events. They’ve planned 5 events for Washington Fort George fans as well.
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.
There’s more to life than just beer. Yep, I said it, and it’s true. Sometimes, even someone who loves craft beer as much as I do needs a change of pace. Also, since I love Mexican food – both traditional and Tex-Mex, a good Margarita and perhaps a shot of tequila or two is something I always enjoy.
This past Saturday, my wife Lynn and I were in the mood to go out for dinner and a few drinks, so we headed to Moctezuma’s Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar at the Southcenter Mall, who had learned about my interest when I emailed them with a Margarita question, and graciously offered to buy us dinner and drinks. Moctezuma’s also has locations in Tacoma, Gig Harbor and a new location coming soon in Silverdale. The Tacoma location was their first, having been opened back in 1978 by Arturo and Magdelena Garcia. Their son, Bernie, took the reigns from Mom & Dad and is the one responsible for their continued success and expansion.
I don’t always get to each of these places as often as I’d like, which is unfortunate. The two I tend to make it to the most often are The Beer Junction and Beveridge Place Pub, both in West Seattle. With only a minor detour, both places are basically on my way home from work. Don’t get me wrong though. Convenience is not, by any means, the only reason I frequent these two places. In fact, Beveridge Place is regularly named one of Seattle’s best pubs on many ‘Best Of’ lists and The Beer Junction was just awarded Best Bottle Shop In Washington for the 4th year in a row from Rate Beer.
Oh hops, how do I love thee. Let me count the ways. Actually, I’d better not. With so many amazing hoppy beers out there, counting them all would take quite a while. For the moment, I only want to worry about a particular set of hoppy beers that are back and ready to hit the road. Returning for its third year and kicking off this week is the Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow.
I first told you about this event last month and now I wanted to update you with the full details. Set to make its first stop this Thursday the 4th at Brouwer’s Cafe, the Hop Mob Roadshow will also hit several other locations around the Sound, bringing you the biggest, boldest, strongest and, of course, hoppiest beers around.
Originally inspired by the rather ridiculous amount of hype attributed to a particular Triple IPA from a well known Northern California brewery, the Hop Mob set out to prove that Washington Brewers can make triple IPAs just as well (and in my opinion even better) than just about anyone else.
We may be well into Winter in the great Northwest (Dang it’s cold out there!), and that currently has me deeply engrossed in lots of dark, rich, roasty, chocolaty, delicious Porters and Stouts – especially the bourbon barrel aged variety, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still enjoy the occasional hoppy and satisfying IPA. A hophead like me can never go too long without one. In fact, I think I’ll make my next one a Double IPA just for good measure. I like ’em strong and quite hoppy. I’d have a Triple IPA, but they’re a bit more difficult to track down this time of year. That will change, however, in just a few short months.
Last February I told you about a unique new series of events dubbed the Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow. It was a celebration of the relatively new and still unofficial style, the Triple IPA. Featuring 12 different breweries and spanning 5 events around the Sound from Lynnwood down to Tacoma, the Roadshow was a great way to explore this strong and hop-heavy style of craft beer. Well, the Roadshow is back for 2014 with more breweries, more events and even more Triple IPA goodness.
It’s been a warm Seattle Summer. With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s the other day, however, I know a lot of people who are glad that the rain is back, at least briefly, and the temperatures are dropping a bit. Personally, I don’t mind the warmer temperatures we’ve been having. Our Summers are traditionally pretty short here in the Northwest, so I say enjoy the heat while it’s here. Soon enough the clouds and rain will be back for months on end (*muffled cheers from the back of the room*).