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.
Welcome to 2016! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are keeping warm out there in this chilly January weather. I’ve been keeping myself warm with all the wonderful bourbon barrel aged stouts I’ve been picking up lately as well as all the other high ABV beers that have been on tap around town.
If you’re looking for a place to warm up this Winter season, enjoy some delicious craft beer, cider, spirits and great food, then maybe it’s time for a visit to Burgundian, which is getting ready to celebrate their 4th Anniversary next Saturday, January 16th.
Yesterday, the big news broke about Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Elysian Brewing. Reactions ranged all over. Some people congratulated Elysian. Many people got angry. Others just didn’t know what to make of it.
I myself decided to have a little ‘fun’ with Elysian by posting their original label design for “Loser IPA”, which carries the words: “Corporate Beer Still Sucks” (see below). I couldn’t help but find it a bit ironic, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons, and I guess I wasn’t alone in that. I posted it in jest on both Facebook and Twitter, and was frankly surprised at the reach it had/how many people responded to the image. It was even picked up by and used in a brief article that appeared on Eater Seattle.
So, today, I’d like to clarify a few things regarding my thoughts on this merger:
Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca, David Buhler and everyone else at Elysian have worked very hard over the years to make Elysian Brewing a successful, nationally (and even internationally) recognized brewery that puts out some damn fine beers. They have done an amazing job of building their brand and nobody can say they haven’t earned the reputation they have in today’s craft beer World.
If you’re a craft beer drinker in the Seattle area, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been to Elysian Brewing Company. They have three brewpub locations around the city: Capitol Hill, Tangletown and Elysian Fields down by the stadiums, as well as their new Elysian Bar down on 2nd Avenue downtown. If you ever make it to Georgetown, then you’ve also likely seen their big production brewing facility down on Airport way, where they have held their Great Pumpkin Beer Festival for the past few years.
Founded in 1995 by Head Brewer and Founder, Dick Cantwell, CEO and Founder, Joe Bisacca and Founder, David Buhler, Elysian Brewing has grown to become one of Seattle’s largest and most respected craft breweries. They brew several iconic beers that are well known around the Puget Sound and indeed across the country. Now, Elysian prepares the latest release in their ‘Dick’s Picks’ Series: Knock On Nelson Wood Aged IPA.
Back in 2008, a few friends (including Ian Roberts, Matthew Younts and Mike Baker) were wandering around the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and realized how many of the great beers they were seeing there were from the Pacific Northwest. That simple realization became the spark that helped them decide Seattle needed its own annual celebration of all things craft beer. Less than a year later, Seattle Beer Week was born.
Kicking off in 2009, Seattle Beer Week (SBW) has grown steadily each year. This year there are well over 300 different events, spanning 11 days. That’s incredible. The first Seattle Beer Week that I attended and covered was the 3rd annual, in 2011. That year, there were fewer than 200 total events – still a very respectable number for such a young festival.
With so much going on over the 11 days of Seattle Beer Week, from May 8th to May 18th, you’ll want to take a little time to look over the complete list of events on Seattle Beer Week’s website, and decide which ones you’d like to attend. If you’re entertaining notions of attending every single event, you can abandon them now. Unless you have the ability to teleport and/or replicate yourself, as well as the ability to drink more beer than any human being would likely be able to consume safely, then you’re pretty much out of luck.
Not all craft beer bars are created equal. Thankfully, we have some pretty amazing craft beer bars in and around Seattle. One such establishment is Burgundian in Seattle’s Tangletown neighborhood. They opened their doors on December 28th, 2011 to rave reviews and have only improved since then. If you’re looking for a place with a great beer selection (plus a full liquor bar), and amazing food to accompany those delicious drinks, then you need to get to Burgundian.
My Pint Of SBW 5th Anniversary Pale Ale & A Six Pack To Go
Today, Monday, May 13th, is the 5th day of Seattle Beer Week 2013. Before I head out to ‘Can You Handle My Randall’ today at The Pine Box, I wanted to recap for you the events I have attended during the first four days up until the 12th. In all, I have attended nine different events so far, including three stops on the 9th – kickoff night, at several locations all around the city.
Things kicked off for me on the 9th with a little personal pre-event at Fremont Brewing. I wanted to try a pint of the official Seattle Beer Week Pale Ale, and grab a six pack to take home before things started to get too crazy. Fremont did a great job with the Pale Ale. It’s a nice, flavorful session Ale that’s been a great accompaniment to the wonderful, warm weather we’ve been having lately.
Last week I mentioned that, this year for Seattle Beer Week, I’ll be scaling back my participation a bit from the previous few years. “This is due primarily to some work and school commitments, but also due to some personal financial considerations. I may attend more than one event on certain days, but for the most part, one event a day is what I’m budgeted for this year.” The events I outlined in that post seemed to be the most cost effective for anyone trying to do Seattle Beer Week on a tight budget, while giving you the most overall value for your dollar. However, they weren’t all necessarily the exact events I plan on attending myself.
How many times have you seen an advertisement for a restaurant, fast food or otherwise, where the food being shown looks simply incredible? The ribs look perfect, with just the right amount of sauce. The burger looks thick and juicy, with plenty of lettuce, tomato and cheese. That dish of Italian pasta? It’s virtually overflowing from the dish and covered in a decadent sauce and curls of hand-shaved Asiago cheese. But what happens when you actually go to these places and order what you saw in the ad? Unfortunatley, most of the time it’s a bit of a disappointment. The ribs are dry and overcooked, and they want to charge your for extra sauce. The burger looks like something someone sat on while on the bus. The pasta looks more like something that came out of a can with Chef Boyardee smiling at you from the label. Have you ever had such an experience? It can be disappointing to say the least.
Seattle Beer Week 2013 is just under one month away, kicking off this year on Thursday, May 9th. Did it sneak up on you? There are already well over 100 events listed for this year’s Seattle Beer Week and more are being added all the time. If you haven’t already, it’s definitely time to start making plans and deciding which ‘must attend’ events you want to hit up this year. With so many events happening, there are bound to be a few conflicts – two or more events you’d like to attend, but each happening at a different end of town at the same time. That’s why it’s important to start planning now.