Four Breweries Team Up To Host Ballard Oktoberfest

Is it really getting to be that time already?  Summer, especially in Seattle, always seems so darn short.  A couple of weeks ago I was already seeing pumpkin beers appearing on craft beer store shelves and now, here come the Oktoberfest announcements.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Fall and the Seasonal craft styles that come along with it, but it’s a bittersweet reminder that the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and Summer is starting to fade.

Of course, as I just mentioned, Fall’s arrival also means Oktoberfest biers and Oktoberfest celebrations.  The Märzen/Oktoberfest style is probably my favorite style of Lager.  Sure, a well made Pilsner is great on a hot Summer day, but I love the more toasty malt flavors of a good Märzen.  If you’re also a fan of a good Märzen and other German/European styles (Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Kölsch, Vienna Lager, Roggenbier, etc.) then you’ll want to mark your calendar for September 16th and this year’s Ballard Oktoberfest.

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Bale Breaker Announces Sesiones del Migrante Mango IPA

Just last week I told you about the Harvest Collaboration Series form Bale Breaker Brewing Company, in which they paired with four different craft breweries to create the beers for the series.  They’ll have staggered releases from August through October.  Now, while they’re still in the collaborative mood, Bale Breaker is at it again with the upcoming release of Sesiones del Migrante Mango IPA in six-packs.

Sesiones del Migrante is a series of beers that Bale Breaker has brewed in conjunction with Mexican and American breweries, in a collaboration that spans 5 breweries and 2 countries.  Created in celebration of the Mexican migrant workers who travel to the Yakima Valley each year to help harvest the precious hops for all those wonderful craft beers we all enjoy, it’s due to arrive both on tap and in cans on September 7th and will see distribution throughout Washington and Northern Idaho.

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Melvin Brewing Bellingham Expands Their Hours

Just a couple of years ago, beers from Melvin Brewing Company out of Wyoming started appearing in the Seattle area.  Being a big fan of hoppy beers as well as strong beers, I was immediately drawn to Melvin’s offerings, which satisfied both of these cravings quite nicely.  I can recall drinking quite a bit of their Melvin IPA and, of course, their extremely popular 2X4 Double (some might say triple with its 10% ABV) IPA.

Fast forward now to 2017 – just a few months ago.  Melvin Brewing decided it was time to expand and opened their first brewpub up in Bellingham on June 3rd.  I visited them a few weeks after their opening but  had to plan my day out carefully, because Melvin’s Bellingham location wasn’t set to open until 4 pm.  That’s about to change.  Starting on Monday, August 14th, Melvin Brewing Bellingham will start opening at 11 am and serving lunch.

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Join Schooner Exact For A Hop Field Trip This September

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.

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Are You Ready For The 15th Annual Bend Brewfest?

There are breweries all across the U.S. that are making some truly great craft beers, but I find that I tend to favor those that come from the West coast: Washington, Oregon and California.  I’m sure that’s probably due, in part, to what I guess you’d call regional loyalty.  I live in Washington and grew up most of the way in California.  It’s probably also party due to the fact my first introduction to craft beers was in California were I was drinking stuff from some of the early craft beer pioneers like Sierra Nevada, Mendocino Brewing and Anderson Valley Brewing, just to name a few.

Despite my general West coast preferences, however, please don’t ever ask me to pick a single favorite beer or a single favorite brewery.  It’s just become too difficult with so many great craft beer producers out there today.  There are, however, some breweries in Oregon that are doing some truly amazing work, particularly in the Bend area.  I’m a big fan of Crux, Boneyard and, of course, The Ale Apothecary – who was recently named one of the best 25 breweries in America by Gear Patrol. Also on the list were other West coast breweries: de Garde, Lost Abbey, MonkishSante Adairius & Sierra Nevada.  Personally, I’m a bit disappointed that Seattle’s own Holy Mountain Brewing didn’t make the list.

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Are You Ready To Take Your LongShot With Samuel Adams?

The vast majority of brewers out there creating some of your favorite libations at countless craft breweries across the nation were, at one time, homebrewers.  They started out small-scale, found their passion and decided to take it to the next level.  Have you been homebrewing for a while?  Do you get lots of compliments on your beers and feel like you might want to make a career out of brewing?  Then you might want to seriously consider entering the Samuel Adams LongShot American Homebrew Contest.

The winner will gain invaluable experience in a one-week ‘Brewership’ at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery.  Also, the winner and two runners up will attend the next Great American Beer Festival and will get a valuable scholarship for an online course at The Siebel Institute of Technology.  This is an amazing opportunity for the right person to really take their passion for brewing and take a shot at making it their life’s work.  

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Melvin Brewing Opens In Bellingham

Melvin Brewing Company out of Alpine and Jackson, Wyoming brews some pretty tasty beers.  Since they began distribution in the Seattle area in early 2016, I’ve come to really appreciate several of their offerings.  The two of their beers people around here are probably the most familiar with include their wildly popular 2×4 Imperial IPA and, of course, last year’s 3-Way IPA (brewed in conjunction with Fort George Brewing Company and Barley Brown’s).

First launched in 2009, Melvin took off quickly and gained high praise from the brewing industry, including a 2012 Gold Medal at the Great American Beer Festival for their 2×4 Imperial IPA (among other awards).  Now, they’ve launched a 3rd location, and their first full-scale brewpub, right here in Washington State.  Opened in Bellingham on June 3rd, Melvin’s brewpub offers 20 taps (including one rotating guest tap) and a full menu.

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Bale Breaker Announces Their 2017 Summer Food Truck Lineup

Some things just go together, like peanut butter and jelly, chicken and waffles, meat and cheese.  The best pairing for us craft beer lovers, however, might just be the partnership between craft breweries and food trucks.  It’s the perfect arrangement for breweries that don’t serve their own food, as well as for the food trucks.  Brewery patrons don’t have to leave the brewery to go eat or worry about bringing their own food, and the food trucks get a steady supply of customers who need something to accompany those tasty craft beers they just ordered.

For some breweries, like Bale Breaker Brewing Company in Yakima, having food trucks is especially important because there aren’t a lot of food options right nearby.  That’s why Bale Breaker has arranged to have food trucks at the brewery 6 days a week, all summer long through Labor Day.

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Craft Beer Monger’s Top Picks For Seattle Beer Week #9

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).

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Discover The New Growler USA In Redmond

What happens when you take the basic concept of a growler refill station and decide to take it National?  Well, what happens is, you get something like Growler USA.  Founded in 2013 by Dan White (CEO), Dave Shaw (President), and Vern Whittaker (Retired CFO), Growler USA now has 10 locations across the U.S. and are slated to open 50 more throughout 2017-2018.

Each location boasts up to 100 taps of beer (including microbrewed craft beers), hard cider, draft wine & kombucha, plus an extensive food menu. Their tap list varies by location, of course, in order to offer locally-sourced options for their patrons, and their “True to the Brew” system ensures that each brewer’s vision for their product is honored.  Things are kept tightly controlled all the way from keg delivery and storage (using ‘gentle’ keg handling systems to avoid sloshing), to a meticulously maintained tap system and the proper glassware for each pour. Yesterday afternoon I took a trek out to their Redmond location, courtesy $30 in credit from Growler USA, to see what they had to offer first hand.

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