As we finally begin to slowly emerge from the insanity of the past year thanks (Ha!) to COVID-19, many local breweries are beginning to expand their hours again. I know they’re all looking forward to seeing more of us visit their taprooms for some much needed social time (sill responsibly distanced, of course), and Lowercase Brewing Company is ready.Continue reading
Celebrating brewery anniversaries in the time of COVID19 feels a bit sad. I’ve celebrated quite a few this year, in properly socially-distanced form, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Sure, we can all still do what’s necessary to help support our favorite craft breweries during this difficult time, but not being able to attend a big party/gathering, nor any other type of festivals or craft beer events this year, is really starting to wear on me.
Counterbalance Brewing Company in Georgetown understand this. I know they’d love to have a great big party to celebrate, but that wouldn’t be safe or responsible. Instead, they’ve put together a 3-day event with limited outdoor seating (make your reservations now!), food trucks, and 3 new beer releases and a few special releases from their cellar.
Our World has really changed. There’s no doubt about it. With the COVID-19 pandemic and America’s pitiful response. We can’t expect things to get back to normal anytime soon. Personally, other than trump and his pitiful and downright criminal response, I blame the thousands of selfish and ignorant idiots who continue to flaunt social distancing rules and refuse to wear masks.
Many event organizers have already cancelled several events scheduled for this Fall. One of the more painful casualties will be Oktoberfest celebrations. In fact, Oktoberfest has even been cancelled in Germany this year – the first time it’s been cancelled since World War II. That means, if you want to celebrate Oktoberfest this year, you’ll have to do it at home – and Tavour is ready to help.
I know. I know. It’s still technically Winter and many of you are still in Barleywine and/or Imperial Stout mode, but I’m betting that hasn’t stopped you from enjoying some tasty IPAs too. After all, anytime is a good time for a tasty IPA.
Apparently Hellbent Brewing Company agrees. They’re set to release four different IPAs this month, and will be hosting their annual Poké & Pints For Public Lands event with the fourth release just after Spring arrives on March 20th. One of the IPAs is experimental. One is a POG. One is hop-forward and tropical, and the last is a PTG (Passionfruit, Tangerine, Guava) and will make wanna you hang loose. Say hello to Test Flight, Pau Hana, Expansion Pack and \m/ Shaka.
Seattle certainly has its share of craft beer events and festivals. I’ve been to more than my fair share and I’m betting many of you have as well. Some of my favorite annual events take place at one of my favorite craft beer bars in the city: Brouwer’s Cafe. I first discovered Brouwer’s way back in 2005, the year they opened, and immediately fell in love. They have great, Belgian inspired food and always have a great tap selection – especially during events/festivals.
Brouwer’s has several great events coming up over the next month. It all kicks off with the 18th annual Hard Liver festival coming up this Saturday, February 29th and culminates with their 15th anniversary celebration on March 28th. Now I know what you’re thinking. How can this be the 18th Hard Liver fest but only Brouwer’s 15th anniversary? Not to worry. This is a logical explanation for this discrepancy. The first few years of the Hard Liver fest were held at the Phinney Ridge Neighborhood Center, before Brouwer’s Cafe opened.
There aren’t a whole lot of breweries in Seattle that focus primarily on Belgians, Sours and Farmhouse/Wild Ales. Some of the best known are probably Holy Mountain Brewing and Urban Family Brewing (who has returned to Ballard – opening tomorrow at noon). A few others with a similar focus have opened fairly recently including Best of Hands Barrelhouse a year ago and the just opened Fair Isle Brewing in Ballard. However, there’s another brewery in Seattle that has been quietly producing Belgians, Sours and Farmhouse/Wild Ales for nearly 6 years now. That brewery is Tin Dog Brewing in South Park.
Since opening in 2014 they’ve kept a somewhat low profile. It took them a couple of years to begin bottling, but they’ve been packaging more and more beers and just this week started sending out kegs to local craft beer bars. They have also recently rebranded themselves as a blendery (there will be no name change, however). In their own words:
It’s not just February, it’s Flagship February. Although some newer breweries are shunning the trend (Seattle’s Cloudburst Brewing Company comes to mind), many breweries have one (or more) flagship beers. These are the beers they’re know for – the beers that help build their brand and are still popular today. Some good examples would be Sierra Nevada‘s Pale Ale, Pike Brewing‘s Pike Place Ale or Pyramid Brewing Company‘s classic Hefeweizen.
I’ll be honest. I was oblivious to the fact that it was Flagship February myself until Pyramid Brewing reminded me by sending me a care package containing some of their most popular flagship beers including their classic Hefeweizen, their Apricot Ale (which was one of the first craft beers I tried in Seattle) and, another classic, McTarnahan’s Amber Ale from Portland Brewing Company.
There are lots of different foods that pair quite well with beer. In fact, I really wish more high end restaurants would put as much care into curating their beer lists as they do their wine lists, because I believe there’s a craft beer out there suitable to pair with pretty much any meal.
Don’t get me wrong though. Food and craft beer pairings shouldn’t be limited to just high end restaurants. While I do indeed love to pair a good sirloin steak with a hoppy Pale Ale or pair a steamed lobster tail with a nice Belgian Tripel, I still enjoy more classic pairings like pizza and a good IPA or a mushroom Swiss burger with a smoked Porter. One of my favorite beer and food pairings though is a bowl of chili and… well, it can depend on the type of chili. Many people love to pair a good chili with a hearty Stout. Others might prefer an assertive IPA – especially if the chili is extra spicy – and still others would select a nice Saison.
Arts and crafts was never really my thing. I’m creative. I used to play guitar all the time, but don’t ask me to draw anything. It would come out looking like it was made by a kid in the 4th grade. I was a bit better at working with clay, sculpting and using a pottery wheel, but I only dabbled a bit and never really got into it long term. These days, I let my creativity come out in my writing instead, but I still wish I was a better at drawing.
Do you have a gift for the artistic – or would you like to work on your artistic skills? If so, Tin Dog Brewing Company has an event coming up that might interest you. On Wednesday, March 18th, Tin Dog’s Art Series will have local artist Amanda Caps in house to host a class on creating pieces of art using Precious Metal Clay (PMC), which is clay infused with copper or brass. You can use this special clay to create your own pieces of metal jewelry to keep for yourself or gift to others.
Here we are, smack in the middle of the Winter beer season. That means Stouts – big, bold, rich Stouts. I can enjoy a good Stout any time of year but, each February, Fort George Brewing Company out of Astoria, Oregon really brings the hits. Are you ready for this year’s Festival of Dark Arts and Stout Month?
As an added bonus, with this being a leap year, Stout month is a day longer this year. Fort George is taking advantage of that extra day and releasing more Stouts during Stout Month this year than ever before. Festival of Dark Arts tickets sold out in record time this year, so if you were fortunate enough to get one, I’m a bit envious. I’ll have to settle for drinking the Fort George Stouts that will make their way up to Seattle.