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.
It’s cold out there, so you’d better find a way to keep yourself warm, both inside and out. That’s why it’s a good thing that it’s also Barleywine season. Sitting by a roaring fire with good friends can be a good way to warm you up outside, but all the rich, luscious, high ABV Barleywines that start appearing this time of year are a great way to keep your insides warm as well.
Traditionally, American style Barleywines and English style Barleywines are a bit different from each other. American style Barleywines often put more emphasis on hop character than their English counterparts, but not always. English style Barleywines generally tend to have a richer, maltier character, often with a caramel like sweetness, and are usually a bit heavier in body.
Cycling is huge in the Northwest. Far more than just a recreational vehicle, bicycles are the primary mode of transportation for many people around the Puget Sound. That’s a big part of the reason that Chainline Brewing Company in Kirkland is so cycle/outdoor activities-focused. Their name was inspired by the active, outdoor lifestyles that are so prevalent in the Northwest and their brewery and taproom is located right next to the Cross-Kirkland’s bicycle corridor.
Now, I’m not much of a cyclist myself, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy their beers all the same. Their most popular offerings include their Tune Up IPA and their Polaris Pilsner, which won a Silver Medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2017. Perhaps you’ll even find a few new favorites from Chainline this weekend, as they prepare to celebrate their 4th Anniversary with the release of 4 different styles of a Saison from their Old Growth Series and the return of some of their most popular offerings from the past.
How long can a duck stand on one leg? Well, the mascot for Counterbalance Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) has been doing it for nearly 4 years now and he’s definitely ready to party. You may recall that Counterbalance’s Multipass IPA came in as one of the finalists during Novemberfest at Beveridge Place Pub late last year and now they have another Fifth Element inspired beer coming your way as they prepare to celebrate another trip around the sun.
Come join Counterbalance Brewing this Friday and Saturday, January 25th and 26th, as they celebrate their 4th Anniversary with some new and returning beer releases, including their 4th Anniversary Big Bada Boom Hazy Double Mango IPA and 2019 Bourbon Barrel Kushetka Imperial Stout aged in 2Bar Spirits Bourbon Barrels.
Now, with February almost upon us, Counterbalance Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), is getting ready to celebrate their 3rd anniversary with 2 days of celebration and 2 beer releases, including their first ever Barleywine: Flight Risk.
Are you a fan of English style barleywines? If you aren’t familiar with the style, English barleywines, as compared to American style barleywines, tend to be just a bit more on the sweet side with a more subdued hop character and more fruit esters.
Are you also a fan of small batch breweries? Then Foggy Noggin Brewing Company out of Bothell (ones of Washington’s smallest production craft breweries) has an event coming up that should be right up your alley. Next Friday, February 17th from 6 pm – 8 pm, Foggy Noggin is hosting a vertical tasting (2013, 2015, 2016) of their English style barleywine: Duck’s Ass. There are only 20 spots available for this special vertical tasting and the cost is $30 per person.
Barleywine season is almost here. The 15th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival is coming up next month at Brouwer’s Cafe and the 15th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal will happen at Beveridge Place Pub in March. With these and other barleywine festivals on the way, local breweries are working hard to get their 2017 barley wines ready to go.
To that end, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is just about ready to release their 2017 Old Birdbrain Barleywine, which has been a multiple award winner at the annual Great Alaskan Beer & Barleywine Festival. This year’s vintage will arrive this coming Friday, Jaunary 27th.
Barleywine season usually happens close to the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring. However, there is no reason a barleywine must be released around that time. Anytime is a good time for a great barleywine, and Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) has brought back a multiple award winner.
Just this past Saturday, June 4th Black Raven released the 2016 Vintage of Old Birdbrain Barleywine. Sorry I didn’t tell you about the release before the 4th, but I was out of town and didn’t have access to a computer while I was away.
Last month, I told you about the 12th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival coming to Brouwer’s Café on Saturday, March 15th. Now, Beveridge Place Pub has announced the kickoff date for their 12th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal. Starting on Saturday, March 1st and continuing until Friday, March 7th, or until they run out, this bodacious bastion of barleywine bacchanalia will have well over 50 different barleywines on tap for you to enjoy. At least 30 of Beveridge Place Pub’s taps will be taken over during the Bacchanal, but you’ll have to visit more than once if you want to try them all.
The holidays are over and we’re deep in the heart of Winter around the Sound. I’m just glad we haven’t been experiencing the extremely frigid temperatures much of the nation has had to deal with recently. Ofcourse, the rain has returned and should be sticking around with us for a while (with a possible break this Saturday for the Seahawks vs. Saints division playoff game). Just do your best to stay warm and dry; perhaps while enjoying a delicious craft beer. You can even get one if you’ll be at the game. Century Link Field has been named the #1 best NFL Stadium for craft beer selection in the nation by The Daily Meal.
Though it’s only January, that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about one of the great joys approaching for Seattle area craft beer enthusiasts. Namely: Barleywine festivals. Each year, throughout the Winter and early Spring, craft breweries across the nation and the World start releasing their barleywines and a few different annual events are approaching to celebrate these wonderfully robust creations.