Are you a fan of sour or wild ales? Not everyone is and that’s just fine by me. Fewer fans simply means there’s more for those of us who do enjoy them to drink. For those who do enjoy them though, we have some breweries here in the Northwest who excel at making incredible sour and wild ales, including Holy Mountain, Urban Family, Engine House Number 9, Cascade and more.
Though I’m a huge fan of Washington (and Oregon) brewed beers, I don’t hide the fact that several of my favorite breweries are, in fact, from California including one of my all time favorites: Firestone Walker Brewing Company. Firestone’s Barrelworks Wile Ale program has it’s roots all the way back in 2006, when Barrelworks’ Master Blender, Jim Crooks, took a trip to Belgium to work with Lauren Salazar (New Belgium Brewing). He returned with some dregs from one of their 15 or so Foeders and placed it into a French oak wine barrel of freshly filtered and un-carbonated Firestone DBA. This experiment was the foundation of what would eventually become Barrelworks’/Firestone Walker’s Agrestic Ale. Continue reading →
Now, Firestone Walker is ready for another first. All of Firestone Walker’s Vintage Reserve barrel-aged beers will be moving from from 22-ounce bombers to individually boxed 12-ounce bottles. The first beer up for the 12-ounce treatment is Bravo Imperial Brown Ale, which is being bottled for the first time in 12 years.
There’s no denying that IPA is the most popular style of craft beer out there. While most beer lovers I know enjoy a wide variety of styles, the IPA is still king for many. There’s just something about the right combination of malt and the right hops in a good IPA that can be quite satisfying with a good meal or all on its own.
Even with the incredible number of different IPAs out there though, many of them still manage to set themselves apart, particularly to those with more discerning palates. Piney, citrusy, dank, earthy, floral and herbal, along with fruit notes of all varieties and other undertones, are just a few of the many adjectives one might use to describe the dizzying array of aromas and flavors found in a well made IPA. Over time, some IPA lovers get to know the flavors of their favorite IPAs so well they an even pick them out blind.
Sometimes ‘real life’ can be a pain. I’m a writer/blogger on the side, but I still have a regular, full-time job and the same day-to-day responsibilities as everyone else. That means, just like many of you, I don’t have unlimited time (nor an unlimited budget). This means that, unfortunately, I don’t always make it to all the new Seattle area breweries I’d like to as soon as I’d like to. Of course, that’s a challenging prospect with so many new breweries opening around here all the time.
One of the new breweries that I haven’t found the time to visit yet is Sumerian Brewing Company up in Woodinville. I have enjoyed a few of their beers at some events and festivals I’ve attended, but I really need to visit the taproom and get to know more about them and their beers. With their 1st Anniversary coming up next month, I’ll have to see if I can find the time for a visit.