As I recently mentioned in another article here on CraftBeerMonger.com, Cascade Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon has, for years, set the gold standard for Sour Ales produced in the Pacific Northwest. They’ve been producing outstanding Sour Ales since 2006 and I can honestly say I’ve never had a beer from them that I don’t like.
Most craft beer lovers I know have at least a few Cascade bottles in their cellar. If you don’t, or if you’d like to make your cellar a bit more Cascade heavy, then they have an event coming up next week that you’ll want to check out. From July 22nd through July 29th, Cascade is hosting a “Raid The Cellar” event, with heavily discounted pricing on select Sour Ales.
Do you have any favorite recipes? If so, do you share them freely or do you keep them a secret? Colonel Sanders did everything he could to protect KFC’s secret blend of 11 herbs and spices, and Coca-Cola keeps their secret recipe in a pretty serious looking vault, which is actually on display at the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta. In case you weren’t aware, recipes can’t be copyrighted, which is why KFC, Coke and many other companies go to such great lengths to keep their recipes secret.
Craft breweries may not protect their recipes as fiercely as KFC or Coke, but they still don’t usually make them public or easy to share. They’ll often let you know what hops they use, what malt(s) they use and even which strain of yeast they brewed the beer with but that’s mainly because, for many craft beer enthusiasts, knowing those things can influence their choices. However, unlike KFC or Coke who keep their recipes the same year after year (‘New Coke’ notwithstanding), breweries will sometimes alter the recipes for some of their favorite beers based on feedback from their customers or their own taste buds.
I wasn’t always a fan of Sour Ales. They weren’t a big thing when I first got into craft beer back in the 80’s but, since first discovering them several years ago, I can’t get enough. Super sour or just mildly tart, fruited or not, I’ve come to appreciate a wide variety of Sour Ales.
They weren’t the first Sour Ales I’ve ever had, but I’ve enjoyed just about every sour offering from Firestone Walker Brewing Company‘s Barrelworks series. Each year they keep expanding their wild/sour portfolio and this year is no exception. Say hello to the newest offering from Barrelworks: Bretta Tangerine. Brewed with Murcott tangerines, Bretta Tangerine is the latest beer to build on Barrelworks’ signature Bretta Weisse base beer.
Sour and Wild Ales can be an acquired taste. I know a few people who just can’t get into them, but I also know many people who simply can’t get enough of them. If you’re one of the later, then you know that some breweries just do their Sour and Wild Ales right.
One such brewery is Firestone Walker Brewing Company, who has given us several Sour/Wild gems like Agrestic, Bretta Rose, Krieky Bones and many more. Now Firestone is ready to reveal the latest offering from their Barrelworks Wild Ale series: Peachy Bones.
Summer has finally arrived in the Northwest! It hit almost 90 degrees in Seattle yesterday and should be another hot one today. With it being so nice and warm outside, you’re definitely going to need something to help cool you down for the weekend.
Lucky for you, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is set to bring back their popular, Seasonal offering: Beaktweaker Citrus IPA. Brewed with black lemon, orange and lemon peel, this bold, citrusy IPA should help quench your thirst on all those warm Summer days ahead.
Spring is being stubborn in the Northwest this year. With a few 1-2 day exceptions our temperatures have been, on average, lower than they should be for this time of year. Fear not though, it looks like warmer temperatures will return by mid week and should be sticking around this time. It’s a good thing too because, though it may still be Spring, Summer seasonals are starting to arrive.
That warmer weather is good news for Ninkasi too as they prepare to roll out their Summer Seasonal Maiden The Shade IPA as well as their Summer IPA Variety 12-Pack featuring: Total Domination IPA, Maiden The Shade IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA and Prismatic Juicy IPA. This year’s variety 12-pack features bottles and cans. Both should arrive in early May.
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.