Ten years ago. That’s when it all began. That’s when Seattle area craft beer lovers got to experience the first ever Seattle Beer Week and the first ever official Seattle Beer Week beer (a double IPA from Pike Brewing Company). Back then, many of our favorite local craft breweries and craft beer bars didn’t even exist yet. Whereas today, it seems, we have a craft brewery or craft beer bar around almost every corner.
More craft breweries and more craft beer bars means even more Seattle Beer Week events. Are you ready? Surviving the week (actually 11 days) will take careful planning. I’m here to give you some suggestions on which events you might want to check out. So sit back, if you’ve managed to pick up any yet, grab yourself a can of this year’s official Seattle Beer Week beer – Citrus Galaxy IPA from Georgetown Brewing Company – and take a look a Craft Beer Monger’s Picks for Seattle Beer Week 10.
We’re fortunate in the Seattle area to have such a plethora of craft beer festivals to attend, pretty much year-round. In addition to being a great way to enjoy and share our love of craft beer, many of these festivals also serve to benefit various non-profit organizations and other worthy causes. Well, get ready for one more festival in town as Elysian Brewing Company prepares to host the first ever Search Party this July at the Seattle Center.
This one-day festival will be a celebration of beer, food, music and the arts, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting The Vera Project. With music and the arts no longer part of the core curriculum at many schools, it’s more important than ever to find other ways to cultivate a love of music and the arts in young people and to provide the necessary skills to pursue careers in those fields. That’s what The Vera Project does. According to their Mission Statement: “The Vera Project fuels personal and community transformation through collaborative, youth-driven engagement in music and art.”
Since I live in the South end, I’ve been a bit of an advocate for Seattle’s many South end breweries. Back in 2015 I even published an article encouraging craft beer lovers to check out all of the breweries in SoDo, Georgetown, South Park and Columbia City. As I pointed out in that article, the South end rivals Ballard for the sheer number of breweries you can visit, albeit spread out a bit more than the concentration in Ballard.
In order to continue encouraging craft beer fans to visit Seattle’s South end breweries, they have come together to form the South Seattle Brewery Coalition (SSBC), which encourages you to “be disloyal” and drink someone else’s beer. According to the SSBC: “We love challenging one another to make better beer, to provide more excellent service, and to better educate the wonderful people who have chosen to support our businesses.”
I know, I know. It’s not Fall yet. However, that doesn’t mean that breweries can’t start bringing us their Fall releases, does it? Elysian Brewing Company doesn’t think so. In fact they’ve already released their Night Owl Pumpkin Ale.
Now, joining Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, three other pumpkin beers are making their annual return from Elysian: Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale, Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout, and Punkuccino Coffee Pumpkin Ale.
They make pie out of it. They put it in your latte. They put it’s scent into air fresheners. Heck, they put it in just about everything these days the moment any hint of Fall is in the air. Of course, the very best way to use that wonderful gourd known as the pumpkin is in beer.
Elysian Brewing Company understand this, and they have for a very long time. So, back for 2016 is the 12th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival. For the past few years, this event has been taking place at Elysian’s relatively new production brewing facility in Georgetown. This year, however, it’s moving to Elysian Fields on 1st Avenue South.
I became a member/owner of Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery back in 2011 as member number 12 and, shortly after joining, became a member of the Flying Bike board of directors. Today, I’m no longer a board member but retain my membership and so, it is with a sense of pride and excitement that I’m able to report that well known Seattle brewer, Kevin Forhan, has been announced as Flying Bike’s head brewer.
Yesterday, the big news broke about Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Elysian Brewing. Reactions ranged all over. Some people congratulated Elysian. Many people got angry. Others just didn’t know what to make of it.
I myself decided to have a little ‘fun’ with Elysian by posting their original label design for “Loser IPA”, which carries the words: “Corporate Beer Still Sucks” (see below). I couldn’t help but find it a bit ironic, for what I think are pretty obvious reasons, and I guess I wasn’t alone in that. I posted it in jest on both Facebook and Twitter, and was frankly surprised at the reach it had/how many people responded to the image. It was even picked up by and used in a brief article that appeared on Eater Seattle.
So, today, I’d like to clarify a few things regarding my thoughts on this merger:
Dick Cantwell, Joe Bisacca, David Buhler and everyone else at Elysian have worked very hard over the years to make Elysian Brewing a successful, nationally (and even internationally) recognized brewery that puts out some damn fine beers. They have done an amazing job of building their brand and nobody can say they haven’t earned the reputation they have in today’s craft beer World.
If you’re a craft beer drinker in the Seattle area, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve been to Elysian Brewing Company. They have three brewpub locations around the city: Capitol Hill, Tangletown and Elysian Fields down by the stadiums, as well as their new Elysian Bar down on 2nd Avenue downtown. If you ever make it to Georgetown, then you’ve also likely seen their big production brewing facility down on Airport way, where they have held their Great Pumpkin Beer Festival for the past few years.
Founded in 1995 by Head Brewer and Founder, Dick Cantwell, CEO and Founder, Joe Bisacca and Founder, David Buhler, Elysian Brewing has grown to become one of Seattle’s largest and most respected craft breweries. They brew several iconic beers that are well known around the Puget Sound and indeed across the country. Now, Elysian prepares the latest release in their ‘Dick’s Picks’ Series: Knock On Nelson Wood Aged IPA.
The holiday season kind of snuck up on me this year. Just yesterday, my wife and I had to go out to run a few errands and we were amazed at how large the holiday shopping crowds were. Granted, it was pretty nice out this weekend; cold but sunny and clear, so I suppose there were a lot of people trying to get a jump on their shopping.
As busy as everyone gets this time of year with family, shopping and general holiday preparations, it’s important to schedule a few diversions; y’know, to get your mind off all the happy, merry, cheery, I’m going to go insane if I hear ‘Jingle Bells’ one more time, omnipresence of the season. To help you out on that front, here are 10 great craft beer events coming up between tomorrow, November 18th and Thursday, December 18th, just one week before Christmas.
Back in 2008, a few friends (including Ian Roberts, Matthew Younts and Mike Baker) were wandering around the Great American Beer Festival in Denver and realized how many of the great beers they were seeing there were from the Pacific Northwest. That simple realization became the spark that helped them decide Seattle needed its own annual celebration of all things craft beer. Less than a year later, Seattle Beer Week was born.
Kicking off in 2009, Seattle Beer Week (SBW) has grown steadily each year. This year there are well over 300 different events, spanning 11 days. That’s incredible. The first Seattle Beer Week that I attended and covered was the 3rd annual, in 2011. That year, there were fewer than 200 total events – still a very respectable number for such a young festival.
With so much going on over the 11 days of Seattle Beer Week, from May 8th to May 18th, you’ll want to take a little time to look over the complete list of events on Seattle Beer Week’s website, and decide which ones you’d like to attend. If you’re entertaining notions of attending every single event, you can abandon them now. Unless you have the ability to teleport and/or replicate yourself, as well as the ability to drink more beer than any human being would likely be able to consume safely, then you’re pretty much out of luck.