Summer is almost here. We had a bit of a tease over Memorial Day weekend (one of the hottest on record in the Puget Sound), but now we’re back to ‘normal’. Oh joy. We might have to wait just a bit longer before Summer truly arrives in Seattle, but at least we can start to enjoy all of the Summer Seasonals that make their return about this time each year.
When the temperatures cool down, our palates often crave something a bit more thick and malty, like a good Stout or Porter. Likewise when the temperatures start to warm up, as they have been lately, we often crave something a bit lighter and crisper that’s not quite as heavy on the palate. That’s why, as Summer approaches, we see more releases of lighter ales and Lagers (like yesterday’s release of Lima Loca from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor)).
Now, after the release of their popular Wisdom Seeker Double IPA in March and in anticipation of their annual Flock Party anniversary celebration, Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) is pleased to announce this year’s release of their Summer Seasonal, Hochzeit Pilsner.
Ninkasi Brewing Company out of Eugene Oregon puts out some excellent craft brews, including several different IPAs. I really enjoy their Total Domination IPA and Tricerahops Double IPA, as well as their Hop Cooler Citrus IPA; and don’t forget about their Maiden The Shade Summer IPA, which I told you about just last week.
With Summer right around the corner, Ninkasi has decided to pull together a few of their most popular IPAs into the Summer IPA Variety Pack. An easy way to please the hopheads in your life, this variety pack will include four different Ninkasi IPAs: Total Domination, Dawn Of The Red, Beer Run and Hop Cooler.
Spring is in full swing in the Northwest and Summer is right around the corner. While I’m still enjoying plenty of tasty Stouts and Porters, the warming weather out there has begun to turn my palate back towards the hoppy beers of Spring and Summer. Ninkasi is preparing to satisfy that hop craving with the impending return, and new look, of their popular Maiden The Shade IPA.
Dubbed a ‘Summer IPA’ by Ninkasi, Maiden The Shade boasts a combination of eight different hops and flaked barley for a smooth finish. It will be available at Ninkasi and on craft beer store shelves wherever Ninkasi beers are sold starting on May 1st.
Time for a short history lesson. Benjamin Franklin (who lived from 1706 – 1790) is often credited with the quote: “In wine there is wisdom, in beer there is Freedom, in water there is bacteria.” Unfortunately, he never said it. For one thing, the word ‘bacteria’ wasn’t first used until the year 1881. For another, I happen to believe there’s just as much wisdom in beer than there is in wine.
In any case, perhaps that’s where Black Raven Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) got part of the inspiration for one of their most popular beers: Wisdom Seeker Double IPA, which makes it’s annual return this coming Friday, March 10th.
Last year, I told you about a new Spring Seasonal from Pike Brewing Company: Hive Five – a tasty collaboration between Pike Brewing Company and Salish Lodge & Spa. Salish has 120,000 honey bees that live in their apiaries, which produce 600 pounds of superb and local honey every year. Pike’s brewers use this honey to brew Pike Hive Five.
After last year’s release, Hive Five was so popular that Pike has decided to bring it back year-round. Starting now, you’ll be able to pick up Hive Five year-round in cans at Pike Brewing Company and your local craft beer retailer.
Many of the commercial ciders on the market today tend to be too sweet for my palate. Measured on a scale called Brix, many of those ciders come in at a Brix rating of 4, 5 or even higher. I think that’s why I enjoy so many of the ciders from Seattle Cider Company. They keep their ciders low on the Brix scale, which means they aren’t as cloyingly sweet. Their Dry cider, for example, is 0 (zero) Brix and their Semi-Sweet cider clocks in at just 2.6 Brix.
If you’re also a fan of ciders that stay a bit more on the dry side, then you’ll be excited to learn that Seattle Cider Company is ready to bring back their Spring Seasonal: Basil Mint Cider. Coming in at 6.9 ABV and just 1.8 Brix, this Spring Seasonal starts off with a base of 100 percent fresh pressed Washington apples, accompanied by 100 pounds of fresh basil and 100 pounds of fresh mint. Muddled on site, the basil and mint are then added directly to the cider during fermentation, providing savory and floral characteristics and a clean finish.
Back in early 2015, I first told you about the debut of Cold Brew Coffee Brown Ale from Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor). It’s coffee-forward aroma and flavor are the perfect marriage of two quintessentially Seattle flavors: coffee and craft beer. Available seasonally from late Winter through Spring, Cold Brew Coffee Brown Ale is low in acidity and subtly sweet.
For this year’s iteration of Cold Brew, Two Beers has partnered with Seattle’s own Anchorhead Coffee. According to Two Beers’ founder, Joel VandenBrink: “Their unique roasting process and the flavors that shine through make this beer one of our favorites, and perfect for everything from brunch to backpacking.”
Payette introduced themselves to the Seattle market with their Rustler IPA, North Fork Lager, Rodeo Rye, Pistolero Porter and 12 Gauge Imperial Stout. They were warmly received with events at various locations throughout the city, including Toronado and The Sixgill. Now, they’re back to announce that their Recoil IPA has joined their year-round lineup and is now arriving in cans.
Last Friday, December 2nd, my wife and I attended a beer tasting dinner cruise courtesy of Waterways Cruises And Events, featuring beers from Pike Brewing Company. This is the cruise I told you about just last month, which took us around Lake Union and Lake Washington as we enjoyed 5 different Pike Brewing Company beers and enjoyed a delicious, 4-course dinner.
Apart from a few somewhat loud and annoying shipmates at the next table and a small technical difficulty involving the last beer of the evening, we had a great meal and a wonderful time. As a special bonus that we weren’t expecting, Charles and Rose Ann Finkel, founders of Pike Brewing Company, were in attendance on the cruise (as well Pike’s Jon Gores). Charles took the time to visit each and every table, and spoke to us all at length about his passion for beer, Pike Brewing Company and the beers we would be enjoying during the cruise.