Four Breweries Team Up To Host Ballard Oktoberfest

Is it really getting to be that time already?  Summer, especially in Seattle, always seems so darn short.  A couple of weeks ago I was already seeing pumpkin beers appearing on craft beer store shelves and now, here come the Oktoberfest announcements.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Fall and the Seasonal craft styles that come along with it, but it’s a bittersweet reminder that the days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer and Summer is starting to fade.

Of course, as I just mentioned, Fall’s arrival also means Oktoberfest biers and Oktoberfest celebrations.  The Märzen/Oktoberfest style is probably my favorite style of Lager.  Sure, a well made Pilsner is great on a hot Summer day, but I love the more toasty malt flavors of a good Märzen.  If you’re also a fan of a good Märzen and other German/European styles (Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Kölsch, Vienna Lager, Roggenbier, etc.) then you’ll want to mark your calendar for September 16th and this year’s Ballard Oktoberfest.

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Bale Breaker Announces Sesiones del Migrante Mango IPA

Just last week I told you about the Harvest Collaboration Series form Bale Breaker Brewing Company, in which they paired with four different craft breweries to create the beers for the series.  They’ll have staggered releases from August through October.  Now, while they’re still in the collaborative mood, Bale Breaker is at it again with the upcoming release of Sesiones del Migrante Mango IPA in six-packs.

Sesiones del Migrante is a series of beers that Bale Breaker has brewed in conjunction with Mexican and American breweries, in a collaboration that spans 5 breweries and 2 countries.  Created in celebration of the Mexican migrant workers who travel to the Yakima Valley each year to help harvest the precious hops for all those wonderful craft beers we all enjoy, it’s due to arrive both on tap and in cans on September 7th and will see distribution throughout Washington and Northern Idaho.

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Bale Breaker announces the Harvest Collaboration Series

Collaborations are all the rage these days.  I recently told you about the Samuel Adams Brewing The American Dream Collaboration Pack and this year’s 3-Way IPA from Fort George Brewing (plus Great Notion Brewing and Reuben’s Brews) has been flying off shelves so fast that it’s been a bit difficult to find this year.

Now, Bale Breaker Brewing Company is ready to get in on the action.  They’ve partnered with Georgetown Brewing, Founders Brewing, Cloudburst Brewing and Pinthouse Pizza & Brewpub to create the Harvest Series Collaboration Series.  The beers have staggered release date from August through October.

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Join Schooner Exact For A Hop Field Trip This September

Each year, as Fall approaches in the Northwest, it’s hop harvest time.  That can only mean one thing: Fresh Hop IPAs are coming.  Most beers are brewed using kilned or dried hops, usually in the form of compressed hop pellets.  Fresh Hop or Wet Hop beers, on the other hand, utilize fresh, un-kilned hops straight off the vine.  This allows them to retain all of their natural oils (some of which can be lost or reduced during the kilning/drying process), and impart a more Earthy and natural character to the finished beer.

When brewing a Fresh Hop Ale, the hops must be utilized with 24 – 48 hours after picking to ensure freshness.  Any longer and they’ll start to become soggy and begin to develop mildew and rot.  So, when the season arrives, you’ll see plenty of trucks from local breweries making day-trips up to the Yakima Valley to procure their fresh hops for brewing.

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Two Beers & Seattle Cider Partner With Agrial Cooperative

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We’ve seen our share of ‘buyouts’ in the craft beer World.  You know the feeling – that heartbreaking moment when you realize that one of your favorite craft breweries has ‘sold out’ to the big boys: InBev or SABMiller.  This is NOT one of those moments.

Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) and Seattle Cider Company, the first cidery in Seattle since the days of prohibition, are pleased to announce that they have formed a partnership with French, farmer-run cooperative Agrial.  They’ve struck a great deal that allows for additional expansion of both Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider, without giving up any control.  Both brands will continue to operate completely independently, right here in Seattle.

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Come On A Beer Tasting Dinner Cruise With Two Beers Brewing

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For pretty much my entire life, I’ve lived near the ocean.  I was born on the Gulf Coast, grew up part of the way in New Jersey and have spent most of my life on the West Coast (California and Washington).  There’s just something about being near the water that appeals to me.  It’s a unique feeling – that aroma of sea air – the beautiful sunsets, the easy access to lots of great seafood.

One thing I regret, however, is that even though I’ve lived near the water most of my life, I don’t spend nearly enough time out on the water.  I used to do quite a bit of sailing when I was younger, but keeping and maintaining a boat isn’t a cheap prospect and, frankly, I can’t afford waterfront property in Seattle.  That’s why I’m really looking forward to October 7th, when my wife Lynn and I will be attending a Two Beers Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor) beer tasting and dinner and cruise, courtesy Waterways Cruises And Events.

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Fresh Hop Pale Ale Arrives Tomorrow From Black Raven Brewing

 

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We’re well into Fresh Hop season here in the Northwest (in fact the Yakima Fresh Hop Festival is coming up this weekend).  The Puget Sound’s proximity to the Yakima Valley means that local craft breweries have incredible access to the nation’s largest hop producing region.  This allows local breweries to produce what I believe are the best Fresh Hop beers available anywhere in the World.

Most Fresh Hop beers (also sometimes referred to as Wet Hop) are brewed using hops that were still on the vine less than 24 hours ago.  This gives them a unique hop character you won’t find in other, regular, IPAs or Pale Ales.  With all the Fresh Hop releases coming one after the other right now, it’s like Disneyland for hop heads.  Someone get me an E ticket!

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Deschutes Brewery & Bendistillery Release Black Butte Whiskey

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Deschutes Brewery out of Bend and Portland Oregon puts out a wide variety of Ales.  Their most recognizable beers include Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, Jubelale and, of course, their Black Butte Porter – both the regular and the annually-released, barrel-aged version.

The barrel-aged version of Black Butte is a bit different each year and can include additions like chilies, cranberries, orange peel, figs, vanilla beans or any number of other special ingredients.  I particularly enjoyed this year’s release of Black Butte XXVIII.  It had smooth well-blended flavors of vanilla and cocoa with just a touch of smoke, giving you a feel for the barrel the beer spent 12 months maturing in.

Now Deschutes has teamed up with Bendistillery, the same distillery that created the Crater Lake line of spirits, to bring to us a project 20 years in the making: Black Butte Whiskey.  Double distilled from the wash of Black Butte Porter, it sort of brings things full circle.

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Firestone Walker Brewing Turns 20

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There are far too many great breweries out there for me to pick a single favorite.  There are a handful, however, that I would consider my top ranked breweries.  High up on that list is Firestone Walker Brewing Company.  They are masters of barrel fermentation, barrel aging and blending, and I have never had a single beer from them that wasn’t outstanding.

Now, as they prepare to turn 20, they have a whole list of special events planned.  Unfortunately for us here in Washington, most of these events take place down in California so, unless you have the mean to head South for a visit, we’ll have to celebrate vicariously with some delicious Firestone Walker beers.

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The 3rd Annual Summer End Pig Roast Is Coming Up At Stogies n Hops

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Summer is fading away in Seattle.  Our temperatures are down, the rain is back and the leaves are already starting to turn.  Heck, I’ve even already started drinking Oktoberfest beers (the official dates for Oktoberfest this year are September 17 thru October 3).  Fall is still officially a couple of weeks away though, so there’s still time for a few more Summertime celebrations before we welcome back the grey skies and rain for months.

Stogies n Hops (CBM Sponsor) is all set to celebrate the end of Summer with their 3rd Annual Summer End Pig Roast, which is also a celebration of the 20th Anniversaries of both Firestone Walker Brewing Company and Stone Brewing Company.

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