I enjoy a good Wee Heavy Scotch Ale when I can get one. The rich, malty and slightly smoky/peaty full flavor doesn’t agree with everyone but, when they’re made right, Scotch Ales are quite delicious. The problem is, not a whole lot of local breweries make a Scotch Ale with any regularity. One of my favorites from breweries in the Northwest is Fat Scotch from Silver City Brewing Company out on the Olympic peninsula. It’s especially good when you can get the more rare Fat Woody Scotch (bourbon barrel aged).
Another locally made Scotch Ale that’s very high on my list is the one from Bellevue Brewing Company (CBM Sponsor), which also comes in a more rare bourbon barrel aged variety. Unfortunately, it’s not quite bourbon barrel time yet (in bottles at least – the bourbon barrel aged version is on tap at the brewery right now but won’t be for long!), but the regular version of Bellevue Brewing’s Scotch Ale will be making its return in bottles on February 20th. This is one of Bellevue Brewing’s flagship beers (meaning that it’s always on tap at Bellevue Brewing), and the only flagship beer they bottle seasonally. Their other seasonally bottled beers include their Rye IPA and their Winter Ale (Summer & Winter, respectively).
I’m quite a fan of Scotch Ales. Granted, I’m a major hophead and think that single, double and even triple IPAs are still my favorite overall style. However, when I’m in the mood for something more on the malty side, Scotch Ale hits the spot; particularly ‘Heavy 70’ or ‘Export 80’ Scotch Ale for you beer geeks out there. My favorite locally-brewed Scotch Ales are Fat Scotch & Fat Woody from Sliver City Brewery, Scotch Ale from Bellevue Brewing and, of course, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale from Black Raven Brewing (CBM Sponsor).
So, how do you take an already delicious Scotch Ale and make it even better? Barrel age it! That’s what Silver City does for their Fat Woody Scotch Ale, and that’s what Black Raven has done with Splinters: a bourbon barrel aged version of their Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale.
Penumbra: “(Definition-a partial shadow, as in an eclipse, between regions of complete shadow and complete illumination) – AKA the darkness that defines the silver lining.”
We’re fortunate here in the Northwest to have a plethora of craft beer festivals and events; far too many to name them all here. You can usually find at least one craft beer-related festival or other event going on somewhere around the Sound just about every week/weekend of the year (and often, far more than just one). We also have a few notable music festivals in town but, so far, nobody has successfully combined both types of events into a single beer and music festival that does justice to both the beer and the music. Penumbra is here to change that.
Pour, Pour, Pour – The Beers
(Sung to the tune of Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)
♫ To everything – pour, pour, pour
There is a season – pour, pour, pour
And a time for every craft beer under heaven ♫
Right now it’s Winter beer season. And I couldn’t be happier with this year’s lineup of great Winter beers. There is just so much wonderfully dark, rich, woody, bourbony, delicious goodness out there with the likes of Hoppy Holidays & Hoppy The Woodsman (Schooner Exact Brewing), Winter Bock (Silver City Brewing), Creepy Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown (North Sound Brewing), The Abyss (Deschutes Brewing), Bindlestiff (Naked City Brewing), Jolly Roger Christmas Ale (Maritime Pacific Brewing), Bifrost Ale (Elysian Brewing), Bourbon Barrel Abominable Ale (Fremont Brewing) and many, many more. For anyone who is a fan of these darker, often barrel-aged, complex and delicious Winter delights, this is a great time of year to be a beer drinker.
If you’re like me, you weren’t able to make it to this year’s Great American Beer Festival happing over the next three days in Denver, CO. It’s been difficult reading Facebook and Twitter posts from those I know who are there enjoying themselves, but there’s some consolation to be found right here at home. Here are a few craft beer related things you can do right here around the Sound this weekend.
Even if you’re not a fan of The Food Network, I’m betting you’ve heard of the show Iron Chef (and Iron Chef America). These are cooking shows where the chefs are challenged to come up with dishes, using a special ingredient selected by the show. Well, Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle holds occasional competitions based on this type of format. Brewers are pitted against each other, with Beveridge Place Pub selecting the special ingredient(s) they must use. Then, Beveridge Place patrons get to vote and one brewery is declared champion.
The last major Iron Brewer competition was held at Beveridge Place Pub back in May during Seattle Beer Week 2012. The pair ups for that challenge were:
Black Raven vs Odin – Brewing with Blackberry & Lavender
Seven Seas vs Port Townsend – Brewing with Coconut & Lemongrass
Silver City vs Airways – Brewing with Apricot & Almond