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.
Today, Monday May 16th, is day number 5 of Seattle Beer Week #8, which means we’re about halfway through. Things kicked off last Thursday at Reuben’s Brews with the official tapping of the first keg of the official Seattle Beer Week beer: Daily Pale, followed by the opening night pub crawl. I had to drop by Reuben’s, of course, for the kickoff and then found my way to Beveridge Place Pub for stop #3 on the crawl.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty crazy last week or so leading up to Seattle Beer Week #8. Between being busy at work (both of them), still mourning a bit for our dog, Bailei, and trying to plan out my Seattle Beer Week 2016 schedule (picking from, literally, hundreds of events), I’ve barely had time to breathe.
The event list for Seattle Beer Week seems to get a bit bigger each year. There are always a few days where there are at least 2 or 3 different events all happening at the same time on opposite ends of town, so you have to make a choice. Hitting every single event is absolutely impossible (and severe liver abuse!), so you have to pick your battles (or is it bottles?)
Now, it’s here. Seattle Beer Week kicks off this evening at Reuben’s Brews in Ballard. They’ll be open at noon today, but the official opening ceremony for Seattle Beer Week won’t take place until 5 pm. The first keg of Daily Pale, the official beer of Seattle Beer Week #8, will be tapped and the Mayor’s Proclamation will be read.
I don’t always get to each of these places as often as I’d like, which is unfortunate. The two I tend to make it to the most often are The Beer Junction and Beveridge Place Pub, both in West Seattle. With only a minor detour, both places are basically on my way home from work. Don’t get me wrong though. Convenience is not, by any means, the only reason I frequent these two places. In fact, Beveridge Place is regularly named one of Seattle’s best pubs on many ‘Best Of’ lists and The Beer Junction was just awarded Best Bottle Shop In Washington for the 4th year in a row from Rate Beer.
Toronado Seattle first opened their doors just this past August. They’re the sister bar to the original Toronado in San Francisco (est. 1987) and their second location in San Diego, which opened back in May if 2008. Toronado has a reputation as a craft beer bar with a great tap list and Toronado Seattle doesn’t disappoint. With 40 rotating craft taps, an extensive bottle list and an eclectic menu featuring local, sustainable ingredients and a chef practiced in the art of charcuterie, it’s a great new place to have some excellent craft beers and some delicious food.
Over the past few months, Toronado has hosted several brewery tap takeover nights and ‘take the pint’ nights (where you get to take the glass home with you), but they have yet to host a full on ‘festival’. Well, that’s about to change. Starting on Thursday, January 29th and running through Monday, February 2nd, Toronado Seattle will be hosting the first (annual?) Rise Of The Centaur Cellar Fest. Set to feature 30+ barrel-aged beers, sour beers and other rare beers, it’s a great excuse to head to Toronado, especially if you haven’t check them out yet.
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.
It’s been a warm Seattle Summer. With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s the other day, however, I know a lot of people who are glad that the rain is back, at least briefly, and the temperatures are dropping a bit. Personally, I don’t mind the warmer temperatures we’ve been having. Our Summers are traditionally pretty short here in the Northwest, so I say enjoy the heat while it’s here. Soon enough the clouds and rain will be back for months on end (*muffled cheers from the back of the room*).
Toronado is a craft beer staple in San Francisco and has become known throughout the World as one of the great beer bars in the United States. They first opened their doors back on August 5th, 1987, while the craft beer movement was still in its infancy. I was only 19 at the time, so I wasn’t able to visit Toronado myself until 1989. I can still remember the first time I walked in and how amazed I was at the vast selection. At the time, there was no other place I knew of with so many choices available on tap. I was hooked instantly and visited often. I was even at Toronado for their first ever barleywine festival in 1993. Back then, it wasn’t the crazy scene I’ve heard it’s become today (I haven’t been to Toronado since 1998 – something I need to remedy soon). Although I would imagine it rivals the crowd that shows up each year for the Hard Liver festival at Brouwer’s Cafe.
After an appropriate 21 years of success, Toronado opened their second location in San Diego on May 24th, 2008. Like the San Francisco original, Toronado San Diego has over 50 craft taps and, also like the original, they have become known as one of the best places to go for a great craft beer. I’ve never visited Toronado San Diego myself, but I’m sure I will the next time I get to Southern California.