The hop is an amazing plant. There are dozens of different hop varieties (with even more new and experimental varieties showing up every year) and each one can impart different aromas and flavors to many of the craft beers we love. Those smells and tastes can run the gamut from fruity and citrusy to floral, herbal, piney, earthy, and more. S’cuse me for being Captain Obvious for a moment, but we love hops.
With so many hop forward beers available today, beers with a more subtle/subdued hop character can sometimes seem a bit underwhelming by comparison. Pike Brewing Company has taken note of this hoppy trend and has made the bold decision to reformulate their classic Pike IPA with a more hop-forward character to satisfy our hop hungry palates.
There’s no doubt that, in the craft beer World, the IPA is king. We’ve got regular IPAs, double IPAs, Red IPAs, fruity and juicy IPAs and just about every other type of IPA you could imagine. The IPA ‘style’ category could probably use a bit of updating to keep up with all the sub-styles emerging.
With so many choices, selecting an IPA can be a daunting task. Ninkasi Brewing Company wants to make that choice a bit easier for you so, starting this month, they’re releasing the Spring IPA Variety 12-pack, which includes four different Ninkasi IPAs (3 in bottles and one in cans).
As the weather gets colder and wetter out there, the Fall and Winter beer releases just keep on coming. I hope your wallet hasn’t taken too hard of a hit yet, because there are still several more releases to come. After all, Winter hasn’t even started yet.
Next up for Fall releases is Chainline Brewing Company out of Kirkland. This coming Saturday, November 18th, they’ll be hosting Bitter is Coming II – Welcome To Winter (& Return of the De-Railer!). This annual taproom party will be the setting for the release of three special, seasonal beers from Chainline.
It took me a while to warm up to cans. I grew up in the era where the vast majority of beer that came in cans was horrible, mass-produced American Lagers. That likely tainted my response a bit, but I also still believe that beer tastes better out of bottles than out of cans. I’ve even read a few studies/blind tests that confirm this conclusion (albeit by a narrow margin).
Even so, I’ve come around on cans. The taste difference between can vs. bottle is virtually imperceptible to most and there’s also the fact that many new, highly sought-after beers only come in cans now (some also on tap, if you can find ’em). Now, Ninkasi Brewing Company has decided to jump on the can wagon and just announced that they’ll start canning their beers.
Winter is still upon us (it was damn cold out last night!), but Spring is right around the corner. We’re even starting to see some early Spring Seasonals returning. That means Seattle Beer Week can’t be far off. In fact, there’s less than 2 months until the start of Seattle Beer Week 2017, which runs from May 4th through May 14th, 2017.
Each year, a different brewery (or breweries) are selected to brew the official Seattle Beer Week beer. This year, that honor falls to Bale Breaker Brewing Company from Yakima, Washington. Get ready to enjoy plenty of Fresh Off The Farm IPA. Packed with farm-fresh hops, of course, Fresh Off The Farm IPA will be available in cans and on draught throughout Washington for the 9th annual Seattle Beer Week (SBW9).
Back in November of last year, I told you aboutReuben’s Brews‘ Hop Idol homebrew contest. As a call back to the homebrewing roots of founder Adam Robbings, Reuben’s Brews held this homebrew competition as a means to help inspire other homebrewers to chase their own brewery dreams.
Entrants could submit up to 5 entries each and all entries were due by January 17th. The judging took place the week of January 21st and now Reuben’s Brews is ready to announce the winner who will get to brew their beer with Reuben’s and see it distributed throughout Western Washington. The winning beer will also be entered into the Washington Beer Awards Pro-Am competition as well as the Great American Beer Festival.
Is it too early to start thinking about Spring? I know we’re still in the middle of Winter right now, but it hasn’t been too horrible this year and who knows what news the groundhog will have for us this Thursday (Groundhog Day is February 2nd). At Pyramid Brewing they’ve been doing a bit more than just thinking about Spring and earlier this month they announced the release of their Spring seasonal, Triangulate Citrus Pale Ale. Dry hopped with Lemondrop™ hops and real lemon peel, Triangulate brings us Spring a bit early this year.
Also arriving now from Pyramid is their limited time Brewer’s Reserve Railroad Avenue, which will be available from mid-January to late April. An Imperial Porter, Railroad Avenue uses deep roasted malts and roasted barley with dashes of vanilla, cinnamon and dark brown sugar. According to Pyramid: “Railroad Avenue is a big, malty brew that conducts the palate to a nicely spiced, mildly sweet finish.”
I’ve always been a big fan of Naked City Brewery & Taphouse. They make some of my favorite locally-brewed beers including their The Big Lebrewski Imperial Stout and Cry Me A River Triple IPA. Unfortunately, I don’t get there as often as I’d like but every time I’m in the Greenwood area, I’ll stop by. One taste of their beers is all it takes to let you know Owner and Brewmaster Don Webb really loves his work.
Now, after going strong for over 8 years (they celebrated their 8th Anniversary last October), Naked City is ready to expand. So, coming as soon as this Spring, Naked City is pleased to announced they will be opening their 2nd location out on Camano Island.
The Boston Beer Company is known by most as Samuel Adams, which is actually not the name of the brewery. It’s just one of the many beers brewed by the Boston Beer Company. Another beer they brew that has become fairly well known is their Rebel IPA. It’s their flagship IPA and has remained the same since it first launched back in 2014.
Even before Rebel IPA was first launched, Boston Beer Company founder and brewer of Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Jim Koch, launched Project Lupulus. Under this program, Koch was experimenting with hops that were not available when Rebel IPA first launched. They even cultivated their own proprietary hop (HBC 566), partnering with growers in the Yakima Valley, and that hop is exclusive to the Boston Beer Company. Now, Rebel IPA is being reborn with HBC 566 and other new and familiar hop varieties.
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.