About- Katelyn Pelak
It’s hard to overstate the natural beauty of Washington state. The state is home to mountain ranges, temperate rain forests, desert plains, active volcanoes and other natural wonders that are so varied and abundant, you could easily spend every weekend of the year in a new terrain. Even from my home base of metropolitan Seattle, the closest mountains are less than 30 minutes outside the city and you can book a whale watching tour that leaves from downtown.
After a cold day of exploring the streets of Krakow in January, my friends and I stopped for lunch at a traditional Polish restaurant and the list of hot beverages caught my eye. “Hot beer?!” I exclaimed breathlessly, and immediately ordered myself a large mug. The menu warned that hot beer would take ten minutes to be prepared and heated, so I sat back and began to research this intriguing beverage.
The Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington accounts for nearly 80% of the United States hop crop, and the team at Bale Breaker Brewing Company have established themselves as leaders in the Yakima Valley hop scene, both as growers and as brewers. The brewery is located amongst hop fields that were first planted in 1932, and the brewers at Bale Breaker have made a point of showcasing Yakima Valley hops in virtually every Bale Breaker brew. Though a relatively young brewery (they opened in 2013), Bale Breaker has become one of the most well-known IPA producers in Washington and is a leader in the Eastern Washington brewing scene. Today we present an Ultimate 6er dedicated the people who made Bale Breaker what it is today: 6 Reasons to Love Bale Breaker Brewing Company.
Sour styles in any incarnation were my beers of the summer and although I love stouts, the transition into the colder, rainier reality of stout season has been harsh this year. That’s why I was so excited to find the perfect middle ground: the Frambuesa Moka, a tart, dark potion from Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma, Washington.
Just 60 miles north and a short ferry ride from Seattle sits Port Townshend, a favorite weekend getaway destination for Seattlites at any time of year. Located on the eastern edge of the Olympic Peninsula, Port Townshend truly has its bases covered as an ideal getaway destination: it boasts a state park for hiking, a marina for whale watching trips and boat tours, and a charming downtown full of local goodies. Highlights include a seriously legitimate tea shop, waterfront ice cream, an inspiring bookstore, and – last but not least – Propolis Brewing.
ABV: 5.8% | IBU: 38
Just in time for summer barbecues, weekend camping trips and sunny beach days, Counterbalance Brewing Company has released its first two canned beers: Raconteur Rye Pale Ale and Counterbalance IPA. Both of these beers are available for purchase in 6-packs throughout Washington as of the beginning of July, but today’s showcase will focus on the delightfully refreshing Raconteur Rye Pale Ale.
Photo Credit: Bale Breaker Brewing Company
ABV: 6.3% | IBU: 50
After a record-setting cold, wet winter, Seattleites finally have a reason to celebrate – Seattle Beer Week is here! The event, now in its ninth year, was created to celebrate and showcase the close, collaborative beer community of the Northwest. This year’s Seattle Beer Week runs from May 4-14 and features hundreds of events across the city of Seattle and beyond, including a beer can derby, Mariners Brewery Night at SafeCo Field, and dozens of beer dinners and tasting events.
ABV: 8.5% | IBU: MYOB
ICYMI, March 8 was International Women’s Day. This yearly event celebrates women’s contributions to society, from the political to social to cultural spheres. In the U.S., International Women’s Day serves as a kickoff to Women’s History Month, which spans the entire month of March. In honor of all the hardworking women in the craft beer industry and beyond, we’ve decided to devote this showcase to a beer that celebrates the influence of women: The Sister Imperial IPA from Fremont Brewing.
Photo Credit: Judy Dean
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve compiled a list of 6 love-inspired beers for every stage of the relationship spectrum. Whether you plan to spend Valentine’s Day falling head-over-heels or prefer to spend it ruing the day you met your ex, this list has something for everyone.
It’s not easy to stand out in Seattle’s booming craft beer scene, but Holy Mountain Brewing Company has made a name for themselves with their focus on mixed-fermentation ales. Though they brew a wide variety of styles, Holy Mountain’s farmhouse ales have quickly earned the brewery a cult following. The tasting room is regularly packed and Holy Mountain’s well-known saisons and barrel-aged brews have become favorites at bottle shares around the country. In honor of their success, I’d like to introduce you to the beer they describe as “possibly our most traditional saison to date,” Witchfinder.
As our own writers have demonstrated, pumpkin beers can be a divisive topic. But despite the controversy attached to this particular category of beer, West Seattle’s beloved beer bar and bottle shop The Beer Junction has devoted an entire week to celebrating this type of beverage with an event titled Pumpkin Junction 2016. This event features 30 taps devoted solely to pumpkin beers and ciders for eight straight days (Oct. 15-23). I attended the Pumpkin Junction on opening day and chose Cloudburst Brewing’s Remember the Maine Smoked Pumpkin Porter as my inaugural pumpkin beer for the season. The Beer Junction’s promise of pumpkin did not disappoint.
The craft cider revolution has claimed a permanent spot in the hearts and appetites of Seattleites, and no one is more responsible for cider’s huge boom in popularity than Seattle Cider Company. Hailing as Seattle’s first cidery since prohibition, Seattle Cider’s flagship Dry and Semi-Sweet ciders can be found in virtually every beer bar, cocktail bar and grocery store in the area. Their diverse array of ciders manages to showcase bold, refreshing flavors without tasting sugary or overly sweet.
The collaborative spirit of the craft beer industry has long been one of my favorite topics to cover, so I was ecstatic to learn about the first-ever Washington Beer Collaboration Festival put on by the Washington Beer Commission. The two-day festival featured 25 collaboration beers from 50 different Washington breweries and celebrated the collaborative and creative culture among Washington brewers. I attended the inaugural festival on a sunny Saturday afternoon and sampled about half of these unique brews. Read on for some of my favorite concoctions from this innovative festival.
6.8% ABV | 67 IBU
West Seattle Brewing Company is one of the quieter breweries in the Seattle area, but that doesn’t make it any less quintessentially Seattle. The brewery, which reopened after renovations last summer, offers a coffee bar for early morning commuters, 18 taps, and a kid/dog-friendly space that has been called “West Seattle’s living room.” To top it all off, the Seattle Sounders 2016 schedule has a permanent location at the entrance of the bar. West Seattle Brewing truly offers the unassuming, laid back experience that Seattle breweries are known for, complete with plentiful options, friendly staff, and – most importantly – delicious beer.
ABV 5.5 | IBU 18
Seattleites take a lot of things for granted – gorgeous mountains, delicious beer, quality food options at every price point – but one unique benefit of Seattle that I had to discover for myself is the accessibility of Hawaii. The first time I booked a trip to Hawaii and realized that there were direct flight options from Seattle to multiple Hawaiian Islands, I thought I had uncovered a secret vacation destination. As it turns out, everyone was in on the secret but me, including two of my close friends who got married in Maui a few weeks ago. The wedding was lovely and the island was beautiful, but I’m here to write about the beer. To my delight, the bride and groom planned a post-wedding day-drinking session at Maui Brewing Co., so in honor of their marriage and my nostalgia for Hawaiian sunshine, this showcase will focus on the wedding party’s collective favorite beer from that day, the Mana Wheat.
ABV: 5.2% | IBU: 18
Though all of us Seattle Porchdrinkers like to think that great beer is Seattle’s most popular exported beverage, there is one Seattle drink that may beat even beer in terms of reputation and recognition, and that drink is coffee. As the home of Starbucks, Tully’s and many other roasters, Seattle’s coffee industry rivals its beer industry for options, quality and appreciation. In acknowledgment of the popularity and similarity of the two industries, Two Beers Brewing Co. created the Cold Brew Coffee Brown Ale.
ABV: 9.9% | IBU: 26
Even in a beer-crazy neighborhood like the Ballard area of Seattle, Hale’s Ales stands out as a symbol of the early craft beer revolution. Mike Hale, the brewery’s founder, opened Hale’s Ales Brewery in 1983 and the brewery has been a staple of Pacific Northwest brewing ever since. In the sea of Ballard’s microbreweries, growlers, and flannel shirts, the large Brewery and Pub that has served as Hale’s Ales home base since 1995 suggests a permanence that promises to outlive last winter’s mustaches, this year’s beards, and whatever new facial fashions are donned by Ballard’s trendy, beer-loving residents in the years to come. That is why the Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is a great topic for today’s review – the beer is a magnificent representation of the boldness, the longevity, and the stoutness of the Hale’s Ales institution.
The holidays are the time to enjoy exceptional food, delicious beers and your favorite people – so why not combine all three this year? We’ve compiled the Ultimate 6er for holiday dinner party beer pairings, so break out your tastiest recipes and throw a party!
ABV 6.7% | IBU 62
One of the great things about living in a beer-forward city like Seattle is the beer fluency of the entire city. Virtually every person in the area can carry on a conversation about beer styles and the relative virtues of one brewery over another without prompting, guaranteeing that a diverse set of opinions is just a conversation away. It’s in this way that I discovered the Schooner EXACT 3-Grid IPA.
ABV: 5.8% | IBU: 44
No, it’s not your GABF hangover playing tricks on your eyes, you read the title of this article correctly: Guinness is releasing an IPA. A Nitro IPA to be exact. PorchDrinking was invited to a pre-release tasting on the Nitro IPA’s three-week tour around the U.S. to sample the beer and get a little history lesson on the origins of the Guinness widget, the brewery, and the IPA style of beer itself.