It was the summer of 2009. Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow was blasting on pop radio, the Lakers had just beaten Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals and for the first time in my college life, I wasn’t going home to Montana for the summer. It was also the summer that I had Widmer Brothers Brewing’s Hefeweizen for the first time and that summer I fell in love with craft beer.
Rogue Ales & Spirits Dead Guy Ale first emerged in 1990 during a special November 1 Dia de los Metros (Day of the Dead) celebration at Casa U-Betcha, a Tex-Mex restaurant in Portland, Oregon. For the rest of us, the beer came into our lives in 1994 during the Clinton Administration, the first season of Friends, and 14 years before Facebook arrived. Nevertheless, even after its nearly 25 years of roaming the craft world there’s nothing dead about Dead Guy Ale.
The beer received an extra boost in early 2017 when Rogue decided to can the beer for the first time and update its label artwork. Indeed, the beer has grown so iconic that one will not find the name “Dead Guy” anywhere on the cans because most every drinker knows the beer simply by the Dead Guy imagery.
It is summertime in Seattle – and in consequence, the city has, collectively, fled to the nearest patio from their non-air-conditioned apartments in search of a brew that can quench summer cravings. With the heat climbing steadily and the days continuing to seem never-ending, we Seattleites are all in need of something light, something delicious, something sustainable – nothing too strong. Luckily, Stoup Brewing has answered the call with their Loral Dry-Hopped Sour.
In case you missed it, glitter beer is a thing. Glitter beers are typically brewed with edible glitter dust – fine grains of glitter made from sugar-based compounds. Matchless Brewing in Tumwater, WA is the latest Washington brewery to venture into this trend. Their Built to Spelt with Glitter NEIPA is a delightfully flavorful interpretation that goes above and beyond the expectations of a simple trendy beer. It’s a juicy, fruity mouthful of liquid pizzazz.
Guy Fieri may be an unconventional catalyst toward opening a successful brewery, but when a video store manager and a truck stop bartender marry and open a restaurant in Washington’s capital, you may as well expect the unexpected. So when Nathan and Sara Reilly’s restaurant was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2013, they decided to capitalize on their 15 minutes of fame — Three Magnets Brewing was born, and Big Juice Smoothie was not far behind.
It was quite possibly the best night of my life. What could have been better? I, and roughly 200 other Fremont Brewing fanatics, had been invited to the Heron Hunting Club’s annual get-together. The event, which I would argue is the best beer event in the city, had it all. We were being fed by James Beard award-winning Chef Edouardo Jordan of Salare and JuneBaby, taste-testing and purchasing some of Fremont’s most hard-to-get beers, and witnessing the metamorphosis of the brewery’s Frelard location. The space, which had been a packaging and brewing facility just a few hours beforehand, could now pass for a palace. Chandeliers dangled from the ceiling, vintage furniture and rugs awaited us in every corner, and Broadway-worthy props were found at every turn. Again – what could have been better?
A handful of weeks back, on a quintessential Seattle spring evening, dozens of Fremont Brewing’s most loyal and ardent patrons gathered at the brewery’s Frelard facility location in celebration of the Heron Hunting Club’s annual event. The event, which is rightfully hailed as one of the best in Seattle’s craft scene, is a chance for Fremont fanatics to mingle with the brewery’s staff, experience incredible bites from famed Seattle chefs, and perhaps most importantly, stock up favorite Fremont beers that the brewery releases from their cellars for the occasion. As one of the lucky fans that was in attendance for the Heron Hunting Club get together, I was not going to let this rare shopping opportunity slip away. I left with a plethora of beers that, to this day, has me giddy – one of those brews being The Lamb, a 2016 saison that was the first brew from Fremont’s Fermentation Lab series.
Love can be complicated, but those complications are usually worth one’s while. Fort George Brewery managed to capture love in a can with From Astoria With Love, their Russian Imperial Stout. I knew I had to get this beer from Oregon back to my home in Florida. Luckily, the airport in Portland had a couple of cans left, so now is a good time to share this bliss with you.
Coffee and beer is hardly a revolutionary coupling. As is the case with most hackneyed combinations, however, there’s a reason these two are so often paired together — albeit usually in the context of a stout or porter, whose malty flavors and thick, creamy mouthfeel play well with the roasted bitterness of coffee beans.
Rogue Ales’ Cold Brew IPA aims to do something different, even in the less-common realm of coffee-infused IPAs and pale ales. The can boasts of a “hop punch,” an intriguing claim given the array of coffee beers I’ve had over the years, most of which treat hoppiness as an afterthought. Thanks to a generous hop mix that includes Liberty, Rebel, Freedom and Simcoe, the Newport, Oregon-based brewery manages to deliver.
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.
Some of the best outdoor memories I have are around the twilight hour. You’re settling in for the evening – dinner is already done, fire stoked and watching the stars peek out as the sun sets. There is something about the feeling of moving with the sun, I am usually up when the sun wakes up and winding down after it sets, you just feel one with the universe.
Deschutes Brewery‘s seasonal offering of Twilight Summer Ale seems to capture these feelings beautifully.
If you’re a beer drinker in Seattle, you’re a Holy Mountain Brewing drinker in Seattle. It’s as simple as that. Even in a city renowned for its thriving and creative craft beer scene, Holy Mountain effortlessly stands out thanks to a niche it has filled in the heavily-hopped Pacific Northwest market: Holy Mountain is your go-to for great Belgian styles, or any beer that has been flirting with mixed fermentations or barrel-aged ingredients. One of Holy Mountain’s latest releases, Afterswarm, is an ideal case-in-point.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I understand that everyone is different. That said, we’re all human and there are a handful of things that are guaranteed to make anyone’s day. Take, for example, a yawn-inducing work meeting being cancelled, a spectacular cup of coffee, running into a puppy on the street, and, perhaps best of all, one of your favorite breweries adding a beer onto their year-round line-up. Queue Pelican Brewing Company and the Beak Bender, a hoppinated India Pale Ale that is now available year-round. You’ll want to get familiar with this one—trust me.
My PorchDrinking 2018 beer resolution was to drink more of the classics and the beers that first got me into craft beer, so I picked up a six-pack of Deschutes Brewery‘s Black Butte Porter for this beer showcase. Bend, Oregon-based Deschutes has been making Black Butte since the very beginning and it is very easy to see why it has stood the test of time just like its namesake landmark — the stratovolcano, Black Butte. The butte is breathtaking and if you want to see for yourself, you can virtually hike it in under three minutes on their website.
Founded in 1988, Oregon’s Deschutes Brewery has enjoyed over three decades of success by tapping into the craft beer furor of the Pacific Northwest through artfully-hopped beers. With years of experience behind them, Deschutes is acutely aware of the difference between a fleeting fad and a trend that is here to stay. And the rise of brewers moving to cans is no fad. To meet the growing demand among many craft beer drinkers for increased flexibility and accessibility from their beers, Deschutes is moving three of their flagships into 12oz cans this March.
Just like in any other city, Seattle has its fair share of beer celebrities. The electricity that craft pulses through this town, not to mention the quality of the drinks themselves, make it near impossible not to point and whisper when some of our favorite owners or brewers make cameos in their respective taprooms. So, when I sat down with Rose Ann and Charles Finkel, owners and founders of The Pike Brewing Company, and some of the original craft pioneers in Seattle, I couldn’t help but be just a bit starstruck.
Whether its music, art, film or food, we are fans of a good collaboration—with no exception when it comes to beer. With the steady rise in craft beer popularity, numerous collaborations between so many like-minded individuals in our community is inevitable. Particularly, The Commons Brewery from Portland and Denver’s Epic Brewing took on a collaboration in a fun and interesting way. While each brewery selected an adjunct ingredient native to their location, they created something unique and tasty. The Commons Brewery brought Oregon red winter wheat and Epic Brewing choose Colorado honeydew melon; together they created a sour ale called Common Interests.
It doesn’t take a lot for me to crave a beer. Has it been a good day? Let’s have a beer. A bad day? Let’s have a beer. It’s sunny out! Let’s have a beer. Oh no, raining again? Better have a beer. Needless to say, I’m easily convinced. But tell me that I’m drinking for a good cause? Well, then let’s have more than one, without a doubt. This is the case with Stoup Brewing’s recently released Mother of Exiles IPA, which benefits the Refugee Women’s Alliance as part of the Beer Trumps Hate campaign.
Ballard, Seattle: home of canal locks, Golden Gardens, farmer’s markets, overpriced housing, beards, sandwich boards, and, oh yeah – a gaggle of breweries. But if you want to brew in Ballard, you gotta be handy with the hops, if you know what I mean. Earn your keep.
I’ve been drinking a lot of imperial stouts. Unlike most, I believe every season is stout season. Luckily for me it’s February and I don’t get flak for drinking a 12% Russian imperial stout. The proliferation of adjuncts to the market has been interesting. Brewers adding coffee, vanilla, cocoa, peppers, mint, you name it. While fun for the palate, I still prefer an adjunct-free stout. Let that malt shine, those chocolate and coffee notes should develop alone. One favorite is Cavatica Stout from Fort George Brewing.