#SeattleBeer Archives – PorchDrinking.com
Sometimes the best beers are the ones you stumble upon. Get lost in a new city, let your phone die (or be smart and bring a charger) and wander into a nearby brewery. Fair Isle Brewing is located in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle, Washington. It’s in great company among the largest concentration of breweries in the Seattle area, but Fair Isle does things differently. They focus solely on Saisons and Farmhouse Ales. While the beer menu is impressive, Eleanor alone is worth the trip.
Most craft beer drinkers are more than happy to tell you why drinking craft beer is more than just a beverage choice; it is a culture with all the traditions and ritual pours that go with that designation. If you are not already immersed in the culture of craft beer, it can be intimidating and, at worst, exclusionary. Seattle’s Lucky Envelope Brewing Co. owners Raymond Kwan and Barry Chan are committed to broadening craft beer with “culturally-inspired beers” drawn from their shared Chinese-American heritage. With their most recent Lunar New Year beer releases, they served up culture and a fresh perspective on Hazy IPAs and Barrel-Aged Porters.
On these cold winter days, few beers are more ideally suited for the weather than Fremont Brewing Company’s B-Bomb Bourbon Barrel Imperial Winter Ale. A Winter Ale that sees extended time in bourbon barrels, it serves up more than enough alcohol to warm up your insides, while delivering tons of fall spices and vanilla barrel notes. At 13% and coming only in large 750ml bottles, it’s a perfect beer to break out and split with any friends and family you may have in town for the holidays.
Located in Seattle, Washington, Fremont Brewing first opened its doors during the 2008 financial crisis and is no stranger to making high-quality beer in the middle of a recession. Quality, sustainability and ingenuity have been the mainstays of brewing at Fremont over the past 11 years, a tradition they continue even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on… and “ingenious” is the word that comes to mind when sampling their latest release: the 11th Anniversary series. These two Stouts debuted in mid-August and are already sold out on their website (but don’t worry: limited cases are still available—see below for details). Their classic barrel-aging process, with a twist, makes these beers something special.
I’ve written before about Seattle’s best bottle shop, The Beer Junction, and how lucky I am to live in the same neighborhood so I can access their brilliantly curated selection and knowledgeable staff as frequently as I want. But earlier this year, The Beer Junction gave me and fellow West Seattle residents a new reason to appreciate their craft beer expertise in the form of Best of Hands Barrelhouse.
We are in the midst of a craft beer revival in this country. The excitement and allure of the newest brewery or beer is tantalizing. However, this array of ever-expanding options can easily steal focus from the foundation of this revolution. One such brewery is Pike Brewing Company in Seattle. Pike Brewing was founded by husband and wife team Charles and Rose Ann Finkel in 1989. This October they will celebrate the brewery’s 30th anniversary.
There is no shortage of beer in Seattle—which, at least in my mind, translates to no shortage of creativity, innovation, passion and artistry in Seattle. Breweries here do not brew beer simply to pay the rent and keep on the lights—though those are, I’m sure, welcomed consequences of their craft. Instead, breweries here brew beer to present their patrons with new ways of thinking about ingredients, flavors, colors, textures and mouthfeel. They brew to make people question what is or isn’t possible for their favorite beverage.
Seattlites have tolerated a lot of Mother Nature this year. We endured the snowiest February ever recorded followed by the hottest winter day ever recorded. Then April gave us the longest rain streak we’ve ever seen. Thankfully, the month of May is here to bring us relief in the form of Seattle Beer Week! The event, now in its eleventh year, was created to celebrate and showcase the close, collaborative beer community of the Northwest. This year’s Seattle Beer Week runs from May 9-19 and features hundreds of events across the city of Seattle and beyond, including camel visits, Battle of the Beer Bands, and dozens of beer dinners and tasting events.
What do you call these hazy IPAs that seem to be everywhere? This style goes by many names; NEIPA, Juicy IPA, Hazy IPA. But whatever you call these juice bombs it seems they’re here to stay and in full effect from coast to coast.
The season of giving is undoubtably among us and instead of relying on 2-day shipping on Amazon, or participating in the “classic” gift-card exchange, let’s get people what they really want – beer. There are seemingly endless options when shopping for your beer-loving significant other, friend, or family member, so we’ve broken it down based on what type of beer-lover they are.
A few weeks ago, on a cloudy Seattle Friday night, dozens of beer fanatics flooded the basement of the Pike Brewing Company in celebration of the establishment’s 29th Canniversary. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the taproom and restaurant, guests mingled amidst the brewery’s fermenters and bottling lines – sipping away on the quintessential Pike brews and slurping down oysters from the Puget Sound.
Readers of PorchDrinking.com, I’d like to introduce you to Seattle’s pale ale. That’s right – in the city with the most craft breweries in the entire country, known for pioneering brewers and enthusiastic hopheads, I’m daring to single out one brew as Seattle’s illustrative pale. Please raise a glass and introduce yourself to Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing Company.
If you’re not familiar with Holy Mountain Brewing out of Seattle, then this beer, The Ox, will motivate you to change that. This barrel-aged saison is brewed with orange zest and Cascade hops, fermented in oak barrels (drooling). I had the pleasure of trying some of their brews for the first time recently and was floored by both the innovation of their brewing and quality of beer, particularly this saison.
If you love Seattle’s craft beer scene, you love Chuck’s Hop Shop—it’s as simple as that. Chuck’s Hop Shop, which has two locations in the Emerald City, has gained a reputation for being the fan-favorite, no-frills watering hole and bottle shop for craft beer fanatics. It’s where you go for an incredible and ever-rotating selection with dozens of beers on tap and hundreds of bottles available to go as well as knowledgeable and approachable bartenders that are eager to give recommendations on what brews simply cannot be missed. As a result, Chuck’s has cemented itself as a pillar of the Pacific Northwest craft community in the four years since its founding.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.