- Created on 08 March 2012
- Written by Kirbie
IPA Fest is still a month away and we're already freaking out around here. The logistics of pouring 60-70 different beers in three weeks are daunting, and every year it seems to get harder. We try and pour as many fun, interesting, and hard to find beers as we can but no matter how much planning and work we do, there's always going to be something we just couldn't get. Thanks Russian River :(
One of the problems is IPA's are best when fresh as possible, so storing them for months prior to the Fest is not ideal. But many beers are brewed only once a year and if we want to pour it, we've got to store it! This year we were a little lucky, as we've only had to sit on a few kegs, and none for more than a month. Fresh beer!
If you've never joined us for the Fest before, and you love IPA's, you're in for a treat. We commit 12-14 handles to IPA all through the month, with four blind taps for judging. There's always a good mix of regular and double/imperial IPA's too. So if you're not in the mood for a 10% hop bomb, there's still plenty to choose from. Food specials throughout the Fest are made specifically to pair with the bitter hoppiness of the beers, too.
Happy Hour and $1 off Thursdays are in effect all Fest long, so if you're looking for a way to save a couple bucks and try some great IPA's, plan accordingly.
- Created on 08 October 2012
- Written by Kirbie
The hop harvest is here again and we couldn't be more excited! Each year brewers seem to get more adventurous using fresh hops and this year is no different. From old school harvest ales to fresh and wet hop IPA's, pales, and pilsners. And we're pouring them all! We will be pouring 15-20 of these brews throughout the month of October.
While most breweries take their hops straight to where they belong, IPA's, some take a much different tack. Lighter beers such as pilsner's and "session" ales popped up this year. They tend to show the more herbal and flower-y flavors of the hops. While IPA's and pales taste more like their year round counterparts, albeit with a much fresher and brighter hop profile.
Many breweries rush the hops straight from the farm to the kettle for the absolute freshest possible flavor. But the process breweries employ in using these fresh hops can differ quite a bit. They might use them every step of the way or at different times to impart a variety of different flavors and aromas. And the differences in the hop varities is even more pronounced when they are used fresh.
The hop harvest only happens once a year, so let's enjoy it while we can!
- Created on 18 July 2012
- Written by Kirbie
The quest for the perfect summer pint can take a beer drinker in many different directions. Depending on what you drink the ten months of the year in Seattle it’s not sunny, a great summer beer can come in many different styles.
For the IPA drinker, an overly hoppy beer doesn’t always do the trick. Especially todays super bitter, almost sticky NW style IPA’s. They can coat the tongue and aren’t always real refreshing.
If you’re a dark beer fan, there’s something not quite satisfying about a porter or stout when it’s 80 degrees outside. Most are “sipping” beers and not suited to sitting on a deck throwing down a few.
And if you’re a lager/pilsner drinker, well you can probably just keep on drinking them.
A number of breweries make “summer beers”, usually a blonde or alt style. Lighter bodied than most ales, but with more flavor than many pilsners, they hit a sweet spot between the two. They’re generally unfiltered, but without a heavy mouthfeel that can entail. And they almost all have a clean, crisp finish with more hop character than most lagers.
And don’t forget about ciders! If you’ve never tried a cider, or been reluctant to because of a previous bad experience (i.e. Hornsby’s or (ugh) Mike’s Hard Lemonade), don’t despair. Many of those mass produced ciders are nothing like what’s available today. And Mike’s isn’t even a “cider”, it’s a malted beverage.
British ciders are made from “cider apples” that are generally inedible, but make great cider. It’s usually a little drier, and slightly bitterer, than others. And now a number of craft ciderworks are producing great, locally produced ciders. Made with Washington grown apples, they taste fantastic and are a great summertime option.
Whatever you decide to drink, there’s no denying that nothing beats a cold beer, or cider, on a hot summer day.