Road Trip: Weekend of Portland Beer Exploration

March 4th, 2015 · Beer Travels, Oregon Breweries

Bailey'sYou don’t have to twist my arm very hard to convince me to take a trip down to Portland to drink beer & eat good food. So, when Travel Portland invited me down to check out what is going on in their beer scene this winter, I didn’t hesitate for long. After all, one of my favorite things about living in Seattle is that it is so close to Portland. Having visited Portland at least once a year for the past 10 years that I’ve lived in the NW, I’ve hit quite a few worthy spots down there over the years. On this trip, I focused mostly on at least relatively newer places, including Base Camp Brewing, Ecliptic Brewing, Ex Novo Brewing and Fat Head’s Brewery. With the beautiful weather we had on Saturday, I have to admit it was difficult to not just go sit on the sunny patio at Apex for most of the day.

Travel Portland recently partnered with Base Camp Brewing Company to spearhead their #PDXNOW campaign, which is part of the greater “Portland is Happening Now” winter tourism campaign (you’ve probably seen the commercials). Base Camp approached Travel Portland about the project, and then they recruited 9 other breweries to join them. Together, they produced 10 unique #PDXNOW beers that have been featured at the breweries for about the past month after debuting at a festival in January. Base Camp’s Bridge Builder Bock was a collaboration with Coalition Brewing brewed for the campaign, and it was one of my favorite beers of the weekend.

Now, the disclaimer: Travel Portland covered my stay at the lovely Hotel Monaco (my favorite place in PDX, even when it’s not free) & subsidized my expenses for beer & food at times throughout the trip. That said, please don’t misconstrue that for them buying a good review on this Portland trip. That’s really just not necessary.

One of the trickiest parts of any Portland trip is the travel. Amtrak & Bolt Bus are fantastic, stress-free ways to go, but we opted to drive this time due to work schedules. And, the best we could do was to leave Seattle at 4pm on Friday….so we knew we were likely in for a long trip with the evening rush hour. 4 hours later (takes 2 ½ hours w/out traffic) we rolled into Portland and headed straight to Aviary up on Alberta where we had reservations that we timed perfectly. The food we had was outstanding (Chanterelle ravioli with quince, celery root, smoked tapioca herb jus & crispy sage was a highlight), and I was happy to find Upright Engelberg Pils and Breakside IPA pouring. Breakside IPA has become one of my go-to IPAs in Seattle, and Engelberg Pils would certainly be a go-to for me, but we don’t see it on tap very often in Seattle. To end the night, we stopped by the always reliable Bailey’s Taproom. The convenient downtown location is just a couple of blocks away from Hotel Monaco, and we were welcomed by $5 imperial pints of one of the best IPAs in the country: Barley Brown’s Pallet Jack. What a great way to end the night.

Saturday morning started out with the best donuts in the NW at Blue Star. If you’ve never been, forget about the overrated monstrosities at Voodoo Doughnut and the ridiculous lines that go with them. Blue Star’s classic brioche doughnuts featuring toppings like Blueberry Bourbon Basil & Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib are truly outstanding. Dear Blue Star: thank you for not opening a Seattle location…I don’t need to eat donuts any more than I already do (Mighty-O has my needs covered).

Enough about donuts. We started the beer touring for the day by meeting with the PR Manager for Travel Portland to discuss the finer points of the city over beers and lunch at Base Camp Brewing. This is the 3rd time I’ve been to Base Camp, and I love the space. It’s a huge taproom, and they recently added a covered & heated outdoor tent. For food, they have two permanent (I think?) food trucks set up that allow you to order from inside the taproom, add it to your bill and then they bring you your food when it is ready. While Seattle breweries have embraced food trucks, I don’t think there is a setup quite like that up here, yet. I already mentioned that the Bridge Builder Bock was one of my favorite beers of the trip. They still had it available on tap, and you might still be able to find it in their unique 12oz aluminum bottles.

ExNovoNext, we got a ride over to Ex Novo Brewing, which is a non-profit brewery that opened in North Portland last summer. Check out this quality piece from Brewpublic for more detailed info on Ex Novo. Saturday was a gorgeous, sunny day, and the few picnic tables outside were already filled up with happy drinkers.  We grabbed a spot at the bar in their cavernous taproom featuring lots of wood; it reminded me a bit of being in a barn (in a good way…without any manure). They had just recently run out of their Gose made for #PDXNOW, so the wife and I split a taster flight featuring their IPA, Brah! Imperial IPA, Saison Lillis, an Engligh-style brown ale and a smoked helles lager. The beers were all pretty solid, but the smoked helles was the only one I could really get excited for having a full glass of. One of the best-named beers of the trip was certainly their Damon Stoutamire. I’ll look forward to catching more of their lineup in the future.

Our next destination was a 1.5 mile walk up to Ecliptic Brewing on the south end of N. Mississippi Ave, which John Harris opened towards the end of 2013. Harris has been a mainstay in the Oregon beer industry for a long time, first at McMenamin’s, then at Deschutes, where he created flagship beers like Mirror Pond and Black Butte Porter, and then a long stint at Full Sail Brewing’s Portland location. You’d expect nothing less than well-made, quality beers from a man with experience like Harris has, and that’s exactly what you’ll find. This was my 2nd visit to Ecliptic, and we focused on the standard lineup the first time through. For this visit, we did a sample flight of Downkriek Cosmic Storm Belgian Sour (#PDXNOW beer), Izar Belgian Strong Pale Ale, Rataban Oud Bruin, Capella Porter and Phobos Single Hop Red Ale. We quite enjoyed all of the beers, but the Izar was the star of the lineup for me. It’s deceptively smooth for a 9.5% ABV beer, and it is full of hop flavor with a candy-like sweetness and Belgian yeast flavors. It finishes with a warming alcohol note and a moderate bitterness to balance.

FatHeadsFor our last brewery stop of the day, we hiked it 2 1/2 miles back towards downtown (it was beautiful out, remember?) to visit the new Fat Head’s Brewery in the Pearl District. This Ohio-based brewery made a lot of people scratch their heads when they announced in 2013 that they were planning to open a PDX pub. They have a great reputation for their hoppy beers and have won several medals at GABF, but the move to open a pub in one of the most competitive beer markets in the country was an interesting one. Their huge 300-seat pub opened towards the end of 2014, and the initial reports are that Fat Head’s beer can hang with Portland’s best. They had a large selection of 18 house beers available, as well as probably 20 more guest taps. Two of their most popular beers are the Head Hunter IPA and Sunshine Daydream Session Ale, and after sampling them I can certainly see why. We also quite enjoyed the Bean Me Up Imperial Coffee Stout & Weiss Weiss Baby, their #PDXNOW collaboration with Breakside. The beer lineup was interesting, and everything we had was well-made. Fat Head’s is a great addition to the PDX beer scene and I’ll be making it a regular stop in future trips. My only gripe? The food menu. I don’t mind at all if you want to feature comfort food straight off menus from the Midwest (who wouldn’t want to try a sandwich with a freaking pierogie on it?), but please offer 1/2 sizes for appetizers and dishes were it makes sense. The “Frickles” were a $9 basket of fried pickle chips that were outstanding and the portion was large enough to feed two people for a full meal. We felt bad leaving more than half of them to be wasted, but we had to save room for dinner. There was really nothing on the menu that fits into the category of a light snack while drinking a couple beers.

After a quick power nap back at the hotel our last outing for the day was a Portland Dining Month preview up at North Light back up on N. Mississippi Ave. Portland Dining Month features 3-course meals for $29 from some of Portland’s best restaurants, including North Light and Aviary, where we went on Friday. North Light’s 3-course meal was outstanding, especially for the $29 price. A roasted beet salad to start was anything but ordinary, with pickled beet tops, frisée, spiced almonds and blood orange-goat cheese dressing. The main course was a combo of duck confit and seared duck breast served with parsnip purée, marasca cherry demi-glace and radicchio salad. For dessert, we split a crème fraîche cheesecake with oat shortbread, citrus supremes and blood orange coulis. North Light is also one of the select Portland Dining Month restaurants offering suggested beer pairings. While the beers were nothing out of the ordinary, Hopworks Organic Lager went nicely with the salad and Deschutes Black Butte Porter was a perfect pairing for the duck. Honestly, it had been entirely too long since I’d had a Black Butte, and I was happy to realize that it is still one of the best porters out there. As for the meal, it was a ridiculous value at $29 per person. If you don’t trust me, Eater PDX recently named North Light as one of their best deals for Dining Month.

We wrapped up the weekend on Sunday with breakfast at Mother’s Bistro right downtown (excellent) and then a couple of hours at the Portland Art Museum to catch their special exhibit on Italian Style. Overall, this was another great Portland weekend. I was a bit sad to not have time to hit some of my favorite spots, like Cascade, The Commons, Apex, Hair of the Dog, Belmont Station, etc…but I’ll certainly plan to be back soon for more fun.


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Registration Now Open for 2015 Washington Beer Awards

March 2nd, 2015 · Washington Breweries

WA BEERLast year, more than 460 WA beers competed for 100+ medals in the inaugural Washington Beer Awards. As the event returns for a third year, the competition is again expected to grow. This is a great way for local WA breweries to gain some recognition; the winners will be announced at the Washington Brewers Festival in June. Interested breweries can register for the competition from now until March 30. Actual submission of beer for the competition won’t take place until early May. More info can be found below and at

Press Release:

Specialty Competitions LLC is proud to announce the return of the Washington Beer Awards®, the craft beer competition designed specifically to support Washington’s professional brewers. This is the third year for the Washington-only competition that provides an opportunity for all of Washington’s craft brewers to compete in a blind judging format and fosters recognition of brewing excellence in Washington.

Only Washington breweries with beers produced and sold in Washington can enter the competition. The event is endorsed by the Washington Beer Commission as a way to help promote our excellent Washington brews and raise awareness of our rich brewing culture.

In 2014 more than 70 breweries submitted over 460 beers to the competition spanning nearly 100 styles from the Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines. Judging was conducted by dozens of trained judges who assessed the technical and stylistic accuracy of the entries. More than 100 gold, silver, and bronze medals were presented recognizing brewing excellence in the state.

The 2015 competition is expected to grow with additional entries and award categories. The competition will also recognize “Breweries of the Year” who receive multiple awards in various categories and also feature a “Best Washington Agricultural Product Inspired Beer” special award. This year’s competition will include a “Pro-Am” category recognizing collaborations of homebrewers and professional brewers who have scaled up homebrewer recipes for production on a commercial scale.

Breweries can register entries from March 1 through March 30th. The 2015 judging will be conducted in May with the winners being announced at the Washington Brewers Festival in mid-June. Details on the competition (including rules and registration information) as well as a list of the previous winners can be found at

We look forward to recognizing another great year of Washington beers! Cheers!

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Lucky Envelope Brewing Looks to Join Ballard Beer Scene

February 27th, 2015 · Washington Breweries

Raymond Kwan & Barry Chan of Lucky Envelope.

Raymond Kwan & Barry Chan of Lucky Envelope.

The Ballard beer scene just keeps booming. Lucky Envelope Brewing looks to become the *10th brewery operating in Ballard when they open the doors to their tasting room at 907 NW 50th St., hopefully sometime in April or May. I had a chance to meet with co-owners Raymond Kwan & Barry Chan yesterday, and crews were hard at work getting their 15-barrel brewing system ready, as well as the tasting room out front. They were hoping to do their first test brew on the system today or sometime this weekend.

Chan will be the Brewmaster at Lucky Envelope, and he appreciates that many of the brewers in Ballard started out just like they are. He says, “The Ballard area is prime with examples of homebrewers going pro…we’ve been getting a lot of support from the local guys where we’ve needed it as we get things set up. They have been more than willing to lend their expertise where they can.” Kwan adds, “We had considered various locations…but one of the big things about Ballard is that it is an established destination for craft breweries. That was a big draw for us. From a business standpoint it just makes sense. It really is a great neighborhood.”

As for the beer, Chan says the beers will be culturally inspired. “That is a very broad term, but it does mean first focusing on the Northwest. So, having a solid IPA is essential as well as a hoppy pale ale. We also want to have a German lager available most of the time…the two I really like are Munich Helles and Schwarzbier.” Both Kwan & Chan are of Chinese ethnicity, and they also plan to occasionally incorporate Asian flavors into some of their beers. Chan says, “The one we are definitely going to bring out is a Belgian trippel with some Thai ingredients. That was one that did very well at the National Homebrew Conference.”

Like many before him, Chan started out as an avid homebrewer. “I caught myself at one point criticizing a beer, and I realized how unfair that was since I didn’t know how to make beer. That was in about 2008. It was kind of a self-realization point. I had to put my money where my mouth was, so I headed over to Bob’s Homebrew, picked up a kit and started getting into the nitty-gritty of it all, from the chemistry to recipe formulation and it really was the most perfect combination of science, technology, engineering and magic….it just clicked with me.” He does have a bit of experience brewing on professional systems. He says, “We did an immersion course in Colorado with Echo Brewing Company, and then I also spent some time interning in Napa at Downtown Joes.”

Kwan says that they were hoping to be able to open in early March, but that isn’t realistic at this point. “We’re experiencing some of the normal delays as everyone else. We were hoping to be open early March, which isn’t going to happen, but hopefully it won’t be much longer. I’d say it will be an April to May time frame as long as nothing major goes wrong.” Like most Ballard breweries, Lucky Envelop will be focused on on-premise consumption to start. The tasting room will be kid & dog friendly, and they’ll be able to throw some seating out in the parking lot when the weather improves. Over time, they will look towards distributing to local bars & retailers.

Check out Lucky Envelope on their website, Facebook and Twitter for more info and to keep up-to-date with when they will be open.

* Note that this number has fluctuated recently. 2nd Chance Brewing was a nanobrewery that was briefly open near Stoup, but their web presence seems to have disappeared. Urban Family Brewing moved to Magnolia.

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E9 Brewery Expanding Capacity & Adding a Barrel House in Tacoma

February 25th, 2015 · Washington Breweries

IMG_9708Head Brewer Shane Johns has been making some of the best sours in the state for several years down at E9 Brewery in Tacoma. We see those beers sporadically up here in Seattle at festivals and special events. But, by adding a barrel-storage facility as part of a series of upgrades, Shane will be able to produce up to 10 times as much sour/wild beer as he does today. That is great news, people.

E9 will also be releasing their first bottled beers on March 7 at the brewery. 375ml bottles of Raspberry Wild Ale & Farmhouse Style Saison will be available for purchase.

More from E9:

Tacoma, WA — We are excited to announce that plans are in motion to expand the existing brewery fermentation capabilities, as well as the creation of a new barrel storage facility that will increase our current barrelage ten-fold. The existing 7 BBL brew house will remain in tact with a few needed upgrades in the original space at 609 Pine St., next to the historic Engine House Nine restaurant and brew pub. The first phase of the new Barrel House addition will be located in the Stadium District, closer to downtown. Tacoma’s first craft brewery will now have the first Barrel House in Tacoma, and possibly the state…

Increased product availability-
The increased stainless steel fermentation space will allow us to continue to keep up with the heavy demand of our brew pub next door, and increase the distribution of kegs throughout western Washington, which we began last year with Alpha Beer Distributing, based out of Kent, WA. The massive increase of oak barrels, combined with the purchase of a new bottling system, will allow us to start releasing some of (Head Brewer) Shane Johns’ award winning style beers, including American wilds, saisons, sour beers, and lambics. There will also be barrel space dedicated to higher gravity barrel-aged beers, like barley-wines and imperial stouts.

First-ever Bottle Release Saturday 3/7/2015
We will be releasing 375mL bottles of a raspberry wild ale and a farmhouse style saison. There is a very limited number of these first batches, and will be first come, first served. There will be a kegged version of the raspberry on tap at the brew pub, so you can try it before you buy. You will also be able to sign up for a new “Sour Club”, as well as a newsletter that will announce future bottle releases and events. This will be the beginning of hopefully a long line of bottle releases to come from one of the only true producers of wild ales in this state.

More event info here:!/events/1609958445891962/

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Counterbalance Brewing Company Now Open in Georgetown

February 23rd, 2015 · Uncategorized

Image from CB on Facebook.

The Georgetown neighborhood gained another brewery recently when Counterbalance Brewing Company opened their taproom at the end of January. I haven’t had a chance to stop by and check them out, yet, but I certainly will soon.

Press Release:

Seattle, WA (February 2015)–Counterbalance Brewing Company launches wholesale distribution and opens its taproom at 503B South Michigan Street in South Seattle.

Counterbalance Brewing Company, owned and operated by Jeff Howell and Frank Lawrence, officially opened its taproom doors and launched wholesale distribution February 4, 2015. Counterbalance is self-distributing its core lineup of ales to bars and restaurants in Seattle and Western Washington, with packaged beer to follow later in 2015. Counterbalance’s core beers are flavor-forward yet accessible and well balanced, made for a wide range of palates.

The modern industrial-styled Counterbalance taproom is an inviting addition to the Georgetown neighborhood with 14-foot ceilings, handmade tables and bar, and a full view of the 10-barrel brewery. It offers beers by the glass, growler fills and kegs-to-go of Counterbalance beers including Abigale Blonde Ale, Counterbalance IPA, Bad Wolf Dark Ale, and Kushetka Imperial Stout, along with plenty of experiments, prototypes, and specialties on the way. Outside food is encouraged and food trucks will be hosted some days. Service animals (no pets, sorry) and kids are allowed in the taproom.

Head Brewer Frank Lawrence has been brewing a variety of ales and lagers for nearly a decade and started thinking about going pro when friends’ demand for his beers outgrew his homebrewing capacity. A coworker, fellow beer nerd, and bad influence, Jeff Howell, encouraged him to do it and signed on as co-owner and Operations Manager.

The Counterbalance name has many referents. It nods to the balanced formulation of the beers, the complementary professional skill sets of the two owner-operators, as well as the Queen Anne neighborhood in which they worked together previously. The one-legged duck just showed up one day and wouldn’t leave, as these things are wont to do.

503 South Michigan Street, Suite B
Seattle, WA 98108
Phone: 206-453-3615

Wholesale inquiries:
Taproom Hours (subject to change):
Wed-Fri 4:00-8:00pm
Sat-Sun 2:00-6:00pm

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Watershed Pub & Kitchen Black & Brew Imperial Stout Fest Starts This Thursday

February 23rd, 2015 · Events

The Watershed Pub & Kitchen is coming up on their 1st anniversary and will be hosting some interesting events over the next month or so. 1st up is the Black & Brew Imperial Stout Fest, which kicks off this Thursday with 15+ imperial stouts pouring.

More info from Watershed:

1st Annual Black & Brew Imperial Stout Fest – Thursday 2/26: “15+ of the best, big, bad, bruising imperial stouts around, on tap and in bottles. Our chefs will be offering up some appropriately rich, roasty, sweet, savory and delicious specials to aid you on your voyage into the darkness. Beginning first thing Thursday and going ’til they’re gone. The empire strikes black!”
On tap:
Almanac Imperial Chocolate Stout (12oz) 10%
Perennial Abraxas Imperial Stout (8oz) 10%
Iron Fist Velvet Glove Imperial Stout (12oz) 9%
Olvisholt Lava Smoked Imperial Stout (12oz) 9.4%
Epic Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout (8oz) 12.7%
Black Market Black Hole Sun Imperial Stout (8oz) 15%
Avery The Czar Imperial Stout (12oz) 8.5%
Evil Twin Yin Imperial Stout (8oz) 10%
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout (8oz) 10.5%
Deschutes The Abyss Imperial Stout (8oz) 11%
Black Raven Grandfather Raven Imperial Stout (12oz) 9.5%
Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout Imperial Stout (8oz) 11%
AleSmith Speedway Stout Imperial Stout (8oz) 12%
Hale’s Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (12oz) 9.9%
North Coast Old Rasputin Nitro Imperial Stout (12oz) 9%
7 Seas Chili Pepper Imperial Stout (12oz) 9%
Boundary Bay Cab Sauv Oaked Imperial Oatmeal Stout (12oz) 8.5%
Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout (8oz) 10.5%
This event will go strong through the weekend with a few backup kegs as the first ones blow. I’ll follow up with the bottle list and food specials early in the week.

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Sour Beer Blowout, Holy Mountain Brewers Night & More This Week

February 18th, 2015 · Events

Here are a few particularly worthy events coming up this week:

Holy Mountain Brewers Night at Brouwer’s Cafe – Feb 18 at 6pm
If you still haven’t tried the beers from the fantastic Holy Mountain Brewing, they’ll be hanging out at Brouwer’s Cafe this evening for a Brewers Night. They will be debuting River of Ash, a farmhouse ale fermented in oak with cherries, and they will also be pouring 4 other Holy Mountain beers.

Maui Brewing Brewers Night at Toronado – Feb 20 at 7pm
The Owner & Brewmaster of Maui Brewing, Garrett Marrero, will be on hand as Toronado features five beers from the brewery.

Lorenzini Blood Orange DIPA – ABV: 7.6%
IBU: 64
This Double IPA was brewed with Blood Orange, local citrus and Maui cane sugar. The deep red hue is a result of the blood orange and the specialty malts. The unique hop profile is made up of Azacca, El Dorado and Sorachi Ace. Leaving the beer delightfully bitter with an aromatic nose of Tropical Fruit and, of course, orange.

Double Overhead DIPA – ABV 9.5%
IBU: 100
Our Double IPA features higher alcohol and a ton more hops compared to traditional IPAs. This beer is layered with hops from beginning to end. Its rich, silky sweet body gives a hefty backbone for the hop additions. The hop profile offers hints of tropical fruit and citrus that deliciously balance the silky malt flavor.

Coconut Porter – ABV 6.0%
IBU: 30
Our CoCoNut PorTeR is a fresh handcrafted Robust Porter brewed with six varieties of malted barley, hops, and hand-toasted coconut. This beer has a malty, toasted coconut aroma followed by a rich, silky mouth feel with tastes of dark roasted malt, chocolate, and hints of coffee. Flavors of toasted coconut and hop spice help balance the sweet finish.

LahainaTown Brown – ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 18
Our brown ale offers a malty and nutty character with subtle chocolate notes. A blend of Munich, Dark Crystal, and Chocolate malts make this brew refreshingly smooth and satisfying. This ale’s flavor shines when allowed to warm slightly.

Black Rock Lager – ABV 5.5%
IBU: 25
Named after the legendary lava outcrop on Ka’anapali Beach where the spirits of Hawaiian warriors left earth to meet their ancestors upon a leap, our spirit-crafted Black Rock lager too will ascend your palate – begining with a crisp yet shallow bitterness and slightly roasted but smooth malt flavor before leaping to a heavenly floral and spicy finish. Don’t let the Darkness deter you from sipping this rewardingly refreshing craft brew

Sour Beer Blowout at The Pine Box – Feb 19 to 21
Mmmm…sour beer. The Pine Box will be tapping a whole bunch of kegs of awesome sour beer. The fun starts this Thursday and lasts through Saturday.

On Tap:
10 Barrel German Sparkle Party
Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Blueberry
Bear Republic Tartare
Bear Republic Tartare Rouge
Bend Brewing Volkssekt
Breakside La Tormenta
Cascade Blueberry
De Proef Sour Project #1
Destihl St. Dekkera Reserve: French Saison
Destihl St. Dekkera Reserve: Forsaken Barrel Lambic
Double Mountain Devils Kriek
E9 Golden Rasperry Berlinerweiss
E9 Raspberry Wild
Evil Twin Sour Bikini Beer
Firestone Walker Agrestic
Firestone Walker Bretta Weiss
Green Flash 12th Anny Dry Hopped Sour Pale
Lover Beer BeerBera
Lover Beer BeerBrugna
Lover Beer Madamin
New Belgium La Folie
New Belgium Cherry Oscar Love
St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition
The Bruery Rueuze Gueuze
The Bruery Tart of Darkness
Trinity Sour Threads
Trinity 7 Day Sour

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2015 AHA National Homebrewers Conference in San Diego June 11-13

February 17th, 2015 · Homebrewing

Image thanks to AHA.

As I’m just getting back from a weekend trip to sunny San Diego, it seems like the perfect time to mention this year’s National Homebrews Conference. The event will take place from Thursday, June 11 through Saturday, June 13 at the Town & Country Resort & Convention Center in San Diego. If you are an active homebrewer and have never been to San Diego, this would be a great opportunity to visit the city and enjoy all the great beer available down there.

More details follow in the press release below, but please check out the website for full conference information. The registration window opens tomorrow, February 18 and runs through February 24.

2015 AHA National Homebrewers Conference

—Brew’s Up in San Diego!—

WHAT:           For the first time since 2011, the American Homebrewers Association National Homebrewers Conference takes place in sunny San Diego. Homebrewers will flock to what has been described as the “hoppiest place on Earth” for three days of homebrewing culture, companionship and competition. Special seminars and events cater to beer enthusiasts and amateur brewers of every level.

The 37th annual conference is also home to the final round of judging in this year’s National Homebrew Competition, the world’s largest beer competition, which recognizes the most outstanding homebrewed beer, mead and cider produced by amateur brewers worldwide.            

WHO:              An estimated 4,000 attendees will have the opportunity hear from over 70 presenters, including keynote speaker Tomme Arthur of California-based Port Brewing Company and The Lost Abbey, who is widely regarded as one of the leaders of the American craft brewing renaissance. Presenters include other pioneering and veteran homebrewers, Cicerones, mead makers and more.

WHEN:           Thursday, June 11Saturday, June 13

Times vary. For a full schedule of events, visit the conference schedule.


WHERE:         Town and Country Resort & Convention Center

                        500 Hotel Circle North

San Diego, CA 92108

WHY:              The American Homebrewers Association has worked on behalf of the homebrewing community since 1978 and celebrates a membership of more than 44,000 homebrewers and beer enthusiasts. This fun and educational gathering brings together homebrewing fans and friends from across the country to broaden their brewing skills and knowledge, while enhancing the community’s camaraderie.

SPONSORS: The National Homebrewers Conference is made possible by the generous support of its sponsors.

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Fill Out Your Bracket Now for Brewing News National IPA Championship & Win a Case of Beer

February 10th, 2015 · General Beer News

Interested in winning a case of the best IPA in the country? Yeah, I thought so.

The annual Brewing News National IPA Championship (NIPAC) is open for you to make your picks. This is a fun “March Madness” style competition that pits IPAs from all over the country against each other in head-to-head matchups. There are 128 competitors in the IPA category and another 96 beers competing in the Imperial IPA category. The matchups were randomly chosen. The winner of each matchup will move on to the next round. Judging will be done by brewers and qualified “hop lovers” at several locations around the country.

The deadline to make your picks is this upcoming Saturday, February 14 at 9am PST.

What’s the payoff? The person with the best bracket wins a case of the winning beers!

It looks like there are 13 IPA entries from WA breweries and another 10 Imperial IPA entries. Best of luck to those that entered.

More from Brewing News:

The Eighth Annual NIPAC is here! And the Third Annual NI-IPAC!

Once again, we’ve assembled 128 competitors to vie “head to head” for this year’s NIPAC championship and 96 to compete for the NI-IPAC crown! It all starts this coming weekend in Buffalo, New York and continues weekly up until the Elite Eight, Final Four and Championship round in mid-March. The brackets let you watch the competition unfold; first round match ups are below.

Remember, the best part about our Beer Brackets is that you get to compete too! And the winner of each bracket’s predictions will win a case of the championship beer, as well as some serious bragging rights.

It all starts at the NIPAC url below with an explanation of the contest…you then click to go to the locker room. After confirming your age, you will be able to review the beers and proceed to our on-line contest. Most brewers have submitted their stats, the better to inform you as you decide who to root for.

We realize the Locker Room can seem a little intimidating, but it’s full of vital information for you to make your picks. For those who want eve more, look for the “previous competitions” link.

Once ready, choose the “Predict It!” link and you will be taken to our brackets software, where you can enter your picks for the entire tournament. Making your preditions may take a while(Please Note: NI-IPAC has byes facing some breweries in the first round. Please choose the bye’s opponent to win. Unfortunately, this cannot be automated!)

Make sure your predictions are complete!
The deadline for your picks for NIPAC is Noon EST, Saturday, February 14, 2015.

The deadline for your picks for NI-IPAC is Noon EST, Sunday, February 15, 2015.

Want to know if your favorite IPAs advance to the next level? Follow their progress on-line using the link provided in the Locker Room. Winners are posted to the web site within 24 hours of each round. Be sure to subscribe to our Beer Brackets email newsletter so that we can notify you the moment the results are posted!

Now go and make your picks. Root for your favorite brewery and be sure to let your friends know to make their picks too—it’s fun to compare your picks and see who gets bragging rights!

Thanks for participating!

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WA Beer Open House on February 21 Offers Chance to Get Behind-the-Scenes

February 5th, 2015 · Events, Washington Breweries

53 breweries across Washington are already confirmed to participate in the WA Beer Open House on Saturday, February 21, and more are likely to join in the fun. This event will give you the chance to visit the breweries and meet brewers, sample special beer releases, and try selected food pairings. Each location can choose to do something different, so make a day out of it and visit a few breweries.

A list of participating breweries follows, and you can visit this link for more information about what each has planned.

Click Here for Additional Brewery Details

Airways Brewing
American Brewing
Amneisa Brewing
Anacortes Brewery
Ashtown Brewing
Bellevue Brewing
Birdsview Brewing
Bog Water Brewing
Chuckanut Brewery
Diamond Knot Craft Brewing-Mukilteo
Dick’s Brewing
Dirty Bucket Brewing
Elliott Bay Public House-Lake City
English Setter Brewing
Epic Ales/Gastropod
Foggy Noggin Brewing
Fremont Brewing
Geaux Brewing
Georgetown Brewing
Harmon Brewing
Herbert B. Friendly Brewing
Hilliard’s Beer
Ice Harbor Brewing
Icicle Brewing
Justice Brewing
Lantern Brewing
Lazy Brewing
Loowit Brewing
Lowercase Brewing
Machine House Brewery
Maritime Pacific Brewing
McMenamins Mill Creek
McMenamins on the Columbia
McMenamins Six Arms
Middleton Brewing
Naked City Brewery & Taphouse
Orlison Brewing
Pacific Brewing & Malting
Paradise Creek Brewery
Populuxe Brewing
Reuben’s Brews
River City Brewing
Silver City Brewery
Snipes Mountain Brewing
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Stoup Brewing
Tacoma Brewing
Tin Dog Brewing
Top Rung Brewing
Triplehorn Brewing Co
Two Beers Brewing
Walking Man Brewing
Wingman Brewers

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