Seattle Weekly Winter Beer Pages – Corrections

November 10th, 2011 · No Comments · Washington Breweries

I’ve been doing seasonal beer pieces for the Seattle Weekly for a couple of years now, but for this week’s Winter Beer Pages section last year’s submission somehow got re-printed. Not sure how it happened, but the piece I submitted follows. The correct dates for the Winter Beer Festival are December 2nd and 3rd, while the correct date for Brouwer’s Big Wood Festival is December 8th.

Hoppy Holidays

Winter in Seattle is a great time to catch up on your beer drinking. No nice weather to keep you outside tramping around the woods, far fewer friends getting married, and more wet weather and darkness to lure you inside to a nice, warm bar with pints of great local beer just waiting for you. The weather here is certainly one thing that you can attribute to the growth of Seattle craft beer over the past twenty-some years. Bigger, thicker brews with more “kick” are perfect for sipping on. Whether you are at your local pub or situated squarely on your couch, there is a seemingly endless selection of brews to choose from.

One of my favorites is the Big Al Brewing Winter Warmer. This dark strong ale is about as good of an example of the style as you’ll find in the NW. It thrives on a big nutty, caramel base with some dark fruit. Significant, but not overwhelming, alcohol warmth will help you forget about the cold in a pinch. It manages to be big and bold, but it is still incredibly drinkable at 6.5% ABV.

Another great one is the Schooner Exact Hoppy Holidays, which isn’t your typical winter seasonal. A base of robust toasted and chocolate malt carries a punch of citrus hop flavor. A slight alcohol warming fits right in with the season, but the hops and lingering bitterness will remind you that this is a Northwest beer. And, if you want something even more flavorful find some of Schooner Exact’s Hoppy the Woodsman. They take the regular Hoppy Holidays and age it in bourbon barrels. The resulting beer is quite complex and interesting.

If you’re interested in trying a lot of local Washington winter seasonals at once, don’t miss the upcoming Winter Beer Festival at Hale’s Palladium on December 2 and 3. This festival is perfect for both the casual drinker looking to just grab some local beers with friends, as well as for more adventurous drinkers seeking out what’s new and exciting in the beer world. A variety of seasonal beers from more than 30 Washington breweries will be available, including many one-time special releases and vintage beers aged from years past.

Also coming up is the Big Wood Festival kicking off at Brouwer’s Café on Thursday, December 8th. This festival is dedicated to the art of wood-aged beers and features some special brews from around the country and world. At Big Wood, you can expect to see stouts, sour beer, barleywines, and more. You can expect more than 40 wood-aged beers to be poured.

Speaking of Brouwer’s, the owners of that world-class bar are opening up a new bar in the Tangletown neighborhood. Many locals know the spot at the corner of 55th and Kirkwood as “that place where the Luau used to be.” After it was the Luau, it was then the Pour House and most recently Bandolero. Next up, the guys from Brouwer’s will open a bar called The Publican. According to Matt Bonney of Brouwer’s, “At The Publican, you can expect the same consideration and quality for beer and all distillates as you do at Brouwer’s. The beer selection won’t have as much of a Belgian flavor as Brouwer’s, but we’ll have a strong focus on American micros.” They will have 22 taps of beer, a well-chosen selection of bottles, a great selection of bourbon and tequila, and cocktails. They’ll also hold occasional beer events there and are working on some ideas for festivals that would work well with the smaller amount of taps. Bonney stressed that the quality of beer at The Publican will be exceptional. “We are getting a direct draw system like we have at Brouwer’s and Bottleworks, so you can depend on the same clean beer at The Publican. We’ll take the Pepsi Challenge with anybody.” The Publican will open up at 10am daily, serve breakfast all day long, and also have lunch and dinner menus. They are expecting to open by mid to late December.

New beer-focused spots, including breweries, are continuing to open at a fast past all over the city. But, Ballard seems to be getting more than their fair share these days. Hilliard’s Beer opened up in Ballard in October and they are already making a great impression on local beer drinkers. Hilliard’s is joining the craft can revolution and will focus on selling beer in 16oz aluminum cans. Available now is their amber, which you can find at most local retailers. Next up in cans will be the Hilliard’s Saison, which will be a rarity in the marketplace; finding Belgian styles in cans is not common. Hilliard’s will also have beer available on draft, both in their taproom and at local bars and restaurants. The beers that they can will not show up on draft, and they plan to rotate quite a few beers and styles into their draft lineup in order to try new things.

The next member of the Ballard beer community will be Urban Family Brewing. They are projecting to have their doors open by mid to late November at 5329 Ballard Ave NW, directly in the heart of the neighborhood. Urban Family will feature 25 taps of beer focusing on American craft and Belgian beers. Two of those taps will be reserved for house beers brewed on a small 15 gallon system. To start out they will have all guest taps while they work on obtaining the proper brewery licenses, and they hope to have a small brewing system up and running within two to three months



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