Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. It seems like it was not long ago that we were enjoying 70-degree weather and one of the best summers on record. As we swing into the holidays, I hope everyone is getting to spend time with family and friends, and drink some good beer of course. On a side note, this is the second post this week in which I use the word “beery” in the title. What’s up with that?
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? There is a lot in my life I am thankful for, but I’ll spare you and stick to the beer-related stuff here:
- Seasonal Beers – one of my favorite aspects of craft beer is all of the rotating seasonal releases that make their way onto shelves this time of year. I love IPAs as much as just about anyone, but I sure do enjoy the malt-focused winter beer releases. Just a quick glance at your local retailer’s shelves should reveal plenty of offerings that weren’t there a month ago.
- New breweries – Reuben’s Brews, Populuxe Brewing, Peddlers Brewing, Bainbridge Island, Urban Family, West Seattle Brewing, Hi-Fi Brewing, Spinnaker Bay Brewing….I’m sure I’m leaving some out. I love that the local beer scene continues to grow. With several neighborhoods still without local breweries, there is still plenty of room to grow in this market.
- Local bars – sometimes, the best beer bar is the one closest to home. We recently gained the Tippe & Drague up in Beacon Hill, and I’m taking full advantage. I now get to say I have a true “local” that I really love going to.
- Expansions – just recently, Schooner Exact opened an expanded seating area, added a food menu, and expanded their days and hours. Fremont Brewing also recently opened up a new tasting room with expanded tap space and opening days/hours. Epic Brewing is in the process of expanding. Places just continue to grow to meet demand.
- Beer Travels – I love travelling. I also love beer. I therefore often end up combining the two. Trips this year have included, San Diego, TN/NC, Indianapolis, Dayton/Cincinnati, Chicago, and maybe more (the year isn’t over).
- Dedicated people – I’m amazed by the dedication and passion of people in the brewing industry. Hours seem to be never-ending, brewing is a hard, labor-intensive job, and wages can be less than desirable. Many people get involved in the brewing industry because they love beer so much that they can’t imagine doing anything else. The next time you have a pint of craft beer in your hand, just know that there is a good chance that someone poured their heart and soul into making it.
- Beer & Food pairings – beer dinners, events like Craft Beer + Food, and good beer at restaurants continue to expand the reality that beer can pair with just about anything.
- Barleywines – it is almost barleywine season. These big, bold beers start hitting the market in December and will stick around through March. Big Time releases Old Wooly on December 1, Pike releases Old Bawdy on December 31, and many others will be available. I will have had my fill by the time March rolls around, but I’m always excited for them to start showing up.
- Experimentation – each year it seems like we continue to see local breweries step out of their comfort zones a little more. Sours, barrel-aged beers, Belgian styles, German styles, and plenty more keep showing up on beer menus. Keep making these, and we’ll keep drinking them.
- Friends & Family – beer isn’t nearly as much fun if you have to drink it by yourself. I’m very thankful to have my wonderful wife and such a great group of friends around to explore the craft beer scene with.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!