Grab A Beer: Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout

March 24th, 2014 · Beer Reviews

Wynkoop Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout
Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%

Intro:
Brewers will put just about anything in a beer these days, huh? What started out as a fantastic April Fools Day joke video by Denver’s Wynkoop Brewing Company back in 2012 resulted in them actually making a stout brewed with sliced & roasted bull testicles, otherwise known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. After doing a draught-only release for GABF in 2012, they then released 12oz cans of the beer in 2013. I was “lucky” enough to get one in the box of beer I recently received from Mark over at Brewtally Insane as part of his payment for our bet on the Super Bowl. I have no idea if they will be releasing this in cans again in the future or not. You can read more details about the beer in the press release at the bottom of this post.

Description:
Balls. Pours an oily black with a dark brown head that goes away quickly. Balls. Rich chocolate & molasses in the aroma; lots of roast coming through. Balls. Flavor is a mix of roast, chocolate, mild soy & molasses. Balls. There might be some nuts coming through, but it might just be in my head. Balls. This is a lightly sweet stout with a lot of flavors coming together nicely. Balls. A bit salty. Salty balls? Big salty balls? Yep, I’m drinking roasted, big, salty balls. It’s medium-full bodied and has a mild balancing bitterness. Balls.

Honestly, this is a really good beer. It certainly freaks me out a bit that it was made with bull balls, but if you poured me a pint of this w/out telling me what it was, I would happily drink it. That said, I’m pretty sure that one time is enough for me knowingly drinking a beer made with balls. Balls.

Verdict: 4 out of 5 Booyas
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Commercial Description/Press Release:

Alright, it’s official: we have released a hand-canned version of our world-famous Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout.

This is another seminal moment in our 25 years of small-batch liquid art.

As you may recall, RMOS Stout made its debut during last year’s Great American Beer Festival. The draft-only beer earned press and consumer interest from around the world and led to long lines for the beer at our GABF table.

The new hand-canned version of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is being sold in unique twopacks of labeled 12-ounce cans. It’ll be available at select retailers in our Denver distribution area.

For beer lovers outside of the Denver area, a limited amount of the beer will be available through the www.letspour.com web site starting March 11.

We’re certain that this is the ballsiest canned beer in the world. We believe it’s also the nation’s first twopack of cans.

The beer is made in tiny 8-barrel batches (instead of our usual, already small 20-barrel batch) and is the first in our new Even Smaller Batch Series of beers. (A barrel of beer equals 31 gallons and two standard 15.5 gallon kegs.)

Head brewer Andy Brown developed the beer’s recipe.

A meaty foreign-style stout, Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is made with Colorado base malts, roasted barley, seven specialty malts, Styrian Goldings hops, and 25 pounds of freshly sliced and roasted bull testicles.

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is an assertive, viscous stout with a rich brown/black color, a luscious mouthfeel and deep flavors of chocolate, espresso and nuts. The beer sports a savory, umami-like note and a roasty dry finish.

Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout is 7.5% ABV and 3 BPBs. (That’s balls per barrel.)

The beer came to life last fall after the enthusiastic response to our 2012 April Fools Day spoof video in which we claimed to have made the beer. I got the video joke idea and wrote up the script after sampling a traditional oyster stout (made with ocean-grown kind) by the fine folks at Odell Brewing.

The video — at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1fV3edEdfE — has over 100,000 views on Youtube.

Note the stellar performances by Andy, our former brewer Brad Landman (he’s now at Vine Street Pub) and the rest of our staff. Gabe Dohrn (a part-time Wynkoop staffer and founder of Avavision Media) was the video wizard behind the camera and did the exceptional edit job for the piece.

Folks who got the video joke thought it was a hilarious idea. Many of those who missed the joke were eager to try the beer. So we figured the only way we could top the humor of the video and make those stout drinkers happy was to actually create the beer.

We canned approximately 100 cases of the beer in this initial canning run of Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout. The beers are hand canned on a table-top canning machine from Cask Brewing Systems.

We’ve packaged RMOS in blank, unprinted aluminum cans that we label with a two-part label akin to those used on glass bottles. This method enables us to produce super-small batches of canned beer and avoid the 95,000 can minimum for painted cans from our can supplier.

Look for these nutty new twofers in our best Denver area stores. Have a ball!

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Cask Fest This Saturday – My Picks

March 19th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

Eric Radovich Pours the WABL beer from Snipes Mountain at the 2010 Cask Fest.

One of my favorite beer festivals of the year rolls into Seattle Center this Saturday. The 15th Annual Washington Cask Beer Festival will feature 41 Washington breweries pouring more than 100 cask beers. The afternoon session is already sold out, but as of today there are still some tickets left for the evening session online. Also, The Latona Pub will be hosting the release party for the Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale tomorrow night. Herbert’s is a collaborative beer brewed each year for the fest at a different location. This year’s version was done at American Brewing Company.

What is cask ale?

Cask-conditioning is a traditional way of brewing and serving beer that has been practiced in England for centuries. After primary fermentation in the tank unfiltered, unpasteurized beer that still contains live yeast is transferred to a “cask” where it finishes secondary fermentation that naturally carbonates the beer. Then the beer is traditionally served at cellar temperature (50-55F) pumped by a beer engine. This process results in smoother mouthfeel and a more complex flavor profile that allows subtle nuances to come through- a quality that many cask devotees seek in their perfectly poured pint of cask ale.

There are really two types of cask ales that you’ll find at this festival. The first is the traditional method described above, which fans will tell you really brings out fuller aromas and flavors vs. the same beer that is keg or tank conditioned and served with C02. It’s really all about serving the freshest product possible in this case. For a great example of traditional cask ale here in Seattle, I advise you to try something from Machine House Brewery in Georgetown, which features English-style ales poured from a cask through hand pumps at their bar.

The second method takes cask beer as an opportunity to add layers of flavor by adding special ingredients to the beer in the cask, such as fruit, spices, chocolate and whatever else a brewer can think of. The second method isn’t wrong by any means, but if a pub in England were to serve a “cask beer” featuring citrus peel, flowers and tears from a newt, you might have a riot on your hands. But, here in the US this experimentation is embraced and enjoyed by many.

At the WA cask festival, you will find many examples of both types of cask beer that I describe above. With 41 breweries pouring over 100 beers, you are sure to find something that fits your preference. If you can’t decide, you’ll find a few suggestions below.

Machine House Bitter – You owe it to yourself to start off with something traditional, at least for comparison’s sake. This 4.2% ABV Best Bitter is a great example of the style. I’ve also heard good things about their Dandelion Pale.

Ice Harbor Whiskey Barrel Porter – Ice Harbor makes some great beers, but I’m not sure if I have had anything barrel-aged from them. Seems like a good idea to me.

Black Raven Session Oaked Chicago Hot Toddy – Yeah, no idea what this is. But, I’m from Chicago & Black Raven kicks ass in general. If you don’t want to take a chance on this, I suppose you could stick with their “Wisdom Seeker-Extra Wise and Firkenized”.

Hi-Fi Brewing Extra Mild – This is another traditional English-style that is great from a cask. At 4.2% ABV it will help offset some of the heavier beers.

Fremont Imperial Porter – I’m going to assume this is their “Midnight Rider”, which has vanilla, coffee & coconut. Sounds right up my alley. Oh, this is the WABL beer…so you have to be a member to try it. You can sign up at the fest.

Georgetown Dry Hopped Lucille – Lucille is a great IPA when it is coming out of a regular keg & w/out dry hopping. I imagine I could just drink pints of this all day and be happy.

American Brewing Decadence Chocolate Imperial Stout – Mmmm….chocolate imperial stout.

 

 

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The Pine Box Celebrates Two Years This Thursday With Special Beers

March 17th, 2014 · Events

We have more than our share of great beer bars in Seattle. The Pine Box, located on Pine & Melrose in Capitol Hill, has risen towards the top of that list of great bars in a short amount of time. Since opening in 2012, they have been rotating as good of a selection of beer through their taps as any other bar in the city. The atmosphere is tough to beat as well. Set in an old funeral home, it features a beautiful, big, open room that manages to give the feel of a grand beer hall & at the same time be a comfortable place to pull a stool up at the bar for a few. It has certainly become one of my favorite bars in town, and I’m not alone. Pine Box has been included in Draft Magazine’s list of America’s Top 100 Beer Bars in both 2013 & 2014.

They know how to throw a good party at Pine Box, and their 2nd Anniversary party this Thursday evening will be no exception. They will be releasing a beer to commemorate the occasion. Called 2nd Nail, it is a Sour Apple Berlinerweisse brewed by 10 Barrel Brewing, located in Bend, OR. It features fresh pressed juice from Tieton Cider Works in WA. They will have the beer on draft as well as in bottles. In addition, they are pulling some great kegs out of the cellar:

10 Barrel Brewing 2 Nail Sour Apple Berlinerweiss 5.5% ABV
Fremont Brewing 1st Nail Imperial Stout Batch 1 11.5% ABV
Fremont Brewing 1st Nail Imperial Stout Batch 2 11.5% ABV
Fremont Brewing 1st Nail Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 1 11.5+% ABV
Almanac Brandy Barrel Peche Wild Ale 7% ABV
Avery Mephistopheles Imperial Stout 16.8% ABV
Black Raven Grandfather Raven Russian Imperial Stout 9.5% ABV
Deschutes The Abyss Barrel Aged Imperial Stout 11% ABV
E9 Verre Violet Black Current Sour 7.6% ABV
Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Barrel Aged Strong Ale 13.3% ABV
Logsdons Cerasus Flanders Style Sour Red Ale with Cherries 8% ABV
Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme Oak Aged Sour Quad with Cherries 11% ABV
New Belgium 2013 La Folie Flemish Sour Brown 6% ABV

Cheers to the crew at Pine Box for running one of the best beer bars in the country!

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Beer Junction Hosts Three Worthy Events Over Next Three Days

March 13th, 2014 · Uncategorized

worthyThe next three nights seem like the perfect chance to head over to West Seattle & see what is shaking at The Beer JunctionWhile only one of these events is actually with Worthy Brewing, all three of them are “worthy” of your time.

Details from Beer Junction:

It’s not Seattle Beer Week yet, but by the looks of our event calendar it’s starting to look like it. We’ve got 3 great events lined up for this week plus some fun things for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

*Thursday 3/13 (5-8PM)
Worthy Brewers Night & Tasting Event!

Meet Brewmaster Chad Kennedy of Bend, Oregon’s new Worthy Brewing! Worthy Brewing may be fairly new, but they’ve got some big beer knowledge behind them. Before coming to Worthy, Chad was the Brewmaster for Portland’s Laurelwood Brewing and created their famous and award winning Workhorse IPA.

*Friday 3/14 (6-9PM)
Silver City “Fat Party!” 

During the tasting (5-8PM) for just $4 sample from Worthy their IPA, Imperial IPA, Easy Day Kolsch and their brand newBlack Light Porter & Dark Muse Imperial Stout!

Meet the guys from Silver City Brewing as we do the Seattle release for their very limited sour scotch ale, Le Fat! We’ll have on tap all three “fats”: Fat Scotch, Fat Woody, and Le Fat! Learn more about Le Fat HERE! We’ll have a very limited number of bottles of Le Fat on sale starting at 5PM for $21.99 per 750ml. The 3 kegs will be tapped at 5:45PM. Get a full pour of your favorite or get a “Fat” sampler tray of all 3 beers for just $7.75!

*Saturday March 15th (6-9PM)
Fort George Suicide Squeeze IPA release party!

Join us for the Seattle release of the new Suicide Squeeze Session IPA from Astoria’s Fort George (a collaboration with Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records). Also on tap from Fort George will be the limited Optimist Mosaic IPA and their North VII Barrel Aged Imperial Belgian-style IPA. There will also be plenty of cans of the new Suicide Squeeze available to take home. We got a sneak taste of the Suicide Squeeze a couple weeks ago and it’s excellent!

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Last Chance for Washington Brewers to Register for the 2014 Washington Beer Awards

March 12th, 2014 · Washington Breweries

WA BEERThe registration deadline for the 2014 Washington Beer Awards is this upcoming Saturday. Don’t let your brewery miss out. Last year, more than 400 WA beers competed for 80+ medals in the inaugural Washington Beer Awards. As the event returns for a second year, competition is expected to grow. This is a great way for local WA breweries to gain some recognition; the winners will again be announced at the Washington Brewers Festival in June. More info can be found below and at www.wabeerawards.com.

The original press release about the event:

Seattle, WA, February 5, 2014:  Specialty Competitions LLC is proud to announce the return of the Second Annual Washington Beer Awards®, a craft beer competition designed specifically to support Washington’s professional brewers.  This Washington-only competition 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 2013 more than 70 breweries submitted over 400 beers to the competition spanning over 90 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 80 gold, silver, and bronze medals were presented recognizing brewing excellence in the state.

The 2014 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 also include a “Pro-Am” category recognizing beers scaled up from homebrewer recipes and produced on a commercial scale.

Breweries can register entries from February 14th through March 15th.  The 2014 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 www.wabeerawards.com.

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

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Washington Cider Industry Celebrates Passage of Growler Bill

March 11th, 2014 · Cider

NWCA 2013 Logo ButtonFor cider drinkers who would like to bring draft cider home to enjoy, a bill approving growler fills for cider was recently passed. I’m a big fan of growler fills for beer, and it is nice to see cider getting equal treatment.

Press Release from the Northwest Cider Association:

Olympia, WA – Lawmakers have passed legislation which, once signed by Governor Jay Inslee, will give Washington’s cider industry a real boost.  The bill, SB 6442, allows growlers to be filled with hard cider at retailers, bars and taverns, just as beer has been for years.

“The timing is perfect. The ability to sell cider in growlers is really good for Washington State’s growing cider industry and is great news for our retailers and consumers,” said David White, president of the Northwest Cider Association and owner of Whitewood Cider Company. “Cider is more popular than ever and with growler stations popping up nearly everywhere, this gives cidermakers access to a growing niche market.”

Refillable growlers come in various sizes, and cider is poured into them straight from the tap.

“It’s no surprise that Northwest cider drinkers tend to be more eco-minded,” White continued.  “Growlers allow them the same benefits and advantages of reusable packaging that beer drinkers have been enjoying for years.”

The “cider-to-go” concept is also catching on in other parts of the country.

“We expect this law to significantly increase sales of draft cider in Washington, just as a similar law did for cider sales in Oregon last year,” said Colin Schilling, owner of Schilling Cider in Seattle. “In Washington, some bar owners who do ‘growler fills,’ were hesitant to carry more than one cider on tap. This change will allow them to add more ciders to better reflect customers’ preferences.”

The Northwest Cider Association was founded in 2010 and represents 42 cidermakers from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia

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Prairie Artisan Ales Launch Party at The Masonry Tonight

March 6th, 2014 · Events

PrairieWhen is the last time you had a beer from a craft brewery located in Oklahoma? Never? Yep, that’s what I thought. It looks like there is a total of around 10 to 15 breweries in the entire state of Oklahoma, so I can’t say I’m surprised. But, serious beer geeks have probably at least heard of Prairie Artisan Ales, located in Tulsa, OK. Owned by Chase & Colin Healey, Prairie Ales focuses on farmhouse ales and barrel-aged beers. And, from what I’ve tasted in the past, they do a pretty fantastic job.

Thanks to Shelton Brothers and Urban Family Distributing, Prairie Ales will make their Seattle debut tonight at The Masonry at 7pm. They will have Prairie Ale, their interpretation of a classic saison on draft. They will also be doing bottle pours of Eliza5beth, a golden farmhouse ale aged on apricots, and American Style, which is a collaboration IPA w/  brettanomyces that they brewed with Mikkeller of Denmark.

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Chuckanut Brewery Visits The Noble Fir Tonight

March 6th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

If you visit this website with any regularity, you know that I love Chuckanut Brewery and can’t get enough of their fine lagers. We don’t see a lot of events with them in Seattle, but tonight they will be visiting The Noble Fir in Ballard for a brewers night. They’ll have four Chuckanut beers on tap for the event, which starts at 6:30pm: Vienna Lager, Yellow Card Golden Ale, Dunkel Lager, and Robust Porter.

Here is a note about the event from Mari Kemper of Chuckanut:

Chuckanut Brewery is excited to announce The Noble Fir in Seattle (5316 Ballard Ave. NW Seattle, WA 98107) will host the Chuckanut brewers for a Brewers Night March 6, Thursday. The event will feature a variety of award winning Chuckanut Beers including Vienna Lager, Yellow Card Golden Ale, Dunkel Lager, and Robust Porter. The party starts at 6:30pm. Chuckanut’s brewers will be on hand to answer your questions and talk in detail about beer!

Along with the Chuckanut featured beers, The Nobile Fir has a quality selection of brewed ciders, wine and upscale food. The menu is composed of small plates that include a variety of fine cheeses, cured meats, and plenty of vegetarian options. All of which will pair wonderfully with a fresh brew! Don’t miss this chance to experience quality Pacific Northwest beers; we will see you there!

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen, located at 601 West Holly St, was awarded the National Small Brewpub/Brewer of the Year 2009 and National Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO. The full service “Kitchen” is open daily at 11:30am to guests of all ages with an eclectic fresh local menu. Bar specials include: Family Friendly HoPPY Hour Sun-Thurs 4-6pm, Monday Night $3 Pints, Kolsch Night Tuesday’s and more. Check out additional information about Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen at our website or like us on Facebook

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Help Put State Bill 5731 Allowing Specialty Shops to Sell Craft Spirits to a Vote

March 5th, 2014 · Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard of SB 5731, which would allow Washington beer/wine specialty shops to also sell spirits manufactured by small craft distilleries. I’ve read a few news outlet reports today that make it sound like this bill is completely dead, but the truth is that your help is needed to convince Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House, to put the bill to a vote in the House. You can email him at frank.chopp@leg.wa.gov or call him at 360-786-7920 to show your support. 

SB 5731 would be a win for both small, locally-owned beer/wine retailers, but also for the small distilleries themselves. For background on the bill and why you might want to support it, below is a letter that Erika Tedin, owner of Full Throttle Bottles in Georgetown, crafted to send to Chopp.

Dear Representatives,
My name is Erika Tedin and I am a beer/wine specialty shop owner. I own Full Throttle Bottles in the historic (and oldest) neighborhood of Georgetown, just North of Boeing Field. I fully support SSB 5731, the bill allowing beer/wine specialty shops to sell spirits made by small craft distilleries. Please help my small business by supporting SSB 5731.
With the passing of 1183 and the invasion of the giant out of state big box liquor stores, it has been incredibly difficult to stay competitive. Let alone stay in business. While I understand the 10k square foot rule as it pertains to convenience stores & gas stations, I believe the smaller specialty stores are better able to handle the concerns of underage drinking & theft, among other issues.
 
For example, I believe it was a Bev Mo that sold to a minor in the past few months & was fined and closed for 5 days. And they are certainly over 10k square feet. Small stores have a LOT more at stake. We are locally owned & it is OUR reputation, and OUR livelihoods at stake. We don’t have cavernous buildings to control. For many of us, hard alcohol product can be stored behind the counter, or otherwise subjected to tighter security and surveillance. We have proven track records with the LCB and reputations with our customers to sell only the best. For us it is more about quality rather than quantity. It’s not just about the bottom line and dollars earned, but serving our customers to the best of our abilities.
 
Allowing us to sell and represent small craft distilleries will allow not only us, but the small distilleries, the opportunity to present quality products not just sold in 1.7 liters  (half gallon) jugs at the mega box store. I have no interest in selling rot gut nasty stuff, I have never sold alca-pops (high alcohol sweet beverages aimed at younger folks) or malt liquors like Steel Reserve, 4 Loko etc. I run an internationally recognized & rated store with pride and love and devotion. Trust me, I’m not in it for the money, but I’m also not in it to lose my shirt to the big boys.
 
Here is my rating on ratebeer.com
That’s an excellent or 90, and # 9 in the ratebeer.com rankings in all of Seattle. Though everyone else is a bar, so I like to call myself the #1 store. :-)
 
And here is my rating on beeradvocate.com:
That’s a world-class rating or 95. Again, #1 in stores.
Furthermore, to exemplify my standing in the local beer industry, I was included in Seattle Magazine’s October issue:
 
I want you to see that stores such as mine are respected and admired. We have a lot more at stake than some out of town corporate businesses not interested in anything but the bottom line. We respect the law. We will continue to respect the law, and we are examples of the faces of the small businesses who need this bill to pass. We want to educate people and provide ALL selections, not just those deemed suitable because of an arbitrary footprint or trade area.
In summation, we provide the best of the craft and small breweries, wineries, cideries, and meaderies. It’s what I love & what I do best. I want to do the same for the small craft distilleries. An randomly chosen 10k footprint requirement does NOT prevent minors from access, and does NOT prevent theft. But a vigilant and attentive small business can provide support, knowledge, passion, and pride. And we’re a heck of a lot more vigilant because it’s MY money being eyed for theft, not some out of state corporate big wig or upper level management’s bonus. We deserve the right to compete in this industry as it was originally intended. Not as it was bastardized by big business when they bought Initiative 1183 and changed the rules. When it becomes cheaper for me to purchase wine at a competing big box competitor’s retail location than it does to purchase it from my distributor, you know the playing field is skewed & the laws biased. That is the result of 1183. By putting small businesses back on a level economic playing field  you can help give them the chance to retain and earn customers.
 
All I am asking for is the opportunity to present the best possible selection of adult beverages to my customers. Forget the corporate price rates for bulk purchases way beyond our means, we just want the opportunity to sell the same type of product. And those pricing issues? Yes, they make us more expensive than those businesses that have corporate contracts or even the small stores that sell draft beer. The small stores will make more money in draft & serving pints than we ever will in bottles, but it’s selection and choice I want to offer, not just a bar to belly up to. And that choice includes craft distilleries. 
 
Please, if you really want small business to succeed in Washington, show us by passing this bill. Otherwise it all just looks like lip service to me. And the general public, who doesn’t understand the intricacies of this industry, simply doesn’t understand why we can’t sell spirits. So pass the bill and let’s help every small business from production to storefront provide amazing products to the customers who want them, and are legally able to buy them.
Sincerely,
Erika Tedin
Full Throttle Bottles - A Specialty Beer & Wine Store
5909 Airport Way S
Seattle, WA 98108

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Gordon Biersch Releases Mosaic Pils Tomorrow – Why You Should Care

March 4th, 2014 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

Kevin Davey at the downtown Seattle Gordon Biersch.

Kevin Davey at the downtown Seattle Gordon Biersch.

I know that for many beer drinkers in Seattle, lagers are an afterthought. It’s a sad reality. Ales get most of the focus from local breweries, and I can’t blame them. People love IPAs, stouts and all those other tasty styles. I personally drink a lot more ales than lagers, but I sure do enjoy a well made lager when I find it. I can’t pass up something like a Chuckanut Pils when I see it on tap at a local bar.

Gordon Biersch (GB) is one of just two breweries in Seattle that put their focus squarely on lagers (Emerald City is the other). Yes, it’s a chain. Yes, it’s located in Pacific Place and has all the atmosphere of, well, a chain restaurant in a shopping mall. But, they’ve been making solid lagers for a long time in Seattle (they opened in 1999), and since Kevin Davey took over as Brewmaster last August, things are getting even better. I stopped in about a month ago to grab a beer and say hello, and I was not surprised to find that their Czech Pils was tasting as good as the well-regarded one I mentioned from Chuckanut. That shouldn’t be surprising. Kevin was previously the Lead Brewer at Chuckanut for 3 years, which is regarded as one of the best lager producers in the country. He then spent a year working for the esteemed Firestone Walker Brewing Company in California before returning to Seattle for a short stint at Georgetown Brewing and then moving into his current position at GB. His experience is paying off, as he is a one-man show at the Seattle location of GB.

If you aren’t familiar with the brewery, I’ll let Kevin tell you about it in his own words:

At Gordon Biersch we painstakingly make German-style beers that follow the Reinheitsgebot.  We’re an interesting lot.  While most pub brewers are constantly rotating their draft choices and trying new things every week, we are content fine-tuning our recipes until they’re perfect.  It’s a painstaking process, but (it is) incredibly rewarding to make a simple beer with flair and panache.

In addition to Kevin taking over, there is a lot going on at GB these days. First up, GB will be releasing a Mosaic Pils tomorrow at 5pm as part of their Brewer’s Select series that I’m guessing will kick ass. The Brewer’s Select Series allows each brewer at individual GB locations to deviate from their fine-tuning of the regular lineup to craft something special that they come up with. More about the beer from Kevin:

When approaching my Brewer’s Select beer, I chose a classic export-style Pilsner with an American hop twist.  There’s an IPL craze going on, but not from many lager breweries.  Most of these beers are done from ale breweries and, in my opinion, are an IPA done as a lager.  I would rather do a lager with IPA traits. Mosaic Pils is a marriage of Pilsner and IPA.  It’s stronger and more bitter than a typical Pils, but cleaner, dryer and more sessionable than an IPA.  Clocking in at 50 BU and 5.8% abv, it’s just barely dangerous.  It’s crisp, hop forward and drinkable; should be a huge crowd pleaser.
As for why Mosaic?
I fell in love with Mosaic hops while out in Yakima during the hop harvest, rubbing hop samples at Hopunion, a craft brewing hop distributor.  On that trip I found Pfreim’s single hop Mosaic Pale Ale and it was one of my favorite beers of the year.  Mosaic is an interesting hop.  Although it has that citrus-y orange peel common in American hops, it also has a great marmalade, pineapple, tropical thing.  It can also be pretty dank.  I got back to Seattle and was determined to use it.  Anecdotally, we also got a dog from the shelter that was a stray in Yakima.  We named him Mosey.
Yeah, I’m excited to try it. There will be samples of the beer and special food menu items at the party. If you can’t make the party, stop by sometime this month to give it a try.
In other news, GB will be undergoing a complete restaurant-wide remodel beginning in April or May. As mentioned, they’ve been in Pacific Place since 1999 and could use some updating. Among other things, the bar will have an expanded tap selection, including guest beers, which they currently don’t have room for.
Another thing that most people don’t realize, including myself, is that the brewing system at GB is pretty big (by brewpub standards). Kevin brews on a 20bbl brewhouse with 4-40bbl fermenters. I struggle to even think about how they managed to get all that up to the 4th floor of a downtown mall in the first place. The restaurant is huge and sits about 500 people, but the brewery production is nowhere even close to maxed out. Kevin has floated the idea of distributing his Czech Pils to local bars, but he doesn’t yet have the green light on that from executive management.
Cheers to Kevin and GB for giving Seattle lager drinkers an option for consistently good German-style lagers.

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