“Just Stop It – Bud Select 55 vs. MGD 64″ Post – 5 Years In Review

August 15th, 2014 · Uncategorized

Five years ago tomorrow, I put up a post titled “Just Stop It – Bud Select 55 vs. MGD 64“. It was just a short rant about how ridiculous the concept of these two beers are to me. It probably took me 5 minutes to put together and very little thought. The beers are still around, but MGD 64 is called “Miller 64″ these days.

Let’s play a little game. Go to Google and type in “MGD 64″. What comes up for you? I see that the 4th result overall is my post. If you try searching for “Bud Select 55″, my post is just the 8th ranked result. Who cares? Well, it has made this post my single most visited page on Seattle Beer News (this one is a close 2nd) and it has resulted in ongoing entertainment over the past 5 years. I’m sure the marketing teams at these breweries love that this post comes up when people are looking for info on these beers.

Its ranking on Google continues to draw people to the post, and the result is what is a seemingly never-ending stream of great comments. There are 90 comments total (easily the top post in terms of engagement for the site), and I’ve received several emails. The latest email was from a woman in Tarpon Springs, FL asking me if “you are discontinuing miller 64?”. She left me her phone number and email, but I still haven’t gotten back to her.

You are welcome to skim the comments section and soak it all in, but this note from “gary” is by far my favorite of the bunch:

i drink both select 55 and mgd 64. i dont mind the wateryness cuz i hate to much carbonation when im thirsty. not to mention im a weight lifter/mma enthusiast and carbs and cals matter when im on a week race trip and gonna drink two 30 packs regardless if its light or regular. drinkn is one of the biggest reasons for overweightness and diabetes. its a sacrifice that u just make if u care how u look. when i party its all night and i still like being coherent at the end. where i live bars are open till 4am. plus even though the alc is lower its enuff for that lil edge u need to deal or be around drunks. if i wanna get shit faced i drink grey goose and water. to be social and hang for the duration im pickin mich ult/mgd64/bud 55. personally i think the micros and flavored shit is all garbage.

For all the entertaining comments, though, there are several people who chime in and say that they drink these beers because they have diabetes. I guess I can understand that. From Woodrow:

It isn’t just about the calories, really it’s that diabetics need low carbohydrate beer. Select 55 is the lowest at 1.2 grams of carbs, while many full flavored beers you like are 20 grams ( 100 % of recommended daily allowance) per bottle. If you develop diabetes you’ll love this crap too! It doesn’t taste that bad compared to having your feet amputated

In reality, I certainly have no issue with people choosing to drink these beers. Drink what you will. At the same time, though, I’ll continue to think that the marketing campaigns and taste of these beers is ridiculous. Yes, I did try them at one point on the night of an ill-fated fantasy baseball draft…I believe there was even a pic of me drinking the Bud Select 55 floating around the onlines somewhere.

On one last random note, whenever I think of these beers and how they named them and came up with the exact calorie count, I can’t help but think of the “7 Minute Abs” scene from Something About Mary.



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Fish Brewing Introduces The Hobbit Series of Beers

August 12th, 2014 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

Three beers made to commemorate the release of the upcoming Hobbit Movie, The Battle of the Five Armies, are on the way from a local NW brewery. Fish Brewing, located in Olympia, WA, has teamed up with BevLink, Ocean Brands, Warner Bros Entertainment and New Line Productions to create a series of beers “selectively tailored to emulate the Hobbit characters.”

The releases include Gollum Precious Pils, Smaug Stout and Bolg Belgian Style Tripel. The beers started shipping to retailers this week, so you should be able to find them soon. Following are the beer descriptions and labels.

gollum2Gollum Precious Pils: A strong Imperial Pils, with flavors as smooth and crafty as Gollum himself. Like the ring which Gollum pursued for the rest of his life, his “precious” pils, if your quest leads you to it, could extend your life too! (at least we’d like to think so) It will, at a minimum, make your journey a little more enjoyable!

smaug2Smaug Stout: Smaug Stout is styled after a classic Russian Imperial Stout, but with a subtle hint of Habanero chilis to remind you of the fire and danger awaiting you in your journey to The Lonely Mountain. Pronounced notes of Coffee and Chocolate balanced with Northwest Hops and a touch of heat produce an exceptional imperial stout, a worthy reward for your hard-fought journey.

-bolg-belgian style tripel aleBolg Belgian Style Tripel: An Orc chieftain who ruled for 150 years, Bolg would drink his grog of choice and no one would tell him otherwise – a flavorful strong Belgian Tripel. Some said it refined an otherwise gruesome character.

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Cider Summit Seattle to Offer 100+ Ciders on September 5 & 6

August 11th, 2014 · Cider, Events

Cider Summit PDX in 2013

We are smack in the middle of a another beautiful (and warm) Seattle summer. But, before you know it you’ll be putting away your shorts and wondering why the hell it is getting dark out at 5pm. That’s why you have to take advantage of all your opportunities to drink outside while you still can. If you are a fan of cider, then you certainly won’t want to miss this year’s Cider Summit Seattle. This event is great for the seasoned cider veteran, as well as those of us that are still newbies. I include myself in the latter category, as I sadly haven’t followed through as well as I would like on my plan to delve into the cider world more. There is still time for that to change,  though. I’ll start with the bottle of E.Z. Orchards 2010 Cidre (which we found at Full Throttle Bottles) that is beckoning in our fridge; this was one that I discovered at last year’s Cider Summit. It is just one example of what you’ll find pouring at this event, and why it is certainly worth your  time and money.

Here is more info about the event:

SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective are pleased to announce the return of the Cider Summit Festival to Seattle, WA.  The fifth annual event will be Friday, September 5th from 3p-8p and Saturday, September 6th from 12n-6p.  Cider Summit will once again be at The South Lake Union Discovery Center near Westlake & Denny in downtown Seattle.  The event is presented byWhole Foods Market. 

This will be the twelfth Cider Summit produced by SBS & Seattle Beer Collective, having launched the concept in Seattle in September 2010 and expanding to Portland, Chicago, and Berkeley over the last two years.  Each event features 100+ elegantly crafted ciders from producers in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, California, Michigan, New Hampshire, England, France, Spain and others.

“We’ve been very pleased with the growth of our event in Seattle,” noted SBC’s Ian Roberts.  “We believe we have added some nice features and unique cider selections that will help us reach an even wider audience of cider enthusiasts.”

The owners and cidermakers will be on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings which will be available in 4-ounce tasting portions.  In addition to the superb range of ciders, the event will feature live music, specially paired food selections from Whole Foods Market and Capitol Cider along with specially designed filled chocolates from Smitten Truffles.  A returning popular feature is the Cider Summit “dog lounge” water station benefitting Seattle Humane.

“We believe we’ve created a unique event,” added event co-founder Alan Shapiro of SBS Imports.  “We have found a great home in the South Lake Union neighborhood and we expect a terrific range of ciders.  Interest in artisanal cider is exploding right now, and this event is the premier sampling opportunity for both the cider enthusiast and cider curious.”

New for 2014 is a special VIP ticket available for $35.  This ticket includes 4 additional tasting tickets and exclusive early admission on Friday from 2p-3p.  Only 200 of these tickets are available – exclusively online via the event website.

General admission tickets are $25 in advance and $30 (cash only) at the door and are available online via Stranger Tickets, all Seattle Metro Area Whole Foods locationsUmpqua Bank South Lake Union and selected bottle shops.

Admission includes a tasting glass and 8 drink tickets.  Additional tasting tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket.  Re-admission will be allowed at any time with event wristband and tasting glass.  The event is 21 and over only.  Dogs of all ages will be allowed on event grounds.

Cider Summit benefits the Northwest Cider Association and The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research.  The Northwest Cider Association promotes awareness of artisan produced cidersamong the general public and fosters cooperation within the industry for all producers. IMBCR is one of the world’s leading independent research organizations developing effective therapies to increase the quality of life and longevity of myeloma patients.

Cider Summit is presented by Whole Foods Market.  Supporting sponsors include Capitol CiderUmpqua BankClick Wholesale Distributing, with media support from The Stranger and KEXP.

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Chuck’s Central District to Welcome Distihl Brewery to Seattle Tomorrow Night

August 5th, 2014 · General Beer News

Fred Morissette and Matt Potts from Destihl at the 2010 CBC.

I was excited to see a post the other day from Beer Junction that they had just received and stocked 3 beers from Destihl Brewery, which is located in Bloomington, IL. Open since 2007, Destihl has really made a name for themselves in the craft beer scene with their sour and wild ales. I first had the chance to try their sours at the Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago in 2010 and then at the Great American Beer Fest in 2011. I was thoroughly impressed with the quality of the beer both times.

Until last year, Destihl barely had the capacity to send beer outside of their taproom and to pour at special events in the Chicago area. But, a 2013 expansion into a larger production facility has seen them fully expand to the Chicago market, as well as several states around the country. They recently signed on with Orcas Distributing to bring their beers to Washington, and they just started arriving this week.

It sound like various retailers are receiving six-packs of 12oz cans of their Hoperation Overload Double IPA, Abbey’s Single Abbey Ale and Strawberry Blonde Ale. Chuck’s Central District will be welcoming Destihl to Seattle with an event tomorrow night, Wednesday, August 6, at 5pm. In addition to the cans, Chuck’s will be ” tapping some sours as well as a few of their core products.”

I certainly look forward to seeing what sours they will be pouring, and if you are a sour fan, you should be as well.


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Reuben’s Brews Celebrates 2 Years With Events at Their Taproom and Brouwer’s Cafe

August 4th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

Cheers to Adam Robbings and team over at Reuben’s Brews for two amazing years of business. Since opening back in 2012, Reuben’s has become one of Seattle’s most consistently good breweries and a place that many would call their favorite brewery in the city. Whether it is their rye beers, various IPAs, a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout, an award-winning Robust Porter, a refreshing take on a Kolsch, or any of their other numerous styles, you can expect whatever beer is in your hand at their busy taproom to be a good one.

Reuben’s will be celebrating the official day of their 2nd anniversary tomorrow at Brouwer’s Cafe, and then they will host a couple of other events at their taproom later in the week. See below for details.

More from Reuben’s:

Since opening on Aug. 5, 2012, Reuben’s has brewed over 50 different beers; served a lot of pints to thirsty patrons; won dozens of local, national and international awards; and donated several thousand dollars to local non-profit organizations largely through its Thank You Thursday program.
We truly can’t believe two years has already passed! The amazing support we get from the community makes it all worthwhile. Because of that, we’re able to do what we love to do every day.  We couldn’t be more appreciative and look forward to brewing more great beer for many years to come!
In honor of the occasion, we have created a new brew – Full Monty IPA! A 4.5% IPA, this beer is light on alcohol by full in flavor – it’s definitely the Full Monty.  Large amounts of Citra, Amarillo and Galaxy hops provide a hop profile full of watermelon, tangerine and peach. A little bit of rye and a British yeast strain keeps body in the beer which defies its lower ABV status. A tasty, refreshing brew especially in these summer months!
We wanted to let you know about the celebrations we have coming up this week:

Tuesday, Aug. 5: Brouwer’s Cafe in Fremont will be hosting the Reuben’s Brews team for a brewers night on our actual anniversary day. Five of our brews including a cask will be on tap beginning at 6 p.m.

Thursday, Aug. 7, National IPA Day: We’ll have 11 of our IPAs on draft at the taproom, including a on cask and two on nitro. The event will include the new Crikey IPA, the debut of our new Black Imperial IPA, a brand new Coffee Imperial IPA, and a guest appearance of Blimey That’s Bitter, which be run through a randall of hops.

Saturday, Aug. 9, Anniversary Party: The first 100 people will receive a free commemorative 16oz glass with their first pint or barrel aged brew! (Maximum one glass per person.) Full Monty IPA will officially be released when we open at noon! The party will also include brews from the cellar including three barrel-aged beers! We anticipate around 19 beers of ours on tap, and the Cheese Wizards will be with us too!

Watch our Facebook and Twitter accounts as tap-lists get finalized.

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Brouwer’s Cafe Hosts Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America Event Today

July 30th, 2014 · Events

If you have not had the chance to get your hands on the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America 12-pack that was recently released in Washington, Brouwer’s Cafe is pouring all 12 of these beers today. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is the basic idea: 12 pretty awesome breweries from across the country got together with Sierra Nevada to collaborate on 12 different beers. These beers were then released in a mixed 12-pack, and there have been several large festivals across the country as part of the fun. Check out the embedded video below for a fun intro to the collaborations. Check out this link for an interesting blog post from Sierra Nevada about the 12-pack as well.

At Brouwer’s today, they have all 12 offerings on tap. You can still find sporadic 12-packs on shelves at select retailers around town, but this might be your best opportunity to try these beers. In addition to the 12-pack collaboration beers, Brouwer’s will also be pouring some other interesting beers from some of the breweries involved, including Grapefruit Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point and a Dark Wheat Session IPA from Ninkasi. I believe the beers were on tap when Brouwer’s opened today at 11am, but I’m not 100% sure on that…no time was specified.

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Imperial IPA Invitational This Friday at The Sixgill to Feature 18+ Beers

July 28th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

Bigger, hoppier and more flavorful. That is what many people want out of their IPAs, and breweries across the country are happy to oblige. Craft beer drinkers’ need for hops seems to be almost insatiable, but a visit to The Sixgill this Friday for their Imperial IPA Invitational offers a chance to try somewhere around 20 different beers. That said, I wouldn’t suggest trying them all. While it might be fun to attempt it, you’d be really drunk if you did.

The list of Imperial IPAs looks to include offerings from as close as Ballard and as far away as Denmark.

The beers will be pouring when the doors open at 4pm this Friday, August 1. Good luck.

Here is the current list, but a few more beers could be added:
21st Amendment Hop Crisis Imperial IPA
Avery Anniversary Ale Imperial India Brown
Bear Republic Mach 10 Imperial IPA
Black Market Liberation Imperial IPA
Boundary Bay Imperial IPA
Evil Twin Molotov Cocktail Imperial IPA
Georgetown Lovely Reida Imperial IPA
Great Divide Showdown Rye Imperial IPA
Green Flash Le Freak Belgian Imperial IPA
Hopworks Ace of Spades Imperial IPA
Laurelwood Megafauna Imperial IPA
Oakshire Glen’s Hop Vice Triple IPA
Pelican Imperial IPA
Port Anniversary Imperial IPA
Reuben’s Blimey That’s Bitter!
Sierra Nevada Hoptimum Imperial IPA
Snipes Mountain Vaquero Imperial IPA
Stone RuinTen Imperial IPA

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Bellevue Brewing Offers Week-Long Beer Camp to Develop Commercial Brewing Skills

July 25th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

BBC-BeerCamp2014PosterOne of the most common emails I receive from readers is along the lines of, “Any suggestions on how to get experience with a local brewery?” Well, Bellevue Brewing is looking for six people to join them for a week-long “Beer Camp” from August 18-22. This would be a great way for anyone looking for commercial experience to at least get their feet wet. Bellevue Brewing has a 20-BBL system, which is probably just a little bit larger than the homebrewing setup you are used to.

Here are some details about what to expect:

Come and join head brewer, Tony Powell, and assistant brewer, Matthew Sherman, as they walk you through an in-depth, week-long course in commercial brewing.  Tony is an award-winning brewer having achieved multiple medals and honors including gold and silver medals at the GABF.  He’s been brewing professionally for more than 10 years and lives and breathes beer!  Matthew’s skill sets and command of the brewing process as the BBC’s assistant brewer combined with his simpatico personality will help you learn the ins-and-outs of brewing on a 20-BBL system.  These two guys are cranking out some of the best beers in the PNW, come join them and up your brewing chops while having a darn fun time!

The coursework will include recipe formulation, ingredient selection, wort transfer, chemical safety, cellar management, bottling and packaging and much more.

The camp fee is $200 and includes all learning materials, a custom brewer’s shirt, logo glass, certificate of completion, a folio to keep all your stuff organized, daily lunch and beer sensory training.

To apply, you must send a 60 second video to Bellevue Brewing telling them why you would be the perfect candidate. They will choose the 6 strongest applicants from the bunch. Send all applications and questions to them at contact@bellevuebrewing.com. Applications must be received by August 11, 2014.

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Mark Your Calendar: Fresh Hop Throwdown Returns to The Noble Fir on Sept 27

July 24th, 2014 · Uncategorized

Fresh Hop Throwdown in 2011. Thanks to +Russ for the pic.

If you are a fan of fresh hop beers and live in Seattle, you won’t want to miss the 4th Annual Fresh Hop Throwdown at The Noble Fir in Ballard on Saturday, September 27. There are always a lot of fresh hop beers floating around during September and October, and some of us do everything we can to try as many different examples as possible. I’ll be working with Rick Weersing and Ellen Kelly of The Noble Fir to put together a lineup of about 16 different fresh hop beers that will all be available when the bar opens at 4pm. There will also be a private blind judging of the lineup earlier in the day and the winning brewery will be announced later at the event. At last year’s event, the Laurelwood Fresh Hop Workhorse IPA took top honors, with Fremont Cowiche Canyon, Big Al Amarillo Pale and Bainbridge Island SMaSHaSS following in the rankings. A writeup of last year’s event, along with the beer list, is available here. I’ll post a list for this year’s event when we get closer.

If you are new to fresh hop beers, this is a great event to introduce you to them. What is a fresh hop beer? Most of the annual crop is processed into dried hops that store well and will last throughout the year. Before hops are dried, they are known as “fresh hops” or “wet hops”. When beer is brewed with these fresh hops straight off the vine (or “bine” if you prefer), it can impart a very unique flavor profile vs. the use of typical dried hops. Fresh hops can impart a fresh, green, earthy hop taste, and they can really enhance the aroma of a beer. Some fresh hop beers are brewed exclusively with wet hops, while others are brewed with a combination of wet and dry hops. In addition to finding fresh hop beers on draft, you’ll be able to find bottled fresh hop beers from Sep to Nov.

If anyone has questions about the event, feel free to send me an email.

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Chef John Howie’s Beardslee Public House Introduces Cicerone

July 23rd, 2014 · Beer & Food, Washington Breweries

How often do you hear of someone leaving their position as Sommelier at a respected restaurant to become a Certified Cicerone at a new business venture? Yeah, this might be a first. Paige Zahnle will be moving from Seastar to the new Beardslee Public House; both are owned by Chef John Howie.

Press Release:

BOTHELL, Wash. – Chef John Howie introduces Paige Zahnle as the first Certified Cicerone of Beardslee Public House, Chef Howie’s restaurant and brewery set to open November 2014 in Bothell. Zahnle leaves her Sommelier position at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar to join Beardslee Public House as a Certified Cicerone and the assistant to Head Brewer Drew Cluley.

“I was thrilled to hear that Paige passed her Cicerone accreditation,” commented Proprietor/Chef John Howie.  “Paige’s passion for craft brewing and craft beer is unsurpassed and contagious, and it will have a tremendous impact on our crew at the Beardslee Public House.”

The Cicerone Certification Program certifies and educates beer professionals in order to elevate the beer experience for guests. Zahnle holds the title of Certified Cicerone, which is the second level of certification. To become a Certified Cicerone, Zahnle had to pass the first level of certification with the Beer Server exam. Then, Zahnle went on to pass a written exam with short answer and essay questions, plus a tasting and demonstration component to be named a Certified Cicerone.

“I’m pleased to be the first Certified Cicerone for the John Howie Restaurant Group,” commented Cicerone Paige Zahnle. “I’m excited to bring the same informative passion for beer to Beardslee as I have for wine to Seastar. I can’t wait to be part of this craft beer, liquor, and food experience!”

Beardslee Public House is set to open in Bothell in November 2014, along with Chef Howie and Distiller Erik Liehdolm’s Wildwood Spirits Co. Beardslee Public House will be a 10-barrel brewery, offering 12 to 13 craft brews for the ale house, produced by Head Brewer Drew Cluley. The ale house will feature the finest of local craft brews in guest taps. Beardslee Public House’s restaurant will present brewhouse cuisine, with everything made in-house. The restaurant will grind its own meat, bake fresh bread, and feature a “locker” for aging housemade charcuterie. Burgers, brats, and flatbreads will be highlighted, and housemade charcuterie, cheese and pickled vegetables will compliment the menu. There will be a full-service bar, with popular local wineries on tap. For more information, visithttp://facebook.com/BeardsleePublicHouse.

About The John Howie Restaurant Group:

The John Howie Restaurant Group includes John Howie SteakSeastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, Bellevue; Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar, Seattle; SPORT Restaurant and BarAdriatic Grill Italian Cuisine & Wine BarBeardslee Public House; and Wildwood Spirits Co.. Chef Howie also recently released the cookbook Passion & Palate: Recipes for a Generous Table. Chef Howie has been honored with an invitation to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City on five separate occasions, representsWashington state annually at the Super Bowl in The Taste of the NFL, is a repeat guest at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and has been a guest chef on Celebrity, Holland America, and Radisson Cruises. Chef Howie’s restaurants have received multiple awards for their philanthropic and community involvement, which has provided over $4,500,000 to the national and local charitable organizations they support.

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