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 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, visit

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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Mac & Jack’s News: New IPA Released & Select 22oz Bottles Now Available

July 22nd, 2014 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

Mac-&-Jack's-IBIS_0613_2x3One of the most common things you might hear at bars across Seattle is, “I’ll have a Mac & Jack’s.” That blanket statement refers to the insanely popular African Amber from Mac & Jack’s Brewery in Redmond. That beer is one of the most popular craft beers in Seattle and can be found on tap all over the city. It is often one of the first local beers that visitors sample.

While African Amber makes up the large majority of the brewery’s distribution, they do have a lineup of other styles, including Blackcat Porter, Serengeti Wheat and Two Tun IPA. The thing is, they can be hard to come by. The most reliable spots to find them are at the brewery and at the African Lounge in the A Concourse at Seatac Airport.

Mac & Jack’s also occasionally brews some special release beers, often for festivals or special events. The latest is their Ibis IPA, which is a 6.9% ABV IPA with 65 IBUs. It is brewed with Amarillo & Mosaic hops, which happen to be two of my favorites. They were only able to get a certain amount of Mosaics for the brew, so distribution will be “somewhat limited.” For almost a year, they’ve been dialing in the recipe for Ibis by trialing different versions at their retail store and festivals. The name, Ibis, which is an African bird, fits with the African theme of the rest of their lineup. They are trying to get the IPA out to as many customers as possible, but your best bet to find the IPA right now would be at Red Door, Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon or Hilltop Ale House.

In other news, Mac & Jack’s recently purchased a small 22oz bottling machine and will be bottling occasional special release beers. First up is their Bourbon Barrel-Aged  Cascadian Dark Ale, which was aged in bourbon barrels for over 10 months. It is currently available at their retail store at the brewery in Redmond for $15/bottle with a limit of four per person per day.

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Flying Lion Brewing Looks to Open in Columbia City in August

July 21st, 2014 · Washington Breweries

Griffin & Adam hope to have Flying Lion open in August.

Griffin & Evan hope to have Flying Lion open in August.

Seattle’s Columbia City neighborhood is a perfect spot for a brewery, and Flying Lion Brewing hopes to be open soon on Rainier Ave S in a small space right next to the popular Full Tilt Ice Cream. The closest brewery to Columbia City is currently Spinnaker Bay Brewing, located just a few blocks south in Hillman City. Flying Lion will be located right on the main business drag of the neighborhood, making it a great addition to those in search of a beer in South Seattle.

Four brothers, and some various other family members, are investors in the brewery. Griffin Williams is the only one spending all of his time on the brewery, but his brother Evan is also on the payroll, and another brother, Tyler, is located in Seattle and will help out when available (The 4th brother lives in DC). The Williams brothers are opening Flying Lion after growing up in an area that knows a little something about good beer. They are originally from Kalamazoo, MI, home of Midwest staple Bell’s Brewery. Griffin says, “I think our original introduction to craft beer was living in the same town as Bell’s. Our dad would always have a bottle or two of Bell’s in the fridge.” As for why they decided to open their brewery in Seattle, Evan & Tyler moved here several years ago, and Griffin thought it would be the perfect place after coming out to visit. ” We just really like the beer culture. We know that beer is appreciated out here. Plus, it’s close to the hops.” Griffin & Evan are 24 and 28 years old, respectively, and they have been homebrewing long enough that they’d prefer not to say exactly how long so that we can’t do the math. Griffin moved to Seattle earlier this year after working at a homebrew supply shop in Minnesota while preparing to get the brewery going, while Evan is currently studying for a graduate degree in biomechanical engineering at the University of Washington.

They will be brewing on a new 3-barrel brewhouse purchased from Stout Tanks & Kettles in Portland, and they will also start off with 3-barrel fermenters. Griffin says, “We were originally looking at just doing a 1-barrel system, but after running the numbers it just made sense to go with the larger system. 3-barrels is pretty much the biggest system we think we can fit in here. We can fit some 7-barrel fermenters in here, but we’ll see how things go the first few months. We’d have to take the door out to get the bigger fermenters in.”

As for what you’ll find on tap at Flying Lion, Griffin says, “Our preference is heavily towards porters and stouts. So, we’ll definitely have more of those on tap than normal for most places, but we’ll have a variety of other styles.” Griffin says his favorite porter in town is the Robust Porter from Reuben’s Brews, which won a gold medal at the recent Washington Beer Awards. Evan’s favorite style is a Baltic Porter, and if time permits they’d love to have one on tap when they open their doors. They plan to have a bar and somewhere around 25 seats in their taproom, and beer will be available for purchase in pints and to-go in growlers. To start off, they will have the taproom open every day of the week, except Tuesday. They will be kid and dog friendly.

They are hoping to open in August or early September, but they have plenty of work to do in order to meet that goal. They have been working on getting the space ready to install the brewing system, which they should have in their possession shortly. Evan will be taking on the task of installing and setting up their electric brewing system. He says, “It’s been a little bit of a stretch for me as a mechanical engineer, but I did study physics in my undergrad. I can go back to the basic fundamentals of the science and figure out where electrons are supposed to be going, it just takes me longer than a true electrician. We have some engineering friends who are helping out as well.”

One unique feature at their brewery is that they plan to mill all of their grain with the power of a bicycle. Griffin says, “We bought the biggest grain mill we could afford, and then Evan (the engineering student) figured out that we can power it with our legs.” Evan adds, “We did some power tests on bikes over at UW’s IM building for various amounts of time to see how many watts we could output & see if we could roll the grain we need in a reasonable amount of time. We figured out that we can keep up with what was the recommended 3/4 horsepower electric motor; we can be at least that fast.” They are going to have the bike and mill set up where customers can take a spin and mill some grain, if they’d like to be part of the process. “We are going to try and have some sort of leader board, probably by number of pounds milled, and then maybe every once in a while throw out a prize.”

The small space where their brewery sits has previously been a thrift shop, print shop and was originally part of a Safeway store that spread throughout much of the complex. They aren’t sure which previous tenant would have been a part of the following story. Griffin says, “We found a little bit of history in the walls of this space. I was taking out some drywall to put our plumbing in and I found a padded envelope buried in the wall. I thought maybe it was a bunch of money someone hid back there. But, no, it was actually a Colt 45 pistol with a police tag with an evidence number from 20 years ago on it. There was a pack of 6 bullets, too. It was definitely a pretty weird thing to find. We ended up calling the police and they took it.”

Sounds like the type of story that could inspire the name of some beers, although I’d stay away from using “Colt 45″. Padded Envelope Porter, maybe?

They will soon be launching a crowdfunding campaign on CrowdBrewed, but they aren’t looking for a handout.  Griffin says, ” Our crowdfunding campaign is primarily to ease some of the high capital expenses during these last few weeks before we open. We’ll be launching the campaign in about a week on a site called CrowdBrewed… It’s still a fundraising campaign but we’re not looking to take the money without giving back as much as we can. Many of the rewards are essentially pre-paid really good deals on our beer, in other words, our crowdfunding campaign will serve as a loan to make sure we don’t have to cut corners just to open.”

As a nearby Beacon Hill resident myself, I certainly look forward to another brewery opening up in the area. Cheers, and best of luck to Flying Lion.

You can follow Flying Lion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



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Upcoming Events at The Masonry, Including 1st Anniversary Party on August 9

July 17th, 2014 · Events

Thanks to The Masonry on Facebook for the image.

The Masonry has been kicking some serious ass with their beer selection & wood-fired pizza over in Lower Queen Anne since opening last summer. In addition to the must-have IPAs and such, they do a great job of working styles like saisons and sours into their 14 taps of beer. They also have a well-chosen bottle list that offers even more possibilities.

It isn’t a huge place or a never-ending tap list, but they do a commendable job with what they have. They also host quite a few special events, including what I’ve heard are some amazing beer dinners with some of the best breweries around. Below is a list of upcoming events, starting with a party tonight featuring some of the collaborations that Widmer has done to celebrate their 30th anniversary this year. The highlight is their 1st anniversary party, which will take place on August 9 and feature some very special beers.

Here is their full list of upcoming events:

July 17th, 6pm
Widmer Collaboration party with 10 Barrel, Boneyard and Breakside.
We’ll be tapping kegs of the Widmer collaborations, as well as some fun kegs from Breakside, and we’ll be joined by folks from Widmer and Breakside.
July 24th, 6pm
Hosting Casey Ruud from Old Schoolhouse Brewing
Owner and head brewer Casey Ruud from Old Schoolhouse will be joining us and we’ll be tapping 3 (maybe more depending on if he brings some himself) kegs from them.
July 29th, 7pm
Brewer’s Dinner with Silver City
Silver City will be joining us for a 5 course x 5 Beer meal that includes a berlinerweisse brewed specifically for the event.  Tickets are $60 and reservations are available at the bar or by phone.
August 9th, 11:30am-Close
1 year anniversary party
We’ll be celebrating our year anniversary by tapping special kegs from breweries that have done events with us and supported us throughout the year. Beers include the Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Firestone Walker Aggrestic, Ballast Point Sour Wench, 10 Barrel Apricot, Almanac Pluot, Anchorage/Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Boreal, Fremont Midnight Rider and more.
August 19th, 7pm
Brewer’s Dinner with Engine House #9
Shane is pulling no punches on this one. 5 course x 5 beer dinner including a vintage keg of the Barrel aged Dark passenger, Vieux Monde barrel aged saison and more.  Beer lineup will be finalized when we can make up our indecisive asses, but everything will be great.

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Phinney Neighborhood Association Summer Beer Taste This Saturday

July 16th, 2014 · Events, Washington Breweries

The Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) has to be one of the coolest neighborhood associations in the country. This Saturday they will host their 9th annual Summer Beer Taste, and that is in addition to their popular Winter Beer Taste that has been around for more than 25 years. These aren’t exactly your typical neighborhood fundraisers.

The PNA will be hosting 25 NW breweries & one cidery for the event this Saturday, and you can see the full beer list below. There are plenty of gems (like Fremont B-Bomb!) and plenty of sessionable beers perfect for summer.

Tickets are $30 for the general public and include ten tastes, brats and snacks. The event will take place outside at the Phinney Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N, July 19, from 4-7 pm. Proceeds benefit the programs at the PNA.

Participating Breweries & Their Brews

Big Al Brewing Big Hoppa IPA, Big Al’s Amber
Black Raven Brewing Session Whiskey Ginger, BeakTweaker Citrus IPA
Bluebird Microcreamery/Brewery Pecan Pie Porter
Diamond Knot Brewery
Der Blokken Brewery Praetorian Pale Ale, Mutha Hefe, Russian Overcoat Imperial Stout
Elysian Brewing Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale, Night Owl Pumpkin Ale
Fremont Brewing Co Summer Ale, The Brother, Bourbon Abominable
Georgetown Brewing Co Eddie IPL, L.A.Woman
Hilliard’s Beer Suffering Bastard Saison; Roxanne
Lantern Brewing Tripel, Cassie, Blondine
Lazy Boy Brewing Billberry Belgian Golden Ale, Triple IPA
Maritime Pacific Brewing Co Oatmeal Pale Ale, Dry-hopped old Seattle Lager
Naked City Brewing Beer Garden Summer Pale, Yankee Drifter Summer Ale
NW Peaks Brewery Ingalls Ginger Pale, Dickerman Session Pale
Odin Brewing Sigrun, Odin’s Gift
Pike Brewing Number 4 Ale
Populuxe Brewing ISA, Double IPA
The Ram Paradisi Grapefruit Pale
Reuben’s Brews London Calling, Roggenbier, Imperial Rye IPA
Rooftop Brewing Hoppy Half Wheat, Mosaic Single Hop IPA
Salish Sea Brewing Dayton Street ISA
Seapine Brewing La Fantasma Blonde Ale,  IPA
Seattle Cider PNW Berry Cider
Spinnaker Bay Brewery IPA, Porter or Scotch
Stoup Citra IPA
Two Beers Brewing Co Day Hike Session Ale

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Engine House #9 Plans Berliner Fest for This Saturday in Advance of Sour Fest

July 14th, 2014 · Events

Shane Johns and crew down at Engine House #9 in Tacoma are making some great sour beers these days. Their Wild and Sour Fest will return this year on August 23, but this Saturday (July 19) they’ll be featuring an exciting lineup of Berliner Weisse & Gose. They will be releasing their Tacoma Weisse for the event, including peach and golden raspberry variants. They will also be pouring 10+ guest beers. Check out the partial list below, but you can expect a few more beers to be added by Saturday.

Beers will be tapped at 11am at E9. Make a day out of it…after stopping by E9 you can check out the new layout of The Red Hot and then hop over to The Parkway. Sounds like a great little Saturday, huh?

Preliminary Tap List:


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