Toronado Grand Opening This Saturday to Feature Some Ridiculous Beers

August 28th, 2014 · Events

This is what the beer geeks in town were hoping for. When word got around that Matt Bonney was opening up a Seattle branch of the famous Toronado, beer geeks realized the potential for greatness. In his time at Brouwer’s/Bottleworks/Burgundian, Bonney helped put together some amazing special events, and that trend is certainly going to continue at the new Toronado, starting this weekend.

The bar has been open for several weeks already (and has featured some pretty great beer already), but they’ll be throwing the official Grand Opening party this Saturday, August 30. The beer list is, uh, pretty awesome. If you don’t recognize a lot of the beers on the list below, it’s because several of these have never poured in WA. Others are just fantastic beers that we rarely see.

The fun will kick off at 11am. There will be special guests, including the owner of the original SF Toronado, David Keene (aka “Big Daddy”), and the founder of Maui Brewing, Garrrett Marrero. There will be fun…and lots of great beer.

Here is the list:

Stone – ArbalestAgainst the grain – Haman Hamarth
Elysian – Wu Tang
Hair of the Dog – Adam
Double Mountain – Devils kriek
Cascade – PDX Punch
Cascade – Pomegranite
Pfriem – 2012 Belgian Stout
Surly – Furious IPA
Surly – Cocoa Bender
Surly – Hell Lager
BFM – Abbey de Saint Bon-Chien
Boneyard/Alpine – Chingadira
Oakshire – Flanders Framboise
Maui – Barrel aged Father Damien
Maui – Haleakala Sunrise
Maui – Pau Hana Pils
Maui – Imperial Coconut Porter
Alesmith – Speedway Stout
Firestone Walker – Brettaweisse
Lost Abbey -Duck Duck
Lost Abbey – Angel Share
Veltins – Pilsner
And many more!!!!!

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Seafood Beer Dinner with Breakside Brewery at The Sixgill September 22

August 26th, 2014 · Beer & Food, Oregon Breweries

Heads up on an upcoming beer dinner at The Sixgill. They’ll be featuring beers from Portland’s Breakside Brewery paired with seafood from Emerald City Seafood and Taylor Shellfish.

Breakside is one of my favorite Portland breweries, and I’m not sure that we have seen any of these offerings up here, yet.

Tickets are $80 per person including tax (but NOT gratuity; please tip your servers appropriately). The menu includes six-courses paired with beers.

The event will take place at 6:30pm on September 22. Call The Sixgill at 206-466-2846 for reservations.


Welcome Bite

Bloody Mary Style Oyster Shooter

Saison in Hell ~ Light Rye with 3 Varieties of Brett


Baked Oyster

Pacific Oyster, Local Foraged Mushroom, Grana Padano & Bread Crumbs

New World Bruin ~ Blended Flanders Style Red Sour


Poisson Cru

Tahitian Style Ceviche, Coconut, Cucumber & Taro

Apollo & Dionysus ~ Gin Barrel Aged Saison w/ Sichuan Peppercorn & Chrysanthemum



Harissa Paste, Red Onion, Fennel & Sumac

Beach Saison ~ Classic Belgian Style Summer Ale


Jerk Salmon

Summer Vegetable Succotash, Green Goddess & Ikura

Ansatz ~ Bourbon Barrel Aged Smoked Bock


Lemon Icebox Pie

Lemon Custard, Liquid Graham Cracker, Burnt Meringue & Lemon Peel

Brett the Hitman Tart ~ West Coast Lambic with 100% Wild Yeast


Monday, September 22nd

6:30 pm ~ $80 pp/ tax inclusive

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Schilling Cider House to Open September 6 in Fremont with 32 Taps

August 25th, 2014 · Cider

Cider drinkers in Seattle are about to have another place to explore the ever-expanding number of options available in the market. Schilling Cider House is brought to you by Colin Schilling, who is the owner & founder of Seattle’s Schilling Cider. In addition to their own ciders, they will feature quality cider from producers all over the country and world.

Schilling Cider opening Cider House near famed Fremont Bridge
SEATTLE, WA – Friday, August 22, 2014 – Schilling Cider is pleased to announce the grand opening of Schilling Cider House in Seattle neighborhood Fremont on Saturday, September 6th.

Located at 708 N. 34th St., Schilling Cider House will offer 32 draft ciders — available as tasting flights, pints, or growlers — and 250 packaged ciders, to drink on site (no corkage fee) or take (unopened) to go.

“We will only be carrying ciders made without artificial flavors or other non-craft ingredients,” cofounder Colin Schilling said. “In addition to a great selection of craft ciders, all draft ciders will be tested to provide information drinkers won’t find elsewhere.”

This information, to include residual sugar, titratable acid, and pH, will be displayed on a menu board much like breweries display IBU information currently.

In conjunction with WA Cider Week, Schilling Cider House will host tastings and offer giveaways, including free growlers for the first 1000 purchasers of growler fills.

Tasting schedule for the week:
Sunday, September 7
11am-1pm Half Pint Spanish Cider Portfolio
2-4pm Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider
5-7pm Finnriver Farm & Cidery
Monday, September 8
5-7pm Eden Cider Tasting
Tuesday, September 9
5-7pm Dragon’s Head Tasting

About Schilling Cider
Seattle-based Schilling Cider, whose tagline “your apple a day just got interesting” drives them to create ever-evolving cider flavors, is committed to sustainability through the use of highly-recyclable materials and local ingredients. Their ciders are distributed in British Columbia, CA, ID, MN, OR, VA, WA, Washington, DC, WV. For more, follow at or check out

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Ghostfish Brewing Company to Open Gluten-Free Brewery in SoDo

August 20th, 2014 · Washington Breweries

Good news for gluten-free beer drinkers in Seattle. Washington’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery, Ghostfish Brewing Company, is set to open later this year in SoDo.

Press Release:

Ghostfish Brewing Company, poised to be the first dedicated gluten-free brewery in the State of Washington, is now beginning the construction and permitting process for their flagship production facility and taproom in Seattle’s SoDo district. Founded by Randy Schroeder, Brian Thiel, and Jason “Igliashon” Yerger, the brewery has been in planning since 2012 and is expected to begin production in the final quarter of 2014, with sales expected to commence in time for the holidays.

“There are so many reasons why we chose to open a gluten-free brewery,” says brewmaster Igliashon. “The fact that gluten-intolerant folks like myself are severely limited in their choice of beers is a big reason, but I think we’d be brewing this way even if gluten intolerance didn’t exist. With 3000 other breweries in the US all straining the boundaries of what can be done with barley, there’s just not much room left there for innovation. There is, however, a brave new world of brewing with all kinds of other grains instead of barley, and we’re proud to be among the few breweries exploring that new territory.”

Unlike other breweries in the U.S., Ghostfish makes their beer with malted millet and buckwheat as the primary ingredients. This allows them to achieve richly-flavored brews in a full range of craft beer styles with many unique new flavors. Whenever possible, they source their ingredients from small businesses, and especially those based in Washington state.

Three flagship brews—Watchstander Stout, Restless Red, and Vanishing Point Pale—are planned for release in addition to a rotating line-up of seasonal beers. A wide variety of small-batch experimentals will be served exclusively in the Ghostfish taproom, located at 2942 1st Avenue South, Seattle WA. Look for Ghostfish beer to be retailed in convenient 16oz aluminum cans.

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Goose Island Brewing Migration Week Coming to Seattle (And They’re Bringing Bourbon County Variants)

August 20th, 2014 · Events

Thanks to +Russ for the image.

Goose Island Brewing makes some pretty fantastic beer that doesn’t get a whole lot of focus in this competitive Seattle market. They offer some great specialty releases, though, with the highlight of their lineup being the Bourbon County Stout. Beer geeks (myself included) go crazy for this bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. 2013 was the first year since about 2010 that Seattle received any allocation of that great beer, and it was very limited. There are also multiple variants of Bourbon County that I’m not sure we’ve ever seen in Seattle.

This year, Goose Island has embarked on a migration across the country to visit many of the markets where their beer is available. They are spending a week camped out in one city at a time, and they are bringing a whole bunch of great beer with them. According to a quick press release, they will be in Seattle the week of September 2nd. They’ll be “hosting several events all week long – including tap takeovers, beer tastings and more.” You can expect the events to be hosted at several beer bars across the city.

Goose Island has not communicated any specifics, yet, but Brouwer’s Cafe has posted that they will be one of the event sites. They’ll be pouring some pretty awesome beers on September 3.

We are pleased to announce that Goose Island Brewing out of Chicago has chosen us to host a Goose Island Migration event. What is the Goose Island Migration you ask? The simple answer is this: Goose Island sends brewers, and many rare beers and host events in multiple locations in a market. This is the first time that our market has been included in The Migration and we are one of those chosen locations. We will be hosting a Migration event on Wednesday, September 3rd starting at 6pm. As we mentioned before there will be brewery representatives on hand. What rare offerings are we talking about? The brewery digs deep for these events they are sending us:

Bourbon County Proprietors
Bourbon County Coffee 2012
Bourbon County Backyard Rye
312 Wheat

I’ll post more info on other events as it becomes available.

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Gordon Biersch Seattle Celebrates 15th Anniversary Tuesday With $0.98 Beer

August 18th, 2014 · Events

Kevin Davey at the downtown Seattle Gordon Biersch.

Kevin Davey at the downtown Seattle Gordon Biersch.

If you haven’t been paying attention, Gordon Biersch is making some great beers on the top floor of Pacific Place these days. Head Brewer Kevin Davey is a one-man show there, and the lagers he is turning out are in elite company (think Chuckanut). Check out this post that includes a short profile of Kevin and the brewery.

Recently, Kevin brought home the Small Brewery of the Year award from the 2014 Washington Beer Awards for Gordon Biersch after winning four medals. 2014 is their 15th year at the Seattle location, which recently underwent a complete remodel of the bar and restaurant area. They will celebrating all of these achievements this Tuesday, August 19. Dan Gordon, Co-Founder and Director of Brewing Operations for GB, will be on hand for the event.

Oh, yeah….and beers will be just $0.98 in honor of their opening in 1998.

When is the last time you paid less than a buck for a beer? For me, it might have been one of those “penny beer nights” that we’d frequent at one of the college bars at Purdue. Okay, so when is the last time you paid less than a buck for a good beer? Yeah, I’m not sure I ever have.

I believe that beers will be priced at $0.98 all day long, but the celebration will be from 6pm to 9pm.

Cheers to Gordon Biersch for continuing to bring great lagers to the Seattle market after 15 years!


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“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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