Urban Family Brewing Opens New Tasting Room Today

October 24th, 2014 · Openings, Washington Breweries

When Urban Family Brewing moved their brewery operations to a new, larger location in Magnolia this summer, the future of their taproom on Ballard Ave was a little unclear. Now, that original location has closed, and tonight they will open up their new tasting room where they will pour beers made on their new 7-barrel brewing system. The new tasting room and brewery is located at 4441 26th Ave W in the industrial zone between the Ballard Locks and the Fisherman’s Terminal and just a few blocks from the residential district of eastern Magnolia.

They will be open from 4pm to 9pm this evening and will be pouring 8 beers total:

Urban Tropic
Spelt it, Dealt it
So West it’s East IPA
Fresh Hop IPA
Hoppy Magnolia Farmhouse Ale
Citron Noir Dark Farmhouse Ale
De La Brett
Deuce is Wild

Going forward, the tasting room will be open Friday (4-9pm), Saturday (1-9pm) and Sunday (11am to 5pm). With their larger operations, they will have a lot more flexibility to release time and space consuming styles. According to co-owner Tim Czarnetzki, “About 40% of our output will be focused on brett (beers), something we couldn’t do at the last space because we didn’t have any room.”

I’ll be looking forward to trying the new beers sometime soon! Congrats to the crew at Urban Family for moving on to their next step.

In addition to the new tasting room, you can find their beers on draught and in bottles across the area.

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Flying Lion Brewing Opens Tonight in Columbia City

October 22nd, 2014 · Washington Breweries

Flying Lion Brewing is set to become the newest brewery in town when they open their doors at 4pm today down in Columbia City. This family run brewery is operating on a 3-barrel system and will have six beers pouring tonight:

Single Hop Pale
American IPA
Red Rye Session
Rye Stout
Sweet Potato Porter
Belgian Strong

The brewery and taproom is located at 5041 Rainier Ave S on the main retail drag of Columbia City, right next to Full Tilt Ice Cream (not a bad combo…). They’ll be open 4pm to midnight today. Going forward, they’ll be open every day of the week, except for Tuesday. Check their website for specific hours.

If you missed it, check out my post from July with more details about the operation.

Congrats to Flying Lion, and I look forward to visiting!

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Beers Made by Walking Tasting at Naked City This Thursday

October 20th, 2014 · Events, Oregon Breweries, Washington Breweries

Local beer drinkers will have a chance to try some unique beers at Naked City Brewery & Taphouse in Greenwood this Thursday. Beers Made by Walking is a program that invites brewers to make beer inspired by nature hikes and urban walks. The location of each hike is unique, leading to a variety of ingredients for brewers to work with. This is really a great idea for creating beers that are truly local. From a smoked porter made with Western Red Cedar inspired by a hike on Cougar Mountain, to a saison made with locally foraged rose hips inspired by a hike in Discovery Park, these beers are certainly won’t be boring.

The event takes place this Thursday, October 23 from 6pm to 9pm at Naked City in Greenwood.

Here is the list of beers that will be pouring:

Big Al Brewing /// Huckleberry Saison /// 6.8%, 30 IBU
A bready, spicy and fruity saison with wild huckleberries, inspired by a hike at Cougar Mountain.

Brickyard Brewing /// Salal Saison /// 5.1%
Belgian Style Saison with the addition of Salal leaves, inspired by a hike at Steward Park.

Epic Ales /// Wild Watercress Farmhouse Blonde /// 4.7%, 25 IBU
A light rustic ale brewed with wild watercress foraged in the Olympic peninsula.

Fremont Brewing /// Brother Imperial IPA with Spruce Tips & Elderflowers /// 8.5%, Billions of IBUs
A big, bold Northwest Imperial IPA with spruce tips and elderflowers. Based off a hike in Discovery Park in Seattle, Washington.

Hi-Fi Brewing /// Look Up – See Dere? /// 5.9%, 22 IBU
Smoked Brown Porter, smoked over Western Redcedar. Inspired by a hike at Cougar Mountain.

Naked City Brewery /// Rose’s Funky Hips /// 6.3%, 35 IBU
Belgian Style Saison brewed with locally foraged rose hips, inspired by a hike at Discovery Park.

Schilling Cider /// Cedar Tip Dry Farmhouse Cider /// 6.3% ABV
Rustic, tannic dry cider with local Western Redcedar tips, inspired by a hike at Cougar Mountain

Fort George Brewery /// Spruce Budd Ale /// 5%, 0 IBU
We harvested spruce from trees on the coast, near Astoria. We produced 30bbl batch and used 200 pounds of Spruce tips.

Hopworks Urban Brewery /// Salal Slap /// 4.1% ABV, 3 IBU
Salal Slap is a bracingly sour Berliner Weisse with Salal berries, based on an old growth hike in Portland, OR.

Laurelwood Brewing /// Saison de Walkie /// 5.5%, 12 IBU
Tart Saison with rose hips and elderberries inspired by a hike on the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park, Portland.

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Maritime Pacific to Release Bourbon Barrel Porter With Batch 206 Distillery Tomorrow

October 14th, 2014 · Beer Releases, Washington Breweries

Maritime Pacific Brewery has teamed up with Batch 206 Distillery to release a bourbon barrel-aged version of Bosun’s Black Porter that will be available starting at 5pm tomorrow night at Maritime’s Jolly Roger Taproom in Ballard. Batch 206 actually creates the mash for their whiskey at Maritime’s brewery. So, putting a Maritime beer in one of the barrels that held whiskey made from the mash that originally came from the brewery is certainly a great way to complete the circle.

Press Release:

Seattle, October 8, 2014:  Batch 206 Distillery and Maritime Pacific Brewery, one of Seattle’s original Breweries, have partnered for the upcoming limited release of “Barrel Raider Bosun’s Black Porter”.  Maritime Pacific will release this bourbon barrel aged beer at the Jolly Roger Taproom in Ballard on October 15th. This special release will only be available at the tap room and in select bar and restaurant accounts.

For this limited release, Maritime Pacific aged their delicious “Bosun’s Black Porter” for over 9 months with 3 of those months aged in freshly emptied, Batch 206 Barrel Raider Bourbon American oak barrels. The result is a Dark, Roasty, Beer forward, no nonsense Porter with hints of oak and bourbon in the finish.

Bosun’s Black Porter is one of Maritimes original beers which has since become a much sought after seasonal brew because of its now limited availability.  Bosun’s Black is a rich blend of NW malted barley and wheat, along with a hop backbone of Goldings and Fuggle hops. Batch 206’s Barrel Raider Bourbon is a 7 year aged, high rye Bourbon, bottled and released by Batch 206 Distillery in the last year.

This special, limited release continues a successful partnership between Maritime Pacific and Batch 206. Batch 206 Distillery currently creates the mash for their Whiskeys at Maritime Pacific.  Jeff Steichen, owner of Batch 206, commented “This release is a really great example of the symbiotic relationship here in Seattle between breweries and distilleries.” George Hancock, owner of Maritime Pacific, commented “This beer is an excellent example of a style that marries perfectly with distilled spirits without one dominating the other and we look forward to continuing to work with Batch 206.”

Maritime Pacific and The Jolly Roger Taproom, located near Historic Ballard, is a small, family-owned brewery featuring hearty fare as well as world-class ales and lagers. The 40 barrel brewhouse produces over 7,800 barrels per year for its taproom and for distribution throughout the Puget Sound and Eastern Washington area.

The Jolly Roger Taproom features twelve(12) different Maritime beers at all times with two (2) cask conditioned ales on the beer engines. Happy Hour runs from 3 to 6 pm M-F, with a great discounted food menu and $3 pints. The Taproom is located at 1111 NW Ballard Way, is kid friendly, and its hours are: Monday through Wednesday from 11:00 to 10:00; Thursday from 11:00 to 11:00; Friday and Saturday from 11:00 to Midnight; and Sunday from Noon to 9.

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Holy Mountain Debut Event at Pine Box Tuesday Night

October 13th, 2014 · Beer Releases, Openings, Washington Breweries

Owners Lenfesty, Paysse & Murphy. Images by Ethan John.

Owners Lenfesty, Paysse & Murphy. Images by Ethan John.

Holy Mountain Brewing is set to have their official launch event at The Pine Box tomorrow, October, 14, starting at 6pm. If you missed my piece on these guys back in June, check it out now. There is much to be excited about.

In the past few months, they’ve been hard at work putting together their brewhouse and taproom. They went live just about a month ago, brewing their first batch in early September. Many breweries would have rushed to get as much beer to market as soon as possible, but Holy Mountain concentrated on filling barrels for future rewards. That includes getting their sour base going in multiple barrels, and filling others with imperial stout and a double oatmeal brown ale. These guys aren’t screwing around.

The first beer released to market was their Equinox Fresh Hop, which has been around the past week at some of the city’s better beer bars. The guys from Holy Mountain will be bringing that beer to The Pine Box tomorrow, along with The Seer Hoppy Saison, King’s Head Double Oat Brown and a Gose.

Cheers to Colin, Adam and Mike for making their dream a reality. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Press Release:

(Seattle, WA)  More than four years in the works, the first barrels have been filled at Holy Mountain Brewing Company, located in Seattle’s Interbay neighborhood. Focusing on hop forward, barrel aged, and yeast driven ales and lagers, Holy Mountain will launch its first beers into the Seattle market in early October.

In 2010 head brewer Colin Lenfesty and president Adam Paysse, both award winning homebrewers, rented an industrial space in SODO to expand their brewing efforts and prepare to open a commercial brewery. Lenfesty spent his days brewing professionally, and the two spent nights brewing pilot batches. Holy Mountain was born when the pair met Mike Murphy, whom Lenfesty knew from his day job, where Murphy ran the brewery’s sales operations.

“I was blown away by the passion these guys had for styles that weren’t being offered in Seattle on a regular basis” said Murphy, most recently head of Sales for Westland Distillery.  “From the start, we were all on the same page stylistically and recognized gaps in the local market that we thought should be filled.”

“We saw all these other breweries popping up, but we were really intent on having everything dialed in, so we just tried to stay patient,” said Paysse. “Once we decided to do Holy Mountain we spent the better part of two years running trial batches with saison and brett strains and dialing in our water chemistry, all while writing and rewriting a business plan.” The three hope that their extensive brewing experience and dedication to quality will set Holy Mountain apart.

Drawing inspiration from both yeast driven continental beers as well as hop forward West Coast ales, Holy Mountain will focus on brewing seasonal releases, with the inclusion of barrel fermented beers, and the intent to create a prominent barrel aging program.

After months of construction the team is excited to be brewing. Said Lenfesty, “It’s been a long road of blood, sweat, plumbing, welding, and spreadsheets. We have a pretty incredible group of people behind us that have helped make this happen. We’re more excited than ever about what the future holds.”

Holy Mountain will produce beer in 20bbl batches, and will not feature a fixed flagship beer. The initial lineup will include The Seer – a hoppy farmhouse ale, The Goat – a rustic barrel fermented farmhouse ale, King’s Head – a double brown ale brewed with a generous portion of oats, and an aromatic fresh hop American Pale Ale hopped entirely with the new Equinox varietal, harvested on the autumnal equinox and used to brew the same day.

Construction is also underway at the brewery’s 1421 Elliott Ave W location on a 60 seat taproom. Designed and built largely by the three founders, Holy Mountain’s taproom will be open and spacious, with high ceilings and a large bay door opening onto the train tracks and Pier 90.

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GABF Medal Results vs. Number of Beers Entered – A Closer Look

October 7th, 2014 · General Beer News

Warning: this post is for beer or stat geeks only. It is also probably a waste of time, but as someone who deals with analyzing numbers for his day job I couldn’t help but put a little effort into this. 

2014 GABF Medal Ratio2A post by Jeff Alworth over at Beervana yesterday got me thinking. Jeff took a look at the number of medals won by each state at this year’s GABF and then wondered about the distribution of medals and if the results mean that “…a very few states seem to be way out in front in terms of making making medal-earning beers.”

Looking at the medal results, the top 5 states, CA, CO, OR, TX and PA, took home exactly 50% of the medals from the 2014 GABF competition. Without taking anything else into consideration, that is certainly impressive. But, how many beers did each state enter into the competition? That is the key piece of data that might give us some insight into the numbers.

I reached out to the Brewers Association for help, and while they understandably don’t want to divulge exact details on all of the beers entered into the competition, they were happy to provide the total number of beers entered by each state. That gives us a meaningful comparison of the number of beers entered vs. the number of medals won.

The table above (click on it to see a larger image) shows a comparison of the ratio of the number of medals won vs. the number of medals entered, as well as a comparison of the total % of entries vs. the total % of medals for each state.

So, what sticks out?

  • California submitted the most entries, but they didn’t win any more medals than they “should have”. They accounted for 17.2% of the entries and 17.2% of the medals, which is a perfectly average win %.
  • Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania had a substantially higher (>= 1.0%) “win percentage” than most states. Oregon’s showing was particularly impressive, winning 8.2% of the medals but submitting just 5.1% of the entries. To me, that confirms what Jeff A. was getting at: Oregon breweries do indeed kick more ass than average.
  • Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, New York and Ohio had a substantially lower (<= -1.0%) win percentage than most states. Arizona submitted 2.1% of the total entries but took home just 0.4% of the medals.
  • I’ll fully admit that the main reason for me doing this is wondering why Washington “only” took home 10 medals when we have the 2nd most breweries in the US. It turns out that our breweries submitted 214 beers total, good for the 6th most of any state. The 10 medals won represents 3.7% of the total medals vs. submitting 3.8% of the total entries. So, the win percentage is just about average. A discussion on why WA breweries don’t enter more beers is probably worthy of a whole separate thread.
  • Looking at just gold medals, WA actually led the way in “Gold Medal Ratio” for the 18 states submitting at least 100 beers. WA won 6 gold medals for a 2.8% ratio vs. # of beers entered. PA was next best at 2.5% and then OR at 2.4%. CA had the most gold medals with 15, which equals a 1.6% gold medal ratio.

Let me stress that this is all to be taken with one big ol’ grain of salt. This is what numbers/stats geeks do….lay out the facts that the numbers present, but let people come to their own conclusions. If a state had a low win %, it doesn’t mean their breweries suck. Maybe they entered more beers in the super competitive IPA category, etc… Maybe states with a higher win % cherry-picked the categories with less entries. Or, maybe this is a competition judged over a grueling week by 200 volunteers that can’t see straight by the end of it. Also, the number of entries and winners by state are certainly only “directionally correct”. Some beers reported as from CA might actually be brewed somewhere else, and so on.



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Washington Breweries Claim Ten Medals at 2014 Great American Beer Festival

October 6th, 2014 · Washington Breweries

Image thanks to Fremont Brewing on Facebook.

The 2014 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) is in the books. 1,309 breweries submitted a grand total of 5,507 beers that were evaluated by a panel of more than 200 beer judges this past week in Denver, CO. Washington breweries took home 10 medals out of the 268 that were awarded in 90 categories, with 6 of those being coveted gold medals. Fremont Brewing walked away with two medals, while Propolis Brewing, Airways Brewing, Sound Brewery, Chuckanut Brewery, Pyramid Breweries, White Bluffs Brewing, Gordon Biersch Seattle and Silver City Brewery all took home one medal. You can see the details below.

Competition is fierce for medals at GABF, particularly in the more popular categories like American Style IPA (279 entries). Brewers work hard on their craft, and taking home one of these medals is a rewarding result of their long hours and dedication.

Cheers to all of the Washington breweries that took home hardware from this year’s competition, and I hope to see even more breweries submit beers and find success at the 2015 competition.

You can see the full list of 2014 winners here.

Details on the winning WA beers:

Gold Medal: Airways Brewing
Pre-Flight Pilsner
American-style or International-style Pilsner (41 entries)

Gold Medal: Chuckanut Brewery
Chuckanut Dunkel
European Style Dunkel (23 entries)

Gold Medal: Gordon Biersch – Seattle*
Golden Export
Munich-Style Helles (50 entries)

Gold Medal: Propolis Brewing
American-style Brett Beer (44 entries)

Gold Medal: Pyramid Breweries
Apricot Ale
Fruit Wheat Beer (65 entries)

Gold Medal: White Bluffs Brewing
Red Alt
German-style Altbier (33 entries)

Silver Medal: Fremont Brewing
Summer Ale
International-style Pale Ale (88 entries)

Silver Medal: Fremont Brewing
Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star
Wood-and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout (109 entries)

Silver Medal: Silver City Brewery
Old Scrooge
Old Ale or Strong Ale (32 entries)

Bronze Medal: Sound Brewery
Dubbel Entendre
Belgian-style Abbey Ale (62 entries)

* This beer was brewed and submitted by the Seattle location of GB according to Head Brewer Kevin Davey. It is listed as CO in the awards results.

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The Pine Box & Brouwer’s Cafe to Feature Fresh Hop Beers at Festivals Next Week

September 30th, 2014 · Events, Oregon Breweries, Washington Breweries

Thanks to +Russ on Flickr for the image.

The fresh hop madness continues in Seattle next week with events at two of my favorite bars in town: The Pine Box in Capitol Hill & Brouwer’s Cafe in Fremont.

On October 6 & 7, The Pine Box will host their 3rd annual Fresh Hop Festival. They’ll be breaking out jockey boxes to bring their total number of taps from 33 up to 45, and they plan to have around 40 of those pouring fresh hop beers starting at 3pm on Monday. On Tuesday starting at 5pm, they will fill their 12 Randalls full of Fremont Brewing Pale Ale and stuff each one full of a different variety of fresh hops. This is a fun opportunity to find out exactly which varieties of hops are your favorites.

Brouwer’s is changing things up a bit for this year’s annual Hopfest celebration. Hopfest is a celebration of “all things hoppy”, but in the past it has taken place too early in the season to pour many fresh hop beers. They pushed the dates back this year in order to get in on the fresh hop fun. Starting on Wednesday, October 8, they will have 20 fresh hop beers on tap, as well as at least 12 other hoppy options. As the week progresses & fresh hop kegs kick, they’ll continue to add different fresh hop beers to the lineup. So, you’ve essentially got a rotating cast of fresh hop beers pouring Wednesday through Sunday. You’ll probably want to stop by multiple times….

In the meantime, fresh hop beers are starting to hit at other spots all over town. Enjoy!

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Breakside Brewery Takes Top Spot at 4th Annual Fresh Hop Throwdown

September 29th, 2014 · Events, Oregon Breweries, Washington Breweries

imageThe 2014 Fresh Hop Throwdown at The Noble Fir is in the books, and Breakside Brewery took top honors from the judges with their Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA. 17 fresh hop beers (and one cider) from WA and OR were featured at the event. There was a blind  judging of all the beers earlier in the day, and the beers with the top four scores were:

1) Breakside Fresh Hop Simcoe IPA
2) Fort George Fresh IPA
3) Schooner Exact Amarillo Fresh Hop IPA
4) Fremont Cowiche Canyon Mosaic Fresh Hop Ale

There were a lot of great beers pouring (click on the image to see the full list up close) and some stiff competition across the board. A big thumbs up to the entire staff at The Noble Fir for handling a huge crowd as well as they possibly could. Also, a big thanks to the judges that participated and the breweries that were a part of the Throwdown.

I’d love to hear what other people’s favorites of the day were. Feel free to leave a comment.

I would imagine that several of these fresh hop beers are still on tap at The Noble Fir, so if you missed the event you can stop by when they open back up Tuesday (4pm) to see what is left.

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Machine House Brewery Hosting Toronto Punk Photography Exhibit This Week

September 23rd, 2014 · Washington Breweries

donpyleLooking for a reason to visit Georgetown and drink some great English-style beers on cask at Machine House Brewery this week? The photo exhibit “TORONTO PUNK + OTHER TROUBLE” from Don Pyle, promoted by Fantagraphics Bookstore, promises to be a unique opportunity. Don’s images from the birth of the Toronto punk scene will be showing from Wednesday to Sunday at Machine House, and he’ll be on hand Friday to talk through some of the finer details of the photographs. The legendary Girl Trouble will play a show after Don’s talk on Friday about a mile away at Slim’s Last Chance.

Press Release:

Machine House Brewery In Georgetown
Photographs on display Wed Sept 24 to Sun Sept 28
Don Pyle’s Out-of-Focus Talking Slideshow Fri Sept 26 7:30 pm

In 1977, I bought my first 35mm camera, just in time for the golden-moment birth and ensuing melee of what is commonly referred to as punk, in Toronto, capturing the earliest gigs of local bands,primarily from 1977-79, including the Viletones, The Diodes, The Dishes, The Curse, Teenage Head and visiting ambassadors Iggy Pop, Ramones, The Clash and more.

The camera gave a shy 15-year old — wary of getting busted and thrown out — a reason to be in the front lines. Luckily, theCrash’n’Burn, Hotel Isabella, the Horseshoe, David’s back-alley gay disco and other dives turned a blind eye to the underage. Hidden behind my camera, observing yet unseen, I witnessed the birth of the revolution.

I joined my high school’s camera club to learn how to print, develop and to get free chemicals. At the time I could only afford to make contact sheets and a very limited number of prints. Thirty years later, I scanned my negatives and saw what I had for the first time. Images were restored as much as possible, revealing the hidden beauty behind the poor exposures and the scratched, dusty and watermarked negatives. Many of these photographs were shown publicly for the first time at The Beaver, in Toronto, in Spring 2007.

This eventually resulted in the publication of my first book, Trouble In The Camera Club, published by ECW Press.
I’m thrilled to be welcomed by Fantagraphics Bookstore, showing photographs and doing my Out-of-Focus Talking Slideshow in Seattle. Approximately 50 photographs, primarily from 1976 to 1980 with a smattering of contemporary images, will be on display and sale at Machine House Brewery in Georgetown from Wednesday Sept 24 to Sunday Sept 28. The talk will happen at 7:30 on Friday Sept 26.

In my Out-of-Focus Talking Slideshow, I give a guided tour through photographs from my book Trouble In The Camera Club and more,looking at details in the background, things going on outside the frame and blurry asides.


Photographs, books and postcards will be on sale.

Trouble In The Camera Club is published by ECW Press and features 300 photographs, over 200 period graphics, essays by DPand introduction by Viletones vocalist Steven Leckie. Full colour, 8 x 10.

After the Friday talk, the great and legendary Girl Trouble will play at Slim’s! Do come.

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