Coming soon: Slaughter County Brewing, Alaska trip, The Hub Grand Opening in Gig Harbor, and seasonal beers now available! Stay tuned!!! September 22, 2013
Beer 101- Fruits of May, the conclusion June 10, 2013
It’s no secret that fruit beers are among my favorite beers. Now I’m not talking about that slice of lime wedged on the side of your mexican lager. I’m talking real fruit, fruit juices, and fresh puree added to everything from ales to lagers to wheat beers,to stouts and porters during the brewing process. To some, adding fruit to beer is sacrilege but fruit has been fermented and added to alcoholic beverages for millennium. Others simply won’t try it because they consider anything with fruit “chick beer.” They are really missing out! Here are my favorites from the month of May…
Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Ale (5.2% ABV) - Amazing strawberry aroma. Thick body, jammy, natural fruit flavor (doesn’t taste fake). Crisp and “sparkly” with a wonderful fruit finish.
Unibroue Ephemere (5/5% ABV) One of my favorite beers for “Fruits of May!” Lovely green apple aroma. Crisp apple flavor and spices. Very similar to a hard, green apple cider…but better. I wouldn’t pair this with any food. It’s best sipped on its own.
Kona Brewing Wailua Wheat (5.4% ABV) – Lovely summer beer! Passion fruit aroma and body. Slightly pungent with a sweet/tart finish. If you have ever been to Hawaii, you will have wonderful flashbacks while sipping on this!
Samuel Smiths Organic Raspberry Fruit Ale (5.1% ABV) Another one of my favorites! Actually, in my opinion any of Samuel Smiths Fruit ales are amazing. This one is thick, rich, and full of raspberry goodness. Not one to be paired with food, except maybe for some vanilla bean ice cream. Wonderful!
Brouwerif Lindemans Framboise Lambic (2.5% ABV) Pretty much ANY of the lambics from this amazing Belgian brewery is a treat! Syrupy and elegant. Fresh raspberry aroma and flavor. Very effervescent with a gorgeous fruit finish. The best way I can describe this beauty is it’s like drinking raspberry champagne. My absolute favorite beer…period!
I feel any beer drinker should try a fruit beer at least once. Fruit beers are sweet, refreshing, and can really compliment a meal or serve as a lovely desert.
What’s in store for june? How about “a blonde named June?” I like it!
Beer Styles 101 – The intro April 13, 2013
A few weeks ago I announced on my Facebook page that I was going to do a little something different for the next year. As many of you know, I consider myself a “forever student” of beer. I never want to stop learning about beer and the beer culture I have been a part of for the last 20 years. So, I have decided that each month I will focus on drinking one style of beer and at the end of the month will compose one blog to talk about my experience and the top five beers in that style. Why am I doing this?
Well, over the last 30 years the beer style doors have not just opened, they’ve been blown off the hinges! No longer is an IPA or Hefeweizen beholden to one particular taste, aroma, and experience all together. Brewers are experimenting and tweaking beer styles and taking them to new levels. You can take two Pale Ales and get two different experiences from each. It’s exciting and fascinating!
I will continue to write about breweries, beer festivals and special beers. But for my Beer Styles 101 I will write short entries about each beer I have on my Facebook page and will write my final analysis here on my blog. Check out my Facebook page to see what’s up. This month…IPApril. Yes, IPA’s are on my beer menu for the month and so far it’s been quite a ride.
Sailing the 7 Seas January 5, 2013
The pride of Gig Harbor has moved to a new pad. 7 Seas Brewing, home of the “Ultimate Proper Pint,” re-opened their doors last month. Newly located in what was the QFC grocery store and just steps from historic Gig Harbor waterfront, the new spot is bigger, shinier, and full of 7 Seas’s best brews!
Co-owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson started the brewery three years ago in a tiny tasting room just off of Hwy 16. Having a deep concern for the environment, Mike and Travis pride themselves on operating a “green brewery.” They can their beers instead of bottling and recycle spent grain to local farmers for livestock feed. When it comes to setting up the tasting room, Mike used reclaimed wood when he built the long, gorgeous tables for patrons to sit at. The benches came from the recently demolished Tacoma Elks Lodge. Want to know more about the artifacts and stuff around the tap room? Just ask! The entire staff is very friendly and fun.
But enough of my jibber jabber. Let’s get to the beer!
British Pale Ale (5.4% ABV) – One of my favorites of the bunch, this pale ale is crisp and clean. Biscuity with floral notes. Very easy to drink and great year round.
Rude Parrot IPA (5.8% ABV) – This one is for the hop heads! Simcoe and Citra hops give this beauty the kick IPA fans lust after. Lovely grapefruit aroma and taste. And at 75 IBU’s, this is one rude beer!
Ballz Deep Double IPA (8.4% ABV) – 7 Seas most popular beer, Ballz Deep is another delightful IPA that would please any hop head. Surprisingly malty for an IPA but that is a plus! This is a very lovely, very drinkable IPA. Don’t get me wrong, this is a hoppy beer. 82 IBU’s to be exact. But if you don’t like to get punched in the face by hops then I highly recommend this baby.
Wheelchair Barley Wine (10.6% ABV) – You may want to sit down for this one! Thick and syrupy with a raisin and plum fruit aroma. Very warming. Very strong. Definitely a sipper. There’s a reason they names this vixen “Wheelchair.”
Cutt’s NW Amber Ale (6.15% ABV) – Very nice. Pretty hop aroma. Citrusy and floral characters with a nice malt/hop balance. Great choice for a growler.
Port Royal Stout (6.8% ABV) –Another one of my favorites! Ink black color. Brown head. Malty and full-bodied, this stout has a lovely warming, toasty flavor notes of dark chocolate and espresso. The finish is smoky. Great as a desert beer or sitting by the fire.
Depth Finder India Red Ale (5.9% ABV) – One of 7 Seas newest seasonal releases this beer has a pretty dark red color. Hoppy aroma with clear body. Crisp and clean with a hoppy, floral finish. Very nice.
Reign Man ESB (5.5% ABV) – Another new seasonal creation, this lovely beer is malty and sweet with a nice hop finish. Crisp and clean this ESB would go great with any meal.
Belgian Imperial Stout (9.0% ABV) – Do you like chocolate covered bananas? If so you will LOVE this beer. I do! Dark brown teetering on black color and full-bodied. Malty, dark, bitter chocolate aroma and taste with hints of banana and coffee. Very smooth, rich gem.
There is no food in the tap room but patrons are more than welcome to bring in food of their own. The tap room is now open 7 days a week : Sun through Tues from 11:00-8:00, Wed through Sat 11:00-9:00.
I can’t say enough about 7 Seas except that I love this brewery! I have been coming here since their opening in 2009 and will continue to come back for years to come.
Spoetzl Brewing spreads a little Holiday Cheer! November 19, 2012
Pecan pie is a staple in most homes during the holidays. While July is normally the best month for peaches, Spoetzl Brewing in Shiner, TX (home of Shiner Bock) has decided to bring peaches to us during the Autumn and Winter seasons and has truly outdone themselves. Shiner Holiday Cheer is a deliciously great way to celebrate family, home, caring, sharing, warmth, and love. OK, that might be a bit too sappy. It’s a great beer to enjoy during your holiday meal.
Holiday Cheer is an Old World Dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans. The aroma is heavenly with swirls of fresh peaches and cinnamon. The taste…like drinking a peach and pecan pie! In fact, (as the Cajun side of my family would say) it’s so good it will make you wanna go home a slap your mama! The finish is a lovely symphony fresh peaches! Peach sweetness from start to finish without being overpowering. Matly, fresh, awesome! Holiday Cheer would go great with your thanksgiving Turkey, Christmas ham, or as an after dinner dessert. It’s available now in your local bottle shop so grab some before the season ends!
2012 Gig Harbor Beer Festival May 21, 2012
Last weekend the beer Gods truly smiled on me. The sky was blue, the temperature was perfect, and the first annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival was held less than a block from my home! Who could ask for anything more? As usual, for the sake of length I will share my top favorites of the day.
Local Logger Lager (Everybody’s Brewing, White Salmon, WA) – 4.8% ABV The best beer of the event! Clean and crisp with a honey sweetness. Saaz and Golden hops create a light hoppiness that does not overpower the sweetness. Golden Grahams cereal came to mind immediately. A truly delicious beer!
Hulaweizen (7 Seas Brewery, Gig Harbor, WA) – 5.6% ABV A very different beer for this brewery. A lovely wheat beer brewed with coconut water and lemon grass. The pungent sourness of the lemongrass really comes through balancing out the sweetness of the coconut. I really hope 7 Seas makes this beauty one of their permanent beers!
Dog Zebra (Valholl Brewing, Poulsbo, WA) – Wonderfully hoppy beer! This lovely IPA had a lot of great citrus flavors and bite. The aroma was like walking through a grapefruit orchard. Wish I had more!
Agate Pass Amber (Hood Canal Brewery, Kingston, WA) – 5.5% ABV Fruity and hoppy, this well-balanced beer had notes of honey and pears. Not too sweet, not too hoppy. Great beer for a hot summer day.
Autumn Scotch (Der Blokken Brewery, Bremerton, WA) – 7% ABV I love scotch ales, but this one takes the cake! Thick, malty and sweet, Autumn Scotch has an unusual butterscotch aroma and flavor. The body is more on the fuller side and the finish has a “candy-like” sweetness. This is a great beer for kicking back and relaxing.
The festival, for the most part, was very well-organized. Unfortunately, the organizers seem to have made the same mistake most first time festival organizers make and misjudged the expected attendance. Most of the brewers were out of beer by 4:00 and the festival still had three hours to go! The use of available space for the festival goers was another issue. The festival surrounded a huge gazebo that had tons of shade. This area was blocked off and not assessable to the festival goers and instead used to store boxes of t-shirts and the token booth (1 guy, 1 table). We were forced to squeeze into what little shade we could find and had to stand as there we no chairs or tables anywhere. I also feel this would have been a great opportunity for the surrounding restaurants to have a small food cart or something in the area. Instead festival goers had to leave the festival, walk to the restaurants, and wait for over an hour for food.
I had a great time and, of course, the beer was the best part. With a few tweaks, Gig Harbor should have a heck of a festival next year!
Coming Soon: Wingman Brewing’s new tasting room, Gig Harbor Beer Festival, and some new summer beer releases! May 16, 2012
A little bit of summer in every box… May 1, 2012
I have been a big fan of the Boston Beer Company since I began my beer journey twenty years ago. Though many beer enthusiasts may feel Samuel Adams is too commercial or popular for their taste I personally feel it is still one of the best craft breweries in the country. Yes, it is a larger brewery and quite popular. But does that mean the beer is no longer good? Absolutely not! Boston Beer Company has proven time and time again that it is still one of the top craft brewers in the country. And it’s this commitment to excellence that once again shines through on this year’s summer seasonal releases.
I picked up a case of Samuel Adams’ summer seasonal beers and will definitely go back for more. The pack contains a variety of six different beers (2 of each beer): Belgian Session, Summer Ale, East-West Kölsch, Cherry Wheat, Noble Pils, and of course the flagship Boston Lager. While I love all of them I decided to focus on four of the summer releases.
Belgian Session – Strong banana clove and spice aroma. Medium body mouth feel but not heavy. Brewed with Hallertau Mittelfrueh Noble hops and American Ahtanum hops creating notes of flowers, honey and toffee linger and the finish is sweet but not sugary. This is a lovely Belgian-style beer.
Summer Ale – Crisp and lightly hopped. Lemon peel and the rare African pepper, Grains of Paradise, are used in this pretty beer. Orange blossoms, honey, and fresh oranges dominate but this is no “chick beer.” The finish is clean and snappy. Light to medium bodied.
East-West Kölsch – Jasmine up the wazoo! This floral beauty is brewed with jasmine flowers, cloves, and plenty of hops. Yeast, hoppy and sweet this Kölsch finishes on a spicy note. This is an incredible beer. But, again, definitely not a chick beer!
Cherry Wheat – This gem has been an overall favorite of mine for close to twenty years and one of the reasons I look forward to summer! I’m serious!! Brewed with fresh Michigan cherries, the aroma and taste is just incredible. There is no mistaking the fruit but it is true fruit flavor and does not have that weird “fakeness” that one sometimes sees in fruit beers. I have a hard time just drinking one.
Most major grocery stores carry the Samuel Adams Summer Variety Pack. If you are one of those folks that feel Samuel Adams is too commercial all I ask is that you give it another shot. Remember, Jim Koch was one of the first “micro-brewers” just starting out. He just happened to produce a great product that became successful. After all, isn’t’ that why anyone starts up their own business?
Upcoming event… April 25, 2012
WHEN: Saturday, May 12th, 2012.
WHERE: Uptown Gig Harbor Pavilion (4701 Pt. Fosdick Dr.)
- 7 Seas Brewery
- American Brewing Company
- Der Blokken Brewery
- Dicks Brewing Company
- Everybody’s Brewing
- Harmon Brewing Co.
- Hood Canal Brewery
- Port Townsend Brewing Co.
- Silver City Brewery
- Sound Brewery
- Valholl Brewing Company
Pre-sale tickets are $20 or $25 the day of the event. Admission includes a 2012 commemorative taster cup and eight taster tokens. 21+ up only. You can purchase tickets through the festival website, www.gigharborbeerfestival.com or from www.brownpapertickets.com.
I will definitely be there!
Texas summer in the PNW! April 22, 2012
Summer in the PNW cannot come soon enough! Luckily the summer seasonals are already churning out. And apparently a little brewery in Texas knows what summer should taste like. I have been a huge fan of Spoetzl Brewery’s Shiner Bock for years. Well, I happened upon a new concoction released for summer. Shiner Ruby Redbird is a wonderful citrus seasonal brewed with Texas Ruby Red grapefruit juice and fresh ginger. The grapefruit flavor is not the hoppy kind, but the sweet, juicy kind. The ginger sweetens ups the tart of the grapefruit by adding a light pungent character creating a very well-balanced, flavorful beer. Mt. Hood, Citra and Cascade hops along with Munich malt give a little extra kick and texture to this lovely crisp beer. The finish is clean and sweet and at 4% ABV it is perfect for the hot summer days.
So next time you’re sitting in your fold up chair with your feet in the kids wading pool, don’t forget to grab one of Shiner’s finest. It’s a great start to a lovely, hot summer.