Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Velkommen til Poulsbo! November 30, 2010

This year I decided to spend the long holiday weekend in Europe. Ok, that was a slight exaggeration. I actually spent a day in the darling little European town of Poulsbo, WA, but you can’t blame a girl for dreaming. Located on Liberty Bay, Poulsbo is a picturesque Scandinavian storybook village complete with Viking murals, antique stores, gift shops, and the Sons of Norway lodge and the world-famous Poulsbo Bakery. Poulsbo also has two great pubs for the weary shopper to grab a bite and a pint.

My first stop was the Hare and Hounds English Pub on Front St. Decorated rather sparsely, the pub is a bit brighter than I’m used to seeing in an English pub. The walls are painted in very light tones and the tables and chairs are basic.  The restaurant resembled a sidewalk café more than a British pub.  The bar area is adorned with British beer cans and bottles and soccer towels hang from the walls and ceiling. Though the pub did not give me the “rustic” British pub feeling I love, it is a pretty establishment nonetheless. The menu consists of the English pub standards like fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and ploughman’s lunch. But, the chicken and rice soup was unbelievably great. 

The beer tap selection was a pleasant mix of different beer styles. Again, Hare and Hounds carry some British pub standards like Guinness, Harp, and Newcastle, but microbrews from the Pacific Northwest dominate and are constantly rotated.  As for their bottled beer selection, I was quite impressed. Large bottles of Samuel Smith’s and Samuel Smith’s Raspberry is available along with bottles of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and other British favorites.  Our bartender, Dan, was extremely friendly and very beer savvy.  He was a delight to talk to while enjoying my lunch and a pint…or two.

My next stop was just a small walk up the street to Tizley’s Europub. If you want a cool “rustic” vibe you will surely find it at Tizley’s. Located on the 2nd floor of one of Poulsbo’s many adorable Bavarian style shops, Tizley’s charm begins on your walk down a small alley to the staircase that leads you upstairs into the middle of the pub.  There is a very casual, old world feel throughout and there is outside balcony seating for lunch, dinner, or the relaxing afternoon pint.

Tizley’s serves just about every type of Bavarian Schnitzel possible along with other European favorites such as Sausage and Peppers, Black Forest Ham sandwich, Beef Boxty and of course, the traditional Goulash.  But my favorite reason for coming to Tizley’s is their wide selection of European and microbrew beers.  Like Hare and Hounds, Tizley’s also rotates their beer selection so you always have a fresh pint of whatever is in season.

But the true beer treat of the day was the Cherry Rye from Poulsbo’s newest brewery, Valhöll.  Poured by way of a hand pump, Cherry Rye was a strong yet smooth beer with just a hint of dark cherries. Delicious! Valhöll Brewery is still under construction but will be opening soon on Front St. just doors down from both pubs. In the meantime you can enjoy their beer at both Hare and Hounds English Pub and Tizley’s Europub. And trust me, as soon as Valhöll opens I will let you all know!

Winter is a great time of year to visit Poulsbo…and during Oktoberfest…and Viking Fest. Pretty much anytime of year is a great time to visit Poulsbo and its great pubs!




What’s the Scuttlebutt? It’s 10º Below in the Pacific Northwest! November 20, 2010

Filed under: beer,breweries,Micro brew,Pacific Northwest Beer,Washington beer — pnwbeerchick @ 6:14 pm

Well, actually it’s really in the high 30’s in Washington State, but thanks to Scuttlebutt Brewing Company I’m looking forward to a snowy, chilly winter. This year the brewery brought out its 10º Below Ale. Brewed in the style of an imperial dunkelweiss, 10º Below has a crisp, citrus yet creamy start and ends with hints of chocolate and caramel.

Scuttlebutt brews this gem of an ale using both Mt. Hood and American Sazz hops creating a very creamy, rich, medium bodied beer. I really like this beer. I’m usually very cautious when it comes to winter beers as they usually run a bit high when it comes to the alcohol content. Well, 10º Below Ale is no exception. This baby is 7.4% abu so I suggest you eat before you drink. Or, eat while you drink! This beer goes great with a hearty holiday meal. Yes, there is a slight taste of hard alcohol, but nothing so strong as to detour even the most “alcohol sensitive” from partaking in this creamy goodness! 10º Below Ale is truly one of the “winter warmers” coming out this month. 

Now, some people may feel that drinking something cold when there are icicles on the roof top is just crazy business. But trust me, once you pop open this winter ale you will be warmed from your head to your toes. And, there is a polar bear on the label. How can you go wrong with a polar bear? So grab your favorite guy or gal, curl up next to a cozy fire and pop open a 10º Below Ale.




The Ghost of New Orleans’s past – Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar November 12, 2010

Filed under: beer,New Orleans,New Orleans night life — pnwbeerchick @ 6:45 am

Have you ever gone someplace you have never been to before, and the moment you step into that place you feel like you belong there? Like your soul has been there for 200 years? On October 16, 2004 I had that experience when I walked down the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA. It was also on this day I discovered the greatest bar I have ever been to; Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar.

Known as the “quiet part of Bourbon Street,” this ghost of New Orleans’s past has been standing on the corner of Bourbon St and St. Phillips since 1722. Lafitte’s is one of the only original French architectural structures that survived the fires that ravaged most of the Quarter in 1788 and 1794. It’s believed that the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre began using the blacksmith shop in 1772 posing as blacksmiths to cover their smuggling operation. Lafitte’s has been a public bar since 1772 making it the oldest bar in the United States.  During prohibition the bar continued to run as a speakeasy. But enough of the history lesson! What’s it like drinking in a 240 year old bar?

When entering this living museum, my eye was immediately drawn to the two-sided brick fireplace in the middle of the room. The shape of the fireplace has warped over time giving the fireplace a little bit of a “lean.” Centuries of black ash coats the inside of the fireplace and part of the surround and large painting of Jean Lafitte hangs on one side of the curved chimney.

The bar itself is just as eye-catching. 240 years of shoes resting on the brick footrests of the bar have worn groves into the brick. You want light? Not in this place! The only electricity coming into Lafitte’s is from the building next door and is used just for the jukebox on the wall and the refrigerator behind the bar for beer.  The exposed ceiling beams are original to the structure and are reinforced with large metal plates.  In Lafitte’s, the walls really do talk!

Lafitte’s is a great place to escape from the debauchery of Bourbon Street.  Southern brews such as Abita and Dixie are served as well as some of the stiffest drinks in the quarter.  The only distraction in Lafitte’s was the jukebox. Call me crazy, but I don’t think Christina Aguilera or Justin Timberlake belong in Lafitte’s.

 As I sat in this truly magical place enjoying my Abita beer, visions of pirates and smugglers swirled around my head. I imaged two centuries of patrons and pirates that walked through those doors and sat at the same bar I was sitting at. I thought about the laughter, music, tears and hardship that New Orleans has gone through over the last three centuries.  This bar has survived pirate smugglers, two devastating fires, and Hurricane Katrina. It is a ghost, and it is a survivor. And that’s why Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar is my favorite bar, ever.




Anderson Valley Brewery’s little winter gift. November 8, 2010

Filed under: beer,breweries,Micro brew — pnwbeerchick @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Being a California girl, some would say I’m a bit partial to California beers. I can’t say that’s completely true but I do get excited when a brewery from my home state brews an outstanding beer. This year Anderson Valley Brewing Company brought out one of their winter seasonal favorites, Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale.

Scott & I shared a pitcher of this winter warmer the other night and boy what a treat! As the beautiful dark reddish-brown ale poured into the pint glass, Belgian lace just coated the top of the pitcher. Quality! Before you take a drink, pause for a second and put your nose to the glass. Anderson Valley brews Winter Solstice with caramel, crystal malts, and some holiday spice giving this ale a sweet, nutty, brown sugar aroma reminiscent of warm sugared hazelnuts or brown sugar Christmas candy.

 Now I know you must be thinking “this beer sounds too sweet Liz. How does it taste?” Well let me tell you, the taste is just as amazing as the smell. There are definitely hints of brown sugar, and did I say Christmas candy? Well, the crystal malts really give this ale a nice creamy, toasty flavor cutting the sweetness down to soft, mellow hints. But don’t get me wrong, the ale is also 6.9% ABV so it does pack a little bit of a punch. If you like toasty brown ales, you will truly enjoy this winter warmer. Winter Solstice Seasonal ale is only available from November until New Years so find some and stock up.




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