Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Tacoma finds his Wingman! May 31, 2012

The micro-brew family in Tacoma, WA just got a little larger. Wingman Brewing has been making and distributing their creations to local pubs and markets since April of 2011 but, alas, had no tasting room of their own. Flash forward one year to April 21st, 2012 to the opening of Wingman Brewing’s very own tasting room. Original brick walls surround the room and vintage-style Wingman posters are plastered on the walls. But the best part is the beer!

Falconer’s Flight Single Hop IPA (6.8% ABV) – Dark peach color. Belgian yeasty aroma. Great hop, nicely balanced. Crisp with smooth finish.

Ace IPA (7.4% ABV) – This one was my favorite. Mellow with aroma of grapefruit and flowers. Hoppy, but not too hoppy, with hints of caramel. Clean finish.

P-51 Porter (8.0% ABV) – Dark brown (almost black) color with a tan head. Rich chocolate and coffee aroma. Malty, creamy, and full of chocolate flavors. This is a nice sipping beer.

Belgian Double (8.4% ABV) – Thinner mouth feel than the others yet very sickening sweet. Dark brown color. Spice notes in the aroma and flavor with a slightly sour finish. This was an interesting beer, but too not one of my favorites.

Stratofortress (11.4% ABV) – Wingman took the Belgian Double and aged it in oak. Though much higher in alcohol than the Double, in this form it was much more drinkable. Slightly medicinal aroma. Sweet and sour taste with a malty balance. It’s amazing what a little oak can do!

As you can see Wingman is really into “big” beers. The alcohol does not go below 6% ABV. It’s my hope they will look to brew something lower in ABV that won’t cause the casual drinker to lose their faculties after one pint.  A nice wheat, pale ale or pilsner perhaps (hint, hint).

The tasting room is huge! There is a lot of seating around the bar but a lot of open space that could be utilized for more seating. But hey, they just opened. They may have more great plans for the tasting room in the works. Wingman does not prepare food but the New Frontier Lounge down the street will be more than happy to deliver pizza right to the taproom door. The taproom is open Thursday through Saturday from 2:00pm-11:00pm.






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

Filed under: beer,breweries,Craft Beer Trade,Seasonal beers,Summer Beers — pnwbeerchick @ 10:04 pm

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?






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