Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

Summer 2018 July 9, 2018

Summer is finally here! Well, sort of. Summer in the PNW is a bit different than summer back home in Southern California. Up here, 85 degrees is a heatwave. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still hot! Just not 7th circle of hell hot.

I don’t know about you folks, but, when it’s a bit tepid out, I certainly don’t want a heavy beer weighing me down. I want something crisp, refreshing, sometimes a little on thedeschutes fruity side, a lot of flavor, but always easy to drink. I don’t want high ABV because I want to enjoy more than one without falling over my own feet. I want something you can drink while mowing the lawn, yet enjoy while sitting around a bonfire at a backyard BBQ.

This year some pretty yummy beers have been released to help with the cool down on even the most sweat-dripping of days. Some are newer releases, some have been around for awhile. All are delicious.

Brewed in Olympia, WA, FishTail Brewing’s Beyond the Pail is a lovely Pale Ale that’s perfect for those hot summer days. Crisp and clean, this beauty finishes with a nice citrus bite that would satisfy even the biggest of “hop heads.”

Twilight Summer Ale by Deschutes Brewing is another PNW gem that is sure to please. Not too heavy, and tons of flavor. It’s a perfect beer to drink as you sit around a bonfire and watch the setting of the summer sun.

peachesOne of my favorite new releases so far is by Red Hook Brewing. Peaches For Me IPA may sound sugary sweet, but on the contrary, the fruitiness is very subtle. Hops starts this one off beautifully and the delicious peach and mango hits in the finish. This is a truly delicious beer.

One of the more low-key beers, and one of my all-time favorites, Germany’s Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen. It’s 50/50 grapefruit juice and hefeweizen, very low ABV (2.5%), has a ton of grapefruit flavor without being overly sweet, and extremely refreshing. I have to really watch myself when drinking this one, because it’s so yummy, I tend to drink a bit too fast…and a bit too many!

Fremont Brewing is one of the best craft breweries in Western Washington. So believe me when I tell you that their Lush IPA so one of the best IPA’s I’ve ever had. It’s also perfect for summer! Tons of floral notes and hops grace the taste buds from start to finish. Yet, it’s not so hoppy to scare away the novice. I love this beer.

One of my favorite summer staples is from Silver City Brewing in Silverdale, WA. ZiggySchoffer Zoggy Lager has been around for a few years and is perfect for a hotter-than-normal day. This unfiltered lager delivers a light honey sweetness and a lovely crisp finish. Ziggy Zoggy is definitely one for the cooler!

Half Lion Brewing’s Log Show Blonde is one definitely you need to seek out. This isn’t your typical Blonde Ale. It’s darker and hoppier than a blonde. It finishes clean and crisp. I really like this beer.

So many great beers out there this year. Too many to mention in my opinion. Though most of the beers I’ve listed here are brewed in the PNW, many are distributed to other states. Check your local bottle shop or tap room.

Cheers!

Liz

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Great Britain and Ireland (part 1) November 10, 2017

Filed under: beer,British Beers & Ciders,Great Britain & Ireland,IPA — pnwbeerchick @ 4:46 pm

What can possibly be written about Great Britain and Ireland that hasn’t already been put to paper? The beauty, history, tragedy, and triumphs of these two islands have inspired artists, poets and writers for millennium. And after my recent trip, I can certainly see why.

Last month I took a 10 day tour of Great Britain and Ireland. It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had and I would like to share it with you fine folks.IMG_4139

Now, my very dear friend Joy suggested that I take something with me to take photos with, like a doll. I thought about it and remembered that I had a Pleepleus doll that may be kind of fun to take with me on my travels. This proved to be true! So I packed Plee with me and took him everywhere. He was a great conversation starter, and it really was a lot of fun taking photos and creating a little story just for him. He will now be my permanent travel companion.

I signed up through Trafalgar Tours. The trip was to cover all five countries in eight days. And boy, did we ever!

After a 9 ½ hour, non-stop flight from Seattle, I landed in London on Friday the 13th. I had a private driver take me from the airport to the hotel. As we made our way through London, my driver was kind enough to point out various areas I may want to visit during my stay and gave me a bit of a history lesson along the way. We passed by so many amazing sights: centuries old buildings and homes mixed in with modern construction, gorgeous parks, and monuments a plenty. My head was swirling! I couldn’t believe I was actually in London!

My hotel was across the street from Hyde Park and the Marble Arch. I was traveling alone. Having never been to London before, I did not know my way around. My tour didn’t leave until the next day so I had the afternoon and evening to do with as I pleased. I asked my concierge to point me in the direction of Buckingham Palace. Yes, I’m fascinated by the romance of the British Monarchy. So sue me.

My concierge was concerned that I was going to walk there, by myself. He tried to talk me out of it by telling me it was a good 30 minute walk. In my best Maureen O’Hara I replied “that’s just a good stretch of the legs” and asked him to point me in the right direction. He pulled out a map and highlighted the best route. Off I went.

The walk along the busy city street of Park Ln was fascinating. I was surrounded by every ethnicity I could possibly imagine. Languages and attire from all over the world, just on this one street. It was fascinating and beautiful.

IMG_4118The sidewalks were a combination of old cobblestone and modern concrete. One really had to watch their step to keep from tripping and falling you’re your butt. As I crossed streets, I glanced down the alleyways and side streets. The beautifully aged buildings were covered in layers of black soot. History.

I crossed the main street called Piccadilly and made my way through Green Park. The park was full of tourists and locals. All enjoying the lush trees and green lawns of the park. Many were sitting or strolling in the sun. Others were taking a snooze in the shade. I wished that our parks back home saw such wonderful use.

I got to the edge of the park and looked up to the familiar building: Buckingham Palace. We’ve all seen the palace on TV or in magazines, but it’s not until you are standing in front of it that you really appreciate the majesty of the structure.

I crossed one final street and made my way to the front gates. Heavily armed guards stood watch at each entrance reminding me of the current times we’re living in. As I looked up I saw the grand balcony. For centuries that balcony has seen first wedding kisses, birthdays and coronations. It was exciting to be standing in front of such a great piece of British history and majesty.

The sun was starting to set so I finished snapping my photos and started heading back toIMG_4142 my hotel. I crossed back through Green Park and hoofed my way up Piccadilly. Down one of the aforementioned alleys was a darling pub straight out of a travel guide: Rose & Crown No. 2. I had forgotten I hadn’t eaten all day so I decided to stop in for a bit to eat and a pint. The pub was quaint and traditional. Old character and charm, wood panels, paintings and portraits of England’s heroes. There was even the expected fireplace in the corner! It was everything you would expect to see in an English Pub. I made my way past the glances of the locals and found a table all to myself next to the fireplace. I made my way through the crowd up to the bar and ordered my pint and a bag of “crisps” (potato chips to us Americans) and took my seat back at my table.

My first beer in the U.K. was GK IPA by Westgate Brewery. I love British IPA’s and this one was particularly nice. It was smooth, malty, and very easy to drink. Pair it up with some salt & vinegar chips…sorry, CRISPS, and it was a nice snack before dinner.

I settled in to my table and just observed the humanity around me. I listened to the wonderful accents and enjoyed the moment. I was really in England. I was really in the country I’ve dreamed about visiting since I was a child. It still didn’t seem real, but there I was.

As the sun lowered and the sky dimmed, I decided it was best to finish up and make my way back to my hotel. Buses and black cabs lined the streets picking up passengers. Luckily for this dumb tourist, there were markings at each cross walk reminding me which way to look for traffic. More than once I was almost barreled over because I forgot that Americans drive on the “wrong side of the road.”

I got back to my hotel, kicked off my shoes and realized how ridiculous tired I was. It was only 7:00pm but I was absolutely exhausted. I decided to call it a night. Jammies on, lights out, and settled in for the night.

Tomorrow, the tour starts.

 

Oceanside Ale Works making waves November 14, 2015

The Southern California coast heading towards San Diego and the surrounding areas are my old stomping grounds. What’s not to love? Gorgeous blue skies, the Pacific Ocean, and 75deg weather year round. Sadly, since moving to Washington State visiting the southern-most coastal area of California is a bit difficult. Visiting 10996052_10205037989528381_8075180440017818591_nmy home state usually involves family visits in Orange County so the two-hour trek to the southern-most part of the state is a bit difficult. Well, there is one thing that gives me that “coastal love” that I long for: Oceanside Ale Works.

Now, OAW does not distribute to the PNW, but luckily I have been able to get my hands on a few of their creations. Each beer is just as amazing as the last.

Dude Double IPA – This is Oceanside’s most popular beer. As a double IPA, I was expecting a strong, “blow your head off” hoppy ale. What I got was a well-balanced, slightly malty IPA that even a beer newbie would enjoy. Hints of caramel hit the palate and hop flowers break through the finish. This beer is lovely. Oh, and owner Mark’s photo is on the label. How cool is THAT dude?!?!

Funk-n-Delicious Blueberry – WOW!! Real fruit flavor! Really great aroma of freshly picked blueberries. The flavor is tart, pungent fruit. Nothing fake about this beauty! Sour, sparkly, exactly how you want a fruit beer to taste. Gorgeous!

Up A Kriek Cherry Sour Belgian Blonde – Pretty, pretty beer. If you are a fan of sour beers, this one should put a smile on your face. Tart cherry fruit from start to finish. Effervescent, Champaign-like elegance. Perfect after-dinner treat. Simply gorgeous!

I have yet to actually visit the brewery in Oceanside, but hope to make a trip down there soon. If you hit the Golden State be sure to check around your local ale house or bottle shop and pick up a bottle of liquid So Cal!

Cheers,

Liz

 

Wet Coast brings a ray of sunshine to Gig Harbor September 18, 2015

I’m pretty darn lucky! Not only do I live in the darling town of Gig Harbor, WA, but I have three breweries within five minutes of my home. Oh, and one of them is my current favorite brewery! Wet Coast Brewing opened in June and is strong coming right out of the gate! I’m really excited about this brewery. Every beer I have is great and there is constantly something new on tap.

Moving Day IPA (5% ABV) – Pretty hop/fruit nose. Very well-balanced. Citrus notes throughout. Crisp hot finish. Really nice1469946_10206108027798669_1825432493690540939_n IPA for both the novice and the “hop head.”

East Meets West ESB (5% ABV) – Malty with a hint of nuttiness. Very smooth with a crisp finish.

Line Jumper IPA (5.4% ABV) – Well-balanced IPA w/honey notes. Lovely hoppy finish.

Dark Coast Black Ale (5.1% ABV) – The name is no lie! This baby is as black as ink. Smokey and rich, this lovely ale is a coffee and chocolate lovers dream. But, what’s nice about this beer is that it’s lighter bodied than what you would expect. Great on warm days or curling up next to and autumn fire.

El Capital Coffee Brown (5.1% ABV) – One of my favorites!! An ale brewed with lots of coffee. The only description needed is that it’s like drinking a creamy dark chocolate iced coffee. So Yummy!

NorthWET Session Ale (4.9% ABV) – Great ale to hang out with. Great hop notes from start to finish. Very easy to drink and finishes clean.

Belma Blonde (5% ABV) – Light, sweet and fruity. Oranges and a hint of honey. Great beer for those with a sweeter palate.

Brass Rail Pale Ale (5.5% ABV) – My absolute favorite of the regular lineup! Hoppy, fruity, and very well-balanced. It truly is one of the best pale ales I’ve had in a long time. I can’t get enough of this one!

Wet Coast is open Thursday & Friday 3:00-9:00pm, Saturday 12:00-9:00pm, and Sunday 12:00-5:00pm. The tap-room is simple and laid-back. Kids and outside food are more than welcome.

While your there, say “Hi” to our favorite beer tender Sarah Jane! She’s a peach!!!

Cheers,

Liz

http://www.wetcoastbrewing.com

 

HAPPY NATIONAL BEER DAY! April 7, 2015

Filed under: beer,breweries,National Beer Day — pnwbeerchick @ 2:16 pm

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Longing for Long Beach! December 31, 2014

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Just got back from a trip to my beloved Southern California. Visiting family and friends is, of course, always on the agenda, but what I really look forward to is hitting some of the new breweries cropping up and visit some of the old ones I have missed. On this trip I was staying in Long Beach aboard the Queen Mary so it was only appropriate to head downtown and see what was on tap! For years Long Beach was known as a not-so-safe place to visit. But over the last decade it has undergone some amazing changes making it much more tourist friendly. The downtown area has cleaned up, new businesses and shopping areas have opened, and there are even free shuttles to get you around downtown. My time for beer yard housedrinking on this trip was rather limited, but I gave it the “old college try!”

In the Long Beach neighborhood of Belmont Shore sits the Belmont Brewing Company. I did not have a chance to visit the brewery itself, but I did get to try one of their beers at the local Yard House. If you have never been to the Yard House (there are several locations in several states) you are really missing out! Over 100+ beers from around the world on tap. On the menu that night was Belmont Brewing’s Strawberry Blonde (4.5% abv). Fruit beer gets a bad wrap for being, well, fruity. Most men consider fruit beers “chick beer.” They couldn’t be more wrong, especially with this little gem. Fresh strawberry hits the nose before you can raise the glass. The fruit flavor is fresh and clean, does not taste syrupy. Lovely jamminess from start to finish but not too sweet. A lovely beer to get into the So Cal mood!

One night, I met with some very dear friends of mine at a more “spiritual” house downtown. Congregation Ale House is located right in the heart of downtown Long Beach. The actual brew house is located in Azusa, CA but there are three locations to enjoy: Azusa, Long Beach and Pasadena. The Long Beach “chapter” was quite lovely with glowing light, gothic arch ways, and gorgeous wrought iron chandeliers reminiscent of a gothic cathedral. The staff was very friendly and beer savvy and one of our servers, Kevin, was a kick in the pants! Thanks, Kevin!!

Praise On! Saison (5.8% abv) – This lovely farmhouse ale has a sour fruit aroma, wheat character in the body. It finishes sour and crisp.

10568825_10204477660760512_8533465143145378077_nEternally Strong Brotherhood ESB (5.4% abv) – I love a good ESB and this one hit the spot! Very malty, slightly bitter, and very delicious. Light hops in the top, with a slightly sweet finish. Very enjoyable.

Dark Of The Covenant (7% abv) – This American Strong Ale, is just that! Soft, smokey aroma and dark chocolate body. This is definitely a sipper for dessert. Almost like drinking a smokey chocolate bar. Quite tasty!

A few doors down is Beachwood Brewing Company. This brewery is also known for its BBQ and has two locations: downtown Long Beach (where I was) and Seal Beach (a bit further down the coast). Very laid back atmosphere. Nice place to hang out.

Foam Top Cream Ale (5.5% abv) – The aroma of Golden Grahams cereal hits the nose right away. Honey-sweet body and a creamy finish. Very easy to drink. Perfect beer for So Cal.

Knucklehead Red (5.7% abv) – Very well-balanced red. Nice caramel character with just enough hops to give it the kick “hopheads” require. Quite nice!

On the last night of my trip I visited San Pedro Brewing Company located in historic San Pedro, CA. Just a stones throw (and a bridge crossing) away from the Queen Mary, the brewery is tucked away in a darling, historic neighborhood. This brewery/restaurant is BUSY! I was a bit bugged atIMG_3664 first because it took almost 15min for anyone to acknowledge me after I sat down (as a former server/bartender, I’m pretty patient). Once my server stopped by things started looking up. I enjoyed a delicious grilled cheese sandwich and a taster tray.

Bruin Blonde Ale (5.5% abv) – This light bodied ale had a candy-like sweetness with a caramel finish. It was a bit like drinking, you guessed it, candy. Very nice for a hot day.

Sunken City Imperial Stout (8.3% abv) – Ink black color, dark chocolate from the start, but finishes smokey. Full bodied, malty, and very smooth. definitely and after dinner beer.

Port Towne Hefe (5% abv) – Hefeweizen is one of my favorite styles of beer. This one was OK, but just a bit watery than what I prefer. The traditional banana clove flavor and aroma were present, it just didn’t have the body I was looking for. Still, not bad.

Red Headed Hop Child (5.6% abv) – Gorgeous color! Hoppy with a touch of hazelnut on the palate. Nutty, crisp finish. This was one of my favorites!

IMG_3873Iowa Battleship IPA (6.6% abv) – Named for the historic battleship docked just a few minutes away, this IPA is sure to make any “hophead” smile, but easy enough for the “hop-shy” to warm up to. Beautiful floral aroma with light hops throughout. Nice, clean finish. This IPA is perfect for the beginner and easy to drink.

Blitzen Belgian (9.11% abv) – This was my least favorite, but not because of quality. I’m not a barley wine/hard alcohol kind of gal so anything higher than say 8% abv really comes through on my palate. This Belgian ale was thick, syrupy and VERY sweet. Too sweet and thick for me but is sure to please the barley wine crowd.

 

If you would like to stay on the Queen Mary, be sure to look into some of the ship activities as well. It is a fun place to stay and a great alternative to a traditional, boring hotel. The free shuttle I mentioned leaves from the parking lot and stops in the downtown area only but runs until about 2:00am.

Cheers!

Liz

 

http://www.congregationalehouse.com

http://www.beachwoodbbq.com

http://www.belmontbrewing.com

http://www.sanpedrobrewing.com

 

To stay aboard the Queen Mary:  http://www.queenmary.com

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!!! November 26, 2014

Wishbone

 

 
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