Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

The Fruits of Summer June 16, 2019

Summer is finally upon us. The season of bathing suits, campfires on the beach, BBQ’s, and of course, fruit beers! What? Yes, I said fruit beers!

Ok, I know many of you are shaking your heads, because, IPA’s. I know this is hard to believe, not everyone likes the same beer styles. Crazy, I know.

Fruit beers don’t seem to get the kudos they deserve. Some are light and refreshing, others are best to sip after dinner. Many are great while sitting around a campfire, and there are even some that aren’t so bad with food.

I’ve taken it upon myself to do some research and find fruit beers, ciders, and honey wines that tie in perfectly with summer. Yes, I’m taking one for the team! Ha!

I’m going to start off with a cider. I don’t write about ciders very much because manyIMG_0752 American ciders are too syrupy and sweet. I prefer British ciders as they are dry and crisp, and don’t have that sugary vibe. The cider I’ve chosen is Ace Cider’s Space Ace Bloody Orange Cider. This cloudy, unfiltered cider is chock full of gorgeous blood orange from start to finish. Syrupy?? Nope! Fruity aroma, lovely mouth feel, and beautiful blood orange sweetness. Since it’s not overly sweet, it goes rather well with food! I would suggest shrimp tacos or a simple Cobb salad.

Next up is a honey wine made by Sky River Meadery. This Blackberry Honey Wine is made with Washington Honey and blackberries. The aroma is a harmonious blend of honey and fruit and the body is not as thick as you would suspect, which is a good thing. It’s not heavy, yet still very full-bodied beautiful, juicy blackberry from start to finish. This is he perfect after dinner sipper while sitting next to that beachside bonfire.

One of the most popular breweries in Western Washington is 7 Seas Brewing. They recently release their 2019 Sour Raspberry Wheat. What a delightful beer! Another sipper, it’s made with 400-600lbs of fresh raspberries. It’s a prefect balance of sour and sweet. It’s currently on tap in Western Washington, but if you can grab a waxed-sealed bottle, (In the words of the late Carrie Fisher) DO IT!!

Louisiana knows a thing or two about hot weather. Their favorite beer son, Abita IMG_0815Brewing, released their annual Strawberry Lager. I’m a huge fan of Strawberry beers and this one is “top drawer” in my book. Perfect for a day of yard work, lounging by the pool, or hanging with friends around the grill, this light- bodied lager has just enough strawberry yumminess to keep you coming back for more. It goes great with steak, BBQ, pretty much anything. This is a seasonal beer so grab them while you can. You will not be sorry!

A little gem from Oregon popped up on my list. Little Beast Brewing thought that a Blackcap Raspberry Ale was fair to release upon society. Not fair! This beer has now spoiled me when it comes to raspberry ales! Gorgeous beer! I cannot state that enough. It is medium to fuller bodied, but beautiful fruit with a pretty effervescent finish. I consider this a very “romantic” beer that would rival any red wine or sparkling wine/champagne.

Ommegang Brewery outdid itself with Rosetta. A name fit for a Queen, the beer is a decadent mix of sour and sweet. Perfect for the evening cigar and fireside chats. Cherry in the nose, the start and the finish. I can’t say enough about this amazing brew.

Belching Beaver Brewery’s Me So Honey Blond Ale is the only non-fruit beverage on the list. I love honey ale but, like fruit beers, it’s difficult to find one that’s not over-the-top with sugary sweetness. This one is an exception. Honey aroma and flavor, yet, a nice hop crispness finish. Very nice.

 

Tropical Rumble

Tropical Rumble

One of the more unusual beers on my list is from Utah. Epic Brewing creates some pretty epic beers. The one that caught my attention is Common Interests Honeydew Sour Ale. This beer is truly amazing. There is an essence of honeydew but not overpowering at all. Perfect for a hot day of yard work, an evening of spicy food, or just a casual lay by the pool kind of day day. Slightly sweet, week-balanced, this is an incredible beer that even hop-heads would like.

This next beer is not only pretty on the palate but the packaging is pretty on the eyes as well. Tropical Rumble IPA is brewed in Denmark by To Øl and is absolutely lovey! There is a ton of tropical flavors without an overwhelming sweetness. It would pair greatly with Asian or Hawaiian food.

North Coast Brewing Co. Berliner Weisse Cranberry-Quince is absolutely gorgeous! Cranberry tartness with a lovely touch of sweet. This is another sipper just due to the prettiness. I wouldn’t mess with the flavor by mixing with food.

Straight from Yorkshire, England’s oldest brewery comes Samuel Smith’s Organic Strawberry Ale. So English. So strawberry/fruity. So good. Jammy, sweet, full-bodies, but not overwhelming. I love Samuel Smith’s fruit beers. All of them! If you’ve never lookedIMG_0889 into the history of the brewery, please do. It’s fascinating.

Kulshan Brewing Company produced an amazing Blood Orange Gose. Sour blood orange fruit with just a touch of salty-goodness. I would recommend this one with salad or a lovely bowl, fresh fruit, or even a piece of chocolate.

The last bit of fruity-goodness on my list is from Brasserie Dieu de Ciel! Solstice d’Ete is possibly one of the best fruit beers I’ve ever had. Jammy, effervescent, real Fruit from start to finish. I couldn’t get enough of this gem. No food with this one. You need to experience it on its own.

Thankfully, fruit beers are no longer considered “chick beers.” Over the last decade respect for the beer style has grown.

If you want to spice up, or sweeten up, your summer, grab something a bit different.

Cheers,

Liz

 

 

New Happenings in the Harbor December 27, 2018

What a time to live in Gig Harbor, WA!

New restaurants have been cropping up, finishing touches are going up on the new shopping center, and a couple more breweries have decided to set up tap rooms in Gig Harbor.

I’m talking about Gig Harbor Brewing Company and Fox Island Brewing. Both have beengh4 around for a few years, but now, us simple “Gig folk” (I just made that up) have easier access.

Gig Harbor Brewing was originally going to be housed here in the harbor. But, as the usual, a lot of red tape and headaches were coming with the project. The owner’s wanted to keep the name but were needed to find another place to brew. Tacoma, being just a bridge-crossing away, was the best choice for the brewery. The tap brewery opened it’s doors in the Nalley Valley area of Tacoma in 2015.

Ever since, they have been producing some fine beers. Finally, they were able to find a lovely little spot in the heart of Gig Harbor to secure a second tap room. Right where they should be! Located right on the water, the tap room is roomy, comfortable and inviting. The beer, is amazing! I sampled a few on my recent visit and all are very noteworthy. Oh, and the tap room is within walking distance to my apartment! Big thumbs up!

Blood Orange Blonde (5%) – Wonderful blood orange flavor and color. Not sweet, but plenty of luscious blood orange fruit from start to finish. The fruit tasted authentic, not syrup.

Blackberry IPA (6%) – I really like this one. Again, the fruit was real, not processed and balanced nicely with the hops. Quite lovely, refreshing, and flavorful.

Solar Tide IPA (5%) – This one was my favorite of the day! Such a well-balanced IPA. Tons of flavor but not so overpowering as to detour the hop novice. This is a really nicegh3 beer!

Fox Island Brewing opened a few years ago. Until recently, you could only usually find their beer locally, and I mean locally. Zog’s Pub on fox Island and a couple of local tap rooms, but that was about it. Now, they have acquired a tap room and took up residence at the Performance Golf Center and christened it the Tap-In. The great thing about this tap room is that they also serve food. Hooray! Gourmet hot dogs, Pizza, and a few other tid-bits will keep your tummy full while enjoying these tasty brews. There is outdoor and indoor seating. One can also enjoy a game of Cornhole or foosball while relaxing. A miniature golf course (I refuse to call it “put put”) is right outside the door to keep the kiddies occupied if you are some of those folk that insists on bringing your offspring to a tap room.

The food is good, the beer is tasty, the scenery is pretty. I purchased a taster tray and out of the 5 beers, these two were my favorite. I must tell you that two of the beers in the tasters tray were Hefeweizens. I like a good Hefe, but, I have to be in the mood for them. I was not in the mood on this day.

gh2No You Don’t Kolsch – Lot’s of lovely honey notes. Crisp clean finish. It’s no secret that Kolsch is one of my favorite styles.

Pale C’s American-style Pale Ale – well balance ale. Mild hops. Not overpowering, but a lot of flavor from start to finish.

The indoor lounge is nice, the outside is probably where you want to be…when the weather is nice. I immensely enjoyed the German Dog with sauerkraut. Not a bad place to hang out on a pretty day.

Gig Harbor may be a tiny town, but, the beer culture is gaining speed. I love the idea of the sleepy little fishing village that has stuff to do. At the same time, I don’t want our beloved village to become overrun with chain stores and restaurants. Keep the businesses local and lovely. I want Gig Harbor to be a quant destination without becoming gimmicky and cheap. Quality places to eat and drink with the Gig Harbor personality.

I love this town with every thread of my being. Let’s keep it moving forward and relevant!

Cheers!

Liz

 

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

 

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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