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.




Beer 101 – IPApril, the conclusion May 8, 2013

As IPApril came to a close I have to admit, I was a bit sad. IPA has long been my nemesis beer but after spending a month focusing on that particular style I have grown a bit fond of IPA. Over the last month my I have grown to enjoy the flavor of IPA’s a bit more, especially British IPA’s. I’m still not a huge fan of high IBU, “blow your head off” IPA’s but I do have a better appreciation for them.

For those new to craft beer, here’s a bit of info…

HISTORY: There is some debate regarding the history of how IPA came about and who was the first brewer to create it. Legend has it that George Hodgson of the Bow Brewery in London was the first person to create IPA. But it’s just that…a legend. Though Bow Brewery’s “pale ale for India” was the top seller there is no evidence proving that he was the first to brew IPA.

The short story that most beer geeks agree with is that IPA was first created in England in the 1700’s. Beer shipped to British troops in India would often not survive the voyage to India and would spoil. Brewers discovered that adding more hops helped preserve the beer during the voyage. And viola….India Pale Ale was born.

CHARACTERISTICS: IPA’s of today are a bit different from the IPA’s of days gone by. Americans were drawn to the crisp, citrus notes the hops added and decided to blow the flavor out of the water. A typical American IPA is going to be extremely high in grapefruit aroma and flavor whereas English IPA tends to more on the sweeter, malty side.

IBU:  “International Bittering Units” is a very important tool of measurement for IPA’s. Basically, it is a scale used to measure the bitterness of the beer once the hops are added. The higher the IBU’s the more bitter taste is created. IPA’s with high IBU’s are going to have a very strong grapefruit flavor and aroma. Many IPA drinkers in the PNW prefer their IPA’s to have at least 80 IBU’s. I lovingly refer to these folks as “hop heads.”

I tasted many IPA’s during the month of April and enjoyed a majority of them. Others, not so much.  So below is a list of my favorites. You can find the complete list of IPA’s I sampled on my Facebook page.

Boneyard Brewing RPM IPA (7% ABV, 50 IBU’s) – sunny orange color, floral aroma. Subtle hop character w/orange sweetness. Crisp, sparkly. Well-balanced, medium body.

The Pike Brewing Space Needle Golden Anniversary 2012 Vintage IPA (6.5% ABV, 58 IBU’s) – Sticky/resin body. Cloudy. Candy-like aroma. Full-bodied, sweet, malty, with loads of honey character. Smooth, English-style IPA.

Alameda Brewing El Torero IPA (7.2% ABV, 88 IBU’s) – THICK! Unfiltered. Clover honey aroma, full-bodied, lots of sediment. Complex hops but they don’t dominate. One of my favorites!

Mad River Brewing Jamaica Sunset IPA (7% ABV, IBU unavailable) – Spicy, nutty, dry hops. Crisp, clean finish. Quite tasty!

Lagunitas IPA (6.2% ABV, 45.6 IBU’s) – Very hoppy! Malty with floral notes. Very crisp. Nice hop finish.

Deschutes Hop Henge IPA (10.6% ABV, 95 IBU’s) – Hoppy aroma. Honey/vanilla sweetness. Nice hop finish without the bitterness. Malty and well-balanced.

For those of you just starting out in the craft beer scene, I would NOT start with an IPA. This is the stronger of the beer styles and may be too hoppy and bitter for beginners. Start slow and work your way to it.

What’s on tap for May? How about fruit and flavored beers? I shall call it “The Flavors of May.”




Give the gift on knowledge! November 21, 2012

With Black Friday just days away, I’m sure many of you are thinking “What do I get for the beer lover who has everything?”  How about something to read while enjoying his or her holiday pint? Over the last few years there have been many great books published about everything in the craft brew culture from what to drink, where to drink, and what exactly are you drinking.  There is a book out there for every level of beer enthusiast.

For the craft beer newbie there is The Naked Pint: An Unadulterated Guide to Craft Beer (2009). Written by the original “beer chicks”, Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune, The Naked Pint is a wonderfully comprehensive and humorous guide to the history of beer, various beer styles, flavors, characteristics, beer by regions, and even recipes to try your hand at making some home brew. This book is perfect for anyone just starting out in the craft brew scene or even the beer connoisseur who just wants to learn a bit more about the beer culture. Fantastic read!

Craft Beers of the Pacific Northwest: A Beer Lover’s Guide to Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia (2011) is a great book for the beer lover who has never been to the Pacific Northwest but would like to make the trek. Lisa Morrison (AKA the Beer Goddess) put together a wonderful book for the beer traveler. She discusses the PNW micro-brew culture that exploded into the craft brew culture the region is known for today. Lisa lists the breweries that are worth a looksy and what to have once you get there. She shares stories of her visits and what special pub crawl or bottle shop to hit along the way.  This book is a must have for your next road trip to the PNW!

For the beer historian in your life Brewing in Seattle (2012) offers a glimpse into the history of Seattle breweries and where the Seattle beer culture is today.  Beautiful, rare photos, vintage advertisements, and interviews from some of Seattle’s best-known brewers saturate this little paperback. From the earliest brewery established in 1864 through Prohibition and then on to the beer mecca Seattle is today, Brewing in Seattle is a must have for any beer historian near or far.

For the well learned beer enthusiast there is The Craft of Stone Brewing Co: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance (2011). Stone Brewing Company shares the history of the company along with a behind-the-scenes look at what has made the company the fastest growing brewery in the USA. Homebrew and food recipes, beer & food pairings, and gorgeous photos are just some of the wonderful features in this hardcover.

Does your home brewer want to make a business out of it? Well, Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, has written the book on it. Brewing Up a Business: Adventures in Beer from the Founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (2011) tells Sam’s story about taking his home brewing kit and turning it into one of the country’s best craft breweries.  He discusses his successes and failures, strategies in marketing, competing and keeping up with other companies, and what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.   This is a must have for anyone starting a new business.

I own all 5 of these books and highly recommend them. There is more to beer than just drinking it. Knowledge truly is power and the gift of books will never go out of style. Feed your brain and always continue learning more about your hobby or craft.





4th Annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival 2012 August 29, 2012


WHEN: Saturday September 1st, 11AM to 8PM

WHERE: At the 21st Street Park on the Foss Waterway; 2101 Dock Street, Tacoma WA 98402

HOW MUCH: $25 pre-sale online, $30 at the door, $10 Military discount off the Pre-sale ticket price (Active, Retired, Veteran, Reserves) at the door only with military ID.

Admission gets you a 5.5 oz commemorative taster glass and 10 tasting tokens. Additional tokens are $1.50. There will be games, live music and over 50 brewers! This event is 21 and over only. I will see you there!





Coming Soon: Wingman Brewing’s new tasting room, Gig Harbor Beer Festival, and some new summer beer releases! May 16, 2012


Upcoming event: Hand Truckin’ @ Latona April 16, 2012

Local Brewery and Pub Toast Earth Day with Ten Mile Hand Truckin’ Event

Two Dozen Volunteers Trek Beer From SODO to Green Lake to Promote Neighborhood Walkability

Event Name: Hand Truckin’ @ Latona

Venue: Latona Pub; 6423 Latona Ave. NE Seattle, WA 98115

Description: A unique Earth Day celebration for beer lovers and supporting a more walkable community. Enjoy a beer and socialize with walking enthusiasts, pedestrian advocates and craft brew lovers. This event benefits Feet First, the only organization in Washington working to ensure there are walkable communities across the state. Your ticket gets you a Feet First pint glass and a big frothy mug of Two Beer’s limited edition Hand Truckin’ Wheat Ale. Prior to the event, volunteers will transport the ale 10 miles on foot from SODO to Greenlake in order to make this a zero-carbon event (call to be part of the great beer hike). Hand Truckin’ Wheat Ale is a bright-colored draft with a soft, slightly fruity aroma that is both brisk and refreshing. This beer is a tribute to people powered beer transportation, Mother Earth, and Feet First’s continued efforts to save lives, improve health, and expand economic growth in Washington.


When: April 22, 2012 (Earth Day). 2pm- 4:30 pm (there will be a press event with speakers and photo op at 2:20pm)

Price: $20

Tickets Website:

Contact Name: Lee Warnecke

Contact Email:

Contact Phone: 206.652.2310 ext 4

Visuals: (Image: ) The unveiling of the Feet First Chicken, the organization’s new mascot designed by staff at Seattle Central Community College’s Apparel Design program. Dozens of volunteers hand trucking kegs on foot from SODO to Green Lake. Friends and neighbors celebrating Earth Day by enjoying a glass of hand trucked ale at Latona Pub.


This event is sponsored by Feet First, Latona Pub, Two Beers Brewing Company and Immersus Tours. For the past ten years, Feet First has worked to ensure that all communities in Washington State are walkable. Walking is a vital transportation mode that connects communities, reduces pollution, improves health and physical fitness, and allows people to explore their natural environment.

My Beer Vacation – Part 3 April 12, 2012

A lovely drive north on the Olympic Peninsula will take you to the gorgeous seaside town of Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend is the perfect getaway for lovers of Victorian architecture and all things nautical. It’s also a fantastic spot for some tasty beer.  But first, a short history lesson.

Port Townsend is a step back into time. Founded in 1851, the town’s physical appearance has changed very little over the last 120 years. Gorgeous Victorian buildings line the

Manresa Castle

Manresa Castle

downtown area and amazing Victorian homes (AKA “painted ladies”) peer down from the cliffs just behind the main street. You can stay in one of the historic hotels located on the main street or you can do what hubby and I did and stay just a few blocks away at Manresa Castle. Yes, there is a castle in Port Townsend! Built in 1892, it was the hill-top home of Port Townsend’s first mayor and his wife: Charles and Kate Eisenbeis.  Jesuit priests bought the home in 1927 and used it as a training college. Today it is a hotel lovingly restored and   gorgeously decorated in period antiques and photos of Port Townsend’s past. One can’t help but want to explore every nook and cranny of the grand old house. As with most old structures, Manresa Castle is rumored to be haunted. I was so looking forward to encountering a spirit. Alas, not this time.

Just down the hill in the ship yard sits Port Townsend Brewing Company. Opened in 1997, the brewery has become the pride of the town. And it’s no wonder why! The tasting room is very large and quite elegant. And boy do they have a lot of beer. I enjoyed the taster tray but was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of beer served; twelve tasters on the tray! Instead of describing every one of them I will pick out my favorites.

Port Townsend Brewing

Chet’s Gold (4.3% ABV) – the lightest beer in the joint. Very crisp, light hops, slightly sweet and finishes clean. Great for a hot day.

Bitter End IPA (6% ABV) – Gold color. Hoppy aroma and full body hop character. Grapefruit notes all the way through. Very tasty.

Hop Diggity IPA (6% ABV) – For an IPA this popular beer has a malty body. Hoppy but easy for the beginning  IPA drinker to enjoy. Lovely grapefruit finish.

Planet Zythos Pale (6.8% ABV) – Unfiltered, hoppy, and well-balanced. Another great beer for the beginner to give a try, but the enthusiast will enjoy as well.

Straight Stout (6% ABV) – For the chocolate fans, this one’s for you! Ink black color and light tan head. Chocolate aroma with smooth, chocolate, malty body and finish.

It was very hard to choose just a few of Port Townsend Brewing’s beers to talk about because they were all great. The tasting room is open Tuesday through Saturday. During warmer weather they open the grassy beer garden and feature live music.


Making a right onto Hwy 20 will take you to the middle of the town’s main drag. Located on the second floor of one of the Victorian buildings is Sirens: A Pub of Distinction. I would

describe Sirens as a mix of gypsy den and antique store. There is outside seating and a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound. Sirens has a great beer selection (11 brews on tap and various bottled beers) and the food in incredible. The staff is very friendly and there is live music on occasion so be sure and check their schedule.

Port Townsend is a town full of maritime and Victorian history. Great for an overnight stay or a romantic weekend getaway, I would suggest anyone to stop through at least once. There aren’t too many towns like this left!




Coming soon: New beers from Slippery pig brewery, Hopworks beer dinner, my beer vacation, and some tasty 22 oz beers! February 24, 2012


The Best of Tacoma (part 1) November 12, 2011

I often get asked “PNW Beer Chick, where are the great pubs in Tacoma?” Well kids, there are more than a few great places  to have a pint that are in ideal areas, have great atmosphere, and rotating taps. So I decided to write about them in two parts.

First on my list of the Best of Tacoma: Red Hot. If I were to own my own pub, the Red Hot would be it! Located on 6th Ave

Red Hot

in Tacoma, this retro pub has been featured on the Food Network. The inside is decorated with everything micro-brew and historical Tacoma. You won’t see a Budweiser flag in this joint! Awesome beers are constantly rotating both on tap and in the bottle. As for grub, who doesn’t love a hot dog? Red Hot offers the most unusual selection of hot dogs in town along with childhood favorites like Frito Pie and Moon Pies for desert. You haven’t lived until you have taken a bite of the brightest neon green relish ever made! Micro-brews such as Russian River, Dogfish Head, Stone, Hales, Rogue, Anchor Steam, Bear Republic and tons of others and constantly shuffling through so you are assured to get the freshest beer in town. Undecided about what type of beer you want? Just ask Justin, owner Chris, or any of the staff. These folks know their beer stuff! Red Hot is one of my favorite Tacoma hangouts.

Travel about five minutes up the road and turn left onto “I” St for the Park Way Tavern. Housed in a renovated Craftsman bungalow, the Parkway offers 30 rotating taps of the best micro-brews from around the world. The decor gives a nod to Tacoma’s
history and the micro-brew culture. In the back you can enjoy playing pool, air hockey, or take a load off in the zebra room with the corner fireplace. There is a patio out front for one to sit and enjoy the view of the gorgeous “painted ladies” in the neighborhood. The food is fresh and delicious. Try the chef salad, salmon burger, nachos or fresh quesadilla.  The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about what they are pouring. There’s nothing like enjoying a beer in one of Tacoma’s prettiest historic neighborhoods.

Coming soon…part two of The Best of Tacoma.



Information for Red Hot and Park Way Tavern can be found on Facebook.


Beer…the cure for what ‘ales’ you! October 13, 2011

Feeling a bit under the weather last weekend I made the difficult decision to bow out of The Great Pumpkin Beer Fest. Instead,  I decided to take it easy and just visit a few breweries on the peninsula and see what they have in store for autumn.  After all, why let a little sniffle take me completely out of the game?

First stop was Hale’s Ales in Silverdale. I much prefer Hale’s location in Seattle. It just feels odd visiting an ale house in a
mall. Luckily once you’re inside the ale house that feeling goes away.  This month Hale’s is pouring O’Briens Harvest Ale. At 6.9% ABV this is just the warmer I needed to pep me up at bit. This ESB style ale is hoppy and crisp with a toasty finish. It has a
really pretty pumpkin orange color and essence of autumn leaves. Full-bodied and malty, O’Briens is just what the doctor ordered.  I followed up with the H.S.B. (Red Menace on nitro). This was a pretty beer. Smooth, creamy head and a malty
mouthfeel, I detected a hint of toffee. The finish is lightly hopped and very enjoyable.

Next stop was one of my favorite PNW breweries: Slippery Pig in Poulsbo. Now, I know this particular brewery is known for producing some crazy beers…but I think Hog Thai’d is their craziest one to date! And, at 9.5% ABV this baby packs a wallop. Ready for the ingredients? Glazed, smoked summer squash, toasted coconut, and zucchini. This beer starts out smoky and ends the same way. Hoppy, medium to full body with a touch of sweetness from the coconut, this baby would be worth a growler full! Also on tap was their Black Boar Hefe. I have never had a black hefeweizen. I’m talking this puppy is ink black. Black Boar is malty and full-bodied with a slightly sweet-tart finish. According to owner/brewer Dave, the wheat used in Black Boar is sautéed in a wok creating a lovely toasty element. Well done!

My last stop on my “Feeling A Bit Cruddy Tour” was Valhöll Brewing. I could hardly wait to try the brewery’s newest creation: Hop Fuk Wet Hop IPA. Beautiful Belgian lace floated elegantly above the amber-colored brew. Hop Fuk has a great hoppy aroma, starts out sweet and then pounds you in the face with an oily, full mouth feel. 7.6% ABV. I was very pleased.

I finished up with the very dark, very pretty Punkin Stouty. Served in a goblet, this elegant looking brew is strong (8.8% ABV) but easy to drink. Brewed with real pumpkin and spices, Punkin Stouty is malty, full-bodied and carried notes of brown sugar. Great little sipper.

So after a relaxing day at the breweries and about twelve hours of sleep, I was finally able to shake whatever it was that
ailed me. I guess beer really is the great “cure all.




Information about Slippery Pig Brewery can be found on facebook.


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