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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Beat the summer heat July 19, 2014

Ah, summertime. Time for BBQ’s, beach picnics, mowing lawns, and horrendous heat! So how does one find refreshment when sitting in temperatures that feels like the Seventh Circle ofIMG_1269 Hell? Grab an awesome craft beer of course! There are so many “summer style” beers to choose from, I have chosen a few that have tickled my fancy as of late.

Ninkasi Wünderbier – This tasty beverage is a German-Style Kölsch. I love a good Kölsch and was very excited to stumble upon this one. Slightly sweet with a hint of Golden Grahams cereal, Wünderbier  is crisp, light, and finishes clean. It’s a nice session beer at only 4.4% ABV.

New Belgium Summer Helles Lager – Hints of honey hit your nose before first taste. Summer Helles is very light in body, easy to drink, and has a nice, soft spice to the finish. It’s hard to put this one down!

Anchor Summer Beer – The very first craft beer I ever had was an Anchor Steam. That was 20 years ago and since then the Anchor Brewing Company has never disappointed me. This beer is no exception! This filtered wheat beer is crisp and light, with a hint a honey. Very refreshing.

Silver City Ziggy Zoggy Lager – One of my favorite breweries in Washington State, Silver City Brewing Company “kills it” with this awesome, unfiltered summer beer. Banana clove tastiness, honey everywhere, malty, and light. This one is a summer favorite for me!

For me, the key with any good summer beer is the body.  It has to be crisp, easy to drink, and not too heavy with a slight fruit or honey note. These beers “nail it.”

 

Cheers!

Liz

 

 

 

Summertime at Silver City June 14, 2014

 

 

I have been a big fan of Silver City Brewing Co. for quite some time and always look forward to anything new. Recently I had the privilege to hang out with the guys at Silver City’s tap-room and sample some of the new seasonals and specialties on tap. I got to relax with the brewery’s owner, Scott, and with the brewers themselves enjoying some tasty seasonals currently on tap. A game or two of “Ziggy Zoggy Foursquare” took place, and fun was had by all! So let’s get to it!

Huckleberry Wheat (5.4% ABV) – Subtle fruit from throughout. Crisp, clean, with a soft fruit finish. Lightly hopped. Very nice.IMG_1163

Sour POWr Pear Lambic (6.2%ABV) – Gorgeous golden color. Pears are aged in the beer for a year creating a wonderful fruit sourness. Light honey top notes with a nice sour finish.

West Sound IPA (5.2%ABV) – For those who like a lighter hopped IPA, be careful! This beer is deceiving. The aroma is hoppy but soft. The first sip is mild but then suddenly, POW! The hops just punch you right in the face. Big citrus finish. Perfect for the IPA lover.

Rye Bock (6.5%ABV) – Sweet and hazel nutty. Rye character carries all the way through. Malty, sweet finish. Medium to full body.

Deluxe Spring Lager (6.2%ABV) – Once of my favorites of the day! Very nice with honey, floral character. Light, not too sweet. Reminds me of Golden Grahams cereal. Nice sweet finish. Perfect for spring or an early, mild summer day.

Happy Fun Time Ginger Beer (4%ABV) – I’m usually not a fan of ginger beer. Most brewers tend to overdo the ginger producing a much too tangy product. But this ginger beer is a delight! Big ginger aroma and nice ginger flavor throughout. Well-balanced and refreshing. The ginger is just right, not too overpowering.

B-Town Sour Red (6.3%ABV) – Sweet-tart candy sour. Slight hard-alcohol aroma. definitely a sipper.

Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged ImperiaI Red (8.5%ABV) – Thick, syrupy body. High alcohol aroma. Sweet, nutty first note. Finishes strong. Be careful!

Golden Mountain Pilsner (5%ABV) – Sweet, bubbly, effervescent. Honey notes, finishes crisp. Light and well, balanced.

The Silver City Flagship Restaurant is located at 2799 NW Myhre Road  in Silverdale at the Silverdale Mall. The Brewery & Tap Room is located in Bremerton at 206 Katy Penman Drive. The tap-room does not serve food but you are welcome to bring in anything you wish to munch on. Many of their beers are available in bottles at your local market or bottle shop.  If you haven’t stopped by one of these locations in person then all I have to ask is, where the heck have you been?

 

Cheers!

Liz

http://www.silvercitybrewery.com

 

 

 

Beer 101- Fruits of May, the conclusion June 10, 2013

It’s no secret that fruit beers are among my favorite beers. Now I’m not talking about that slice of lime wedged on the side of your mexican lager. I’m talking real fruit, fruit juices, and fresh puree added to everything from ales to lagers to wheat beers,to stouts and porters during the brewing process. To some, adding fruit to beer is sacrilege but fruit has been fermented and added to alcoholic beverages for millennium. Others simply won’t try it because they consider anything with fruit “chick beer.” They are really missing out! Here are my favorites from the month of May…

Samuel Smith Organic Strawberry Fruit Ale (5.2% ABV) – Amazing strawberry aroma. Thick body, jammy, natural fruit flavor (doesn’t taste fake). Crisp and “sparkly” with a wonderful fruit finish.

Unibroue Ephemere (5/5% ABV) One of my favorite beers for “Fruits of May!” Lovely green apple aroma. Crisp apple flavor and spices. Very similar to a hard, green apple cider…but better. I wouldn’t pair this with any food. It’s best sipped on its own.

Kona Brewing Wailua Wheat (5.4% ABV) – Lovely summer beer! Passion fruit aroma and body. Slightly pungent with a sweet/tart finish. If you have ever been to Hawaii, you will have wonderful flashbacks while sipping on this!

Samuel Smiths Organic Raspberry Fruit Ale (5.1% ABV) Another one of my favorites! Actually, in my opinion any of Samuel Smiths Fruit ales are amazing. This one is thick, rich, and full of raspberry goodness. Not one to be paired with food, except maybe for some vanilla bean ice cream. Wonderful!

Brouwerif Lindemans Framboise Lambic (2.5% ABV) Pretty much ANY of the lambics from this amazing Belgian brewery is a treat! Syrupy and elegant. Fresh raspberry aroma and flavor. Very effervescent with a gorgeous fruit finish. The best way I can describe this beauty is it’s like drinking raspberry champagne. My absolute favorite beer…period!

I feel any beer drinker should try a fruit beer at least once. Fruit beers are sweet, refreshing, and can really compliment a meal or serve as a lovely desert.

What’s in store for june? How about “a blonde named June?” I like it!

Cheers!

Liz

 

Beercation 2012 (part 2) September 23, 2012

One thing you should know about Hood River, OR: It is one of the windiest places you will ever visit. How windy? Well, kite surfing is the sport of choice and you can watch kite surfers by the dozens on the Columbia River catching some serious air. A pretty little town, Hood River is very walkable. The turn of the century architecture is very well-preserved and there are shops, restaurants, and boutiques to fill your day.

From my darling, vintage hotel I walked about three blocks to Full Sail Brewery for lunch. A large, chic restaurant/bar room overlooks the river. Far from its micro-brew days Full Sail is now considered a Craft Brewery and its success is evident in their establishment. Free tours of the brewery are given daily and well worth the time. The food is great and the bar tenders are very knowledgeable about their products. First I tried the LTD03 pilsner-style lager. My favorite beer of the day, LTD03 was caramel in color and sweet. Crisp body with a vanilla wafer note, I could have easily enjoyed this beer for the rest of the day. Sail Ale was next. Hoppy, crisp and citrusy. Hoppy finish and lovely grapefruit aroma. Jimvar Pilsner also impressed. Well-balanced, crisp and sweet. Medium body with a hoppy finish.

Next stop of the day was to Double Mountain Brewery. Just a block or two from Full Sail Double Mountain has a different look and vibe. A bit more rustic decor, local art work and vintage breweriana decorated the walls. On tap was Devil’s Kriek, a lovely sour cherry kriek. Dark blood-red color, sour dark cherries throughout. Hard sour finish. Full bodied and definitely a sipper. Great beer! The Vaporizer was a nice, dry-hopped pale ale. Light hop aroma with a dry, crisp hop bite finish. I didn’t stay long at Double Mountain due to the “vibe.” It’s a very “hipster locals only” place. I got the feeling they knew I was and out-of-towner and treated me as such. Too bad, because I really like the beer at Double Mountain. I just couldn’t hang with the feeling of not being welcome. So, I did what anyone would do. I headed back to Big Horse Brew Pub.

The next day I was on my way to Bend, OR and witnessed some of the most beautiful country I have even seen. Mountains, trees, rivers, streams and the occasional deer made the road trip extremely enjoyable. During the drive I took a little detour to Government Camp, OR to the Ice Axe Grill & Mt. Hood Brewing Company for a little lunch and brews. Surrounded by huge trees lies what used to be a ski rental and gift shop. Mt. Hood Brewing has been brewing some tasty stuff from this location for over 20 years. The decor is a nod to the great outdoorsman history of the town. The pizza is to die for! The beer is not too shabby either. Highland Meadow Blonde is a sparkly little beer with a lot of flavor. Honey, flowers and caramel rule this beer and a light hop finish gives it just enough bite. Very pretty beer. Kristall Weizbier is a filtered wheat beer that is light golden in color. Very well-balanced it is crisp, sweet and finishes clean. Both beers were perfect for pizza. Ice Axe IPA is their signature beer. Very hoppy and yummy. Perfect for those looking for a little extra kick.

Back on the road and headed for Bend, OR. What adventures await me in Bend?

 

Cheers,

Liz

http://www.fullsailbrewing.com/

http://doublemountainbrewery.com/

http://www.iceaxegrill.com/mthoodbrewco.php

 

 

 

 

Silver City strikes gold! June 7, 2012

Just when you though Silver City Brewing couldn’t get any better they go and open a taproom! And not just any run of the mill taproom; probably one of the nicest tap rooms I have been to (and I’ve been to a lot!). The outside of the building is beautifully designed and the inside is very casual, open, and inviting. The bar area opens up into a 2nd room to sit back at a high table and enjoy your beverage. A flat screen TV hangs high on the wall along with vintage posters of drinking days gone by.

But the “magic” happens next door in the brewery itself. Windows in the bar area give the patron a chance to view where the brewing process happens. To be honest, there is nothing prettier than large, shiny, mash tons and kettles!

What did I drink on this day? I’m glad you asked. For my first pint I enjoyed a lovely pint of Silver City’s Deluxe Spring Lager (6.2% ABV).  One of my favorite seasonal beers from Silver City, the Spring Lager is crisp, sweet, and very flavorful yet the body is light to medium.  Light hop/floral aroma and finish really make this baby something special. My next pint is a crowd favorite among Silver City fans: Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager (5% ABV). I get excited every year when this gem is released. Unfiltered, sweet, spicy and elegant, this German-style “Zwickelbier” is sure to make you smile. Honey Malt and Pilsner Malt give Ziggy Zoggy the pretty sweetness I love and the finish is smooth with a touch of honey.

Food is not served at the taproom but they do offer pretty darn tasty peanuts but you are welcome to bring your own food. Brewery tours are available Wednesday through Saturday at 4:00pm but they also offer private parties and tours on Mondays and Tuesdays so check with the taproom for available times. The taproom itself is open Wednesday through Sunday and is a perfect way to spend an afternoon!

 

Cheers!

Liz

www.silvercitybrewery.com

 

 

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!

Cheers!

Liz

www.7seasbrewing.com

www.everybodysbrewing.com

www.hoodcanalbrewery.com

www.valhollbrewing.com

www.derblokken.com

 

 

 

 
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