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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 
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