Pacific Northwest Beer Chick

Breweries, Beers & Good Times

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.”

Cheers!

Liz

 

Catching Island Fever April 10, 2013

Here in the PNW sunny days are few and far between. When the sun does come out the best thing to do is get into your car are drive somewhere with a gorgeous view. Bainbridge Island is one of those places. Just a ferry ride from Seattle, the island is quaint, picturesque, and laid back.

There are a couple of places I like to hit when I visit. For lunch, I usually stroll into The Harbour Public House. Just steps 009from the village this hip public house serves delicious, organic cuisine and some of the freshest craft beers on the island. 12 on tap and 1 on cask to be exact! You won’t find Coors or Bud Light in here. You also won’t find children. The Harbour is 21 and over.

Located in a fully restored 132 year old house, The Harbour prides itself on using only fresh, locally grown ingredients in their dishes, pouring local craft beer, and showcasing local artists in the decor. On a clear day the famed Seattle skyline is visible from the back patio along with a lovely view of the harbor below. The Harbour is a “must see.”

Another “must” is the Bainbridge Brewing Co. Just off the beaten path, the brewing company captures the laid back spirit of 025the island. The tap-room is pretty, open, and welcoming. The beer? Well, it’s pretty darn tasty!
Kommenter Kolsch (4.8% ABV) – Golden Grahams aroma. Sweet, crisp, effervescent. Lightly malted. Sweet finish.
Northwest Pale Ale (5.4% ABV) – Malty. Very nicely hopped. Smooth, caramel notes throughout. Very easy to drink.
Eagle Harbor IPA (6.0% ABV) – Hoppy aroma, soft citrus. Tart grapefruit finish. Only 60 IBU’s so very easy IPA to drink.
Puget Sound Giant Hoptopus IPA (8.8% ABV) – Hop/floral aroma. Sweet and malty for an IPA. Lovely grapefruit finish. Another IPA for the IPA fearful!
Battle Point Stout (6.6% ABV) – Smokey aroma. Rich, malty, dark chocolate bitterness. Smokey finish. Definitely a sipper.

Bainbridge Island is a great place for a day trip. To get there from the peninsula you can cross the Agate Pass Bridge just outside of Poulsbo. From Seattle you can hop on the ferry. And you don’t need to wait for a sunny day to enjoy it, because let’s face it…it’s the PNW!

Cheers!
Liz

www.bainbridgebeer.com
www.harbourpub.com

 

Coming soon…New Glarus Brewing, Rogue Brewery, Puyallup River Brewing Co, and Lagunitas! February 14, 2013

 

Sailing the 7 Seas January 5, 2013

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The pride of Gig Harbor has moved to a new pad. 7 Seas Brewing, home of the “Ultimate Proper Pint,” re-opened their doors last month. Newly located in what was the QFC grocery store and just steps from historic Gig Harbor waterfront, the new spot is bigger, shinier, and full of 7 Seas’s best brews!
Co-owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson started the brewery three years ago in a tiny tasting room just off of Hwy 16. Having a deep concern for the environment, Mike and Travis pride themselves on operating a “green brewery.” They can their beers instead of bottling and recycle spent grain to local farmers for livestock feed. When it comes to setting up the tasting room,439 Mike used reclaimed wood when he built the long, gorgeous tables for patrons to sit at. The benches came from the recently demolished Tacoma Elks Lodge. Want to know more about the artifacts and stuff around the tap room? Just ask! The entire staff is very friendly and fun.
But enough of my jibber jabber. Let’s get to the beer!
British Pale Ale (5.4% ABV) – One of my favorites of the bunch, this pale ale is crisp and clean. Biscuity with floral notes. Very easy to drink and great year round.
Rude Parrot IPA (5.8% ABV) – This one is for the hop heads! Simcoe and Citra hops give this beauty the kick IPA fans lust after. Lovely grapefruit aroma and taste. And at 75 IBU’s, this is one rude beer!
Ballz Deep Double IPA (8.4% ABV) – 7 Seas most popular beer, Ballz Deep is another delightful IPA that would please any hop head. Surprisingly malty for an IPA but that is a plus! This is a very lovely, very drinkable IPA. Don’t get me wrong, this is a hoppy beer. 82 IBU’s to be exact. But if you don’t like to get punched in the face by hops then I highly recommend this baby.
Wheelchair Barley Wine (10.6% ABV) – You may want to sit down for this one! Thick and syrupy with a raisin and plum fruit aroma. Very warming. Very strong. Definitely a sipper. There’s a reason they names this vixen “Wheelchair.”

441Cutt’s NW Amber Ale (6.15% ABV) – Very nice. Pretty hop aroma. Citrusy and floral characters with a nice malt/hop balance. Great choice for a growler.
Port Royal Stout (6.8% ABV) –Another one of my favorites! Ink black color. Brown head. Malty and full-bodied, this stout has a lovely warming, toasty flavor notes of dark chocolate and espresso. The finish is smoky. Great as a desert beer or sitting by the fire.
Depth Finder India Red Ale (5.9% ABV) – One of 7 Seas newest seasonal releases this beer has a pretty dark red color. Hoppy aroma with clear body. Crisp and clean with a hoppy, floral finish. Very nice.
Reign Man ESB (5.5% ABV) – Another new seasonal creation, this lovely beer is malty and sweet with a nice hop finish. Crisp and clean this ESB would go great with any meal.
Belgian Imperial Stout (9.0% ABV) – Do you like chocolate covered bananas? If so you will LOVE this beer. I do! Dark brown teetering on black color and full-bodied. Malty, dark, bitter chocolate aroma and taste with hints of banana and coffee. Very smooth, rich gem.
There is no food in the tap room but patrons are more than welcome to bring in food of their own. The tap room is now open 7 days a week : Sun through Tues from 11:00-8:00, Wed through Sat 11:00-9:00.
I can’t say enough about 7 Seas except that I love this brewery! I have been coming here since their opening in 2009 and will continue to come back for years to come.

Cheers,

Liz

www.7seasbrewing.com

 

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.

 

Cheers!

Liz

 

Drink a beer, save a butterfly! October 7, 2012

I received this press release earlier this week. Another great brewery doing wonderful things…

– Pelican Pub & Brewery and conservation partners launch Silverspot IPA –

SEATTLE — Pelican Pub & Brewery, in conjunction with Woodland Park Zoo and other conservation partners, have teamed up to craft the new Silverspot IPA that not only delivers a great taste, but supports an important conservation mission.

Silverspot IPA was created by Pelican brew masters to celebrate the population augmentation of the threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly in its native grassland habitat.

The silverspot was once abundant along the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California until determined threatened in 1980. Through the Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing program, Woodland Park Zoo and its conservation partners continue to restore the silverspot population. Pelican Pub & Brewery joined the efforts and raised a glass to conservation with a portion of proceeds of Silverspot IPA benefitting the butterfly conservation program.

Pelican brew master Darron Welch selected the blend of Sterling, Fuggle and Meridian hops to deliver an herbal, floral, spicy and tangerine-like flavor for the 6% abv IPA. Silverspot IPA is a medium-bodied brew with a brilliant golden color and complex hop aroma. The new English-Style IPA offers a distinctly different flavor than Northwest IPAs. Traditionally, Northwest IPAs are rather hoppy and bitter in taste. Though, Silverspot IPA (55 IBUs) offers a balance of malt and hops, with less emphasis on assertive hops.

Silverspot IPA is the sixth addition to Pelican’s core lineup, making it available year round and distributed by the bottle throughout the Northwest.

“To us, this seemed like a natural partnership,” said Ken Henson, Pelican Pub & Brewery general manager. “We have been waiting for an opportunity to produce an English style IPA, which will be a little more accessible to the average beer drinker. We’re excited about the cross-promotional opportunity and for the public awareness of the Oregon silverspot.”

The Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing Program is a collaborative habitat restoration and augmentation program helping to increase the silverspot butterfly population. Program partners, including Woodland Park Zoo and Oregon Zoo, raise caterpillars in captivity until they become pupae and eventually emerge from the pupae as butterflies. They are then released into protected areas along the Oregon Coast in an ongoing effort to increase the population. One of the protected areas is Cascade Head, visible from the deck of Pelican Pub & Brewery.

“In August, Woodland Park Zoo released more than a thousand silverspot butterflies back into their natural habitat along the Oregon Coast,” said Erin Sullivan, a collection manager at Woodland Park Zoo. “It’s a very important conservation initiative to us, and we’re thrilled Pelican joined us and our partners to help raise awareness and support for the silverspot population.”

The Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing Program recently earned a Significant Achievement Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the accrediting organization for more than 200 zoos and aquariums in North America.

The new brew will be available in Seattle the first week of October at select PCC Natural Markets, Whole Foods and QFC locations for $4.99 per 22 oz. bottle. For a full list of retailers, visit www.zoo.org/silverspot. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this beer will help fund conservation efforts for the Oregon silverspot butterfly.

To learn more about the Pelican Pub & Brewery Silverspot IPA, Oregon Silverspot Captive Rearing Program or its conservation partners, visit www.zoo.org/silverpot.

Silverspot IPA Launch

Cheers!

Liz

 

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!

 

Cheers!

Liz

http://tacomacraftbeerfest.com/about.html

 

 
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