Friday, October 29, 2010

Beveridge Place Pub Announces the Top 3 WA IPAs

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

We have been following the 2010 Hoptoberfest tournament at the Beveridge Place Pub with bated breath, waiting to see which Washington IPA wins. You can read our previous posts about Hoptoberfest here.

Yesterday the Beveridge Place Pub announced the final three: Boundary Bay IPA, Black Raven Trickster IPA, and Two Beers Evolutionary IPA. Through November 2nd, patrons will be allowed to cast one ballot per day for their favorite. The winner will be announced on November 4th at 8:00 p.m. during the first night of Cask-o-Rama -- the Beveridge Place Pub's annual 3-day celebration of cask-conditioned IPA. For the next year (2011) the winner of Hoptoberfest will be poured as the house IPA at the Beveridge Place.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new brewery in Edmonds - Skip Madsen resurfaces

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog.

When you look at a map showing all of the breweries in the greater Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area, there are very few blank spots. For the most part, any community that seems like it should have a brewery does have a brewery. There are a few exceptions: Edmonds, for instance. Sure, Edmonds is the home of Gallagher’s Where U Brew, a well-established and beloved Brew on Premise operation, but the community lacks a more traditional brewery.

That’s about to change. American Brewing Company is in the process of building a new brewery near the waterfront in Edmonds. We are happy to report that Skip Madsen will be the man creating the beer.

Combining the Familiar with the New

American Brewing represents the meeting of two minds. One is familiar to Washington beer lovers, while the other brings fresh energy to the local beer scene.

Fans of Washington beer will be excited to know that Skip Madsen will be responsible for brewing the beer at American Brewing. One of the Northwest’s most revered and decorated brewers, Skip's awards include 10 Great American Beer Festival medals, 15 North American Beer Awards medals, and three World Beer Cup medals. His work experience includes stints brewing for Pike Brewery, Big Time Brewery, Boundary Bay Brewery, and most recently Water Street Brewing. His recipe book includes beers like Breakaway IPA, Queen Nina’s Imperial IPA, Boundary Bay Imperial IPA, Panama Red, and Big Phatty Imperial Red.

The new brew-blood at American Brewing comes from business owner Neil Fallon. This is his first venture into the world of brewing. A Tacoma native, Neil is a real estate developer looking for a new challenge and a new business adventure.

Skip Madsen and Neil Fallon.

Building Beer

“I’m a residential real estate developer and I was looking for a new opportunity,” Neil told me Wednesday at the soon-to-be brewery in Edmonds. “Someone suggested that I consider getting a sports bar. I talked to a broker and looked at some stuff but I didn’t want to deal with owning a bar, working until 2:00 a.m. and all that, but I looked at the bar—the bottles, the beer—and I thought maybe that’s what I should do. So I started to look at getting into the brewing business.”

“I manufacture things,” he says. “I find property and source materials; I build homes and then deliver them to people. Making beer is the same process.”

It’s a bit of a stretch, but I understand his point. Whether you’re making houses or beer, at the end of the day you have produced and delivered something to people—something that they want and/or need. There are a lot of things you can do in life to make a buck which do not involve producing and delivering something so essential as beer and housing. Philosophically, I get it.

When Neil decided to pursue the brewery business, he made a few key contacts around the beer business. He quickly learned that getting a top-notch brewer aboard was imperative. Neil contacted the Washington Beer Commission, which helped spread the news that he was looking for a brewer. He also contacted Jeannie McWilliams, a well-respected writer for the Northwest Brewing News, and asked for her advice.

“Jeannie told me that with Skip as my brewer I couldn’t go wrong.”

Building the Brewery

“Neil looked at some places in Fife, but he wasn’t getting anywhere,” says Skip. “I’ve had my eye on this location for a while now and had already talked to the city about building a brewery here, so it was pretty much ready to go.” All indications are that Edmonds is happy to have American Brewing come to town.

Neil and Skip are building out the brewery themselves along with help from some carpenters and other specialists.

Click here to Read the complete story on the Washington Beer Blog

Beer Church and Local Brewers Bowl for Charity

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

On November 20th, nine local breweries and five local bars will participate in Beer Church Turkey Bowl 2010 at that West Seattle Bowl. The 12th Annual Turkey Bowl is a fundraiser and food drive for the West Seattle Food Bank.

What's a Beer Church?

In addition to operating this blog, Mrs. Beer Blog and I also run Beer Church. Without going into too much excruciating detail, Beer Church is an idea that I hatched many years ago with my good friend Pete. He is now sipping barley pops at the Great Taphouse in the Sky, but Beer Church carries on in his honor.

From the beginning our idea was simple: use beer as a way to get people engaged in the community. Create simple, fun and affordable ways for people to be involved in charitable giving. And what's more simpler, more funner and more affordabler than beer? (That's how Pete would have said it.)

Above - Me and my buddy Pete manning the donation table at Beer Church Turkey Bowl, circa 1999?

So that's what we do. Beer Church has hosted the annual Beer Church Turkey Bowl for the past 12 years at West Seattle Bowl. We've done all sorts of other crazy events over the years, but it always comes back to bowling. Our annual food drive and fundraiser for the West Seattle Food Bank has become legendary. There is a video below that will give you an idea of the kind of fun we have.

It's not our mission to brag about these things, but suffice it to say that the many wonderful people who have attended our events over the years have donated tens of thousands of dollars to various charities. Actually, this year's event will push us into the six digit range. This doesn't even include the truckloads of food we've donated to the Food Bank.

The Battle of the Brewers

A couple of years ago we started inviting a few breweries to participate in the Beer Church Battle of the Brewers - a friendly competition within the larger Turkey Bowl. The winning team last year was from Elliott Bay Brewery. This year we have nine teams competing: Big Al Brewing, Naked City Brewery, Pike Brewery, Elysian Brewing, Georgetown Brewing, Emerald City Beer, Schooner Exact Brewing, Two Beers Brewing, and returning champion Elliott Bay Brewing.

There will also be teams from local bars competing in the Beer Church Bar Brawl, namely: Beveridge Place Pub, Dog and Pony Alehouse, Porterhouse Pub, the Feedback Lounge, and West 5 (the three-time champion).

This year Beer Church Turkey Bowl is sponsored by Link Apartments and Mike's Hard Lemonade. We seriously appreciate their support. Although Mike's isn't beer, it is local and they have graciously stepped up to sponsor the event. We like that.

Beer Church Pale Ale

This year Beer Church is hatching a new plan to help beer lovers contribute to charitable causes. We're making a beer. If you frequent the better beer bars and pubs around the Seattle area, you'll start to see Beer Church Pale Ale late next month. We will do a separate post about that beer in the near future.

In the meantime, here's a video from last year's Beer Church Turkey Bowl.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Elite Eight Washington IPAs

by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

We recently passed the midpoint in October and that means the Beveridge Place Pub has announced the Elite Eight in their annual Hoptoberfest Tournament. For the past two weeks patrons have sampled a wide variety of Washington IPAs and voted for their favorites, with each pubster allowed just one vote per day. Hundreds of ballots have been tallied and the top eight vote-getters now advance to the semifinals.

To learn more about the Beveridge Place Pub's Hoptoberfest Tournament, click here.

The Elite Eight

From this group of eight, three finalist will advance to the finals and eventually a champion will be crowned. The winning beer will be the house IPA for 2011--the one IPA guaranteed to always be on tap at the Beveridge Place. Each year the winner is announced at the Beveridge Place Pub's IPA Cask-O-Rama, a three day event (Thurs, November 4th - Sat, November 6th) that features no less than 24 Washington cask-conditioned IPAs served from firkins lined up on the bar.

No doubt, winning the Hoptoberfest Tournament is an honor, but it also translates into a significant number of guaranteed sales. Read our story from last week to learn more about the Hoptoberfest tournament.

Below is a video from last year's Cask-O-Rama, when the Hoptoberfest winner was announced.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pike Brewery Celebrates 21st Birthday

by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

Sunday, Oct. 17 was Pike Brewery's Birthday. Cheers to Pike! Very Happy Birthday! The celebration continues all week long with special beers, prices and events. Details below.

The Birthplace of Great Brewers

Over the past 21 years, the Pike Pub and Brewery has given the Washington craft beer scene more than great beer. Beyond the world class ales, they've helped spawn more great brewers than I can remember. Some of the most esteemed Washington brewers came through Pike in one way or another. People like Bill Jenkins (Big Time Brewery), Kevin Forhan (Ram, Northgate), Janelle Pritchard (Trade Route), Skip Madsen (formerly of Water Street and Boundary Bay), and Drew Cluley (current top dog at Pike), to name only a few. The complete list is staggering.

The Pike Pub and Brewery is a Seattle institution. Because of the location next to the market, it is understandable that the Pike is all that many tourists see of Seattle's proud brewing tradition. Thank heavens that the beer and people at the Pike Pub and Brewery represent Washington beer so well.

Charles and RoseAnn Finkel, founders and current owners of the Pike, are legends in the craft beer business, not to mention two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. The story of their contribution to American craft beer is remarkable. Someday it will be properly told. For now, just know that they are legends. I will never forget the first really good beer I ever tasted. I was still a teenager, probably in about 1981, and the beer was called Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, imported by Merchant Du Vin--a company started by Charles Finkel in 1978.

I could go on all day. Instead, I'll just say happy birthday.

Here is the birthday week info from Pike:
October 17, 2010 is Pike's birthday. We're 21, we're proud of it and we are going to celebrate reaching maturity with what else, but a week of coming-of-age events!


October 17-24

Our three original Pike ales that were served at The Pike Pub will be featured at their opening day prices!

$3.50 for pints · $11.00 for pitchers

Hoppy Hour (Monday-Friday) pints $2.50

Much has changed over 21 years. We are master brewers, chefs, and servers. Our celebration will feature a delicious and affordable prix fixe dinner every evening as a special alongside our regular Pike Pub menu featuring local, sustainable pub fare. We hope you will be able to join us in celebrating 21 years of great food and beers!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Upcoming event at Hales celebrates GABF winners

Last month Washington breweries brought home seven medals from the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. (Read our report.) Now you have a chance to taste all of the medal winners in one place.

There will be a special GABF medal winner celebration at the Hales Brewery in Seattle on Saturday, October 23rd from 3-7 PM. Attendees will have a chance to purchase tastes of all 7 medal winning GABF beers. Admission is free.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Jillian's in Seattle - A New Focus On Craft Beer

Not long ago Mrs. Beer Blog and I were invited to join some friends for an afternoon of gaming and appetizers at Jillian’s, the sports bar and billiards parlor on Westlake Avenue in Seattle. Apparently someone had won a VIP party package at a silent auction. We had a great time. I’m not sure what we were expecting, but we were happy with what we found. We wished they had a better selection of beer, but understood their need to appeal to the sports bar crowd with a limited number of taps.

Since then, things have changed at Jillian’s. And it is good news. They have a new focus on craft beer and they want to embrace the local craft beer scene. When a bar like Jillian’s decides to do that, they can expect a big shout out from the Washington Beer Blog. Attaway Jillians, attaway!

I have just learned of an upcoming event at Jillian’s which has me licking my lips. Next Friday (October 15th) Jillian’s will host Micros and Music, an event featuring beer from some of our favorite local breweries. There are a limited number of tickets available so you should act quickly. You can reserve your tickets by calling Jillian’s (206) 223-0300. Some of the breweries involved also have tickets. Event details are below.

A New Attitude

“We have 10 breweries bringing in interesting, creative beers for this event,” said Caitee McCormick, Marketing and Promotions Director for Jillian’s. “The people attending the event will actually be voting for their favorite. The brewery that gets the most votes will get a tap handle through the end of the year.”

“We want to appeal to the local craft beer crowd,” said McCormick. “We’ve added more taps so we can be flexible and have more craft beer. We want to be a part of Seattle’s great craft beer scene. People think of us as more corporate and less local. We want that to change.”

The new approach to beer is largely due to a change in management at Jillians. “Our new General Manager (Tom Balcom) came in and decided that he wanted to increase the number of taps so that we could offer a wider selection of beer, specifically craft beer,” says McCormick. “We now have 20 tap handles. The taps were added specifically for the purpose of providing craft beer, with the goal of being flexible about what we offer.”

Click here to read the entire story and get all the event details.

Nothing but Washington Beer for 10 Days

Around here, two things in life are certain when it comes to beer. Washington loves delicious craft beer and Washington produces delicious craft beer. Events taking place this weekend, and over the next ten days, confirm these two self-evident truths. So do the numbers. In the greater Seattle-Tacoma area 24 percent of the beer we consume is craft beer. In the United States, only Portland, Oregon has us beat at 29.9 percent. San Francisco is the only other city to reach the 20 percent mark. Most cities aren’t even close.

Last weekend there was a statewide party in Washington. In Tacoma they celebrated the second annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival (Friday and Saturday). In Yakima they enjoyed another outstanding Fresh Hop Ale Festival. Enumclaw got in the game, hosting a big Oktoberfest party which will featured a lot of locally brewed beer. Up in Blaine, Semiahmoo Resort held a very special Brewmasters Dinner featuring the beers of Bellingham’s venerable Boundary Bay Brewery.

From one end of the state to the other, last weekend people celebrated beer. However, for two of Washington’s better beer bars, last weekend marked the kickoff of a celebration not only of beer, but a celebration of Washington-brewed beer exclusively. For 10 days (Oct. 1st through 11th) the Parkway Tavern and the Red Hot will serve nothing but Washington-brewed beers.

Both the Parkway Tavern and the Red Hot are located in Tacoma and the kickoff of “Tacoma Drinks Washington Beer Week” intentionally coincided with the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival. All of the taps will pour nothing but beers brewed right here in The Evergreen State. The Parkway offers 34 beers on tap and the Red Hot another baker’s dozen. Two bars pouring nearly 50 Washington beers. That’s impressive.

Busily servicing the thirsty hordes, the craft beer industry is booming in Washington these days. In the past two months 21 new microbreweries have applied for licenses with the Liquor Control Board. It is hard to keep exact count, but currently Washington has approximately 130 microbreweries licensed to brew beer.

You might think that the market is overcrowded, but most breweries tell us that they are brewing beer at capacity and are trying to find ways to make more beer to meet the growing demand. For a brewery, increasing capacity most frequently means investing more money into the business—a particularly tough challenge in the current economy.

To read the complete story on the Washington Beer Blog, click here.

Lost in Fremont - a beer lover hits Fremont Oktoberfest

Today we'd like to introduce a new contributor. To his friends, he is known as the Growler Guy because that's the way he rolls: showing up at parties, barbecues, and just about anywhere else with growlers full of delicious craft beer. Recently, not entirely by his own choosing, Growler Guy found himself at Fremont Oktoberfest. Here's his report.

Fremont Oktoberfest

By Growler Guy

Sometimes it isn’t always about the event, but about the experience you make out of it.

So when my wife and I, and our friends, loaded the car towards Seattle for the Fremont Oktoberfest, I kept my expectations low. For no good reason, we bypassed Auburn’s Hops and Crops and Des Moines’ Blues and Brews, which were basically in our backyard, and headed North. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we were heading for a day in the city and beer was going to be plentiful. What was not to like, right?

I had been warned that the Fremont Oktoberfest was more frat party than craft brew festival. This was pretty accurate, but we still made the most of a great afternoon. Thanks to my friend Mark at Deschutes Brewing, we were on scholarship (free beer tastes even better), and ventured out to find the best beers to fulfill our five tokens.

Upon arriving in Fremont, I had an idea of what beers were being poured, and a little disappointed that I would be missing out on two of my favorites, Airways and Two Beers, who were both at the events we bypassed.

There were a ton of breweries from all over the West Coast to choose from, and also a great selection of German beers. We all started off with the selections from Fremont Brewing, because, when in Rome… right? I sampled the Mystere de la Saison and the Universal Pale Ale and loved both.

The beer tents were lined in kind along the streets of Fremont and when we went (around 1 p.m.) it wasn’t very crowded, which suited us just fine. As the day got later, a lot more people started showing up, the lines got longer and I imagine the party got a little rowdier.

I fully intended to stick to a strictly Washington Beer diet, but there were just too many selections and choices to pass up on. I can’t remember all the beers our party tasted, but I enjoyed the Big Al Tripel (8.9 percent ABV), Deschutes Jubelale, Ninkasi Total Domination and Roslyn Brookside. We spent a lot of time hanging around the Deschutes Brewery’s Woody and even got to sample their Black Butte XX with some Theo Chocolate.

To read the complete story on the Washington Beer Blog, click here.