Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Beer Lovers Guide to Holiday Shopping

by Kim Sharpe Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Hey guys, want to know a secret about women? Something that most men might not know? Not all women like to shop. Shocking, I know. But I know that to be true because I'm one of the women who would rather do anything but wake up early for 4 a.m. doorbusters, circle the parking lots, scavenge through racks or wait in line to pay. Sure, occasionally I get a whim to browse at U. Village, but it's usually on an off day, not the middle of the holidays.

In our consumerist society it's hard to escape the crush of holiday shopping, even if you get an early start, and shop mid-week from a strict list. Shopping online is an option, but if you must go to the mall, is there anything to make it more bearable? Yes, the answer is -- Beer. Diving into a pub for a cool beer between fighting off throngs of recreational shoppers in crowded stores makes the whole experience so much more agreeable. So much more likely to finish your shopping and maybe even bring some holiday spirit to the process.

The trick? Plan ahead and shop where the beer is.

University Village

Gifts for them: Apple, books, boutique clothing, jewelry, shoes, housewares, Eddie Bauer, kids toys and furnishings.
Beer for you: RAM U. Village is in the shopping center so you won't have to repark your car.

Downtown Seattle

Gifts for them: housewares, art, jewelry, high-end boutique clothing, department-store clothing or "Made in Washington" gifts from the Pike Place Market.
Beer for you: Taphouse Bar and Grill, Rock Bottom Seattle, Buckleys in Belltown.

Bellevue Square

Gifts for them: Microsoft Kinect, anything and everything for label-conscious fashionistas.
Beer for you: Rock Bottom Bellevue, Pumphouse (not downtown, but worth a short drive if you're in for a long shopping session).


Gifts for them: practical stuff, with everything from Nordstrom to Target within the mall or a couple blocks from the mall.
Beer for you: RAM Northgate.

Kitsap Mall

Gifts for them: another practical place to shop for practical people, it's the biggest mall on the peninsula.
Beer for you: Silver City Brewery, Hale's Alehouse.

Shopping (and Drinking) Local

As an alternative, consider skipping the mall for shopping at locally owned neighborhood boutiques and stores. The experience will likely be less crowded, you may find a more unique gift, and you'll be doing a local shop owner good. And there's usually even better beer to be found. Neighborhoods with great boutique shopping paired with good locally-owned pubs include:

West Seattle Junction

Gifts for them: records, paper goods, crafts, jewelry, art, womens clothing, housewares.
Beer for you: Elliott Bay Brewery and Pub.


Gifts for them: art, antiques, records, clothing, custom cosmetics, chocolates.
Beer for you: Brouwer's, Fremont Brewing.


Gifts for them: outdoor wear, art, housewares, boutique clothing, shoes, records.
Beer for you: The Noble Fir, Maritime Jolly Roger Taproom.

Queen Anne

Gifts for them: mens and womens boutique clothing, housewares, art, jewelry.
Beer for you: Hilltop Ale House.

U. District

Gifts for them: youthful clothing and accessories, Husky merchandise, books.
Beer for you: Big Time Brewery and Alehouse.


Gifts for them: antiques, art, toys, boutique clothing.
Beer for you: Naked City, Pillager's Pub, 74th Street Alehouse.


Gifts for them: Scandinavian products (great for Grandma).
Beer for you: Tizley's Europub.

Downtown Tacoma and 6th Avenue

Gifts for them: antiques, museum shop, art, vintage clothing.
Beer for you: Downtown - The Swiss, Harmon; 6th Avenue - Red Hot, Parkway.

Winslow (walk on the ferry from Downtown Seattle)

Gifts for them: boutique clothing, wine, housewares, custom cosmetics.
Beer for you: Harbour Public House.

Why not choose your shopping destination based on where you can stop for a refreshment? If you have other favorite beery ideas for escaping the holiday shopping crush, share your secret in comments.

Strange Brewfest - All Systems Go

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Many people have been wondering what will happen to Strange Brewfest now that Port Townsend's Water Street Brewing is only a fond memory. Well, we just learned for certain that the Strange Brewfest will live on. Here are the details from the event organizers.
It's official! Strange Brewfest 2011 is on!

The 7th Annual Strange Brewfest - January 28-30

This year's festival will be hosted by the American Legion in downtown Port Townsend, which is one block from the old Water Street Brewing location. Friday's schedule is still brewing, but Saturday the fun starts at 1pm and lasts until 9pm and Sunday starts at 1pm and will be jam'n until 7pm.

No need to worry about the frigid forecast that Old Man Winter is predicting this year. The American Legion's Hall offers double the indoor capacity of years past. Sure, Strange Brewfest is, and will always be, an indoor/outdoor challenge to your commitment as a beer enthusiast. But this year, there will be more room inside and out, allowing you a full arm extension when hoisting your glass in celebration.

Last year's Strange Brewfest was a tremendous success, as brewers from around the region embraced the 'strangeness' with more gusto than ever before. The result was a preeminent lalapalooza for the palate. Some of your favorite local breweries brought tasty quaffs, whose recipes included such delights as cayenne, coconut, corriandor and cucumber. Folks, those are just some of the ingredients from catogory 'C'. Strange Brewfest 2011 is sure to be another sensory slam dance.

Speaking of slam dancing, this year's festival will be packed with fantastical music stylings, including Lucky Brown and The Funk Revolution and many more.

As per usual, Strange Brewfest 2011 will feature countless, random acts of enchantment. If you've been before, you'll be suprised by some new and equally zany antics. If you've never been, you're in for a real show.

Strange Brewfest 2011 will feature a costume contest on Saturday night, which will be voted on by, you, the people. Win prizes for having an overtly creative spirit.

2010 Brewfest Winners

And, as the tradition continues, a presentation ceremony will be held on Sunday afternoon, awarding 'people's choice' medals to the top three breweries, and the coveted 'Strange Brew' medal to the brewery, which brought the beer that most captures the essence of the Strange Brewfest 2011. All of the awards will be voted on by you, the righteous festival goer!

For more details, and continual updates, visit: and bookmark it!

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Strange Brewfest 2011! The party is on!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bar Hopping Across Europe with Will and Mari Kemper

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Rewind for a moment to the autumn of 2009 and you might recall that Chuckanut Brewery took the Great American Beer Festival by storm. In its first trip to the GABF the young Bellingham brewery brought home four medals for beer and was also awarded Best Small Brewpub and Brewer of the year (read about it here). Will and Mari Kemper, the owners of Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen, were rewarded with a free trip to Europe.

Fast forward to the present day and you will find Will and Mari cashing in their prize as they bar hop their way across Europe. Mari Kemper is blogging along the way. I promise this will make you jealous. Having spent the past 30 years in the craft beer biz, and having spent many years traveling the globe setting up craft breweries from Mexico to Turkey, they have plenty of beer contacts around the world. It sounds like they're having an amazing time.

Follow their adventure on the Chuckanut Brewery blog.

Cheers to you, Will and Mari. Couldn't happen to nicer people.

WA Beers Headed South. Way South

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Over the past few years a seemingly endless stream of out-of-state beers has flooded into the flourishing Washington craft beer market. Whether you welcome out-of-state beers into the local market or feel threatened by the incursion, there’s no escaping the fact that Washington, and especially the Seattle metro area, is a target-rich environment for out-of-state breweries.

But how often do you hear about one of our local, award-winning breweries making noise beyond our borders? For any number of reasons Washington beer rarely makes it out of state.

Roll Tide

Wait a minute! We have word of a couple local breweries bucking the trend. Flyers Brewery and Big Al Brewing both have plans to send beer south. In Big Al's case, we're talking about the deep south.

Flyers Restaurant and Brewery announced recently that their Afterburner IPA will soon be distributed in Portland. The Whidbey Island brewery will be working with Point Blank Distributing, a Portland-based boutique distributor. This is a bold move. Rarely does an out-of-state beer punch its way into the insanely provincial Portland beer market.

Also, we recently learned that Big Al Brewing will soon be shipping beer to the home of the other Big Al. If you’ve read the book Rammer, Jammer, Yellow Hammer you know what I’m talking about. The costumed mascot of the Alabama Crimson Tide is an elephant named Big Al. If you know anything about Alabama football, you can imagine that a beer named Big Al is going to go over very, very well. According to Alejandro Brown (our Big Al), they were contacted by a distributor in Alabama and the deal is done. Now the beer just needs to make its way south.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Washington Winter Beer Fest - Update

Tickets are now on sale for the Washington Winter Beer Fest, which takes place at Hale's Palladium on December 10th and 11th. Advance tickets are $23 ($25 at the door, if available). This year there will be three sessions: Friday evening, Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening. It will be interesting to see which session sells out first.

Friday, December 10th, 5:30 - 9:30
Saturday, December 11th, 12:00 - 4:00
Saturday, December 11th, 5:30 - 9:30

Click here to purchase tickets.

Click here to go to the official event website.

The Breweries

The lineup includes 35 Washington breweries pouring more than 70 dfferent beers. The lineup of beers will be available after Thanksgiving. Looking at the list of breweries, a couple of things jump off the page. Paradise Creek Brewery, from Pullman, is on the list, providing an opportunity to sample their beer without a cross-state roadtrip. Gordon Biersch Brewing will be at Winter Beer Fest this year. I can't remember the last time I saw them at a beer festival and I'm curious to see what they'll be pouring.

Here is the complete list of breweries:

  • 7 Seas Brewing

  • Airways Brewing

  • Anacortes Brewery

  • Baron Brewing

  • Big Al Brewing

  • Big Time Brewery

  • Black Raven Brewing

  • Boundary Bay Brewery

  • Chuckanut Brewery

  • Diamond Knot Brewing

  • Elliott Bay Brewing

  • Elysian Brewing

  • Fish Brewing

  • Flyers Brewery

  • Fremont Brewing

  • Gordon Biersch Brewing

  • Hale's Ales Brewery

  • Harmon Brewing

  • Hood Canal Brewery

  • Iron Horse Brewery

  • Issaquah Brewhouse/Rogue Ales

  • Northern Lights Brewing

  • Paradise Creek Brewery

  • Pike Brewing

  • Port Townsend Brewing

  • Redhook Ale Brewery

  • Rock Bottom Brewery

  • Schooner Exact Brewing

  • Scuttlebutt Brewing

  • Silver City Brewery

  • Snipes Mountain Brewery

  • The Ram Brewery

  • Trade Route Brewing

  • Two Beers Brewing

Walking Man Brewing Celebrates 10 Years Anniversary

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

We would like to extend a happy birthday to Walking Man Brewing. Coming up November 17th - 21st they will be celebrating their 10th anniversary at the brew pub in Stevenson and they have invited everyone to come join them. They promise to have a bunch of really interesting and rare beers waiting for you.

Starting on Wednesday the 17th and continuing on each night through Sunday the 21st, Walking Man will tap "one-off" kegs. They will also be releasing two new beers: the 10th Anniversary Rye-PA (the yet-to-be-named birthday beer) and the 2010 Jaywalker Imperial Stout. Those two will be available throughout the celebration. Below is a list of Walking Man's single keg concoctions. They have graciously agreed to allow one growler fill per person of these beers.

Wednesday 17th:

  • Chinook Dry-Hopped Iron Man IPA (last keg)

  • Big Phat Homo (substantially dry-hopped in the keg)

  • Anniversary IPA (Oak-aged and Dry-Hopped)

Thursday 18th:

  • 2008 Foot Fetish Imperial Brown

  • 2009 Old Stumblefoot

  • 2010 Old Stumblefoot

  • 2009 High Road Scotch Ale

Friday 19th:

  • 2008 Bourbon Barrel Jaywalker

  • 2008 Jaywalker

  • Cacao bean infused Walking Stick Stout

  • Coffee infused Walking Stick Stout

Saturday 20th:

  • Parade Pale Ale (Belgian pale ale)

  • Foot Funk (sour wheat ale)

  • 2008 Sasquatch Legacy Project Imperial Vienna

  • 2009 Sasquatch Legacy Project Belgian IPA

  • 2010 Sasquatch Legacy Project Imperial Oatmeal Porter

Sunday 21st:

  • Whatever is left over and we feel like drinking

Thursday, November 4, 2010

24 Delicious Casks of Washington IPA Await You

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Last night I was talking to Jeff Lawrence, owner of the Whistle Stop Ale House in Renton. I first met Jeff back in 2002 when I interviewed him as part of a story I was writing for another publication−an article about cask-conditioned beer. More specifically, the story was about the unexpected increase in popularity of cask-conditioned beer. You see, back then the whole cask beer thing seemed unexpected and a bit remarkable. He was a good person to talk to because the Whistle Stop Ale House was one of the only bars in the Seattle area regularly serving cask-conditioned beer back in those days.

My, How Things have Changed

These days "Cask Night" seems to be a regular event at most of the better beer bars around town. The annual Washington Cask Beer Festival is one of the most popular beer events in the area. And then there's Cask-O-Rama. Today it seems hard to believe that we ever survived without cask-conditioned beer.

This evening at the Beveridge Place Pub (Thursday 6:00 p.m.) the 5th Annual Cask-O-Rama will officially begin. There will be a line, you will need be patient, but it is worth it. The event features 24 casks of Washington-brewed IPAs lined up on the bar. It's a damned impressive sight to see, if nothing else. Cask-O-Rama continues on into the weekend (Friday and Saturday 6:00-12:00).

read the complete story on the Washington Beer Blog

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Northern Ales Moves to the Big City

by Kendall Jones - Washington Beer Blog

A couple of years ago we told you about Northern Ales—the brewery in North Port, WA that we'd dubbed Washington's most remote brewery. (North Port is 2.5 hours north of Spokane very near the Canadian border.) A few months ago we reported that Northern Ales was in the process of moving to Kettle Falls. Now we report that the move is complete.

Check out the original post about our visit to Northern Ales — the brewery we also dubbed "most likely to survive the apocalypse."

Sure, Kettle Falls is not exactly a bustling metropolis, but compared to North Port? Congratulation to Steve and Andrea Hedrick! Here's the email we recently received from Northern Ales. We wish them well and hope they're getting used to the noise and the crowds.

We are proud to announce that we have made it to Kettle Falls. All of 40 miles and it only took 6 months to get everything done! J

Our Address in Kettle:
325 W. 3rd Ave
Kettle Falls, WA 99141

Phone: 509-738-7382 although the old number will still get us 509-732-6200

Wednesday – Saturday 12-10pm
Pool tournaments Thursday @ 6pm

Web site is updated weekly with beers on tap and events.

Now distributed @ 99 Bottles Federal Way, Franks Market Moses Lake, Whidbey island Beer Works Oak Harbor and coming soon Amocat Café Tacoma, and the tri-county area. Locations are also on the web site.

Dine Out (at a local pub) for Lakewood Officer Memorial

by Kim Sharpe Jones - Washington Beer Blog

Connections to the local police community run deep in my family. Two uncles retired, one from the SPD, the other from the Renton PD. My brother-in-law and sister both work for the SPD. My brother-in-law is a less-lethal (think Taser) trainer and award-winning neighborhood officer. My sister has worked in homicide for about ten years, she talks to crazy people on the phone, transcribes witness statements about violent crimes, and handles gruesome evidence photos. She, my brother-in-law and their fellow officers and civilian staffers do good work that normal people like me couldn't bear to do. And sometimes they pay with their lives.

Because of my sister, I found out about this event happening this Thursday, November 4th -- Dine Out to Remember Our Fallen, a benefit for the Lakewood Officers Memorial and Behind the Badge Foundation. Most of the participating restaurants are local pubs and brewpubs including the RAM Restaurant and Breweries in Lacey, Lakewood, Kent, Puyallup, Tacoma and Northgate; the Elliott Bay Brewery in West Seattle; and Harmon Brewing and Hub and Katie Downs in Tacoma - to name a few.

All RAM restaurants are donating 10% of sales on Thursday night. The Lakewood RAM is the designated Home Base for the Dining Out event, with a silent auction, raffle and live band.

Read the complete story on the Washington Beer Blog

NW Brewing News Reader Choice Poll. Vote Now

The Northwest Brewing News is currently running their 6th Annual
Reader's Choice Poll. The online poll gives you the opportunity to
express your opinion about things like Best Brewery, Best Brewpub, Best Alehouse, Best Bartender, and more. The poll runs through November 15th. The results are announced in early December.

You can find the poll here:

Sadly, there is no category for best beer blog.