Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Trip To Scuttlebutt Brewing

As my regular readers know, in addition to being a beer enthusiast, I also enjoy motorcycle rides.  I often like to take a weekend ride out to one of the many breweries in the Puget Sound area and, this past weekend, that trip was to Scuttlebutt Brewing in Everett, WA. 

I normally look for a more 'roundabout' way to get to the breweries I'm visiting, since I'm on my motorcycle, but I got a bit of a late start on Saturday, so I took I5 from Federal Way, where I live, to the Everett waterfront.  Scuttlebutt recently moved a bit down the block from where the used to be - and a bit closer to the water.  They now share a building and parking lot with the Everett Waterfront Center; a beautiful space right on the Everett Marina. 

Usually, when I first walk into a brewery restaurant, I look for the bar.  I've always been the type of person who prefers sitting at the bar in a bar or restaurant unless, of course, it's more than just me or me and one other person.  At first, I saw no bar.  I walked into the restaurant, past the podium near the front doors, but still didn't see the bar.  It wasn't until I was a ways into the restaurant that I finally saw the bar.  It was situated in such a way that it couldn't be seen from the front door.  The bar itself was well laid out; not too cluttered and a nice bar top. 

Scuttlebutt Brewing Co.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No One Can Pick Just One (Volume 1)

Welcome to the first in a series of articles, where I will search my soul to share with you some of my favorite brews.  Every few months, there will be another volume, where I'll keep adding to the list of my all-time favorite beers. 

Pick Just One?  Good luck!

It's a question I get asked a lot: What is your favorite beer? or What is your favorite brewery? 

Really?  Do I have to pick just one?  I mean, isn't one of the joys of craft beer the fact that there are so many choices? It would be a pretty boring World if you were only able to select a single beer to drink for the rest of your life.  Most people I know have an extremely difficult, if not impossible time answering this question. 

I know, I know.  Some people aspire to just that: finding the one beer they consider barley & hop Nirvana, and then never stray.  Unfortunately, most of the beer drinkers I know with this mentality are those who drink Bud, Coors, Pabst or another similarly watered-down, mass-produced American lager.  A couple of weeks ago, while at the Dog & Pony Alehouse in Renton, WA, I saw one of the 'regulars' come in.  His usual oder is Pabst Blue Ribbon on tap, but they had run out or were having a problem with the Pabst tap that day.  He sat there, looking at the menu and tap handles (which included plenty of beers from breweries such as Stone, Fremont, Firestone Walker, Deschutes, Odin, Laurelwood, etc. etc.), for nearly 5 minutes before deciding that he'd have to settle for a can of Ranier Beer. 

That's definitely not me.  While I do have a favorite beer style (IPA - though Pale Ale, Stout, Barleywine, etc. are all a close 2nd), I couldn't stand being limited to just a single beer or even just a single brewery.  I have occasional favorite beers, but the answer is always changing because I'm always on the hunt for new beers and breweries to try.  With all this in mind, however, the question has gotten me thinking about what some of my favorite beers are.  What are the ones I've had over the years that really stick in my mind as what I might call 'favorites'? Let's see what comes to mind. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

AHA Rally At Pike Brewing

Me with Charlie Papazian

Last night (7/10/2011), I attended an American Homebrewer's Association (AHA) Rally at Pike Brewing Company in Seattle, WA.  AHA Rallies are hosted by members of the Brewers Association (seperate from but related to the AHA - for samll, independent craft breweries rather than homebrewers), and are a great perk for members of the AHA.

Brewery owners and brewers are typically on hand at these AHA Meber's Only events to answer questions, give brewery tours, pour free beer samples, etc. etc.  It's a great way to meet fellow homebrewers and beer enthusiasts, get more into the local beer scene and to meet some special people.  I'd like to shout out a big thanks to Pike Brewing for hosting this event. 

The Pike Brewery (the part that the general public doesn't get to see)

On hand for last night's rally were:
Charles & Rose Ann Finkel - Owners of Pike Brewing Company, who hosted the event
Kathryn Porter Drapeau - AHA Membership Cooordinator
Dean Mochizuki - Pike Brewing's Head Brewer
And last but not least: Charlie Papazian - Founder of the AHA

I had a great time meeting a few friends and making a few new ones.  I also got a chance to meet Charlie Papazian.  I already know Charles Finkel and Dean Mochizuki.  Kathryn had her hands full with member relations, as many new AHA members signed up in order to attend this event. 

Here is a 9-10 minute video of Charles Finkel welcoming everyone and introducing Charlie Papazian:

(If the video link above is not working - click HERE to see the video - you may have to 'Like' my Beer Monger page on Facebook.)

I'll have to keep my ears open for when the next local AHA rally will be.  It was a lot of fun; and the only way to attend is to be an AHA member! 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

There's More To Life Than Just Beer

There's more to life than just beer.  I've heard this saying before.  I'm not sure I entirely agree, but anything is possible.  However, since I enjoy good Scotches and Bourbons as much as a well crafted beer, I guess there is some truth in that statement.

Tonight (Thursday, July 7th), I'll be attending an event at Brouwer's Cafe featuring bourbons by Four Roses.  Their bourbons have been made in Kentucky since 1884 and Brouwer's will be featuring four different vintages:

     Yellow Label:
"A worldwide favorite, especially when creating mixed drinks with a sophisticated, contemporary flair. Hints of pear and apple compliment floral aromas and mix with a taste of honey and spice. Smooth and mellow with a unique, long and soft finish. 80 proof."

     Single Barrel:
"A premium Single Barrel Bourbon with a taste you'll want to savor again and again. Complex, full bodied and surprisingly smooth with a delicate long finish that’s unbelievably mellow. Contains hints of ripe plum and cherry tastes with fruity, spicy aromas including maple syrup and cocoa. Drink straight up or on the rocks. 100 proof."

     Small Bach:
"Marrying, or mingling, multiple Bourbon flavors is an art in itself. Four original and limited Bourbons have been expertly selected by our Master Distiller at the peak of maturation to create a perfectly balanced small batch Bourbon that rewards you with a mellow symphony of rich, spicy flavors along with sweet, fruity aromas and hints of sweet oak and caramel. Finishes soft, smooth and pleasantly long. Best enjoyed straight up, on the rocks, or with a splash. 90 proof."

     And a special vintage bottled especially for Brouwer's,
     Brouwer's Single Barrel:

There will be signature cocktails made with each individual vintage, or you can get a flight with 1oz of each if you prefer your bourbon straight like me.  I'll probably go for a flight, the have a little more of whichever one I enjoy the most. 

Four Roses Bourbon can be somewhat difficult to locate in WA state.  It can be found in some Seattle liquor stores and a few in Everett, Clearview and Puyallup, but many smaller WA liquor stores won't have it.  So you may have to search a bit.  (You can find out which liquor stores carry which vintages by doing a brand search HERE). 

I only had Four Roses bourbon for the first time last week.  I had some of the Small Batch, and it was amzing.  A slightly sweet start and exceedingly smooth.  I'm looking forward to trying the other vintages to discover which one I'll like best. 

So, if you're a fan a good bourbon, get your butt down to Brouwer's toinght.  Things get going around 6:00PM. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.