Monday, October 31, 2011

Beveridge Place Pub's 6th Annual IPA Cask-O-Rama Is Almost Here

Do you like hops?  Do you Love hops?  Are you a true 'hop head'?  Then this is definitely an event for you!

Starting this Thursday, November 3rd (and running until Saturday, November 5th), is Beveridge Place Pub's 6th Annual IPA Cask-O-Rama.  During this hop-filled event, the bartop at Beveridge Place is covered with casks of various hoppy beers from around Washington State. 

Last year's list included:
Anacortes IPA
Black Raven Trickster
Big Al IPA
Big Time Bhagwans
Boundary Bay IPA
Diamond Knot IPA
Dicks IPA
Elysian The Immortal
Fish Organic IPA
Flyers Afterburner
Fremont Interurban IPA
Hale’s Mongoose
Harmon Pt. Defiance IPA
Iron Horse IPA
Leavenworth Hodgsons
Northern Lights IPA
Pike IPA
Rock Bottom Hop Bottom
Schooner Exact 3-Grid
Scuttlebutt IPA
Skagit River Scullers
Snipes Mt.
Snoqualmie Wildcat IPA
Two Beers Echo

Quite a list!  And this year's lineup should be at least as impressive if not more so.  Things kick off Thursday at 6:00PM at Beveridge Place Pub. 

Of course, you might want to head down to Beveridge Place tonight or tomorrow too, so you can vote on their annual Hoptoberfest IPA competition - which Beveridge Place uses each year to select their House IPA for the coming year.  To cast your vote (From BPP's Website):

  • Come to BPP and order a liter of IPA (OK, a pint is acceptable, too)
  • Get a ballot (one vote per person per day)
  • Repeat as necessary
  • From Oct. 4 – 14, you can nominate any Washington-brewed IPA, even if it’s not currently on tap (no “Imperials”)
  • From Oct 15 – 24, BPP will provide a primary ballot with the top eight nominees
  • From Oct 25 – Nov 1, BPP will provide a general election ballot with the top three from the primary
The results of this year's Hoptoberfest competition will be announced at 8:00PM on Thursday, November 3rd, during the IPA Cask-O-Rama.  I'm gonna do my best to be there on Thursday; how about you? 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Planning A December Trip To Some California Breweries - UPDATED 10/28/11

Updated 10/28/2011 - The article below has been updated with a few more breweries we'd like to try and visit during this trip.  We may not be able to hit them all, but we're sure as hell gonna give it a good try!

On the road again.  I can't wait to get on the road again!  My wife and I haven't had a decent vacation in quite a while, so this year, we're going all out.  I like to think of it as a sort of warm up for the Beer Monger World Beer Tour Project, which I hope to get off the ground in a few years. 

This December we'll be making a drive from Seattle all the way down to Tuscon, AZ to visit some family.  Along the way, we've planned several brewery stops and a few gourmet food stops and will be ending our trip (before the drive home, that is), by spending New Years in Las Vegas. 

After a quick stop at Gustav's German Restaurant in Vancouver, Washington for a great, authentic German meal, our first stop will be at Hair of the Dog Brewing in Portland, Oregon.  We've been there before, but wanted to drop by on our way South to fill a growler or two with some Adam and perhaps some Doggie Claws barleywine.  After a quick visit, we'll be back on the road, headed down towards California. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fly-PA, Rare Drafts, Alaskan Brewer's Night & Big Wood

Big Wood 2011 At Brouwer's Cafe:
I'd also like to give my readers early notice of the 2011 'Big Wood' fest at Brouwer's Cafe on December 8th.  This is one of my favorite annual events, which features a plethora of wonderful wood-aged beers all available on tap.  Things get going on Thursday, December 8th at 11:00AM.  Yes, a Thursday.  I might see if I can get the day off work just to attend. 

The Big Wood fest will likely be the last local event I'll be able to hit up before I leave for my vacation in mid-December.  It should be a wonderful trip, with lots of brewery stops planned along the way

UPDATE 11/2/2011 - It has just been confirmed that Firestone Walker Brewing Company's XVth Anniversary Ale will be at this year's Big Wood fest!  I'll definitely be there! 

Fly-PA Launch:
First up is the launch of the first beer from Seattle's first and only cooperative, member-driven brewery, Flying Bike.  Their 'Fly-PA' IPA, which was brewed by Baron Brewing in Seattle (FB has no brewing facilities of their own yet), will be going on tap tomorrow, Thursday, October 27th, at Pillager's Pub on Greenwood Ave. in Seattle.  The beer will also be going on tap soon (but not necessarily by tomorrow) at Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle and Fiddler's Inn up near Lake City. 

Things should get under way at Pillager's Pub around 7:00PM tomorrow, and Flying Bike is encouraging everyone to come out and give Fly-PA a try. 

Rare Drafts Night At Beveridge Place Pub:
While Fly-PA may not be on tap at Beveridge Place Pub by this Thursday, you might still want to make your way over to West Seattle anyway, as Bev. Place is having a 'Rare Drafts Night'.  Beers on tap will include:
-Deschutes The Stoic
-Dogfish Head/Sierra Nevada Life & Limb II
-Cascade Bahri Date Bain
-Black Raven La Petite Morte
-Big Time Ave Rat Malt Liquor
-Diamond Knot 666 Imperial Bavarian

That's a pretty impressive lineup.  I may just have to stop by there myself on the way home from Pillager's Pub for a few rare goodies! 

Alaskan Brewer's Night At Brouwer's Cafe:
Next up on November 8th, 2011 is Alaskan Brewer's Night at Brouwer's Cafe.  There will be 8 dedicated Alaskan Brewing taps available.  There will be no Alaskan Amber, but there will be their Oatmeal Stout and their 25th Anniversary Perseverance Ale.  An Alaskan Brewing representative will also be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Board Membership & The Waiting Game

This past Saturday the 22nd of October, I was officially selected as the next member of the Board of Directors for the Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery.  It's been a long road since I first joined Flying Bike as member #12 earlier this year, but I'm ready to take a leadership role and do all I can to help Flying Bike move forward and become a great success. 

It seemed clear at the annual meeting, that the members desire more communication from the Board of Directors regarding what's happening with the cooperative 'behind the scenes'.  As someone who's only been a member up until now, I fully agree.  During my time on the Flying Bike Board of Directors, I intend to do all I can to make the activities of the Board as transparent to the members of the cooperative as possible. 

Fly-PA Judging Last Month at Pillager's Pub

Next up for Flying Bike is something very exciting.  Our first beer is going on tap!  For those who members who didn't get a chance to try it out at the annual meeting this past weekend, gather your friends and acquaintances and come on out this Thursday, October 27th, where Fly-PA will be on tap at the following locations:

Pillager's Pub
8551 Greenwood Ave. N
Seattle, WA  98103

Beveridge Place Pub
6413 California Ave. SW
Seattle, WA  98136
(West Seattle)

Fiddler's Inn
9219 35th Ave. NE
Seattle, WA  98115

Also, this past weekend, I took my long-anticipated BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) exam.  It was a three-hour written exam, but I was so busy writing the whole time that it felt like it was only about 15 minutes!  The test consisted of several 'essay' style questions and four beer tasting/judging challenges, done at half-hour intervals after the first hour of the exam. 

It's an extremely challenging exam, and the three-hour time limit may sound long, but it's not!  The test requires a vast amount of knowledge regarding all the various styles of beer, the 'classic' examples of what each of those styles should encompass, as well as an extremely thorough knowledge of the entire beer brewing process - all the way from grains to glass. 

Now I play the waiting game.  Unfortunately, the BJCP is so backed up in scoring exams, that I won't have my test results for approximately six months; a long time to wait.  Due to this, however, the BJCP is changing the format of the test next year.  The test will be given in two parts starting next year: The written part which, for the first time ever, will be available to take in an online format, and the tasting portion, which will have to still be scheduled and attended in-person like the current exam. 

I'm hoping I did well enough my first time taking the exam to get 'Certified' status, which requires an exam score of 70% or higher; no easy task.  Otherwise, I'll likely be 'Recognized' status, which requires an exam score of 60% or higher.  But I can always take the exam again next year in the new online format. 

My whole motivation for taking the BJCP exam has been to increase my own personal knowledge about beer and the brewing process, mainly so that I can better articulate my various beer experiences and tastings to my readers.  There is no other benefit to me or to any other BJCP judge beyond the personal satisfaction of gaining the knowledge and experience necessary to continually improve our beer tasting and evaluation skills.  And, though I have now taken the test, the journey is not over.  I'll continue to learn more and improve my tasting and evaluation skills, so that I can provide better information to my readers about all the various and wonderful beers out there to try. 

I'm looking forward to putting some of my sharpened tasting skills to the test this December, when I hope to visit as many of the following breweries during my vacation as possible.  I plan to contact each brewing I'm going to visit beforehand, to see if I can setup some interviews and get you all as much 'inside' information as I can:

Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. - Portland, OR

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. - Chico, CA

Russian River Brewing Co. - Santa Rosa, CA

Lagunitas Brewing Co. - Petaluma, CA

Moylan's Brewing Co. - Novato, CA
(Moylan's is the 'Sister' brewery to Marin Brewing below.)

Marin Brewing Co. - Larkspur, CA

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. - Paso Robles, CA

Stone Brewing Co. - Escondido, CA

Whew!  I hope I'll have time to hit 'em all. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The 7th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Fest

Today, my wife and I attended day 1 of the 7th Annual Great Pumpkin Beer Festival at Elysian Brewing's impressive new Georgetown brewing facility.  We were preparing for grey skies and the possibility of rain, but instead found a beautiful, sunny day where a huge crowd enjoyed a wide variety of pumpkin-influenced beers from both local breweries and from breweries across the country. 

A few of the tanks at Elysian's impressive new brewing facility in Georgetown

Food at the festival was provided by mobile food vendors: Where Ya At Matt, Snout & Co. and Skillet.  To satiate our sweet tooth, we had Bluebird Ice Cream (and yes, they had a few different varieties of pumpkin beer ice cream!) and Mighty O Donuts.  Yum, yum!

Having pre-paid tickets for this event wound up being a real advantage.  Pre-sale ticket holders were allowed in just after 11:30AM, while those purchasing tickets at the door had to wait until noon before they were allowed to start tricking in.  Even by about 6:00 when we left for the day, there was still quite a long line of people waiting to get in. 

My Jack-O-Lantern Great Pumpkin Fest taster glass

We tried to sample as many different pumpkin beers as we could, as well as the pumpkin donuts and some Dark Of The Moon pumpkin beer ice cream.  I'll detail my tasting notes for each beer we tried in a future post very soon, but some of the standouts for me were: Pumpking by Southern Tier Brewing Company, Pumpkineater by Howe Sound Brewing, Punk'n Bbomb from Fremont Brewing and Punkin Ale from Dogfish Head Brewing. 

Lynn with The Great Pumpkin

As 4:00PM approached, we prepared for the tapping of The Great Pumpkin.  The crowd surrounding the pumpkin just kept growig & growing until it was tapped, and this year's batch was pretty darn good! 

Since the Geogetown area is undergoing some road constrution, finding parking was a bit of a challenge.  So, for those planning to attend tomorrow, I suggest you get there early, especially if you don't have pre-paid tickets! 

For those planning on attending tomorrow, I'll see you there! 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.