Friday, December 31, 2010

Alphabetical list of Wash. stops in 2010

Brewery                                                                        Month
Anacortes Brew. Co.                                                      12
Baron-Three Skulls                                                         12
Big Al's                                                                           9
Big E                                                                              9
Big Time                                                                        12
Black Raven                                                                    9
Birdsview                                                                        6
Chuckanut                                                                     11
Diamond Knot                                                                 9
Dick's                                                                              8
Engine House No. 9                                                         9
Everybody's Brewing                                                      10
Flyers                                                                            12                                                                  
Foggy Noggin                                                                  9
Frank-n-Stein                                                                 11
Fremont                                                                           9
Gallagher's                                                                      8
Georgetown                                                                     8
Gordon Biersch                                                              11
Grove St.                                                                       12
Hale's                                                                            12
Harmon's                                                                        9
Hazel Dell                                                                     10
Hood Canal                                                                    8
La-Z Boy                                                                       8
La Conner Brewing                                                          9
Laht Neppur                                                                  11
Laurelwood                                                                   11
Mac & Jack's                                                                 8
McMenamins-Dad Watsons                                           9
McMenamins-Olympic Club                                           7
McMenamins-Queen Anne                                            10
McMenamins-Vancouver                                               11
Naked City                                                                     9
North Fork                                                                     6
North Sound                                                                  10
Peaks                                                                             9
Pike                                                                              11
Pyramid                                                                          9
RAM-Northgate                                                            11
Redhook                                                                         9
Rock Bottom-Seattle                                                     11
Roslyn Brewing                                                             10
Schooner Exact                                                             11
Scuttlebutt                                                                      9
Silver City                                                                      9
Skookum                                                                       8
Snoqualmie Falls                                                           10
Whitstran                                                                       9

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Anacortes Brewing Co.

  Oversight!  I've been in the Rockfish Grill, the pub name of Anacortes Brewing Co., several times this year and not yet posted a comment. This place sits on a busy corner in downtown Anacortes and is usually busy inside, too.

This is a lively music scene, too, with regional blues groups making the Rockfish a tour stop and local rock bands also playing here. They have many great looking labels, only on tap handles and t shirts as they don't bottle at this time. I have to root for Mai o Maibock, showing a microphone in front of a baseball diamond.  This honors the late Dave Niehaus, who broadcast the Mariners from the team's inception until he passed away this year, but not before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
  (Visited 10/09/10)

Shelton's excellent brewpub

   The Grove Street Brewhouse was a stop last June, with notes that want to be blogged before the year ends. Shelton is a logging town with plenty of clean Hood Canal water to sustain shellfish operations by Taylor Shellfish and other companies. The Hama Hama oysters are a south Sound specialty that appear on one of Grove Street's unique pizzas, the Hama-hama Hammer. I enjoyed one last June with a pint of Brewhouse Hefe.  Some of the brew names are eye-catching:  IPACOLYPS and G.S.B. E.S.B.
   The brewpub occupies a building that was built in 1927 and was a Pontiac dealership for many years. They have a few old photographs in the back, although most of the wall space displays local artists and photographers.  Just thinking about the Pontiac brand, no longer with us, brought back memories of the G.T.O., considered by many the first true muscle car back in 1964.  I wonder if Grove Street could draw in fans of this classic by collecting and displaying some memorabilia, hubcaps, hood ornaments, etc. of the GTO and other great Pontiac brands.
  (Visited 6/10/10)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Baron Three Skulls

   No, that tag is not about some voodoo rival to Baron Samedi.  Its about the evolution of a brand name.  The outfit that started out as Baron Brewing Company, a production brewery in South Seattle, with a decidedly teutonic theme, subsequently opened a pub up on Greenwood Ave., in the same block as Naked City. They called this spot Pillagers Pub, and started working up a pirate theme.
  It seems the pirate theme caught on a lot better than the rotund German baron.  We have had pirates roving the seas all over the world, from the Vikings in the North Sea way back when to the Somali pirates off the horn of Africa today.  But to us English speakers, the English speaking pirates of the Caribbean who preyed on Spanish treasure ships in the 17th and 18th centuries are the real deal. Just ask Disney. And what instantly recognizable symbol did Capt. Kidd, Long John Silver, J. Depp,and all those other guys have?  The skull and crossbones, of course!
   Unlike Skagit River in Mt, Vernon and Iron Horse in Ellensburg, who just put the skull and crossbones on their knock-you-back IPAs,  Baron Three Skulls puts the cheery symbol on all the ales they make under the Three Skulls name. They tell me the baron will be retired one day soon, pensioned off to some Bavarian village, no doubt, and the only brand made here will be branded Three Skulls. At the Winter BeerFest, they were the only brewer with a slash in their name>Baron/Three Skulls.
(Visited 12/10/10)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking a Flyer on Oak Harbor

  While Scuttlebutt pays tribute to the sailor and ships of the U.S. Navy that call Everett their homeport, our navy is also up in the air, at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, and Flyers Restaurant and Brewery pays tribute to naval aviators.  Well, to military aviators in general, past and present.  They celebrate the whir of a propeller on their nifty website and with their seasonal Proptober.  Aircraft old and new decorate the walls and ceilings of this cozy pub in Oak Harbor.
  The jets that the Navy flies now don't show up much in the decor.  One could say the Afterburner IPA takes its name from a key feature on the modern jet fighter. By the way, Flyers just started bottling Afterburner and Pacemaker Porter in 22-oz. bottles, within the past couple of months. For the startup, they are using the bottling gear at Skagit River Brewing in Mount Vernon.  The label on the Afterburner I brought home is pretty neat.  It also carries the note that brewing and bottling was done at Skagit R. for Flyers.  That may be a collectible if Flyers develops their own bottling capacity.
The food is pretty good here, too.  I had a tasty buffalo burger with a cup of brown ale soup and a pint of the Daybreak Breakfast Stout I had admired at the Winter Brewfest last week.
(Visited 12/13/10)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big Time by UW

  The Big Time Brewery and Alehouse sits right in the heart of the university district, in the middle of a block full of college student type stores.
When I popped in, before the Winter Brewfest, I saw a nice selection of taps, including 4 (FOUR) different IPAs:  Scarlet Fire, Bhagwan's Best, Perspective, and Random Thought Generator Rye IPA. My server elucidated the subtle differences, but I can't imagine anyone with the taste buds to compare all four in a single session.  Any one of these well-hopped ales stomps my taster like the other NFL teams have been stomping the Seahawks lately.
  The kitchen stays busy whipping up pub fare food.  In the back one of the brewers came out and confirmed what their website says, that when they opened in 1988 they were the first brewpub in Seattle.  Not craft brewery, but brewpub, with on premises sales and food. So that's another milestone to note in retracting the history of modern craft brewing in Washington.
(Visited 12/10/12)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hale's and hearty; what a party!

  Hale's Ales, strategically located between the Ballard and Fremont neighborhoods (two of Seattle's hippest) has been brewing the right stuff in one Washington location or another since 1983.  That's old enough to mark it as a genuine pioneer. They like to feature other brewers' wares alongside their own.  One such event is to offer five little flights of the same type of beer, e.g., five IPAs or five ambers, their own and four from other west coast brewers.
Founder Mike Hale caught the brewing bug in England in 1982.  He remains staunchly pro-British in brewing philosophy and even drops a hint or two in the decor of the premises.
A portion of the space downstairs is called the Palladium, usually a venue for music events.  The past weekend it was given over to the Washington Beer Commission's winter beer festival.  Most of the brewers west of the mountains were there, 35 in all, each with their most interesting winter ales.  And yes, it was wall to wall beer enthusiasts, knocking back five ounce tasters.
There is no way anyone could have sampled one of everything.  Some personal favorites I did try: Fremont's Bbomb Abominable Ale, conditioned in bourbon casks.  Flyers' Daybreak Breakfast Stout, with oatmeal and coffee flavors. Naked City's French Dude, their Big Lebrewski aged in wine barrels.  Two Beers' 20-20 Blonde, infused with rose petals, currants, elderberries, and just the right hint of lavender.

(Visited most recently: 12/10/10)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Skagit River Brewing

   The Skagit River Brewery in downtown Mt. Vernon is a place I've been stopping by for several years now and I should post it on this blog.  They are in a recycled building that started out as a fruit warehouse in the 1920s. The building sits right next to the railroad tracks and next door to Skagit Station, where Amtrak and the buses stop.
  Their most popular brand appears to be the Sculler's IPA.  Although sculling is a rowing event, the folks here treat the "c" as if it were a "k" and the morbid skull graces every bottle of Sculler's.  They even did up the bar with skull mugs last Halloween.
     Another of my faves here is Jenny's, the Scotch ale they make every summer in honor of the Skagit Highland Games, a great Celtic whoop-up.  It is a seasonal, but they give it a pretty long season.
   Skagit River has been around for some years.  I know it has been a training ground for a number of folks who have gone on to brew elsewhere or to pour good beers in taverns.
(Visited several times, 2007-present)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Granville Island's venerable institution

I had been in Granville Island Brewing a time or two before, but never realized that it has been around since 1984.  That makes it the oldest microbrewery in B.C., in all of Canada, according to their website.  1984 dates back to Bert Grant's original micro in Yakima. And this place is still going strong.
   If anyone hasn't been there, Granville Island is one of Vancouver's cool spots.  A cement plant operates in the middle of the place, and the Emily Carr Art Institute is next to the cement plant. The area is full of artsy shops, restaurants, a produce market, waterfront stuff, theaters, etc. It all sits on a few acres of land under the Granville Street Bridge, a soaring span that takes connects the downtown to the south side of town. The brewery is right under the bridge.
   Inside, Lisa, the server, offered me small samples of several of the more sweetly flavored brews: Kitsilano Maple Cream Ale (maple syrup), the Chocolate Stout, and the Lions Winter Ale (white chocolate).  She poured each into the bottom of a 4-ounce flight. Yes, four ounces.  Canada is relentlessly metric in everything else, but in the pub they still do pints and ounces.  As I recall, Britain only went metric in the 60s on the condition that the pint of bitter in the pub would remain a pint and not xxx ml. Beer lovers flexing political muscle!  I chose the Winter Ale, excellent taste, more vanilla with the white chocky playing harmony.
  If I understood Lisa rightly, she said they can sell a customer no more than three flights or one pint a day, either by law or by a condition of their license.  It is a quirky license to be sure. The store section sells their own brews, bottled in 341 ml (12 oz) and 650 ml (22 oz) sizes, and the usual assortment of t-shirts, caps, etc.
They also sell wines, a few Canadian labels, but that's all for other beverages.  The store clerk explained that their license allows them to sell only alcohol beverages produced by wineries under common ownership with the brewery.  Except for the Okanagun wine, which used to be under common ownership with Granville, no longer is, but stays in under a grandfather clause. Other B.C. brewpubs,. like Mission Ridge (see Nov. post) or Central City in Surrey, have full fledged package stores, selling vodka, scotch, Gallo wines and everything under the sun.  Different license.
    The brewing equipment is visible behind a glass wall.  When I was there, the brewer was filling tall bottles by hand.
After my pint, I walked a block to where you catch a #50 bus back to downtown.
(Visited 11/30/10)

Steamworks Brewery in the heart of downtown Van

  Step out of the Waterfront Station, a transit nexus for skytrains, buses, ferries, etc. and a few steps takes you into the Steamworks brewery.This establishment occupies the ground foor and basement oi a nice old building called the Landings.
  The inside features lots of dark old wood in the booths and on a nice banister that follows a spiral stair down to the more informal pub and the copper kettles.
  I had a pint of the Signature Pale Ale, a rich malty pale with a bit of toffee in the nose.  My server also had me try a bit of an experiment called North by Northwest. a hooped IPAish experiment that was more balanced than some of the hopzilla versions we see--more like Diamond Knot's/ What struck me most about Steamworks was the label art. They don't bottle here (growler fills the only off premise sales) so the labels are just visible on posters on the walls, on the coasters,and on the t-shirts they sell. Here are a few images:
   Lions Gate Lager features an artist's rendition of the eponymous bridge that soars majestically from Stanley Park to North Vancouver and Coal Porter is a nice evocation of show biz. I wondered if North by Northwest sticks, will they do a label with suggestions of the Hitchcock movie with Jimmy Stewart (shades of Naked City Brewing and their movie title labels!). If Canada gives an award for best beer label every year, as I noted at Mission Ridge last month, these guys should have scored a few golds.
  Across the street one can catch a # 50 bus to Granville Island, my destination for some Christmas shopping and one more brew stop.
(Visited 11/30/10)

Central City: surrey down

  Driving into downtown Vancouver is a lot like driving into downtown Seattle: not one of life's great pleasures. I like to leave the macchina way out on the outskirts and take mass transit in. Vancouver's Skytrain gives you two ways to do this: drive to Richmond near the airport and take the Canada line, or drive to Surrey and take the Expo line. This day, I chose Surrey, in part so I could check out Central City Brewing.  This operation is located across the street from the Skytrain station and in a wing off a curvy glass high rise that is the Surrey campus of Simon Fraser University.
  Inside, they were doing a lot of business in the restaurant, at lunchtime on a rainy Tuesday. The menu was mostly pub fare. They did offer mussels done six different ways and I tried a plate of beer braised mussels which came in a nice broth with their white ale for a base. I had a pint of the white ale, which was served in a weizen glass (as I had learned in my glassware research for the Chuckanut post). They had just five beers on tap, besides the white ale, I saw ESB, Raspberry Wheat, a lager and a pale.  There may have been a tap with the IPA at another station.  All their brews are branded Red Racer, a hot redhead riding a fat tire bicycle.
  Central City has a second logo that plays up their strategic location"\: a skytrain in front of the sleek SFU tower.  It is etched on the glass on the outer windows, and also at the entrance to their package store next door.
As noted, the Expo line station is just a few steps out the door, and it terminates at the Waterfront Station dowtnown, which was also just steps from another goor brewpub stop: Steamworks.
Visited 11/30/10)