Friday, August 17, 2012

Updates: Elk Head, Airways

   Since I checked out Elk Head Brewery in Buckley and Airways Brewing in Kent last year, each place has acquired a new look.  The patrons of Elk Head have room to spread out in the same business park location as the licensed premises have expanded to warehouse space next door.  This allows Al the bartender to run wild with his growler collection.
    Al says he has 281 growlers up on display and maybe another 50-60 waiting to go up.  This calls to mind Bill Voight's impressive collection at Birdsview Brewery up in Concrete.  Birdsview lists 294 growlers on their website, each from a different brewery with a few duplicates from retail sides (for example, Anacortes Brewing and their Rockfish Grill).  Al doesn't have a published list but relies on memory to avoid picking up duplicates.  A few exceptions for artistic design in the growler medium get a special display area.
   Who thinks the question of which collection has the most craft brewers represented calls out for some objective research?  We will not say sober analysis lest that stretch a point.  But as each of these fine collections inches toward 300 breweries, half of each from Washington and Oregon, the race seems to have an allure for the beer tourist.
   There was time to taste a bit.  Rich is making Elk Dandee, among his dozen or so brews.  This is an exotic, with dandelion greens, ginger root, and lemongrass tossed in the boil.  Not soon forgotten!
(Revisited 8/03/12)
   On the way back from Tacoma the next day, I veered over to Airways Brewing in Kent to check out the bistro they opened recently in the downtown section.  Brewing continues in the business park on the north side, complete with brewer-owner Alex Dittmar's zany collection of commercial air travel accoutrements (see my Jan. 2011 post).  The bistro, in a set of offices that once housed accountants, does not lend itself to such--dare I say--flights of fancy?
On the other hand, the bistro offers food cooked in a real kitchen, as opposed to the bag of pretzels a sky hag stewardess may dole out at the brewery.  Nine panini and twelve pizze grace a nice pub fare menu.  I chose the sausage panini with a First Class IPA.
Of the twelve taps working, six were Airways brews and six were others, including some new nanobrewers striving for reputation.  It's a gracious move by Airways to give these guys some exposure.  Oh, everything tasted great.  This is a good stop.
(Visited 8/04/12)

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