Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Way out in Westport at a brewery

    Most of Washington's salt-water shoreline lies along the hundreds of pieces of Puget Sound; just a couple hundred miles face the open Pacific where the next landfall is Japan.  Only one town in this rainy, stormy coast has its own brewery at this time: Westport.  In a yellow cottage in the town, behind a yard full of flowers in the summer, lives a lady, Robin Duus, who brews beer in what was once the garage.
Terry Helland, Jr. is the brewmaster at Westport Brewing, the guy who watches the wort, but Robin seems very much the hands-on owner.  She poured me a row of tasters to show her mainstay beers.  The names highlight the local geography: Shoalwater Stout, Plank Island (an old nickname for Aberdeen) Porter, Dungeness Dark (a Cascadian Dark Ale), Sailor's Dellight Amber, and Wetsuit Wheat. A wetsuit is standard garb for surfers out here--the Pacific is cold, cold water even in mid-August.
     The site mentions a series of cranberry-flavored ales (Ocean Spray has a big plant just outside the town and cranberry bogs must be nearby), but none of those were on this day.  I particularly liked the CDA, the Dungeness Dark, and the Sailor's Delight amber.  Notes on the latter talk about a "biscuity" flavor and once pointed out, I could taste that.  5.25% abv, 30 IBUs.
    The current system is rated at three barrels capacity, but Robin says a fifteen-barrel kettle is on order and will be running next spring.  She is also considering opening a second taproom, perhaps in Olympia.  Another craft brewery with bright prospects--good to see.
(Visited 8/15/13)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

7 Seas: New Digs in Gig Harbor

    The last time I saw 7 Seas Brewing, they were on a hilltop several miles from the town's waterfront heart.  Last December they moved the brewing, the taproom, the whole works down to where the action is.  Maybe a block or two from the water, at the end of a little strip mall they share with an Ace Hardware, a florist, a teriyaki place, and a couple others.
The mainstay brews are the same: primarily British styles, Rude Parrot IPA, British Pale Ale, Cutts NW Amber, and the well-known Ballz Deep Double IPA.  Only the Pale and the Ballz are marketed in 16-oz cans; the others leave the premises by keg or growler.
I tried the Port Royal Export Stout with some take-out teriyaki; the variety of tastes suggested on the website's description are indeed there.  6.8% abv and a subtle 40 IBUs.
The equipment is fully visible from the taproom.
I looked for but did not see a canning line.  7 Seas is, after all, the first Washington brewer to embrace the aluminum can.  The old canning machine is still around but little used now, I was told; a mobile canner comes up from Portland every couple of weeks and cans a ton of Pale and Ballz.
Up on the hill, owners Travis Guterson and Mike Runion were brewing in an eight and a half barrel system. It came here but sits in the shadow of a new twenty-barrel system.
Great to see another craft brewer growing sales and prospering enough to be expanding.
(Visited 8/14/13)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Slaughter County marks first anniversary in Port Orchard

  Slaughter County Brewing Co (main site on Facebook)  celebrates one year in business this Saturday.  The Wednesday before, they had only one of their own brews on tap in the pub, running guest taps in the others as they stockpiled for the upcoming party.  They are located right on the waterfront; in this view a biking and running trail borders the pub's outdoor seating area while a naval ship steams past out of the Bremerton Navy Yard.
   The name is that given the county by the Territorial Legislature in 1857, to commemorate one William Alloway Slaughter, one of the first white casualties of the Indian wars that broke out after 1855.  Changed to Kitsap County not long after that. Owner and brewer Sbott Kirven likes historical tidbits like this, and a peek at his three-barrel system discloses another enthusiasm.
Shiver me timbers, it's a pirate-themed pub!  Kori, the bar manager, says they have a piratical evening once a month.  One Eye IPA, one of the ales being readied for Saturday, reflects that.theme.  The only own beer available when I stopped was the Dubbel; it was malty but I couldn't pick up the spices that often mark this style.  Other types made here include a Scotch ale and a barleywine.  Zymurtic diversity is the watchword.
Great location, lots of fun events, good beer: Slaughter should have mnay more anniverstary parties in years to come.
(Visited 8/14/13)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ballard # 4 (Populuxe)

  My last stop at the new breweries of Ballard was at Populuxe Brewing  in the 800 block of NW 49th St. Opened last March--the same day as Peddler--Populuxe is definitely a nano-sized brewery with a 1.5 bbl system.  Their next-door neighbor is Apex Automotive
and the two businesses were co-sponsoring a family day on the last Friday in July.  This meant a big turnout of little people in the open area between Populuxe and Apex.
It was pretty hectic and the brewfolk were busy drawing pints for parents, so no chance to chat. But I gathered that Populuxe has been scoring well with the beer geeks of Seattle.
   That wrapped up a day in Ballard's new breweries that are up and running.  Two more are in the works, license applications pending.  Now what if Redhook, which started out here, were to open a pub in the old neighborhood?
(Visited 7/26/13)