Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sixteen nanos take over all taps at the B'ham Local

This was the tap list on March 25 at the Local, Menace Brewing's taproom in downtown Bellingham.  Sixteen nano-breweries, each working on small systems capable of brewing no more than two barrels (= 62 gallons) per batch,  Some in garages or back yard sheds, others in small commercial space they rent.  The owner/brewer/growler-filler/salesman often keeps a day job and does beer out of passion for brewing.  I imagine Local folks must have logged some miles rounding up all these kegs, as most nano brewers self-distribute only within a few miles of home.  So, bravo!
    Of course, all this effort has to have a payoff, in the form of some great and unusual tastes, right?  Here was my taster tray, six four-ounce glasses:
Front row, left to right:
In the Shadow, Honey Basil Lemon
Slippery Pig, Mojito Wit
Foggy Noggin, Burton Ale

Back row, left to right:
Propolis, Farmhouse Dubbel
Populuxe, Citra Red
North Fork, Sour Blonde

ABVs were not listed, so the studious tourist has to go to each brewer's web site or page to learn such things.
In the Shadow Brewing, Arlington
The honey goes in at the end, to balance the light hops bitterness. 5.5% abv. the basil and lemon prominent,  Smooth, sweet finish.
Slippery Pig brewing, Poulsbo.  The mojito wit is cloudy, tangy (I thought of tangerines), nice clingy mouthfeel,  7.5 % abv
Foggy Noggin Brewing, Bothell.  Have been to Jim Jamison's garage several times, when he opens on Saturday afternoons, but never had his Burton (the style they made before they invented IPA there). Jim brought this English strong ale (6.6%) out of retirement lately; earthy aroma.
Propolis Brewing, Port Townsend, those herbal brewers.  For the Farmhouse Dubbel, they throw in some yarrow, hyssop, and thyme.  7.5% abv and a beer of amazing complexity.  Aroma like our berry farms, taste earthy yet the hops don't hide. They call this Achillea on their labels.
Populuxe Brewing, Seattle (Ballard district). The Citra Red (5.5%) is a brilliant clear ruby in shade, with a big aroma, orange juice taste and lots of linger.
North Fork Brewery, Deming, in our own Whatcom County.  The sour blonde ale (6.0%), aged in white oak barrels of unknown prior use, had a good floral aroma.

   Another nano, just recently reopened in Arlington, is Whiskey Ridge. They had been in Darrington for a year (the town nearest to the Oso mudslide tragedy; their opening was delayed some by that event).
The summer trade was good, but come winter, Darrington becomes very quiet.  As one of the Hatleys told a reporter, they didn't sell enough beer on a weekend to cover the gas to get there.
So Arlington (now a three-brewery town, with Skookum and In the Shadow) made more sense. Their downtown location is in a former grain warehouse, with a scale from 1938 preserved on the floor of the pub space.  Here, Jack Hatley is cleaning a brew kettle in his 1.5-bbl system.
   I stopped in last Saturday, their opening day in the new location, and tried a pint of the Pale. It was medium hoppy and floral, a nice-tasting ale.

(Visted 03/21/15)

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