Wednesday, September 16, 2015

More garages of Marysville: At Large

    One of the longer lines at the Everett craft beer festival last month stretched out in front of the recently launched At Large Brewing Co.  Opened last April by Jim Weisweaver and his wife Karen, At Large
grew out of Jim's increasing commitment to homebrewing excellence and an academic assignment for Karen.  She took a business class where the term paper was to be on the startup process for either a hypothetical business or an actual business.  As Jim had been filling their garage with bigger and better homebrew gear, they decided to create the actual business for her class paper.
They make beer one full barrel (31 gallons) at a time,  finishing in a brite tank enclosed in a chilled glass compartment.
    The styles are classics, nothing exotic.  A couple of IPAs. a brown, a pale, and a blonde, I'd Tap That, which was one of the hits at the festival.
Another was a watermelon infused cream ale, which Jim made only because the festival wanted every brewer to dispense one beer through a randall.  "I'm no fan of fruit beers in general," Jim says, "but they make the rules, and as we've only been open since April, we cut up some watermelon and went along." The couple have day jobs and brewing is something done in the evenings.   "If I could brew all day long, I'd have a dozen styles up," Jim says, "but I can't so I don't."

(Visited 09/05/15)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Up in the pass: DruBru

  Snoqualmie Pass:  doesn't that seem like the kind of place that needs its own beer?  Of course ti does.  That's the mission of Dru Ernst, founder of DruBru, a 15-bbl brewery and taproom located right near the 3,000-ft summit of the busiest pass through the Cascades.  Open since last October, it survived one of the
least snowy winters on record, showing that even without the usual numbers of skiers at the nearby ski area, a good beer can prosper.
  The styles Dru favors are generally continental European (Belgium and Germany most-favored nations) and in the session-strength range, abvs ranging from 4.5 to just under 5 percent.  I tried a glass of the Schwarzbier. brewed ale-style (no lagers here) at 4.8% and 37 IBUs. A nice rich caramel taste.
There is no bottling, only keg sales, which DruBru self-distributes mostly along the I-90 corridor, from West Seattle to Yakima.
(Visited 08/26/15)

Monday, September 7, 2015

The previous newest brewery in Snohomish Co.: 5 Rights

   Had I made this stop in Marysville on the fourth of August, just before Sno-Town opened, I could have labeled 5 Rights the newest brewery in a county where they keep popping up like mushrooms after the rain stops.  R. J. Whitlow and his family rolled up the garage door to reveal their tasting and growler-filling room on July 3.
  So whence the name, I asked.   Are the five rights some codicil to the Rheinheitsgebot, the Bavarian purity law?  No, no, they said, it's a principle in the nursing profession when giving medications: be sure it's the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right route, and the right time.  R.J.'s wife Kristi is an R.N. at the Everett Clinic, and she evidently has a key role in brewery operations, too.
  The lineup on the first Saturday in September was about a dozen styles, with some interesting twists.  The brews are sorted into three sets: regularly made beers under the Over-the-Counter heading, seasonals are RX or Prescription only, and the special imperials fall under the Nurses' Orders heading.
Heading the Over-the-Counter offerings was Nellie's Nectar Bavarian Hefe, the tap handle for which is pictured on the right.  Mme. Nellie, mother of one of the Whitlows, was present last Saturday, though not pouring--she had a granddaughter doing that.  We had some laughs about her selling the naming rights, though, in light of the UW Husky stadium becoming Alaska Airlines Stadium last week.  The Hefe, my growler take-home choice, was full of clove and banana flavors: it won a tasting award at the Evergreen Fair in Monroe recently.
   Another interesting angle was the stout options.  There was a straight oatmeal stout and a coffee oatmeal stout, both 5.4% abv.  The coffee was not beans in the boil, but cold-brewed coffee (a 24-hr process I had not heard of).
  There were the usual IPAs, pales, an amber, etc.
It does sound as if 5 Rights is still on track to stand out from the crowd.
(Visited 09/05/15)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Badgering the witness? No, Badger in Wenatchee!

     A couple blocks south of the heart of downtown Wenatchee, in a corner of a huge, block-long former fruit warehouse here in the apple capital, the thirsty traveler can find Badger Mountain Brewing open most afternoons. The last time before this I saw it was from an Amtrak window at sunrise, riding the Empire  
Builder back to Everett. The train tracks are visible just beyond the parking area.
    Badger Mountain opened its taproom early in 2013. with a 15-bbl system and 30-bbl fermenters turning out enough beer to distribute kegs in a three-county area and to pass Columbia Valley Brewing as the largest beer maker in Wenatchee.  The styles cover a wide range. from stouts to wheats to an experimental sour.  A pizza oven at the end of the bar, and a barbecue food truck outside, parked on weekends, makes food an option.

     Dave Quick, pictured here to the right, is the brewer and principal owner.  He is demo'ing a new fruit-fly gun, one that fires a tiny burst of table salt, lethal to the flies that proliferate this time of year.
   My tasting notes have disappeared but I had a couple of excellent pints, including an apricot ale and a coconut porter.

(Visited 08/25/15)