Thursday, May 24, 2012

Make New Friends, With Beer

I probably shouldn’t admit that I didn’t even see Seattle Beer Week coming.  My “other” non blogger life has been a little nutty lately so I was excited when entertaining an out of town guest lead me to information about the upcoming celebration.  I wasn’t able to make it to nearly as many of the 200+ events that I wanted to but did take in a few.  The entire week allowed me time to enjoy delicious beer while making new friends and keeping the old.

Friday 5.11.12 "Beer & Cheese":

WestToast’s own Josh Gana and I hit up Urban Family Public House for the beer and cheese pairings.  There were choices from Colorado as well as more than a half dozen from Bend’s Boneyard Brewing

 We both picked from that menu - Josh enjoying a ‘Suge Knite’ Giant ImperialStout & ‘Up in Smoke’ Rivers Edge Chevre while I grabbed a ‘Hop Venom’ IPA paired with ‘Dry Jack’ from Vella Creamery.

We lucked out and got there early into the evening and in no time, was a line out the door.  We invited a couple of guys to squeeze into our table and before we knew it we were a table of five.  Time with our new friends included tastes of everyone else’s beer and cheese, discussion about the best croissants in Seattle and what it was like living in State College, PA when the ‘Sandusky Scandal’ broke.  It was a couple of great hours of beer, cheese and conversation for less than 15-bucks each.

Monday 5.14.12 "Anacortes Anniversary Brew":

Green Lake is one of those neighborhoods that I love, yet I get incredibly lost every time I try to drive around.  I decided to brave the awkward streets for a taste of Anacortes Brewery’s taps.  I invited my new friend Willie who claims he likes microbrews, even though I’d only seen him drink light beer until this point.  Latona Pub was actually easy to get to driving south on Interstate 5.  We easily found parking and only had to wait a few minutes to get a seat.  As soon as we did the beer started flowing.  I grabbed the Latona 25th Anniversary Cask IPA while Willie took the mainstream version of the same beer.

Both were fantastic, the cask version being very Sweet, Hoppy, Cloudy & Bitter (that was the extent of the notes I managed to write down).  The night included a raffle and we bonded with the table of three next to us as all five of us walked away with prizes.  Mine included an Anacortes pint glass and pint koozy -- which I LOVE!

Tuesday 5.15.12 "Beer & Ice Cream":

I heart ice cream and I heart beer - So I couldn’t pass up the chance to combine the two.  Especially when I heard the beer was coming from one of my favorite NW breweries.  Widmer teamed up with Chuck’s Hop Shop (a magical place that you all should visit) to create three pre-selected combinations and a fourth beer you could pair on your own.

During an impromptu Arizona State University Seattle Alumni gathering Craig, Andrea and I raved about how well the two went together, why we’d never done this before and how four beers and four generous scoops of ice cream ruined any sort of calorie count for the day.

Though - all those calories only cost us 10-bucks!  A steal that has us screaming for more.  In case you’re wondering -- I chose coffee ice cream for the last pairing while many others there that night chose butter pecan.

Tuesday 5.15.12 "Beer In A Can":

Despite the full bellies Seattle Beer Week had more to offer on Tuesday.  Craig and I slowly made our way over to Phinney Ridge to visit The Park Pub and try a can of Churchkey Pilsner.  Yup - It’s a can that you need a good ole’ fashion churchkey to open.  The place wasn’t packed but we grabbed one of the last couple of empty seats and the atmosphere was great inside the bar with the Here’s how describes what’s inside.

“Inside each Churchkey can, craft beer lovers will find a delicious Pacific Northwest-brewed Pilsner-style craft beer. The recipe for which was originated by Portland-based home brewers Lucas Jones and Sean Burke – who have been crafting home brewed beer in their garages for many years, and are passionate about their beer and the community they cultivate with it – the Churchkey Pilsner is made using only the highest quality ingredients. The body of the beer comes from the light, grainy pilsner malt taste, accented by a smooth clean bitterness. The Saaz hop taste and aroma featured in the Churchkey Pilsner make for a uniquely complex, yet sessionable beer at 4.9 percent ABV and a 29 IBU.”

As they say -- It’s a little more satisfying to drink something that takes a little bit of work to open.  We also thought it was pretty rad and in fact, there is a sixer in the fridge right now.

Thursday 5.17.12:

I made tentative plans with a girlfriend for noon on Thursday BEFORE I looked at the Seattle Beer Week schedule.  Big Mistake. Huge.  Luckily, my newlywed friend Kristin is pretty cool (as you can see)!

She was perfectly willing to pass on coffee and meet me at Brouwer’s Cafe for the 4th Annual Sour Beer Fest.  She’s a former Seattleite, turned Portlander who recently relocated back to the Emerald City.  We met up at the door just an hour after the daylong event kicked off and the place was already packed.  It was so full that after we ordered our first round at the bar (I had a Russian River ‘Deviation’) we were forced to ask a couple of lovely ladies out on the patio if they would share their four person table.

They were waiting for someone else but quickly scooted to make room for us and the guy (Eric) at the next table moved his bike helmet so I could fit into the booth seat against the wall.  While the two of us caught up and enjoyed some tasty sour beer (I think both of us liked our first choices a little better than our 2nd) we also made at least one new friend.  Eric quickly brought us into his table’s conversation (they were 25+ sour beers in by the time they left around 2pm).  He told us that he takes Sour Beer Fest off every year, about the cool birthday celebration happening over the weekend at Noble Fir and included us in his daily survey: “If you had to give up eating cheese or having oral sex for the rest of your life - What would you keep?”

I was only able to make it to five of the events but hope to increase those numbers next year.  I take my hat off to the organizers, bars/restaurants and breweries involved - the week was fantastic and had enough variety to make any kind of beer lover happy.


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