Showing posts with label Seattle Beer Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seattle Beer Week. Show all posts

Friday, May 17, 2013

Falling into The Abyss

As black as a cold russian night, *it* tantalizes the drinker from the instant it hits the table.

Deep, dark, intriguing.  Imperially.  Stouty.

Just a finger of dark tan head, with a bubble formation that reminds me of a pelican on the top.  Cute bubbles, really.

I want to stare into the depths of The Abyss' eyes all night long.  That would be stupid, though, because its too damn special to look at for too long.

A heavy roasted malt odor wafts up to my beautiful nose.  Hints of bourbon and barrel round it off as my excitement builds.

The first sip is a sensual experience.  My face gets a little flushed, and a tingly feeling surges through my extremities.  It may be the 11% alcohol by volume talking, but damn this beer is something.

The dark chocolate, molasses, and bourbon.  God, the bourbon.  Brewed with licorice and molasses, aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels.  It's delicious.  Dreamy. 


Deschutes Brewery has hit the mark with the 2011 The Abyss.  A year of aging has treated it well, and Seattle Beer Week has brought it to my local watering hole, The Noble Fir.

Don't just take my word for it, The Abyss rates a perfect 100 on and   Two perfects make a perfect brew.

And if that weren't enough, The Abyss has been named one of the "Ten beers that will make you a man -- if they don't kill you first." In that article, Denver Westword said it better then I ever could:
The Abyss doesn't care. It just keeps winning medals and awards, but do you know what it does with all that hardware? The Abyss melts it down in the fires of hell, pounds it on a blazing anvil and recrafts it into the sledgehammer that it will hit you over the head with, Missy. At 11 percent ABV, this immeasurably dark beer tastes like molasses, wood, licorice and the soul of mankind. Deschutes claims on its website that the Abyss pairs well with caramelized onions and cream cheese on pepper crackers. Bullshit! The Abyss pairs better with the nine horsemen of the Apocalypse riding steeds made of granite. Enjoy.
Don't worry, it's for the ladies too.

So now that I've had my moment, you should too.  Seattle Beer Week continues through this weekend and if you're really lucky, you may run across some The Abyss.  If not, demand it at your local bottle shop.

I said demand.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Seattle Beer Week: Coming to a Pub Near You!

Cinco de Mayo is over, and if you're like me, you've had enough marginal Mexican beer and *gag* tequila to tide you over for 364 days.

We've also made it over the hump of the Kentucky Derby and the awesomeness that is mint julep season.

So what's next?  Seattle Beer Week, that's what.

More than a week, really, Seattle Beer Week is a 10-day extravaganza throughout the City of Seattle and environs bringing special tastings, promotions, guest appearances, and an opportunity to drink some fantastic beer from the tap that typically never makes it into the pubs up here.

In it's fifth year, this year's SBW will bring more than 200 events at more than 80 of your favorite beer venues throughout the Seattle area.  Seriously, check the map, you'll certainly find something within stumbling distance.  If you'd rather browse by event versus venue, you can do that too.

Now that we've dispensed with the "facts", on to the WestToast Seattle Beer Week recommendations.   While you can find 3 - 4 events on each of the 10 days that look awesome, these are the ones on my must-do list:

Saturday, 5/11:

  • Kegs n' Eggs:  I think the name speaks for itself, but if not, Brave Horse Brunch and awesome beer?  What a way to kick off the week.
  • BrewGrass 2013:  Here's our altruistic plug.  A benefit for Northwest Harvest, Brewgrass brings beer and music to Hale's Ale.
Monday, 5/13:
Tuesday, 5/14:
  • Deschutes Brewery Night:  A chance to try the Black Butte XXIV and 2012 The Abyss on tap at Ballard's Noble Fir.  Simply awesome beers.
Friday, 5/17:
  • Eugene vs. Corvallis Night!  Corvallis is going to win, duh.  Fremont's The Sixgill will be pouring brew from Oakshire, Block 15, and Flat Tail for a side by side comparison.  Pretty sure this is the first time that Block 15 has been poured in these here parts.
Saturday 5/18:
There's my lineup. Andrea will surely have a few more to add to the list as I focused on triangulating awesome events with navigability via pedestrian means or public transport.  Close to home or close to work?  Check.

Oh, one more thing...each year, SBW asks a local brewer to make a beer all special like for the week  This year it's Fremont Brewing and they've done what sounds like a very nice Pale Ale.  Get it while you can.

See you around Seattle next week!


Monday, May 21, 2012

Getting Jolly with my friend Roger

May 20, 2012 marked two significant occasions in Pacific Northwest booze lore: the final day of 2012 Seattle Beer Week and the first birthday of this fine educational publication you are reading right now,

Fortunately for Andrea and I, we live in Seattle so Seattle Beer Week served as a de facto 10 day celebration of the greatness that is us, and our humble little blog. Emphasis on *humble*.
One of the events I particularly enjoyed this year was the Jolly Roger Vertical Event at Maritime Pacific Brewing Company. Not only was the beer damn good, but as I bellied up to the bar to sip some brew and reminisce on my Jolly Roger Christmas Ale experience during Winter Beer Month, and reflecting on the past year of our new blog format.

Until the launch of WestToast, I'd been primarily a wine writer and really didn't understand how connected beer was to the world of wine.  I'd been to plenty of wine vertical tasting events, but beer?  You can do that?   As I learned at Maritime Pacific, the answer is yes, and it's every bit as meaningful as a wine vertical.

So, on to the event.

Jolly Roger Christmas Ale is an English Strong Ale / Winter Warmer, weighing in at about 8% ABV. Released annually in the winter, I was a little surprised to see a vertical tasting in May but that wasn't going to stop me. I arrived slightly after 5 PM to a packed house. Despite a full selection of draft beer and food, the star of this show was the 5-year vertical tasting of Jolly Roger featuring the 1997, 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2011 vintages. A 15 year old beer? I couldn't even legally drink then!

As I started to taste through the beer, I was particularly struck by the 1997...followed by the 2004 and then the 2005. As I dug a bit deeper into why the older vintages were speaking more to my palate that specific day, I found that the older versions had a bit more complexity and had opened up after years of conditioning. Turns out, hops fade over time which increases the perception of sugar and booziness in the older vintages, and being a sweet tooth who likes higher gravity beer both are good for me.

This was an important lesson, one that I fully comprehended in wine but hadn't even thought about in the beer landscape. Much a wine will change over time, so does a beer. It takes a hearty beer to stand up for 15 years and Jolly Roger is definitely a strong contender. I'm definitely waiting for the 2012 release this holiday season. After all, who doesn't need a good strong beer to help get through the holidays?

Or, a random Tuesday night during Seattle Beer Week. Five tasters, five ounces each, 8% ABV. You do the math.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Happening Now: Seattle Beer Week

Despite having lived in the far west for more than half my life I still consider myself a Wisconsin Girl.  I love Johnsonville Brats, drink beer and cheer for the Packers so you would probably assume (and be correct) that I’m thrilled Seattle Beer Week is happening right now.  I wasn’t able to make it to kick off events last night but am excited about some of the fantastic things planned around the area this week.  Here are a few of the ones I think look the most exciting, though there are dozens listed each day for this 10 day event - which arguably is one of the best things to happen to Seattle in 2012.

Inking & Drinking:
05/11 from 06:00 PM-02:00 AM at Pub at Piper's Creek
Reprise of last year's hugely popular Beer Week Function - come get some free new ink at Pipers! Artists on hand to indelibly render the logos of our brewery sponsors on your private/public canvas! Hosted by Skagit River Brewing & Left Hand Brewing

Tour de Pints #4:
05/12 from 11:00 AM-07:00 PM
at The Pike Brewing Company
Oil up your chains, grab your helmet, and come join Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery on this year’s 4th annual Tour de Pints! This year’s Tour will take us past some of Seattle’s iconic locations as we bike 20+ miles to and from some of the most defining pubs, taverns and taprooms Seattle has to offer. 
We’ll start this year’s Tour at the heart of downtown Seattle’s Pike Place Market: The Pike Brewing Company. From there we’ll head north along Elliot Bay and across the Ballard Locks to Hilliard’s Beer in Ballard. Feel free to grab a bite from Snout & Co while we’re there! Next, we make our way up Phinney Ridge to Naked City Brewery & Taphouse, a local favorite in the Greenwood neighborhood. From the top of the ridge, it’s all downhill from here is as we cruise east to Ravenna Alehouse. The more ambitious amongst us will have an opportunity to prove themselves in a Feat of Strength: bike from Naked City to Fiddler’s Inn and beat the rest of the group to Ravenna Tavern. Once we catch our breath its south along the Burke-Gilman trail to Fremont Brewing Company’s Urban Beer Garden for a quick break and then off again to Hale’s Ales where we begin our final leg of the Tour toward our final destination, one of the newest pubs in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, The Wurst Place. 
You won’t want to miss out this year! There will be prizes and bar-swag available at each of the stops for a few lucky winners and a special giveaway at The Wurst Place for everyone who completes the entire Tour. There is no need to sign-up beforehand, but we will be asking people to sign a waiver at the first or second stop. Helmets are required! For more information check us out on Facebook at

Beer & Cheese w/Widmer:
05/12 from 01:00 PM-05:00 PM at The Cheese Cellar
Beer & Cheese – Widmer Brothers Beer and Cheese Pairing at the Cheese Cellar
May 12th Two sessions : 1-3 and 3-5. Tickets $20 available for pre-sale at The Cheese Cellar
5 Widmer Brothers Beers paired with 5 artisan cheeses

Kegs & Eggs w/Elysian Brewing Co.:
05/13 from 10:00 AM-03:00 PM at Brave Horse Tavern
Kegs n’ Eggs ~ with Elysian Brewing Co. the official Beer of 2012 Seattle Beer Week - Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout we are pairing it with a brunch special of house made doughnuts with bourbon caramel n’ chocolate dips Plus Elysian will be here.

This is Washington Dammit!:
05/14 All Day at Beveridge Place Pub
Twenty-four Washington Beers from twenty four different breweries, All $3 PINTS

Ride The Bull:
05/14 from 06:00 PM-11:00 PM at Brouwer's Cafe
Cowboy Up! Wear your Western Wear! 
Brouwers Cafe and Big Sky Brewing Co present Seattle Beer Week's first Bull riding night! DRINK...rare and exotic brews from Missoula, Montana's big ballers. SEE...brewery celebrities. RIDE... the mechanical bull - single or tandem, it's all good. GRAB... some cans... of Big Sky IPA for the first time in Seattle. SMELL... the glove. the fear. the fun! Be there Monday night May 14th from 6pm 'til the COWS COME HOME.

Northwest Women In Beer:
05/15 from 05:00 PM-08:00 PM at The Pike Brewing Company
Pike Brewing Co. Museum Room
Women brewed beer or favorite beers to sample.
Women owned food business, small bite samples.
Come learn about the historic significance of women brewers.
Raffle, food, beer and the proceeds benefit, Planned Parenthood!
Not just for women, guys should come too!!

New Belgium Sour Symposium:
05/16 from 11:00 AM-06:00 PM at The Stumbling Monk
This will be a sour beer seminar and blending workshop led by New Belgium's master blenders Lauren Woods and Eric Salazar. 
There will be 2 sessions 11-2 and 3-6. Space is very limited. SECOND SESSIONS SOLD OUT!

Barley Wine Brewer’s Dinner:
05/17 from 07:00 PM-11:00 PM at Pyramid Breweries' Seattle Alehouse
Enjoy a four-course, beer-paired dinner featuring our special Beer Week Cask Barley Wine. The dinner includes a brewery tour and a free growler to take home. 7 p.m. $45, all-inclusive. Advanced purchase required. Tickets available at:

Liquid Sunshine in A Can:
05/18 All Day at Super Deli Mart
Super Deli will be featuring beers from 21st Amendment on draft and will offer 20% off on all Canned Beers from California. Come in and grab some growlers of 21A and a few cans of California finest Beers!!

Sound Brewing Night:
05/18 from 07:00 PM-10:00 PM at Hopvine
Sound Brewery Night: A Night of Beer, Food and Music 
The boys in Poulsbo are brewing some amazing beer and we will be sharing some of their special craft with you on Friday. Live music and something special from the kitchen will be included in the fun. 
Special Beers: 
We'll be bringing a keg of WW3, our Tripel Entendre aged for a week in a barrel that had Bainbridge Island Organic Distillery's Wheat Whiskey in it.

Sudsy Shuffle w/Beer West:
05/19 from 11:00 AM-03:00 PM at Brave Horse Tavern
First Annual Sudsy Shuffle with Beer West Magazine were talking shuffleboard tournament!

2nd Annual Free BBQ SWB:
05/20 from 12:00 PM-03:00 PM at Fremont Brewing Company
The 2nd Annual "Oh My Gawd, What Have I Done to My Liver!" free BBQ. Come to our Urban Beer Garden between 12pm-3pm and get yer BBQ, have a frothy beverage and take pride in surviving SBW 2012.