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Let’s BREW Seattle

September 29, 2014

Brew_Seattle
It’s time to put the Emerald City’s craft breweries on center stage at the 2nd Annual Brew Seattle. Last year was such a smashing success Seattle Magazine is doing it again, hosting an all Seattle craft beer extravaganza on Friday, October 10th.

If it is anything like last year’s event, it will not disappoint.  Twenty three local breweries and two local cideries will be pouring more 60 beers and ciders. Admission gets you six sample tokens and unlimited Pinky’s BBQ.  Not enough for you? What about ice cream beer floats, music and giveaways!  Still not enough?  You can feel good, because a portion of the proceeds go to the East African Center.

So, come on out and celebrate Seattle’s great craft beer!

Details
Brew Seattle
Friday, October 10, 2014
6pm – 9pm

Fremont Foundry
154 35th N. St., Seattle, WA 98103
Click here for a google map

Cost: $40

Breweries & Cideries
Big Al Brewing
Big Time Brewing
Bluebird Brewery
Elliott Bay Brewing
Elysian Brewing
Epic Ales
Fremont Brewing
Georgetown Brewing
Hale’s Ales
Hilliard’s Beer
Lantern Brewing
Machine House Brewery
McMenamin’s
Naked City Brewing
Peddler Brewing
Pike Brewing
Populuxe Brewing
Pyramid Brewing
Schilling Cider
Schooner Exact
Seapine Brewing Co.
Seattle Cider Co.
Spinnaker Bay
Standard Brewing
Stoup Brewing
Two Beers Brewing

Thanks for the invite Seattle Magazine, again!

Cheers,

Cindy & Eric

 

 

Amsterdam the First day

August 24, 2014
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Our first day in Amstedam is over, and we found good beer. I’m sure you’re not surprised. So far, we have felt very comfortable in this great city.

It was ten minutes to noon, when the skies darkened and then five minutes later lit up with lightning. We know the signs of a potential downpour, so we backtracked to nearest beer bar in the Jordaan Neighborhood. Thankfully Proeflokaal Arendsnest just opened and we entered as the rain let loose. The cozy pub features 30 Dutch Craft Beers on tap. We felt right at home! The worst part was looking at the blackboard and deciding what to drink. Luckily they serve schooner sizes (roughly 10oz or 25cl) so you can have a few and still be able to function. To start, Cindy went with Texels Skuumkoppe (Amber Wheat), and I had Kompaan Lente Saison. Neither disappointed. For the second round Cindy tried the Nitro Extra Stout by Jopen and I had a Koningshoeven Latrappe Dubbel. The Jopen was delightful and the Dubbel was just as expected, malty with a touch of sweetness. We look forward to a return vistit to Arendsnest and possible enjoying a beer on their canal edge patio.

Hunger set in so it was time to see what a Dutch Brewpub was like. On the edge of the Red Light District, Brouwerij de Prael has been crafting beer since 2001. They have a canal facing store front selling bottles to-go and a Proeflokaal (tasting room/pub) around the corner. What a gem! It was rustic, yet modern with a Dutch misc theme. The food was good and inexpensive. The service was great. And the beer? The beer was good! We had a sampler that icluded a German Kolsch (?), their Johnny (Kolsch), Willeke (Triple Blond), and Mary (Barley Wine). All of their beers are named after famous musicians. Cindy prefered Johnny and liked Willeke best. As a nice touch the sampler included crackers and water to clense the palate. We followed the samper with the Johnny VK (Alt) and the Doe Maar (Scotch), as two Dutch Bachelor Parties joyfully faced off in the alley behind us. One bachelor was dressed as a large baby with his buddies all wearing matching yellow jerseys with their alias printed on their backs for the occasion other party dressed their bachelor as a human heart and wore Mardi Gras beads. Cheers and photos ensued. Oh what fun! One of the bartenders was kind enough to write down some suggestions of places to eat things to do that she enjoyed and encouraged us to look up the band Doe Maar on YouTube.

Before returning to the apartment we stopped by a grocery store to buy food and some beer for later. We returned with St Bernard Grottenbier, Amsterdam Brewboys Pale Ale, Maximus Highhops 6 Dry Hopped IPA, Maximus Saison 5, De Prael Nick & Simon LIPA (Lowlands IPA), and Brouwerij De Rijp Woeste Willem Hoppen Blond. I look forward to trying all of them.

The best beer of the day was a ‘t IJ Zatte that I had with dinner at Walter’s in Northeast Amsterdam. An area a away from the touristy central district that reminds me a bit like Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, BC.

I look forward to visiting the Brouwerij ‘t IJ at the base of a real wooden windmill.

Cheers,

Eric

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Saving “Fretzy”

August 16, 2014

Yesterday, I was alerted via social media that former high school classmate was looking for help.  I clicked on the link and was compelled to see what I could do.

Last May, Stacie Parker Fretz lost her husband, Gregory Fretz, to throat cancer.  Greg had been the craft beer industry since 1994 working for Pyramid and Deschutes Brewing.  In 2011 he realized his dream of owning his own brewery when he co-found Phoenix Ale Brewery  with George Hancock, former chairman of Pyramid Brewing in Seattle.

Sadly, when Greg died there was no life insurance and a mountain of medical bills. This has forced Stacie to file for bankruptcy in attempt start over. Now, Stacie is in jeopardy of losing her portion of the brewery, and is looking for help to keep “Fretzy” in the family.

Here is what I received from Stacie:

“Basically, it is a very small portion of the brewery that I am trying to keep…Greg and his partner started the brewery while Greg was still working for Gary Fish, from Deschutes. So, he kept his full time career…while spending any spare time he had looking at property, going over business plans, and everything else that goes into starting a new brewery. The brewery… is still growing. So basically, my shares are really not worth anything at this point. I just want my kids to be able to have what was Greg’s passion someday. After all, our flagship beer is named “Fretzy” after him! I would hate to have to tell the kids that the brewery is gone as well… At any rate, I hate that I am being kicked while I am already down. It is humiliating enough to have to file bankruptcy, and now for them to take all that we have. There is no savings, no 401k, no life insurance…just a roof over my head, and my people… The local craft brewery people have been amazing throughout the past almost 15 months. I think beer people are just good people.”

I’ve never met Greg (that I know of) , have never been to Phoenix Ale Brewery, and I really didn’t know Stacie in high school.  I just love craft beer, and I hate reading stories like this. Not to get too political here; but can’t we all agree that no one should have to file bankruptcy due to medical bills?

Let’s continue to show Stacie that craft beer people are amazing.   Check out her campaign at http://www.gofundme.com/cmxurw and help keep “Fretzy” in the family.

Cheers,

Eric

P.S. Thanks to Beer PHXation Blog for additional information to help with this post.

Top Craft Beer States

May 12, 2013

I Drink Local BeerA few weeks ago, my Twitter feed was filled with re-tweets of USA Today’s article listing the 10 Best Craft Brew States. Many people were excited that their state made the list. I was happy that my home state, Washington, was number two, finally getting some national respect.

The problem with the article was that the list was solely based on the number of Craft Breweries per state. True that the number of craft breweries is a factor in determining the best craft beer states, but what about breweries per capita, craft beer consumption, history, and quality? It is a difficult assignment, but with some research and ground rules you could probably do a little bit better.

When articles like this are posted, I skip right to the comments to see the backlash. In this case, people from states that did not make the list chirped in to say why their state should be listed, how their state is the best and that the writer doesn’t know anything. The commentary got quite comical and a little mean. I loved the ones that said “…where is North Carolina?”, that had responses that said “north of South Carolina”.

I used to get riled up at lists like this too since I have a strong bias for the Pacific Northwest. Lucky for me, the PNW was at the forefront of the movement in the 80’s and I have not known a time when craft beer wasn’t available (At least for the 21 years I’ve been of drinking age). Call me provincial, but if Washington, Oregon, Seattle or Portland, are absent from a “Best Beer States/Cities” list, I discount it.

Lately I’ve had a change of tune. It’s just exciting to see how many states, cities, and regions are taking claim to the best craft beer. How awesome is it that that craft beer has spread across the country?  People all over this great nation now have great local beer to drink, and they too are proud to support their breweries. It’s amazing! My motto is Traveling Globally, Drinking Locally. Visiting near and far away places to try the local beers, preferably fresh from the source, is my passion. It’s getting so easy to do now.  I love it!

To poke a little fun, I decided to do my own listing of the best craft beer states, that is completely random. What the heck. Now everyone can complain. It’s a double random list that I prepared with the help of Random.org. I first took a list of the states, plus Washington DC, and randomized it, and then I created a 1-51 random sequence, placed them in a spreadsheet, and then sorted starting with one.

The randomness gods have spoken and here is the list. It is best enjoyed while drinking your favorite craft beer. I think a few of the states are fairly accurate, Colorado would be in my top 4, but Oregon at 45 is comical. North Dakota, who knew?

  1. Maryland
  2. North Dakota
  3. New York
  4. Colorado
  5. District of Columbia
  6. Indiana
  7. Ohio
  8. Oklahoma
  9. New Mexico
  10. California
  11. Washington
  12. Michigan
  13. Alabama
  14. Alaska
  15. New Hampshire
  16. Kentucky
  17. Connecticut
  18. Florida
  19. Minnesota
  20. Mississippi
  21. Georgia
  22. Nebraska
  23. Louisiana
  24. Rhode Island
  25. Arizona
  26. Texas
  27. Pennsylvania
  28. Montana
  29. Wisconsin
  30. Arkansas
  31. New Jersey
  32. Massachusetts
  33. Nevada
  34. South Carolina
  35. Tennessee
  36. Delaware
  37. North Carolina
  38. Maine
  39. Missouri
  40. Vermont
  41. Idaho
  42. Iowa
  43. Illinois
  44. Hawaii
  45. Oregon
  46. Wyoming
  47. Virginia
  48. South Dakota
  49. Kansas
  50. Utah
  51. West Virginia

Have fun, relax, and be happy that we have so many wonderful beers to choose from in our great nation.

Cheers,

Eric

Defend Washington Beer – Press Release

April 16, 2013

defend_wa_craft_beerIf you don’t already know, the State of Washington has two budget proposals on the table that will increase the excise tax on craft beer.  These taxes will cause undue harm to Washington craft brewers. This Friday, April 19th, Washington craft beer lovers will converge in Olympia to urge our state politicians that they should support our local, small business, craft brewers, and not increase their taxes.  I encourage you to join us.

Kendall over at WashingtonBeerBlog.com has been doing an excellent job of covering this.  I encourage you to head on over and checkout his many posts on the subject.  Here is a link to one.

Roger, from Georgetown Brewing, posted one of the best responses I’ve seen on the subject.  Check it out here.

Here is the official press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 15, 2013

Contact
Joe Korbuszewski
joeski78@gmail.com

Beer Lovers Unite to Oppose Beer Tax Proposal

A Rally in Olympia on Friday to Defend the Brewing Industry

(Monday, April 15, 2013) – Seattle, WA – A group of craft beer enthusiasts, brewing industry workers, and other concerned citizens will rally in Olympia this Friday to stand united in opposition to the proposed beer tax increase. The Defend Washington Beer Rally takes place at the Capitol steps on Friday, April 19 at noon.

The goal of this Friday’s Defend Washington Beer Rally is to capture the attention of lawmakers, making it clear that real people stand in opposition to the proposed tax increase. They are not protesting the increased cost of a pint of beer; rather, they are protesting a drastic increase to the already-high tax on breweries and the potential ramifications it could have on the craft beer industry. The rally’s organizers understand the current budget crisis but feel that this tax plan is ill advised and shortsighted.

“Over the past five years, Washington’s craft beer industry has seen an explosion of growth,” says Joe Korbuszewski, one of the event’s organizers. “This has resulted in the creation of more jobs and small businesses. We feel it is irresponsible to overly tax an industry that would be devastated by such an increase, not to mention the ripple effects it would have on the local economy.”

The Legislature recently introduced a budget plan that includes an increase to the excise tax that all craft breweries pay on beer sold in Washington. In particular, the plan calls for a drastic increase in the tax rate for craft breweries producing less than 60,000 barrels per year. With the exception of Redhook, all of Washington’s nearly 200 breweries fall into this category. The tax proposal does not raise taxes on larger breweries. This Friday’s rally is a show of support for Washington’s breweries, which would be most greatly impacted by the tax increase.

“It’s one thing to tax us, the consumers, at the point of purchase; it’s another to tax small businesses that run on slim margins at the point of production,” says Korbuszewski. “We understand our state’s crisis with the budget shortfall, but we feel that this tax is simply too much.”

Kendall Jones, producer of the Washington Beer Blog, agrees. “This isn’t about my pint price. This is about impeding an industry that we should be fostering. I don’t think this proposal has been properly vetted. I say that because I do not believe our Governor and our Legislature actually want to stymie job creation. Craft beer is a growth industry, creating the best kind of jobs: manufacturing jobs. At least that’s what the local craft beer industry has been doing in recent years and is doing right now. This proposed tax increase jeopardizes all of that.”

Craft beer lovers, brewery workers, and many other people who work in pubs, bottleshops and businesses that benefit from Washington’s vibrant craft brewing industry will attend Friday’s rally in Olympia.

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Cheers,

Eric

Aloha from Maui Brewing Co.

March 17, 2013

MBC Lineup Let’s face the facts.  I like beer, specifically craft beer. Whenever I’m on vacation I drink locally made beers and seek out where they are made.  Luckily, Cindy humors me. It will be no surprise then that we spent an afternoon at the Maui Brewing Company production facility; taking their tour and enjoying some fresh Maui beer.

First off, we should get to the logistics. The production brewery is in Lahaina on Maui’s northwest side, just a few blocks off of Front Street, on the east side of the highway at 910 Honoapiilani Highway #55. (See Map)  If you are looking for it, you won’t want to confuse its location with their brewpub which is 6 miles north at 4405 Honoapiilani Highway #217. (See Map) The tour costs $10 and includes a 30-45 minute education on the Maui Brewing process, a 6 sample taster tray, and a token for a free pint at the brewpub.  They offer two tours on Friday’s (3pm and 4pm) and three on Saturday’s (10:30am, 11:30am, & 12:30pm). Reservations can be made by calling the Tasting Room at 808.661.6205 during normal hours.

We started off in the Hawaiian appointed tasting room which is in the warehouse facility. Behind the bar, Ann was quick to welcome us and get us all setup for the tour. We were about 15 minutes early, so Ann recommended that we start it off right with one of our two sampler trays.  It was a good call!  The sampler included the regulars: Bikini Blonde, Manna Wheat, the amazing Coconut Porter, and Big Swell IPA. It also included as one seasonal the Aloha B’ak’ton brewed with 40lbs of chocolate for the Mayan Apocalypse. I’m so glad zombies didn’t end the world and I got to taste this wonderful beer with roasted malted aroma and dry dark chocolate bitter finish.

We sat around and chatted with a couple from Tulsa whom I invited to write a post about Tulsa Beer, hopefully they will take me up on it. It wasn’t long before Buck led us back to show us the 25 barrel brewing facility where all of Maui Brewing’s canned and kegged beers are produced.  It was the typical brewery tour, walking you from the beginning of the process from grain and hop selection, through the mash tun, the boil kettle, the fermenters (They have 9 100bbl fermenters), and on to the canning and kegging.  It differentiated from other tours when talking about sustainability, Maui ingredients, and the process for getting that wonderful coconut flavor in the Coconut Porter.

The mission at Maui Brewing is to put a little bit of Maui in every beer. That’s why you’ll find Maui pineapple in their Manna Wheat, and the Coconut in their Porter. Every Maui Brewing beer is made in Maui, and they pledge to keep it that way. They do all they can to ensure quality and taste of their canned beer, no matter where it is, and tweak the recipes for the best product. Maintaining the Maui flavors on the mainland can be a challenge due to the freshness of the Aloha ingredients. Unfortunately, this means that they are only distributing in select markets in eight additional states. Fortunately, Seattle is one of those markets!

When Buck’s brilliant tour ended, we headed back to the tasting room where Awesome Ann was waiting for us with our second sampler tray. The beers all seemed to taste a little better after 40 minutes in the warm brewery.  We sipped these down pretty fast and ordered up a couple of pints. After yakking with Ann for a while (and some dude from San Diego), and passing on last call, we settled up and continued on with our day.

I know when you are in Maui, the last thing you will probably want to do is go in to a warm warehouse with all sorts of machinery, and many different smells.  However, if you like good beer and are even slightly interested in learning the brewing process I assure that you will enjoy the Maui Brewing tour. There is even a little liquid gold at the end.

Up next will be the brewpub.  Spoiler, we’ve already been there, and highly recommend it.

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Cheers,

Eric

Live From: Machine House Brewing

January 12, 2013

Machine House Brewery 1I’m going to try something new today, we’ll see how well it works out. Cindy and I are at the opening of Machine House Brewing in Georgetown (Seattle, Wa), and I’m going to write a live article. My goal will be to post it before I leave. I reserve the right to come back to edit it and add photos later.

And away we go.

We were a bit challenged in finding it. It was our fault as we approached it from the Northeast of their building, back where the old Georgetown Brewing was. There were no obvious signs for the brewery, until we saw it’s number 121 on the mailbox. We found their door (actually three) and entered, through the BACK door. So we are challenged. We walked through, past the cold storage, entered the taproom, and saw the FRONT door. Lesson learned, enter from the South, diaganally from Georgetown Records.

The space is big! It looks like they have some room to grow. It’s definitely industrial, after all we are in Georgetown, and in an old brewery. It is a bit chilly too, so bring a coat and gloves. For accomodations they have a large walk up bar, a comfy sofa (which we are sitting on now), and a couple tables with keg seats.

Owners Bill, the brewer, and Alex were behind the bar meeting all the patrons at their new establishment. We had great conversations about how they met (same soccer team) and started the brewery. Bill and I talked about traditional British beers and the new movement in England where more breweries are making more American Style beers. It was really good conversation, you should have been there.

On tap today they have three beers: Mild, Gold, and a Bitter all served out of traditional British hand pump Beer Engines. The Gold is good, an English Ale with earthy malt and floral hop flavor. The Bitter, a darker amber hue, is very smooth, malty with mild hop finish. I should have started with it, with the hops from the Gold still fresh on the tongue. Moving onto the Mild, a dark roasted malt flavor bomb that is so easy to drink, is only 3.6 ABV, and tastes great. Watch out North Fork, this may be my new favorite session beer in Washington.

Okay, I’m frustrated and done, with my iPhone not Machine House Brewing. Bill and Alex are off to great start. I look forward to watching them grow.

Cheers,

Eric

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