PNW Brewery # 1 – Machine House Brewery

The first stop in the Pacific NW is Seattle for Machine House Brewery. Here is one of the few places where cask ale is the order of the day.

Here is what I would add to my first taster tray…

Stinging Nettle Ale – “Amber Ale brewed with fresh Stinging Nettles hand-picked by our brewers on Vashon Island. Malty, spicy and uniquely herbal.”

Golden Ale – “One of our three year-round standard offerings. A refreshing Golden Ale, with a bright, crisp malt body and complex English hop character.”

Best Bitter – “Our flagship, best-selling English Bitter. A well balanced, copper coloured ale brewed with British Crystal malts and First Gold hops.”

Dark Mild – “A surprisingly light-bodied session ale with a rich roasted malt character. Incredible drinkable, the deliciously balanced chocolate and caramel malt character makes the Dark Mild a cult favorite.”

All 13

Not that L.A. gets any beer from Seattle based Georgetown Brewing but I have to give a shout out any time there is a Doctor Who adjacent beer…

There may be issues of copyright and such but at least this isn’t a blatant IP theft on a short lived 16oz can. Plus you can probably enjoy a couple during an episode.

Sip NW Best of Brewery # 1 – Jellyfish Brewing

This month I am traveling to three breweries that received multiple awards in the Best Of issue of Sip NW magazine. My first selection is Jellyfish Brewing.

Let’s get right to the (possible) tasters:
Hydra Pils – “a classic pilsner with a clean malt body and a crisp hoppy finish. An all-German grain bill, and additions of Czech, French and German hops give this lager a truly continental lineage!”

Planktonic Red – “a very bright NW Red with 8 hop varietals, a whisper of hibiscus and a vibrantly clean finish.”

Smack IPA – “Smack is the term for a group of Jellyfish (factoid). This IPA is balanced at its core. It’ll greet you with peaches, pine and bright citrus.”

Saison Memoir – “This light ale is very dry, and is blended with our barrel-aged, wild-yeast fermented Saison. It brings soft peppercorn, bright lemon, and funk to the party.”

GABF Medal Winning Brewery # 1 – Cloudburst Brewing

Cloudburst Brewing made the most of their time on the Great American Beer Festival stage. A colorful expletive on the shirt was straight to the point, “F*^%# ABInBev”

But let’s focus on the beer that earned them a bronze medal and also won in my informal, cool beer names awards that has no award (yet). Easy, Breezy, Beautiful won in the American-Style Wheat Beer.

After that, I would add the following to my first taster tray:

Happy Little Clouds – “a Bastardized” German Pilsner
Ministry Of Truth – Double Stout w/ Blackberries
The Ghost of Great Owl – Pumpkin Beer
Out of Touch – Throwback IPA w/ (mostly) Cascade & Chinook
Boom. Roasted! – Coffee Porter

Review – Saison from Hilliard’s


One of the beers that I have been meaning to try was one of the rare saisons in a can.  This one comes from the land of the 12th Man and Super Bowl champion Seahawks and the brewery is Hilliard’s.

This saison pours a really strange light orange murky color. Tangerine juice creamsicle looking. This is after a really foamy pour. It has a citrus meets Hefe aroma. Some typical Belgian notes in their as well.  Very juice tasting to me. Really dry finish. More in common with cider or champagne to me. Big amount of a dark brown sediment at the bottom of the glass. A little touch of spicy mineral notes at the back.  Not at all what I expected and it makes me want to try it on draft to compare.


Love the can design.  Very cool looking.

Review – BrewDog TV (shows 4-6)


Onto Round 2 of the BrewDog TV review!

This post revolves around the Seattle, Portland and Denver episodes.

Since I wrote a small piece about a coffee beer for November BeerPaper LA and I am writing a larger piece about coffee and brewing for December, I was glad to see that the show went with the obvious for the Seattle episode.  And though the molecular gastronomy was enlightening with the beer pairings, I would have skipped the added caffeine boost section and given more screen time to the chocolatier and the baristas and Elysian.  That’s a personal preference though.

The Denver / Boulder show scared me a bit with the meat smoked thing though I liked the choice of pale ale.  On the whole this one is probably the weakest so far.  Maybe because it was titled Denver, I was expecting more of actual Denver but no mention except for brief bits on Great Divide and Strange.  Plus they like Falling Rock which might be good outside of GABF but has a Toronado SF vibe that I don’t like.  I much prefer Freshcraft.  The gourmand section was fun too.  It is my favorite segment of the show by far.

I was really excited to see the Portland show seeing that it is my hometown.  A little strange to see them partner with Deschutes.  Nothing against them but they don’t scream Portland to me.  Much like my issue with the Denver show, call it Oregon or Colorado if you are going farther afield.  The beer style was inspired though and takes a play from the Beers Made by Walking idea.  My favorite beer that I won’t get to try.  The food section ranks second behind the Philly donut section.

Overall, the show really works for me though.  I enjoy the accents and the self-deprecating humor.  They seem to be enjoying themselves which helps the viewer to enjoy the show!

Brewery Tour – Urban Family

urban_family_2Our last stop in the Seattle area is Urban Family.  Oh and the swing is ironic.

And they also have fun with the names as well,  Tall, Dark and Anxious for a porter, a wit with the expletive laden name of Ain’t Nothin’ Ta F@*k Wit as well as an IPA named after the bully on The Simpsons.

And in 2013, I think part of their “about” page really rings true to me and what the beer industry is about..”creativity and flexibility of how to live and define a life characterizes what we do at Urban Family Brewing: If someone you met through a Craigslist roommate ad can become your brother then you can definitely put lavender in a witbier.”

Oh, and they have other beers on tap too!



Brewery Tour of Justice Brewing


Our tour of Seattle begins with Justice Brewing. AKA, the “nanobrewery your mom warned you about”.  They (well, he) are based in Everett, a suburb of Seattle.

They still have some red tape to cut to get a tap room open but they are brewing Belgian style beers like my following choices:

White & Nerdy – Belgian White with an American Twist – Brewed with Pilsner Malt, Wheat, Sweet Orange Peel, Citra Hops, and Traditional Belgian Yeast. Hoppier than traditional Belgian Wit beers but keeping the traditional character intact.

13 Questions Pale Ale – Single Hop American Pale Ale – Traditional American Pale Ale, brewed with a rotating selection of hops. Premium 2-Row Pale Malt and Munich malt with a touch of Wheat followed by 40 IBUs of hops and finished in the fermenter with even more hops for aroma. We strive to make this a well balanced pale ale. Hop variety varies on availability. Currently brewed with Bravo Hops.

It may take some searching to find their beers but that is what craft beer geeks do, search high and low.

The Beer Junction

Both Portland and Seattle have an epic amount of great stores to satisfy your beery needs. And now Seattle has a new entrant on the west side.

The Beer Junction is owned by Morgan Herzog and will be providing plenty of craft beer and Thursday night tastings too!

They join Seattle institutions like Bottleworks, Pike Street Beer & Wine, Full Throttle Bottles and 99 Bottles too. If you can’t find the beer for any occasion in Seattle, it is your own fault.