Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pike Brewing, the Applebee's of brew pubs?

Taking pictures outside of a bathroom is awkward.
The sheer amount of kitsch on the walls was a bit overwhelming as I descended the stairs from 1st Ave in downtown Seattle to the Pike Brewing. There was nary a scrap of wall that didn't have something hanging on it. Granted it was interesting stuff like the rack of tiny beer bottles outside of the bathroom. That, plus No Doubt's Spiderwebs coming across the sound system put me in a different sort of place than I was expecting. Maybe Seattle hasn't given up the 90's.

Sitting down at the bar I ordered a sampler and was greeted by a good variety of beers in tiny glasses on a wooden panel. This looked promising.

Pike Space Needle - The best beer on the tray. You can stop here if that's what you're looking for. Billed as a golden IPA it was darker than expected, but had a wonderful hop bite than lingered.
Pine Derby Lager - A soft lager. I enjoy the crispness of a good lager and this was a totally different, though tasty, experience.
Pike Harlot's Harvest - I don't care for pumpkin beers, but it was on the sample tray so bottoms up. It tasted like pumpkin, not my thing. And harlot? Really? You're not going to call a beer Prostitute Porter, why go with the misogyny?
Pike #4 Alba IPA - Grapefruit. This beer tasted like grapefruits. Hoppy grapefruits, but grapefruits none the less. A dollar of each pint goes to ALS foundations, a very worthy cause. I hope a percent of my sample goes there too.
Pike Wolf of the Woods - On the menu it showed up as a golden single hop IPA with fresh Simcoe hops. That's not what I saw or tasted in the glass. This was a caramel heavy beer with a bit of hops coming though. I found out an old description was used on the menu and this year they had a specialty malt from Skagit Valley. Fair enough, but I don't think a fresh hop ale should be so malt forward. It kind of misses the point of the fresh hops.
Pike Acquaintance - A holiday ale before Thanksgiving? Very good, but with the sun shining (yeah, in Seattle? It was kinda weird) it was a bit out of place. Good think I was in a properly dimly lit pub.

The Space Needle was a great beer. I had to finish off the sampling with a pint.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Don't be a beer collector

Three years was how long it took me to realize that I was collecting beers. Boxes in my basement (I'm not calling it a cellar) had started to fill up with unopened bottles of beer that I wasn't drinking. Back in 2006 I grabbed my 1st bottle of Stone's Vertical Epic series and despite missing the first few years I was determined to see it through to 2012. Seven years past and I had collected the set from 06.06.06 through 12.12.12. The next step was much harder than picking up a beer once a year. I had to find a time significant enough or group of people good enough to sample seven 22 oz beers in a sitting. This was supposed to be a vertical tasting. This was in the name. The Stone brewers/marketers would take away my Stone card (is there such a thing?) if I didn't.

Three years past and those 7 beers were still in a box in my basement. This had moved beyond wanting to plan something special and worthy of a project spanning nearly a decade. I was an Epic failure on the Epic party planning front. These beers needed to go! Needed to go into my belly! There's no way I'm taking on a solo vertical tasting of these beers. That would mean either dumping beer or trying to drink upwards of 2 1/2 gallons beer. I don't mind dumping a taster at a festival, but not a 22 and I'm surely not drinking to lethal BAC.

Starting up...An Epic 7 days
Over the next 7 nearly consecutive days I had one Epic beer a night, paired with an episode or 2 of Scandal, because just like beer I'm several years behind on TV. While originally I had plans of a grand vertical tasting with notes and comparisons of beer, I just sipped and enjoyed these beers.   

Oct 10 - Let's get this party started  
Oct 12 - Reminiscent of miso soup
Oct 13 - Still hoppy after all these years
Oct 14 - No orange flavor left, only delicious chocolate
Oct 15 - Mixing wine and beer, not my thing
Oct 16 - Nice low burn from the chili
Oct 17 - Voted best of the lot

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fall's Clash of Beer Styles

Fall is a clash of beer seasons. In one glass the best of seasonal beers, fresh hop ales, but in the other there is the monstrosity of pumpkin beers. There's only one glass I'm drinking from this fall.

I've picked up a few and am looking for more in the coming days before this short season comes to a close. There hasn't been a disappointment yet with three beers for me to try for the 1st time and one I will pick up every time I see it.

Wild Ride - Journey to Planet Fresh-Hop: This is my first taste of this Redmond based brewery since their opening about a year and a half ago. If this is any representation of their normal output I'll be looking out for their other offerings.

Bridgeport - Hop Harvest: From field to brew in 1 hour. I've had that beat with vine to kettle in a few minutes, but I brew at a much smaller scale.

Double Mountain - Killer Green: Killer Green and Killer Red. Yearly standards in the fresh hop field and examples of what every brewery should be shooting for.

Gilgamesh - Fresh Prince: Best beer name of the group. Don't know why Team Gilgamesh has a few Fresh Prince of Bel Air themed brews, but I like it and applied a bit of Weird Al style.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Gilgamesh Fresh Prince

In western Oregon born and raised
In the hop fields was where I spend most of my days…
Brewin' and sippin' relaxin' all cool
And picking fresh hops outside of the school…
When a couple of brothers who were up to some good
Started brewing beer in my neighborhood…
I brewed one little IPA and my mom got scared
She said 'It's time to brew Fresh Prince with fresh hops in the air'
The ABV clocked in about 7.8
And I yelled to the brewer 'Yo homes brew more later'
I looked at my glass, it was finally here
Packed full of hops, the Fresh Prince of beer