Venture capitalists, buyouts, mergers, co-operative agreements, contract brewing, private equity investments. So far from “the little guy” who started out as a home based-five gallon garage brewer.
The craft brewery industry is growing. But what is craft beer? Who decides how to define it? Is it really even relevant as a term anymore, or has it died the same name death as “microbrewery”?
Who brews your beer? Where is it brewed? Where does the money go you pay for it? Do you even care? Should you? Is it local if you buy a Spokane beer sold in Seattle? Or one from Ellensburg? Is “local” now measured in a radius from the point of production? The Brewers Association (BA) is now using the term “Independent.” That has more to do with who owns how much of the brewery than any measure of local or craftiness.
The craft beer industry has many, many issues to which the average consumer is able to stay benignly blind. As product managers forecast growth and capacity issues, whether to buy the new tank or partner up with other brewers who have extra capacity right now. The fight for shelf space and tap handles to expand sales beyond the walls of their brewhouse. Often fighting what is arguably unfair competition from larger competitors. Distributors who may or may not actually have your best interests in mind when they go out to rep your products. Suppliers of grans and hops who have waiting lists for customers wanting to buy ingredients.
We have seen big beer trying to salvage their bottom lines by acquiring successful comparably smaller breweries, and even feasting off major competitors on a global scale. Its the business side of beer so removed from a consumer’s dilemma of ordering a IIPA or a Saison next.
“Drink local” is the current mantra. But there are some really good beers that are brewed out of the region, even in foreign countries. By actual Trappist Monks. At breweries that are hundreds of years old.
For me, it’s personal. I generally buy my beer from the taphouse at the brewery itself in pints, crowlers or growlers. Usually I will get the shirt or logo glass if it is a new place. I have way too many shirts and glasses. But I like helping new breweries get started.
That said, there are a few places in the Seattle Metropolitan Area where I live that I consider local breweries even though many will dispute it based on the current level of outrage at “selling out.” Here they are:
Pyramid started as one of Washington’s first breweries under the name Hart Brewing in Kalama, WA in 1984. It later acquired Thomas Kemper Brewing in Poulsbo, WA (also started in 1984), through a series of sales, mergers, divorces and other drama. It moved brewing operations to Portland after being sold to a variety of equity capital firms, who expanded the Pyramid line into Oregon and California.
The location across the street from newly renamed T-Mobile Park recently started brewing small batch experimental beers available for tasting at the Seattle brewery only. So if you want a flash back to the past, stop in and try some of the new brews being created there. Pyramid managers are trying hard to reestablish the brand as the iconic Washington beer that started out in 1984.
Redhook Brewing has taken a long and winding road from its humble beginnings in Ballard to its eclectic renaissance at The Brewlab on Capitol Hill. After many years of partnership with Widmer, Kona and ABInBev know as the Craft Beer Alliance, and brewing out of a much larger facility in Portland we can once again enjoy new beers made locally.
The bigger sellers are still made in Portland, but a growing number of beers are seeing there first pours right here.
Deal with the Devil. That was the outcry for the iconic Elysian Brewery’s mega million sale to ABInBev. For some time Elysian was shunned by Seattle locals, including short or non-existent lines at local beer festivals and empty taprooms.
That has changed as the company has made some impressive partnerships with local charities and continued to produce most if not all of its beer locally. The infusion of capital from the ABI purchase has lead to many improvements in capacity at the brewery, and at least so far, has been hands off on the day to day operations.
A notable example of local support has come as the official craft beer sponsor of the Seattle Seawolves professional Major League Rugby franchise. Elysian and the Seattle Seawolves teamed up to create a rugby-inspired collaboration beer, Scrum. A deceptively easy-drinking 5.0 percent ABV Irish Dry Stout, Scrum features deep, roasty aromas combined with a light, smooth mouthfeel and fruity esters of berries, apricots and bananas.
Other charitable events benefit the Pink Boots Society, Crystal Mountain Fire Department, and the Vera Project.
They all started in Seattle. Now they are trying to recover their roots. I wish them well.
Fall in love with beer, chocolate, and savory bites at Pike Chocofest! This culinary adventure celebrates Valentine’s Day in Seattle with unlimited food bites from premiere local restaurants and talented chocolatiers, alongside delicious sips from local brewers, wineries, and distillers. Chocofest benefits Washington Trails Association (WTA), who work to mobilize hikers and everyone who loves the outdoors to explore, steward, and champion trails and public lands. Pike is honored to be partnering with WTA for the first time this year, and our goal is to raise $10,000 for them in a single night.
Held at Pike Brewing Company on Sunday, February 10, 6-9pm, Chocofest is Pike’s biggest event of the year, welcoming 900 attendees. To achieve an event of this size, Pike uses all three levels of our downtown space at 1415 First Avenue including the brewery, Tankard & Tun and The Pike Pub, as well as the Pike Place Market atrium. Known for selling out yearly, Chocofest is one of Pike’s most popular events of the year. Chocofest is not only a fan favorite, it’s also been praised over the years as a must-attend event, including these kind words:
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your sweetheart how much you care and what better way to do that than a special dinner for two at Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen, 601 W Holly St, Bellingham. The Kitchen is offering a romantic 3-course prix fixe dinner with beer pairing suggestions the evening of February 14th, 5pm to close. The dinner for two is a wonderful way for sweethearts to share their love of good food and drink. The regular menu will also be available on this romantic evening for those that prefer ala carte options.
There are some excellent choices on the menu for this year’s special Sweetheart Dinner. Share one appetizer with your loved one, choose two entrees, and finish with a shared dessert for $60 + tip/tax. Choose one appetizer from either Wild Mushroom Manicotti, Dungeness Crab Cakes or a Love Salad. Each sweetheart gets to choose their own main course from Seared Sea Scallops with Pomegranate beurre blanc or Braciole (stuffed flank steak). The dessert choices this year include a Chuckanut made Tiramisu Brulee or a Strawberry Rose Petal Cheesecake. Beer pairing recommendations for the menu will be suggested for those wanting a special beer with each of the courses. Vegetarian and gluten free options are available by special request. Call 360-752-3377 option 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservations, seating is limited.
Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen, located at 601 West Holly St, was awarded the National Small Brewpub/Brewer of the Year 2009 and National Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The full service “Kitchen” serves from 11:00am every day to guests of all ages with an eclectic fresh local menu. South Nut (Chuckanut Brewery & Tap Room at 11937 Higgins Airport Way, Burlington) at the Port of Skagit welcomes all ages and is open every day serving beer & beverages and encourages guest to bring their own picnic or food from local restaurants or purchase picnic items or from food truck on site. Learn more about Chuckanut Brewery athttp://www.chuckanutbrewery.com/
Reuben’s Brews newest tasting room, located at their new production facility at 800 NW 46th St. in Ballard, will have its grand opening on March 2nd, during the Washington Beer Open House. Everyone is invited, and the first 250 guests will receive a souvenir beer glass.
They will have tours available at both tasting room locations during the open house – please sign up at the bar on the day of. The Taproom tours will be at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm, and 3pm. The Brewtap (new one) will have tours at 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm. Tours are limited to 20 guests.
the first 250 guests will receive a souvenir beer glass
The Taproom at 5010 14th Ave NW isn’t going anywhere! Rest assured that nothing is changing at the current tasting room, and it will not only remain open but will continue to be the spot for big events and beer releases.
Best of Hands Barrelhouse, soon to be West Seattle’s newest microbrewery, will open March 8, 2019. Casual imbibers to beer connoisseurs can look forward to a comfortable taproom and outdoor patio to discover beer designed around Washington state ingredients and terroir.
West Seattle owners and brewers, Chris Richardson, Gregory Marlor, and Nicholas Marianetti’s brewery will showcase a range of rotating beer styles, with a focus on mixed-fermentation barrel aged sours and European inspired farmhouse ales.
The goal of the brewery is to make beer that embodies a sense of place by utilizing the highest quality Washington state and Pacific Northwest ingredients whenever possible, and forging relationships with independent raw materials producers. The mission of the brewery is to produce the best handcrafted product we can while providing eclectic offerings to our guests.
Nicholas Marianetti and Gregory Marlor have most recently been serving the West Seattle community as beertenders at Alaska Junction’s beer bar and bottle shop, The Beer Junction. The two of them are level II Certified Cicerones®, and they will be sharing brewing and beertending duties at Best of Hands Barrelhouse.
Chuckanut Brewery & Grains of Wrath are excited to announce the tapping of Nuts of Wrath their collaboration Kulmbacher Export Lager that was brewed at Chuckanut Brewery’s North Nut Bellingham location. The two award-winning WA state breweries will not only be tapping with a brewer’s night in Camus, WA Friday January 25 at Grains of Wrath but on January 24 Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, OR across the river will celebrate also. The two breweries will have a special brewers night at Bailey’s with multiple beers on tap including the collaboration. Chuckanut will be at both Grains of Wrath and Baileys to help with the tapping and special brewers nights.
Nuts of Wrath is a strong, dark Kulmbacher Export lager, an almost forgotten Franconian German style lager popular in the late 1800’s. The collaboration rendition can be described in many different ways including: Big bitter Dunkel or an Imperial Schwarzbier. In other words, this lager is dark, malty and bitter. Generous amounts of Munich and Carafa malts balance with a large helping of German noble Hallertau Tradition and Mittelfruh hops. This is not your typical subtle lager. Some might say this is like a Schwarzbier on steroids!
Those wishing to take part in the tapping and brewers night at Grains of Wrath, 230 NE 5th Ave, Camas, WA 98607 and want to spend the night nearby are invited to contact the boutique Camas Hotel about lodging. As part of the celebration the Camas Hotel is offering discounts on rooms, only a block or two from Grains of Wrath. No matter which tapping you take part in representatives from both breweries, including the brewers, will be on hand to answer your questions. It just so happens the Chuckanut brewers will be collaborating and brewing on Friday January 25 at Grains of Wrath for another new beer, stay tuned!
About Chuckanut Brewing
Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen located at 601 West Holly St, Bellingham was awarded the National Small Brewpub/Brewer of the Year 2009 and National Small Brewery/Brewer of the Year 2011 at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). The full service “Kitchen” serves from 11:00am every day to guests of all ages with an eclectic fresh local menu. South Nut’s Tap Room is in the heart of Skagit Valley, 11937 Higgins Airport Way, Burlington and welcomes guests of all ages Monday to Friday starting at 3 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 pm. Check out additional information about Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen at http://www.chuckanutbrewery.com/
SEATTLE — – Fremont Brewing of Seattle, Washington will release a new year-round beer called Sky Kraken Hazy Pale Ale on Thursday, January 24th at Fremont’sUrban Beer Garden starting at 4:00 PM. It will be available in 12oz cans, kegs, and 22oz bottles across Fremont’s entire distribution footprint. Sky Kraken is Fremont’s newest year-round release since Lush in 2017 which started as a seasonal in 2016.
A naturally unfiltered beer, Sky Kraken is made with Strata, Mosaic and a touch of Citra hops and 2-Row Pale malt, malted oats, white wheat and flaked wheat. Sky Kraken swims through the sky with ripe melon, juicy citrus, pineapple, and pepper flavors.
“We released the Kraken because Krakens can only be kept a secret for so long,” explained Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing CEO. “Nicknamed ‘Sky’, this Kraken likes watercolors, chocolate cookies, tuna snacks and dislikes being alone. So, if you see the Kraken, please take it home and share it with friends.”
Down & Dirty: 2-Row Pale malt, White Wheat, Flaked Wheat, Malted Oats, and Rolled Oats with Citra®, Mosaic®, and Strata® hops. ABV: 5.5%
IBU: JTRA (just the right amount) Color: Hazy pale-straw Aroma: Guava, lemon, pineapple Flavor: Melon, citrus peel, grass
About Fremont Brewing
Fremont Brewing is a family-owned craft brewery founded in 2009 to brew artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. Our beer is distributed in kegs, cans, and 22 oz. bottles and can be enjoyed everyday at our kid- and dog-friendly Urban Beer Garden in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Because Beer Matters!
Big Ballard Imperial IPA pays tribute to Redhook’s original stomping grounds in the Ballard neighborhood. This year, we’re going even bigger with our bold and hoppy flagship beer by packaging it into 16 oz. cans.
Find singles and 4-packs of Big Ballard 16 oz. cans at bars, restaurants, and your favorite places to buy beer!
Come celebrate Chinese New Year at the Lucky Envelope tasting room on Friday, February 1st & Saturday, February 2nd from Noon-10pm both days. This year’s 2-day celebration of the Year of the Earth Pig is highlighted by two collaboration beers they brewed with their friends at Georgetown Brewing!
The LuckyTown Chinese New Year Collaboration features two different spins on the same base beer which was developed from a traditional rice lager recipe. Lucky Envelope’s Lucky Pig Lager (4.9% ABV, 20 IBU) is an Asian lager brewed with rice, buckwheat, Jasmine tea, and Honeysuckle flowers. Georgetown’s Happy Pig Lager is a crisp, clear lager charmed with Oolong tea, rice, and buckwheat to create a floral aroma and bready finish.
Other specialty beer releases for Chinese New Year include our Buddha’s Hand Citron IPA, Lychee Sour, Double Happiness Barrel-Aged Porter, and Mijiaya Historic Chinese Beer.
This year’s Double Happiness Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter was aged twice, first in a Malbec wine barrel and then in a Westland Distillery whiskey barrel. The delightfully complex beer clocks in at 9.8% ABV with red stone fruit and oak tannin combining with vanilla, smoke, and caramel.
On both days, the first 88 customers will receive a celebratory lucky envelope with a coupon inside redeemable for discounted beer or free merchandise!
Panda Dim Sum food truck will be serving their delicious Chinese brunch offerings both days.