Next month my brother, [ profile] ragnorokt, is moving to Seattle. While he looks for work and a place of his own he'll be staying with [ profile] hollyqueen and I. As you all might know he's an award winning home brewer and makes some pretty kick ass mead too. We won't have the space for him to brew anything so we thought that someone might like an opportunity to learn how to make their own beer or mead.

The general idea is [ profile] ragnorokt will help you make your own recipes in exchange for space to make his own. If anyone is interested in this I'll put the two of you in touch to work out the details. I'm just the messenger.

Last night was my trip to Pillagers Pub. I arrived, made my way to a table and was pleasantly surprised when [ profile] sea_gaagii came over and joined me. I guess posting my plans worked.

I tried a pint of the Rauchbier and found it to be very good. The aroma and flavor of smoke was an accent to the flavor of the beer and not overpowering. Traditional Rauchbier is made using malt that is smoked with beechwood. I've had a few stinkers that seemed to just add liquid smoke to the beer, but Baron's version was not one of them.

[ profile] see_gaagii ordered a flight of the Three Skulls Ales and we tried them together. We both agreed that the Three Skulls Amber didn't have much flavor and quickly disappeared next to the other beers. My favorite was the Black Bonney Porter and I found the Hop the Plank IPA to be an IPA I could drink.

We were joined by PL, a coworker of mine. He also enjoyed the Rauchbier. He tried a few of the German style beers brewed by Baron but from what I picked up he preferred the Rauch. I had to leave to pick up [ profile] hollyqueen so missed his opinion of the beer he drank. My full review of the Rauchbier will be in a later post. Probably my next one.

A few people warned me away from Pillagers Pub and I have to wonder why. I guess that the place has changed since their visits. The food was the average stuff I find at every bar around here. The atmosphere was better than the average bars I've visited in the area.

They had the music too loud as I had to raise my voice to talk to people at the same table, but that's a common failure in places I've visited all across the country. There's nothing wrong with music but why do they always turn it up so high? If there was dancing or a live act I would expect the music to be louder. Otherwise it should be part of the background.

I have to give high marks to the staff. The woman working the bar was helpful, friendly and knowlegeable about what they had for sale. She went above and beyond the call to replace the keg when I ordered a growler so I would get a full bottle from a fresh keg instead of the dregs of one and the top of another.

While Pillagers isn't my ideal pub it is a good one I will visit again when I'm in the area.

The next stop will be 7pm on Thursday at Über. After that I'll be working my way through my Washington Beer Lovers (WABL) passport. The plan is to visit two or three places each month.

[ profile] hollyqueen has a salon appointment tomorrow evening and I've been wanting to give Pillager's Pub a shot. Anyone want to join me there at 7:30pm tomorrow for a pint? I want to give some Baron beers a try. In particular the Rauchbier.

Here is some information for those who were at the Cave Warming and got to sample some of [ profile] ragnorokt’s beer. As I mentioned he won some medals at the Iowa Brewer’s Union 2010 IBU Open. I had the following beers at the party and here are his results and notes for them.

The numbers and letters refer to the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) categories. I’ve linked to the BJCP pages explaining each style.

12B - Robust Porter - no medal, the score was fairly low. Based on the comments I have to wonder if my beers got switched with someone else, or the judges were just talking out of thier ass. They noted several flaws that no one else has mentioned in other competitions.

I also think there was some mixup. I really like the Robust Porter. It’s my second favorite brew of his. The Roggenbier is still my favorite. Mmmm... Tasty!

16C - Saison - Gold Medal, Beer Best Of Show - This is a probably my best recipe right now, it consitently scores well and I have won 4 or 5 gold medals with it. I think I brought you some bottles of this in October, it is called “Saisons In The Sun”.

I did have some bottles of this. I finished the last one on Saturday while grilling dinner. Good beer for being in the sun by the grill.

19A - Old Ale - Gold Medal - This is the Clank Oil, this beer has been a spotty performer in competition. Sometimes it scores faily decent and other times it gets trashed. I think the scores are improving as it gets older, which is fine because it was intended to be a beer that I let age a few years. I plan on making a variation on this beer each year and some time I will do a vertical tasting of it to see how it is year over year.

This one... The first bottle I tried didn’t sit well with me. I had a taste of one on Saturday and it is definatly improving. Too bad the last bottle I have is promised to someone else. I can only see this getting better in the future.

[ profile] ragnorokt’s other medal winner and Best of Show award were for a raspberry melomel which I don’t have. (The bum!)

[ profile] ragnorokt, who's here visiting, and I went on a few brewery tours today. We started with Redhook in Woodinville. They told us about Mac & Jack's in Redmond and then we also visited Black Raven in Redmond.

I learned some good things about Redhook. For example, they aren't in AB/InBev's pocket like I thought they were. Plus they make some really tasty beer. Right now a case of Late Harvest is $15 so they can make room for their winter beer that is being released next week. They also have a rye, called Roggenhammer, and a barley wine I want to try. Sadly they didn't have any in the shop so I'll have to try it later.

The tour guide at Redhook told us about the tour at Mac & Jack's which only happens on Sundays. So we made our way over there for the tour. At Mac & Jack's I met a lot of twitter folks as there was a tweetup for the tour. The tour was free and we had some nice samples. I have come to the conclusion that I just don't care for IPA's. Not that I wouldn't try a free sample when it was offered to me.

The next stop on our beer tour was Black Raven Brewing Co.. A new (only six months old) brewing company in Redmond. They didn't have a tour like the other two places so [ profile] ragnorokt and I sat in their bar and tried the tasting flight. My favorite was the Morrighan Stout. If you're on the Eastside I recommend you give Black Raven a try. Small brewers like this need to exist.

After Black Raven we decided that we had had enough beer and it was time for dinner. So we off to the Crab Pot in Bellevue. He can't get good seafood in the midwest so we decided to go all the way. So full it wasn't even funny. But how often does your brother turn forty? (I'm sure he'll be sure to remind us all on Friday that 40 < 43.)

Finally, we went to the McMenamin's Queen Anne for the last beer tasting of the day. We had originally planned on visiting two more breweries today. However, four was enough and so we called it a night. We will pick up the last two breweries later this week. All in all I had a good day and I hope my brother had a good birthday.

...and I appreciate the work these people do.


Jan. 19th, 2009 10:10 am
I'm planning on picking up a growler or two for the Superbowl Open House. My question is what kind and how much beer would anyone else drink? I will be going to Elysian so you can browse their site to see what beer is available.

Also, while we haven't had a problem with this I'm going to institute a modification of a [ profile] nerdvana rule. If you bring wine into the house you must take it home with you if there's any left at the end of the evening. [ profile] hollyqueen and I aren't wine drinkers so the bottles just sit there.
Last night [ profile] omg_teh_funnay and I sampled a couple of beers I've wanted to try. One was dissapointing, one was great. So without further ado, here's my thoughts on the beer.

First, the bad. Rogue's Chipotle Ale. I've had and enjoyed chili pepper beer before. This time wasn't one of them. I thought that the smoky flavor of the chipotle peppers would compliment the flavor of the ale. For me the chili the ale flavors fought against each other. I guess that if the chipotle flavor was stronger I would have enjoyed this more.

Now the good. Red Hook's Double Black Stout. Just reading the label made my taste buds jump. It's an imperial stout with coffee and dark malt for added flavor. I like stout beer and this one didn't disappoint. I'm not normally a coffee drinker but the flavor added to this stout. Sadly, the DBS is a limited run and only available until February 2009. I'll have to go buy a few more bottles to enjoy.

In other news InBev/AB has announced they're closing the 600 year old Stag brewery. Sure they "brewed" Bud, Bud Ice and Michelob Ultra but a place with that much history should be used to brew good beer and stay operating. Here's hoping someone can step in to save the brewery.

[ profile] hollyqueen and I are hosting a holiday open house/beer tasting at the Polar Palisade next Saturday, December 27th, from 2pm until midnight. We'll have movies, games, music, conversation, snacks and fun. Come when you can. Bring snacks or drinks to share if you can. I'll have some beer to taste and would love if others could bring some tasters too.

Message me if you have any questions.

I know this is last minute but I want to celebrate with more than opening a bottle at home. Join [ profile] hollyqueen and I at Elysian's Capitol Hill location at 6pm for dinner and drinks. While I'm a big fan prohibition involved more than just beer so come along even if you're not normally a beer person. Heck, even if you don't drink alcohol come along and have some tasty food! celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. I've had a bottle of Chipotle Ale from Rogue Ales for a while. Far too long for me to leave it unloved today.

Happy Repeal Day everyone!
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I've mentioned this to a few people who've shown interest, so I thought I would post here so everyone would have the details and could let me know if they're interested in attending. So without further ado:

The Washington Cask Beer Festival is Saturday March 22nd. The Cask Festival is a major highlight of the Pacific Northwest beer festival scene, featuring over 60 one-of-a-kind handcrafted cask-conditioned beers from the state's most innovative breweries. The cost to get in is $40 (or $35 with advanced purchase). Admission includes a commemorative tasting cup and all beer tastes. Designated driver admission is $5 and is available at the door only.

Looking at my calendar I notice that this is the same weekend as Norwescon. With the rumors I've been hearing about parties at Norwescon this year it might not be a big loss to take a break from Norwescon and go taste some beer.

Anyone else interested?

Tonight: [ profile] hollyqueen and I are going to my company holiday party in Renton with Hit Explosion. Free food and drinks should make up for having to drive to Renton during rush hour.

Saturday: Cleaning the house in the morning while waiting for [ profile] shadowmatt to arrive. Then he and I are heading over to the Winter Beer Fest to get our drink on. We will be joined by [ profile] intrepid_reason and [ profile] fallenpegasus later in the day. Then it's back home to grab [ profile] hollyqueen and reward her with dinner before she has to put up with the [ profile] shadowmatt and I playing Guitar Hero into the early hours of the morning.

Sunday: Say goodbye to [ profile] shadowmatt as he makes his way back to the heathen lands down south. Spend some time with my Little Brother. Then [ profile] hollyqueen and I have a date for dinner and a movie. It's her turn to pick the movie so I don't know what we'll see yet.


Nov. 18th, 2007 08:32 pm

Today [ profile] hollyqueen and I went out for a date. We started having a regular Sunday date and it's been a lot of fun to spend some time with her where force ourselves to get out of the house together. We started by stopping by Malt & Vine here in Redmond. I picked up a small bottle of Lindemans framboise lambic, a bottle of Ridgeway's Lump of Coal holiday stout from Ridgeway Brewing and a bottle of J.K. Scrumpy's Orchard Gate Gold farmhouse organic hard cider. Unlike other specialty beer stores I've visited M&V is a nice, well lit and very well stocked store. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Certainly a place I'll be visiting again.

While I was talking with the guy at M&V I found out some interesting information about the great Strongbow shortage of 2007. He told me that some kegs of cider were contaminated so the company recalled the entire batch. Hopefully they will be able to get the problem fixed and the cider will flow again.

Next we went to Magus Books in Seattle. [ profile] hollyqueen found a lot of books from her childhood and quite a few books from series she's been reading. I found The Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum, Liefelümpchen by Wilhelm Mattheißen and Weichnachtsleider by Dietmar Bückart, two German books. Magus had a nice foreign language section but I'm still on the hunt for the Richard Scarry books in German.

After scratching our book itch we went to Big Time Brewery for a bite to eat. Sitting there I realized I forgot my shiny new WABL passport. That would have been my first stamp towards a shiny reward. Damn! Well I did try a particularly tasty beer called Hopgoblin. It was a seasonal pumpkin brew. A nice hint of pumpkin and spices and it wasn't too hoppy or bitter for my taste. Mmmmm...


Nov. 15th, 2007 09:57 am

Considering last night's cider fiasco these two blog posts about cider caught my attention. First, This Week in Germany (TWIG) posted about a fight over the right to call a German cider Apfelwein. It seems that an EU commission received a proposal to limit usage of the word wine (wein in German) to products made from grapes only. The next post I read, from Deutsche Welle (DW), explained how a campaign from Germany defended the traditional name of the drink. Last Tuesday the EU commission announced their intention to allow Apfelwein and other fruit wines to be marketed as they are now. So the great Apfelwein War of 2007 has been avoided.

The amusing bit to me was reading how the naming conflict on one post and the resolution of the conflict on another post. The discrepancy comes from the fact that TWIG posts once each week and DW is constantly updating their news reports. I don't fault TWIG since they're not really a news organization. As a branch of the German Embassy in the U.S. their purpose is to promote information about Germany. They just got caught by a quick response from the EU commission.

In other news a Czech brewery named Budweiser Budvar (BB) won a case against Anheuser-Busch (AB) to keep their name. BB started brewing beer in the 13th century, 1265 to be exact, 200 years before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. AB claimed that it has the rights to the name Budweiser which Eberhard Anheuser chose because of its reputation in his homeland and was registered as a trademark by AB in 1878. There are still cases pending over the names "Bud" and "Budvar."

Speaking of beer there I've had some interest about going to the Winter Beer Fest. The festival is Friday and Saturday, but my company is hosting a party on Friday so I'll only be attending on Saturday. I'll start early because as a member of Washington Beer Lovers (WABL) I can get in an hour early at noon.

The fiasco? Since Monday Three Lions has been out of Strongbow. The waitress told me last night that their distributor hadn't made their delivery. On Monday I had some Woodpecker which was good. Last night they were even out of that and I had a few bottles of Magners. It was definitely my least favorite of the three. I didn't hate it as much as [ profile] loba did, but I wouldn't order it if I had a choice.

The 3rd annual Winter Beer Festival presented by the Washington Beer Commission is Friday November 30th and Saturday December 1st. It sounds interesting and I haven't been to a beer festival in a long time.

I'm planning on going and would love to have some company. Anyone interested in joining me on Saturday for the event? If I'm lucky [ profile] shadowmatt, a good friend from Portland who I haven't seen in far too long will be up for the day.

For my birthday I'm going to something I've wanted to do for a long time and try to brew my own beer, make some cider and a batch of root beer. To get an idea of how much of each I should make I am curious to know what my friends would be interested in trying. So I give you a poll.

[Poll #787014]



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