Bruce Springersteen Bold Brew Series


Hoppy Trails Beer News is proud to announce the impending release of four new brews in the Bruce Springersteen Series. These hand-crafted 5-gallon batches of maibock, brown, hefeweizen and porter will mark the official launch of HTBN Brews, a 2014 re-commitment to homebrewing, led by head brewer wannabe Bob Shoemaker.

My Bark Label 2The series is named for the three-year-old English Springer Spaniel (field bred) purchased from a breeder in Cle Elum, WA. Bruce is noted for eating a variety of non-food objects that have included a razor, a pair of eyeglasses and a CPAP mask and hose.

When Bruce is not helping in the brew house, he can be found chasing swallows at the local ball field on dry Spring days, or whining if one of his balls rolls under the steps or sofa, even though he has three others out on the floor that are just like it, a rope toy, two squeaky toys and assorted bones. Reviews will appear on

Bruce Drool Label 2          Woofyweizen label          Hairy Porter label

Plans are to produce a single keg of each, with a limited bottling run of three to four units. Distribution will be limited to the HTBN world headquarters in Renton, WA. Prosit!

What’s New and Newsy?


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Shop and Save at the HTBN Store!!

thCADRNE1QYup. A store right here on this web site. Pretty cool huh? Click on the banner at the top of the page, or right here, and start shopping. Shirts, books, movies, homebrewing supplies, festival gear, with more to come all the time.

- Gift Giving Ideas!!!! - Check out the recommendations for gifts to give your favorite craft beer connoisseur. Birthdays. Anniversaries. “Thanks-for-being-you” days.

- Check out the HTBN picture pages with all the festival collages, cool and funny beer videos, and my best friend, Bruce Springersteen.

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Celebrate the Stouts!

FGblogpicThe Festival of Dark Arts happened in Astoria, Oregon on Saturday (2/15) at the Fort George Brewery. More than 3,000 stout lovers were expected to attend.

High winds and a steady downpour forced most folks indoors where the seating and standing ares quickly vanished. Revelers were elbow to elbow. More than one stout became part of a shirt instead of getting consumed.

Throughout the entire Fort George campus were mini-bars pouring samples of great stout and an array of dark art including: the Dark Art Gallery, a blacksmith forge, tattoo artistry, glass blowing, belly dancing, cigar tent, fire dancing, stout inspired cuisine, tarot card reading, and old-fashioned photography.

Had the rain and winds taken a break, there would have been plenty of room for everything. The beers certainly didn’t care about the weather and there were a ton of them.

Draft Beer Flavored Jelly Bellies?

12002961345_3d5ff9fe45_mFinally! Beer flavored candy. See the full story from a Jelly Belly press release here.

So, what do they taste like? I was fortunate to get a press kit with three packs of them. I shared them around and everyone correctly identified them as beer flavored beans. I liked them. Here is what one of my media peeps is saying:

“I love the flavors in a good beer and Jelly Belly has managed to get that from brew to bean in an incredible way,” says Jackie Dodd, beer expert, cookbook author, and the voice behind the popular cooking with craft beer blog The Beeroness. “Jelly Belly found a way to fit 15 pints in the palm of your hand, they deserve an award.”

Jelly Belly beans contain four calories per bean and are fat free, peanut free, dairy free, gluten free, gelatin free, vegetarian and OU Kosher certified.

Now This Is Really Strange


Day one of the Port Townsend 2014 Strange Brewfest was indeed strange. Good. But Strange. My two favorite “odd” beers were Stranger Manger from Elysian Brewing in Seattle, a gold-colored concoction with myrrh and frankincense, and Hippy Sweat from Triplehorn Brewery in Woodinville, made with sage and patchouli on a pale ale base. I immediately had flashbacks from 1969 and 1969 and walking along The Ave by the UW.

Day two featured an abundant array of tastings, some noteworthy and some not worth mentioning. Funny thing about strange brews. You either like them or hate them. And many are surprising – in both extremes. Beers you think sound good, aren’t. Well, they are to some people, just not to me. I heard people raving about one beer and I could hardly choke down the first sip. Others I liked a lot, got mixed to bad reviews from my fellow revelers.

That said, here are a few of the inventions I liked at this year’s festival.

Crabby Stout – Dungeness Brewery, Port Angeles, WA – They drop three Dungeness crabs into the boil of their famous stout. I liked it. Got the crab flavors and the good stout tastes. Others said it tasted like a stout brewed with seawater. They actually eat the crab meat at the brewery when the cooking is done. Yum.

7 Bloody Seas – 7 Seas Brewing – Port Orchard, WA – It’s your basic Bloody Mary with beer and spices and a green bean. Great hair of the dog beer. Not too hot. Just a tingle.

Smokey the Pear – an interesting pear cider – which are not usually on my list of things to try, but this one was very nice.

Black Berlinerweiss – This Swartzbier from NW Peaks came with or without a spritz of raspberry syrup. I tried it both ways and liked them both – maybe with raspberry a little more, because I was in that kind of mood at the time.

Mayan Cave Bear – Sound Brewery, Poulsbo, WA – A take on their Ursa series of Belgian style ales – with some interesting peppers and spices added.

The theme seemed to be adding herbs to beers, and/or a variety of hot chili peppers. Thankfully there also were several Gose styled beers that helped beat the heat.

This is one festival you should definitely add to your list if you are not already a regular. Many festivals let you sample a variety of styles from different brewers, say, five different IPAs. And you can debate why you think one is better than the others. This festival is for the adventurous who think beer is an art form as well as a consumable food product.

Note: if you are looking for pictures from Friday night, my regrets – the micro SD card says it is unreadable and may be damaged. Oh well, thank goodness for Saturday.

Pike Brewing on Tap at the PRA

Getting ready to feast on some great Pike Brewing beer and a Puyallup River Alehouse Reuben Dog. It is Wednesday, and this place is packed. Nice job Eric.

Pike at PRA2

On tap were the IPA, Kilt Lifter, Monk’s Uncle and the Post Alley Porter, .

After some raffles, it was time for a flight of Puyallup River brews. First up was the Old Pioneer Winter Ale, sweetened with peppermint, with a strong malt base and twinge of hops. I followed that up with the Vanilla Porter. This had a strong Porter base with vanilla softening the chocolate malts.

Next was a saison, owner Eric Akeson’s trademark brewing style, specifically the Lochness Blackberry. It was quite refreshing and a nice lead into the final brew of the night, the Puyallup River Dunkelweizen.

Now, I can drink a dunkelweizen all night long, especially this one. Stop in and try some. It is definitely worth the drive.

More raffles. More glassware, shirts and growler giveaways. People playing pool. Classic video games. Not too loud background music. Busy bar folk. Four HD tvs. I just got a tip on a U Brew place a few blocks away. Have to check that out.