Fae Wiedenhoeft – McMenamins – Urban Family

I went to Folklife on Saturday (May 23) and did the usual hiking through the crowds in search of joyful music before expanding my Seattle brewery knowledge. I found it in a Celtic group called Syren, a sister duet led by Fae Wiedenhoeft.

Fae

I bought the CD (of course) and was fortunate to grab a quick conversation with her after the gig. I learned that she had other music available online through bandcamp.com and CD baby. I also found a few YouTube posts. She also plays with a group called SeaStar and teaches voice and a variety of Celtic instruments.

  • Fae Wiedenhoeft

2015-05-23 20.54.09After her show I had a few hours before my next Folklife event – a didgeridoo playing workshop. So I headed off to McMenamin’s on Roy St. I learned a few great things there, too, like the Cream Ale, Dunkelwiesen and Porter were made right on the premises by Brian Lawrence. And all this time I thought they shipped the beers up from Portland. Silly me. It was great. I need to go there more often.

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Well, when in Seattle explore I always say (well not ALWAYS) and I remembered I had not been to Urban Family Brewing in Magnolia yet. I sought to rectify that omission in my Seattle beer education.

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So I did. They brew a lot of beers with wild yeasts aged in barrels. I tried the Citron Noir (pictured above). It was pretty darn good. Different. In a good way. And dang – I missed my didgeridoo lesson.

To Fest, or Not to Fest

That is the question. Or is it the answer? This blog has been a champion of beer festivals, being one of the rare sites to give both pre- and post-event publicity to numerous festivals. We treat the events as news stories; we post event pictures, we name the winners of the People’s Choice Awards. To what end?

entranceOrganizers of these events seem to be mostly interested in selling tickets. Once the event ends, it is if they vaporized, like any kind of beer related taste in a Budweiser. So much for covering the event as a news story. Several days later you might, after some persistence, see a Tweet from a brewer showing off the plaque/certificate/trophy they won by virtue of token/ticket counts or ballots counted. Rarely do you see a press release, or response to your email inquiry, about how many people attended, comments from people who were there, favorite beers sampled, information about first-time breweries, etc., from the event organizer.

Once upon a time there were just a few festivals. Of course at that time there were just a few breweries. Now, there is a festival (or two or three) nearly every weekend somewhere, tap tCapture4akeovers during the week, and somebody’s first, fifth, or twentieth anniversary. There is a brewery or two, or nine, in many small towns and neighborhoods. Need a fund-raiser for your organization? Have a beer festival. Or, what the hey, a Beer Week!

Many brag about how many brewers will be there. “Hundreds of different beers to sample.” It takes about two of these festivals to realize that you are going to only be able to have about 10 of these and leave the facility upright. Although, from my observations at some of these recent events, that definitely was not a concern for several basically horizontal folks who gleefully asked their designated driver to wheel them out as they gulped down yet another Triple IPA.

prositAnd the price tag for these events just keeps going up, and up. The recent Beer and Bacon Classic charged More than $60 for basically two and a half hours of standing in one long line after another at Safeco Field. I can buy a heck of a lot of beer at the local BevMo/Total Wine/Specialty Bottle Shop for what it costs to stand in line for more Manny’s, and Lucille. That is something else that has changed. More brewers are canning and bottling their creations, and pubs, heck, even convenience stores, have fresh craft beer on tap. If you want to try something “new” you’ll head to the newest nano.

Still, HTBN will continue to go to festivals, take pictures and enjoy the experience by posting them on this blog. It’s what we do. And it’s fun.

Iron Horse St Paddy’s Day Half K Pictures

Here are some pictures from the run today. Happy people, kids and dogs. What a great idea. I hope they do this again next year. Their push was to do something fun to raise money for the F.I.S.H. food bank that was destroyed by fire. The goal was to raise $1,000. At race time they had raised more than $2,500.

The beer was great too. Some Irish Death, Mocha Death, High Five Hefe and 509. Yes, I made it through the whole distance. No short-cutting. Did not want to miss out of the two pizza slice stations. Great pizza by the way. Almost wanted to do the course twice. Also stopped at the KIND bar station. Those things are REALLY good.

Copyright 2015 – Hoppy Trails Beer News LLC – All Rights Reserved

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Want an American Beer? Good Luck

Finding a great American beer is not that hard to do if you are a craft beer lover. However for main-streamers, it is getting much, much harder. I am going to kick-start a firestorm of debate on this but when a foreign company buys the brewery, it is not American anymore. It is a foreign beer, brewed in America (at least for the time being). We all answer to the bean counters. Your local guy sold out and is sitting under a beach umbrella somewhere.

Full Sail Brewing (Hood River, OR) Acquired by Encore Consumer Capital – 3/9/15 – Ends Unique ESOP

With the acquisition of the Bend, OR, craft brew rising star 10 Barrel Brewing  and Seattle, WA stalwart Elysian Brewing by ABInBev there is a lot of joy in the marketplace and a deep sadness from craft beer purists. Winners here are ABInBev and 10 Barrel Brewing, and countless thousands of beer drinkers across the nation who now will be treated to some of the wonders of the 10 Barrel line-up. Losers are Bend locals and current 10 Barrel consumers who shared a convivial sense of ownership in the brewery, the brewers and the brand. ABInBev? Aren’t they an American company? Sadly, not in a legal sense. Read on.

Continue reading Want an American Beer? Good Luck

Small Brewers Rule

With all the angst over some bigger microbreweries selling off all or parts of their breweries to megacorpbreweries, it is refreshing to revisit some of the small breweries around the area. This reminds me that the craft beer revolution is less about whether Sam Adams has its beer on tap in lots of places in Boston, or whether Widmer, Ommegang, Goose Island and Boulevard are still considered “craft breweries”, and more how it is about small nano-sized breweries making their mark and generating a local, almost neighborhood following.

Some are weekend only garage brewers, and some actually pay for retail space. Most do not have food – and that is fine by me – because that makes them able to be dog-friendly.

Here are a few that have had a couple anniversaries and are well worth going back to if you are out and about.

Odin Brewing (Tukwila)  nodogsallowed32pix

Odin is in the midst of a transition. They now have a taproom/pub in Tukwila near the Southcenter Mall. Over the next year they will be moving their brewing equipment from the current 5,000 sq ft brewhouse to this new location. This will give them some 12,000 feet of expansion room for their brewing operations. Norse themed goodness in a dozen different offerings.

Odin Collage

My favorites are the Freya’s Gold (Kolsch), Northern Darkness (Baltic Porter) and the spiced Abbey Ale. The recently put on a porter and a stout that are very good.

Counterbalance Brewing (S. Park)  nodogsallowed32pix

counterbalance-logoA couple of coffee shop employees from Queen Anne Hill decided to start a new brewery in town. Head brewer and owner Frank Lawrence had been brewing beers at home for seven years. His Caffe Ladro colleague co-owner Jeff Howell, also is a homebrewer and craft beer lover. It turns out Frank had quite the knack for crafting consistently tastey and creative beers. After several years of a lot of “we should start our own brewery” chit-chat at local taprooms, they bit the proverbial bullet and DID IT.

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The “counterbalance theme” has many iterations as explained on their web site. Basically it comes down to balance – and a balanced beer is what you get there. The tap room opened in late January, 2015. They are already “packing them in” thanks to some beer tour buses and a thirsty local workforce.

I had the Abigale Blonde Ale, Counterbalance IPA, Bad Wolf Dark Ale and the Kushetka Russian Imperial Stout. I particularly liked the stout.

Brickyard Brewing (Woodinville)

Dog Friendly

Santa was good to me this year and gave me a coupon for a flight of eight Brickyard tastes and a growler fill. I had not been up that a way for quite some time, so it was good to visit again and see what was new. I run into brewer/owner/beer server extraordinaire Joe Montero at various festivals and other breweries from time to time.

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Their Masonry Oatmeal is top notch, especially with the stout flavored ice cream. Stout floats! Yummm.

Flycaster Brewing (Totem Lake)

Dog Friendly

Now that Jeremy Eubanks has his Flycaster Brewing operation open and generating decent traffic, he is expanding hours and turning much of the brewing operations over to other brewers while he concentrates on – well if you go solely off his Facebook posts – fly fishing trips, vacations with the family and a love of TJack (Seahawk backup QB). He still  sandwiches a MSFT BI job in there somehow.

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Usually, his beers are on the lighter side (blonde, ipa, pale, red) but on this visit they had a winter ale that was good, and a coffee porter that was really good.

Twelve Bar Brews (Woodinville) 

Dog Friendly

12BarslogoThe last time I was in owner/brewer Kirk Hilse’s music themed fine establishment, it was just him and me, separated by a counter. His side had a few taps. My side had a cement floor right next to the front door. Not even a chair. His hours were like blink and you missed it, but I enjoyed his beers at several local festivals. He celebrated his third year in operation this past October.

What a difference today. He took over a couple offices next door and has a beautiful cozy, dare I say intimate, taproom with guitars, and other musical instruments serving as an integral part of the decor. I had the Turnaround Red Northwest Ale. At 40 IBUs I was expecting a bit of a bite, but somehow he has tamed his hops. They were very flavorful and aromatic.

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He bottles his bigger sellers and uses a distributor to expand his reach throughout Washington and Idaho.

Big Block Brewing (Sammammish) nodogsallowed32pix

Located in a residential cul-de-sac on the Sammammish plateau, tucked inside a large, two-car garage, is yet another Eastside nanobrewery named Big Block Brewing, in honor of the big block car engines.

Owner John Julum has been producing beer at home for about 20 years. Julum and his wife, Michele, operate Big Block Brewery, the only licensed brewery in the city of Sammamish. It’s considered a nanobrewery because of its 15-keg-per-week capacity. But bigger tanks are on the way.

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The brewery and taproom take up most of the Julums’ two-car garage, although the business’s namesake, a 1967 Ford Galaxie with a big-block engine, sits out in the driveway. The Julums often have 11 beers on tap, and sell beer in growlers, kegs and pints out of their taproom. You may see them on local taps around town soon.

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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.

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Tumwater Artesian Brewfest is Aug 22

The Tumwater Artesian Brewfest is a very fun event with participatory skils and endurance games like horizontal mug holding contests, giant beer pong, giant jenga blocks and other fun things to do in addition to having some of the best craft beers to sample – and Oly!!!

I went last year – click this link – and had an absolute blast. I am going again this year.

Here are the particulars you will need to know:

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Olympia, Wash. – August 5, 2015 – Celebrate the roots of Washington’s brewing industry and sample selections from 40 craft breweries as well as local wineries and cideries at Tumwater Artesian Brewfest on Saturday, August 22 from 1 – 8 p.m. Sip suds from around the state along with the original Olympia beer on tap while enjoying lawn games, music and food vendors in the shadow of the former Olympia Brewery at the Tumwater Valley Golf Course Driving Range (4611 Tumwater Valley Drive SE).

                “This third annual event has quickly become a local favorite and we’re thrilled to see the groundswell of support and excitement around the state,” said Becci Welsh, partnership development director of Visit Olympia. “We’re fortunate to have such a dynamic craft brewing industry in Washington, and what better place to celebrate it than the birthplace of the state’s most iconic beer brand.”

TAB2Make a craft beer weekend out of it with the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest package, which includes a one night stay at a variety of participating hotels along with two event tickets, two tasting mugs and a Brewfest Fedora to stay “cool” at the event. Visit www.tumwaterartesianbrewfest.com and click on “Hotels” for more information or to book travel.

Pre-sale tickets are $20 ($25 at the gate) and include five tastings and a mug. Military and designated driver discounts are available. For more information visit www.tumwaterartesianbrewfest.com or stay up to date on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TumwaterArtesianBrewfest and Twitter via @VisitOlympia and #tabrewfest15. Tumwater Artesian Brewfest is hosted by The Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau (Visit Olympia) and sponsored by a variety of local businesses which can be found at www.tumwaterartesianbrewfest.com/sponsors.

About Visit Olympia

One part charming college town, one part Washington state capital and two parts untouched natural terrain, Thurston County – including the cities of Tumwater, Olympia and Lacey – is nestled at the foot of Puget Sound one hour south of Seattle and two hours north of Portland by car. With 817 hotel rooms throughout Thurston County there are several options ranging from downtown digs to remote rooms. Visitors enjoy the range of offerings – from the culture of the state capital to countless miles of beachfront and mountain trails to a creative culinary crowd offering top notch food, wine, coffee and craft beer.  For more information visit www.visitolympia.com or connect on Facebook, Twitter (@VisitOlympia) and Instagram (@Visit_Olympia).

Frogs! And Dogs!

Issaquah – August 15 – 11am7pm

Two-legged and four-legged festival goers will leap, run, ride and hop to Rogue’s 7th Annual Frogs & Dogs Festival at Issaquah Brewhouse (35 W. Sunset Way #C, Issaquah, WA 98027).
Frogs & Dogs is the second largest dog/beer festival in the world, and is an outdoor gathering of everything food, beer and dogs.
This family and pet friendly festival will have a line-up of amphibian and canine-related activities, like: an 11am dog parade, doggy dancing, doggy musical chairs, celebrity dog look-a-like contest, a leapfrog competition, frog leg eating contest, dog washes, dog agility and obstacle competition, a dog fashion show, and so much more!
Dogs can treat their humans to a prime selection of microbrews, ciders, famous dog beers and Issaquah Brewhouse’s series of Frog Beers including: Menage A Frog & White Frog Ale.

Admission – $5

GABF Tickets – SOLD OUT!

UPDATE!

All session for the 2015 GABF are sold out. By some accounts, this happened 17 minutes into the sale on Wednesday. By all accounts it happened in less than an hour. That is 60,000 tickets per session, and ticket limits and anti-bot technology. StubHub has tickets starting at +$29 over face value. Hotel rooms are vanishing too. Next up are airline tickets. It will be fun for those who are going.

If you did not get a ticket and wanted to go to a great festival, there are still tickets available for Canada’s best festival in Victoria, BC – The Great Canadian Beer Festival. I have been more than a few times and it is wonderful.

Continue reading GABF Tickets – SOLD OUT!

Using Spent Grains To Make Great Dog Treats (and people treats!)

Commercial brewers use a lot of grain to make beer. What does not go into the mash is disposed of in a variety of ways,brewmastersbakery sometimes sold, but mostly donated to local farmers and other kinds of entrepreneurs.

Marley Rall, owner and founder of The Brewmaster’s Bakery (Renton, WA) is using spent grains to make not only great dog treats, but breads, granola, cookies and biscotti. These all pair well with a variety of craft beers. Some have chocolate  and raisins ideal for eating while drinking porters and stouts. She has one called Your Spicy Mistress that goes well with an IPA.

Marley started this venture by using spent grains from her husband and brother-in-law’s homebrew to make dog treats. This worked out so well she decided to take the leap and contact local brewers to see what they were doing with their spent grains. She received a very positive reaction and is using grains from Fremont Brewing, Counterbalance Brewing, Airways Brewing, PostDoc Brewing, Hi-Fi Brewing and several others, including gluten free product from Ghostfish Brewing.

dogtreatsIn exchange for the grains she put a sticker with the brewers logo on each package as a cross promotion. Brewers will begin carrying her products (especially the snacks and pretzels) in their taprooms, as will bottle shops throughout the area. Marley has been sighted at the Renton Friday Farmers Market at The Landing and Saturdays at the Bellevue Farmer’s Market.

But you don’t have to hunt far to find these great treats. You can order them directly from The Brewmaster’s Bakery website at http://www.thebrewmastersbakery.com/.

Pike, Reuben’s, Icicle and Ghostfish Medal at US Open

Oxford, OH (July 4, 2015) – Breweries from China to the Czech Republic sent in almost 4,000 beers and ciders representing 90 different styles for the 2015 U.S. Open Beer Championship. This competition includes professional breweries and award-winning home-brewers. Today, judges from England, Canada and the U.S. announced the winners.

11216843_1019326844746048_3003804778462469772_nMore than 20 international breweries from Australia, China, Czech Republic, Venezuela, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Mexico,  Sweden, Finland, Scotland and England competed.

Ballast Point Brewing in San Diego, California  was named Grand National Champion by winning  three gold medals and one silver medal.  Their three beers that were awarded gold medals were Ballast Point Pale Ale, Calico Amber Ale and Sculpin IPA.

“It’s amazing what brewers will do to enter the U.S. Open. In the past, brewers have personally delivered their craft beers from Columbia and Brazil. This year, Joshua Deitner from Shanghai Brewery in China traveled 7,263 miles to deliver his beers personally,” said Dow Scoggins, Director of the U.S. Open. He added that the effort paid off: Shanghai Brewery’s Imperial American Brown Ale was awarded a silver medal.

PIKE_OLD_BAWDY          Dark Peresuasion

Washington brewers who took home medals

Read more and see the complete list here

 Reuben’s Brews Classic Dry Irish Stout BRONZE
 Reuben’s Brews Black Imperial IPA SILVER
 The Pike Brewing Pike 2010 Old Bawdy GOLD
 The Pike Brewing Co Pike Local Alba BRONZE
 Ghostfish Brewing Vanishing Point Pale Ale BRONZE
 Icicle Brewing Dark Persuasion GOLD