HTBN Visits the NE KC Breweries

The wind whipped across the back deck, scattering brooms and tree pruners and firing fir and cedar branchlets like arrows. Not too long after, The lights flickered – went out for two seconds – came back on – flickered again and went out for good.

2013-11-02-16-31-58--1642029530Was it a coincidence? Foggy Noggin Brewery announced the release of their 2013 Butch’s Brew a couple of days earlier. This is a great nut brown ale brewed with hazelnuts that brewer/manager Jim Jamison roasts himself. It is a winter seasonal only around for 6-8 weeks. “Go get some!” said the voice in my head.

As I stared at my 51-inch Samsung TV, now completely black, I had to agree that the voice was right and I packed up Bruce the Brew Dog and headed north on I-405 for about a half hour drive to Bothell and Foggy Noggin.

Now, Jim brews out of a shed in his back yard and his tasting room is his garage. There were lights on in the garage, but many, many branches littered his front yard. He was out of power for four hours that morning – right in the middle of a brew cycle with half the batch in the fermenter and half still in the brew pot.


He  was pouring nearly all of his beers, now with eight taps. I lined up to exchange my empty growler for a new one of Butch. “Look in the cooler,” said the voice in my head. Again I took the advice and there smiling at me was a 22oz bomber of Powder Keg, Jim’s absolutely wonderful Stout, and a growler of Oski Wow-wow – a well-balanced Scotch Ale. He was pouring Christmas Duck – delicious Porter, but my resistance stiffened – actually my wallet suddenly was empty. He graciously gave me samples of Wee Wee an amped up (9.5% ABV) Scotch Ale and a new brew, Mr. Chips.

After some delightful conversation, and gentle ribbing about Oregon State Beaver drubbing by USC the night before, Bruce alerted me to the fact that he was still in the car and need a trip to the bushes.

So we did that.

BrickyardAbout two miles south of Fn, is Brickyard Brewing, another one of the small breweries in the  Woodinville/Bothell area previously known more for its wineries and distilleries.

On tap was my personal favorite, the Masonry Oatmeal Stout, but also intriguing was a coffee IPA, the Field Trip Pumpkin Ale and  the Chocolate Porter with Pumpkin.

All were delightful brews to sample while watching the various college football games on the projection TV.

Next up  – Triplehorn Brewing – Dark. Very Dark. Power. OUT. How about Dirty Bucket? Open, but cash only because the network is still down. I am cashless so I go away in search of a cash machine. Lots of dark in Woodinville to Kirkland. Finally found a cash machine but by now, the Bellevue Brewery is my closest road trip destination.

No problem. They have two of my favorite beers all time; the Oatmeal Stout and their Scotch Ale are top-rung choices. And their food is superb.

OutOh oh. There are lights, but hardly any parking. Sounders FC game. It is crowded. It’s the playoffs vs Portland. Oh oh again. It’s a brewery but four of their six flagship beers are drained. Too much bottling and keg distribution off-premises. I tell my server that this is unacceptable. The brewery should be the last place to run out of beer. Tsk. Tsk.

He tries to spin me on why this is  a good thing. Don’t waste your time, buddy. I have worked for some of the best spin doctors in the world. I know a pathetic attempt to gild the lily when I hear it.

The good news is that the lights are back on at home, and All Things Wine has the BBC Scotch Ale for growler fills. Also the Oatmeal Stout is still here on Nitro. I order that. I also order the meatloaf sandwich and a cup of chili. OK. All is good. Yum.

Bob Shoemaker

Grew up in Renton, WA. Writer. Photographer. Homebrewer. Woodworker. Beer lover. UW grad. - 14 years in Marketing and Advertising communications - 16 years in technical product support, quality, loyalty, support analyst - 12 years as communications business owner