Saturday, March 7, 2015

Lagunitas Brewing Releases 2015 Imperial High West-ified Coffe Stout

Lagunitas Brewing produces some fine brews. I had the pleasure of visiting the huge Lagunitas brew campus on a trip to northern California last June. I also had the pleasure of hanging out with the Lagunitas folks last August at the Beer Bloggers Conference in San Diego.....Let me just say Lagunitas knows how to throw a party....and the version we attended was a tame one from what they told me. We really enjoy pretty much everything Lagunitas does.

The other day received a UPS shipping email from Lagunitas Brewing. The next day the beer mail arrived. Thanks, Lagunitas, for hooking up with a (full size) sample of the limited release of 2015 High West-ified Coffee Stout!  This beer is brewed with Petaluma Coffee & Tea Company coffee beans and aged in High West Distilling Barrels.

Lagunitas Brewing
Lagunitas barrel-aged beers usually don't make it to retail shelves. They are super-limited draft beers, that are usually only available at the Lagunitas Brewery or special draft accounts. That is, until now.

The 2015 High West-ified Coffee Stout is Lagunitas Brewing's first bottled barrel-aged beer,  with only 4500 cases being sent out this year. High West-ified will also be on draft, so look for it at a few lucky craft beer establishments.

Specs from the information they sent me on the Barrels and Coffee used in the 2015 High Wes-ified Coffee Stout.
The spent barrels we chose held whiskey that went into High West’s Double Rye and American Prairie Bourbon.  As you know, when blending barrel-aged brews there’s a lotta different ways to do ‘em; look at the history of Belgian beer.  Sometimes it needs to be cut with un-aged beer to round out flavors.  Or to simply make it go a little further.  Not the case here.  Our High West-ified is 100% barrel aged.  No shortcuts.  Some aged 10 months, some only a couple.  All blended for just the right amount of oak and age flavor.  Yum.
We custom-picked a coffee blend with a local roaster, Petaluma Coffee & Tea Company, to compliment the flavors in this imperial stout.  It has a base of Mexican coffee that’s blended with Sumatra, Guatemala and Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural (which has heavy dark fruit notes).  All finished with an Italian roast to bring out the oils and a nice, dark flavor.  Yum, yum.
Lagunitas says High West-ified should be on lucky shelves soon-ish....and don't forget to check your local craft beer establishment - they may get lucky as well and get a keg so you too can enjoy a freshpint.

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Petaluma Coffee and Tea Company

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Silver City Brewer - New branding, New packages and New brew house for 2015

Courtesy of Silver City Brewery
Silver City Brewery is proud to announce new branding, new packages and new brew house for 2015

Press Release 
Bremerton,Wa -March 4, 2015 - Today Silver City Brewery is excited to announce the expansion of their brewery operations in Bremerton, their fresh new look, and new offerings for 2015. In anticipation of another year of double digit growth, Silver City is set to install a new 35 barrel brew house.  New tanks with 160 barrels of fermentation capacity & 120 barrels of bright beer capacity were added at the start of this year to keep pace with steady growth.
Silver City has been brewing on the same 10 barrel system since its inception in 1996. Having grown to an annual capacity of 9,000 barrels in 2014, Silver City has far outpaced the size of the brew house. The new system will enable the brewery to reduce the number days it brews a week in half while making more beer than ever.
Silver City’s new American made brew house, is being produced by AAA Metal Fabrication out of the Dalles, Oregon. Silver City Brewery owner Scott Houmes had this to say about the new system “We’re excited to work with AAA again. They do quality work and we can’t wait to employ the new system and continue making great beer for our fans.”
While Silver City is getting a new “heart beat” to the brewery, they are proud to present a new look to go along with it.
Silver City worked with Blind Tiger Design out of Seattle over the last year to refresh the look and feel of Silver City’s logo and individual beer brands. Of this, Scott had this to add “We are very proud of our lineage here in Kitsap and the representation of our past that is reflected in those designs. We are equally as excited to present Silver City and our line-up of beers in a new way that brings the “family” together for current and new fans to discover or re-discover our beers.”
In addition to the new designs, Silver City is adding new beers, new packages, and growing their barrel aged program for distribution. First up is the addition of 12oz cans. Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager was the first venture into cans last summer, which was followed with the new Cold One Pilsner. Next up is the special release of the Official Seattle Beer Week Lager; Sieben Brau set for release next month in April. Flagship and fan favorite Ridgetop Red Ale is set to take lead in the 12oz can line-up next. Look for Ridgetop Red Ale & Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager with their new looks to hit stores latespring 2015.

Courtesy of Silver City Brewery
Silver City’s barrel aged beers are now being released outside of the brewery for the first time. Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout was released to start the year. Bourbon Barrel Aged Fat Scotch Ale will follow in May. Look for Bourbon Barrel Aged Giant Made of Shadows in July. Wine Barrel Aged Le Fat will see a September release and finally Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Scrooge is set for November.
2015 promises to be an exciting year for Silver City Brewery and the Silver City team can’t wait to share it with all their fans.
Beer for one, beer for all!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Grapes 'n Growlers

Grapes 'n Growlers
Emily and I have now lived in Camas, Washington for seven years. Seven years ago, I was shocked by how behind Clark County was with craft beer, especially considering how close the area is to Portland...aka Beervana. These days, things have changed quite a bit. We now have a bunch of breweries and tap houses to choose from and most restaurants are serving at least a couple good beers. Last week another newcomer to the southwest Washington beer scene opened.

Grapes 'n Growlers is located in Vancouver at the Riverstone Marketplace a couple doors down from QFC. Emily and I went over to check it out last Friday and stayed for a couple hours and met two of the four owners,Tom Mahoney and Ashley Cahoon. In between talking with the owners and enjoying a freshpint or two (and wine) with friends this is what we found out about Grapes 'n Growlers.
Walking in there's a nice little seating area and a couple of tables.

You will also notice the very long bar top with seating for many....including kids...yeah I will get to that in a minute..
Tom Mahoney and Ashley Cahoon pouring some pints

Behind the bar is a mini bar shelf for times when it's really busy. Also down toward the back you will find more tables.
We arrived fairly early and it was pretty quiet, but by the time we left it was pretty crowded and this was in use. Always nice to have a place to put your beer down when it's crowded.
 Along the wall you will see that Grape 'n Growlers has an impressive amount of taps and two different kegerators. Currently Grapes 'n Growlers has 51 taps pushing beer, cider, kombucha, wine, and for the non-drinker, root beer. They are using Portland-based company DigitalPour software for their taplist.  DigitalPour taplist is cool in that it's realtime. You can see how much is left in each keg of beer, it gives prices on pints & growlers, displays style & ABV info, and it even pushes information out to different social media sites so it keeps you updated on what taps have been changed.

DigitalPour system in realtime for the 51 taps
Another cool thing about Grapes 'n Growlers is they're doing wine on tap....yep kegged wine. When we were there they had at least seven wine varieties on tap, both reds and whites. Emily decided that she wasn't really in the mood for beer, so she enjoyed wine from the cool is that?

Kegerator with wine on tap

In the future if laws change in Washington you might be able to grab a growler and get it filled with wine at Grape 'n Growlers to take home, just like you can in Oregon. Currently the law in Washington only allows Washington winery tasting rooms to fill wine growlers.  But you can get growlers to go of beer and cider and kombucha.

Kegerator of different Kombuchas
Grapes 'n Growlers does offer some light food. They have panini sandwiches, cheese plates, charcuterie, and hummus. They also plan to make root beer floats using the root beer on tap. 

This is where the family vibe comes in. We asked Tom if  kids were allowed and it was a resounding "yes". Tom said that it was in the plans all along as they built out their business. With so many young families in the area they really wanted to allow parents to bring in their kids. And yes kids are even allowed to sit at the bar with you...well I think Tom called it a food service grade bar or something similar, but they can sit with you at the bar enjoying a root beer float while you have a freshpint or a glass of wine. 

We really liked Grapes 'n Growlers. It has a lot to offer, especially with the wine on tap option and kids being allowed. Its sure to be a hit whether you grab a growler to go or sit down for a freshpint, glass of wine, or maybe a root beer float and a panini.

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Grapes 'n Growlers Location
3425 SE 192nd Ave Suite 105
Vancouver, WA 98683


Monday, March 2, 2015

Release Party for Lompoc Brewing's Dagda Pan Gaelic Red Ale

Courtesy of Lompoc Brewing

Kick off St Patrick’s Day early at Lompoc Sidebar (3901 N Williams Ave) on Friday, March 13 from 4pm to close with the release of Lompoc Brewing's Dagda Pan Gaelic Red Ale. Join the Lompoc brewers for an Irish celebration including corned beef & cabbage, real live Irish music (from the radio) and pints of specialty ales.

Dagda features a rich, malty body and underlying hoppiness. The brewers employed a small portion of black malt and a four-hour boil to give the beer its ruddy red color and sturdy body.

Dagda is named after named after the “good god” of the Celts who was in important figure in Irish mythology. Tales depict the Dagda as a figure of immense power, armed with a magic club and associated with a cauldron. The club was supposed to be able to kill nine men with one blow; but with the handle he could return the slain to life. The cauldron was known as the Undry and was said to be bottomless, from which no man left unsatisfied. He also possessed Daurdabla, a richly ornamented magic harp made of oak which, when the Dagda played it, put the seasons in their correct order; other accounts tell of it being used to command the order of battle.

Sidebar is Lompoc Brewing’s barrel tasting room and bottleshop and offers a dozen taps – including one reserved for cider – featuring a number of the brewery's barrel aged and seasonal specialty beers. It also offers a full bar and food menu.

A Portland staple since 1996, Lompoc Brewing creates seven flavorful year-round beers, plus a ridiculous number of seasonals. You can find Lompoc in 22 oz bottles and on draft at locations around town, and at its five neighborhood pubs: Fifth Quadrant and Sidebar in North Portland, Hedge House and Oaks Bottom in Southeast, and the Lompoc Tavern in NW Portland. For more information, visit
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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Iron Goat Brewing

Can't miss the sign for Iron Goat Brewing Co
Last weekend Emily, our daughter, and I were on the road again to Coeur d' Alene, Idaho for another gymnastics meet. Over the years we've always stopped in Spokane at No-Li Brewing.  This year we did just the same and had a couple beers & samples and some food. Since we first started making this annual trip, I've wanted to stop in at Iron Goat Brewing. But due to various reasons I've never had the chance to stop, until this year.

Iron Goat Brewing is located in what seems to be a mix of residential and industrial space. I would say it's about a 5 minute drive from No-Li Brewing (good to know if you're brew hopping in Spokane) and maybe 10 minutes from downtown Spokane. I used GPS and the address listed on Iron Goat's website and had no issues finding the place.  That said, I kind of felt like I must be going the wrong way because the area didn't look like one where a brewery might be situated...given the mix of residential and industrial buildings... but then I came upon this cool brick building with the Iron Goat Sign out front. 

Since we had our daughter with us, I went inside to ask about kids being allowed in the taproom. Good news! It's a family-friendly establishment, and the space is divided up to make it comfortable for everyone.  On one side there's a little bar area and seating for adults only and on the other there's a bigger area with seating and tables for all ages. That was a pleasant surprise since lately it seems to be hit or miss for us on which breweries/taprooms allow kids.

Bar Side for adults

Family friendly side.
They had a nice selection of beers on when we visited.

I ordered two trays (one of everything available) from Paul Edminster, one of the owners. Paul's also one of the brewers and just so happened to be manning the bar that afternoon.

Digging into the beers I was impressed. They were all really good and I can't think of one beer that didn't really like. Standouts for me were the DryFly Barrel Aged Goatnik and the regular version of Goatnik (especially since you could try them together), The Garbage Pale Ale, and the Head Butt IPA. Emily enjoyed all the beers as well but the YOTG #7 a Maple Brown ale really stood out for her.
While enjoying the samples, Paul came over and asked if I wanted to see the brewhouse and of course I couldn't say no to that. Big thanks to Paul as he was a one man show while we were visiting.

10 Hectoliter Brewhouse
Iron Goat's Brewhouse is not visible from the taproom. Down a little hallway from the taproom, the brewhouse and fermenters all packed in cozily in one room. The 10 Hectoliter brewhouse (8.5bbls) has some history as it was used by Bozeman Brewing and prior to them by Spanish Peaks Brewing.

Co-Owner Paul Edminster.

In addition to the brewhouse, Paul showed me another room that housed some barrels aging beer. He also noted that they would be bottling some of their beers for the first time a couple days later. As of just a week ago you can get 22oz bottles of Headbutt IPA and Impaler Imperial IPA in the Spokane area. In the future you should see Trashy Blond and Goatmeal Stout. Hopefully we might see those bottled beers make it out of the Spokane market and into wider distribution in Washington.

Iron Goat with some bling.
I'm really happy we decided to finally stop in at Iron Goat Brewing.  Putting it all together - the rustic and artistic vibe of the taproom, Paul's hospitality, being allowed to bring the kid in to enjoy the atmosphere of craft brewing, and of course great beer - Iron Goat Brewing is what I love in a brewery.  Make sure if you're visiting the Spokane area, or even just driving through, to make a stop at Iron Goat.

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