Outlander Brewery | Holy Basil Pale Ale

Hole Basil Pale Ale Outlander BreweryI love a little quirkiness with my beer, because with so many craft breweries in Seattle, a unique character is really what sets each establishment, and brew, apart. The Holy Basil Pale Ale by Outlander Brewery fits this measure well—it strikes just the right balance of eccentric and uniquely delicious.

Located in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, Outlander Brewery operates out of a 100+ year-old converted house, with a brewing system in the basement, shelves of ceramic beer mugs for the regulars, funky furniture and a stack of random board games for everyone to enjoy. Outlander’s low-key atmosphere lends itself to an unpretentious, non-fussy vibe, and the friendly tenders are always poised and ready to recommend the best new beer on tap.

Operating on a very small, 3.5 barrel system, Outlander is known for its specialty ales and experimental brews—and for using wacky ingredients like lavender, ginseng, dragon fruit, peanut butter and chili peppers. Because Outlander’s brewing operation is so small, the microbrewery has a quickly rotating tap list—a beer could be available one week and replaced the next. Lucky for us, the Holy Basil Pale is on frequent repeat, and for good reason.

The Holy Basil Pale is an easy-drinking beer, with an inviting golden-amber color and an earthy, herbal aroma. Upon first sip, the basil flavor is more subtle than expected—its delicate sweetness and twinge of spice enhances the ale rather than dominating it. With a medium-body, the Holy Basil Pale coaxes the palate with a balance of soft wheat, honey and light malt. Sure, it’s unconventional, but it’s also delicious.

For a quirky brew with a flavor character all its own, try the Holy Basil Pale. You’ll have to stop by the brewery though—this, along with most Outlander beer, is a taproom-only release. Challenge your Seattle neighbor to a game of dominoes (on a set that’s missing just a few essential tiles) while you sip this refreshing beer in Outlander Brewery’s new beer garden. See you this summer!

[This article also appeared on PorchDrinking.com.]

Sea Farmer IPA

Citrus_fruitsThe serrated grapefruit spoon was a genius invention. Gone were the times when delicious, tangy pulp was wasted at the handle of the run-of-the-mill cereal spoon. Likewise, the libatious visionary who brewed the first grapefruit IPA had a brilliant idea that has been expertly adjusted and improved upon by many brewmasters. Just released this month by Fieldwork Brewing Company, a new craft brewery out of Berkeley, California, comes a tasty beer called Sea Farmer IPA, brewed with grapefruit and sea salt—sure to keep local beer lovers coming back for more.

Named after the Jack London short story of the same name, this beer is reminiscent of the protagonist’s dueling identities; all his life he struggled between his dream of becoming a farmer of the soil (hence the grapefruit) and his family legacy of becoming a farmer of the sea (thus the salt). For the Sea Farmer IPA, Fieldwork brewers mixed Celtic sea salt with plenty of wheat, along with Cascade hops to play off of their grapefruit-like qualities. They even wrangled their brewery staff into zesting a big batch of fresh grapefruits to add to their dry hop. The result? Sea Farmer IPA starts out with a sweet, citrus aroma, and a hazy amber pour. With the first sip comes a slightly salty, hoppy flavor and a hint of crisp, juicy grapefruit to finish.

Much like scraping the inside of your luscious grapefruit wedge, beer enthusiasts are sure to tip their pint glasses to extreme angles to savor every last drop of Fieldwork’s Sea Farmer IPA. You’ll have to come to Berkeley to taste this new brew though; Fieldwork serves most of their beer straight out of the brewery, with the rest traveling around town to select local taprooms.