Beer Lover’s Gift Guide

HOPPY HOLIDAYS! (IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL STEIN OF THE YEAR.)

[This article was originally published in Seattle Weekly. Read the article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

My Beer Year by Lucy Burningham
Driven by curiosity and thirst, longtime journalist Lucy Burningham set out to chronicle her escapades to becoming the ultimate beer expert—a Certified Cicerone. The result is an engaging and witty memoir entitled My Beer Year: Adventures with Hop Farmers, Craft Brewers, Chefs, Beer Sommeliers, and Fanatical Drinkers as a Beer Master in Training. Lucy introduces the reader to a colorful cast of beer-loving characters and sheds light on the charmingly quirky world of beer culture. Paperback; $16.95. roostbooks.com.

Homebrew Starter Kit
The perfect gift for any beer lover who claims “I can brew better than that,” Sound Homebrew Supply’s small-batch homebrew kits offer step-by-step instructions, equipment, and ingredients to brew beer at home. With several package options, from the basic One-Gallon Beer Starter Kit to the Total Package Starter Kit, each is tailored to fit a range of brewing interests (and beer styles), space constrictions, and previous brewing knowledge. Prices vary. Sound Homebrew Supply, 6505 Fifth Pl. S., 743-8074, soundhomebrew.com.

Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery Membership
As Washington’s first community-owned brewery, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery offers locals a way to gain behind-the-scenes access to commercial craft brewing. Flying Bike’s unique setup gives member/owners equal voting power to elect the Board of Directors and set long-term goals and policies. Members are also invited to exclusive events like homebrew competitions—to help select new beers for production at the brewery—and Brewer’s Table discussions with Flying Bike’s head brewer, Kevin Forhan. $200 includes membership, pint glass, T-shirt. Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, 8570 Greenwood Ave. N., 428-7709, flyingbike.coop.

Pike Brewing Stout Beer Soap
It’s a little-known fact that hops contain skin-smoothing amino acids—a quality that makes beer an unexpected but practical ingredient for soap. The folks at Pike Brewing realized this and created the Pike XXXXX Extra Stout soap, blending the brewery’s popular stout beer—with aromatic hints of chocolate and espresso—with palm oil, coconut oil, and olive oil to create a nourishing soap that still provides all the cleansing qualities of ordinary bar soap. $5.95. Pike Brewing Company, 1415 First Ave., 622-6044, shoppikebrewing.com.

Tavour Beer Concierge Gift Certificate
Based in Seattle’s SoDo district, beer concierge startup Tavour has devised a convenient way to introduce beer lovers to new and different brews. Tavour’s team dispatches daily, curated beer offerings via e-mail—a mix of tasty local secrets and hard-to-find beers from around the world—and members simply reply back to order specific brews. In essence, members hand-select their own “variety packs” of fresh, unique beers, which are delivered to their door every few weeks. Prices vary. tavour.com.

[Read the article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

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Flying Bike Brings a Community Together to Make Better Beer

THE GREENWOOD BREWERY’S FRESH HOP HARVEST ALE IS JUST ONE OF MANY INITIATIVES AIMED AT CREATING COMMUNITY AND ACTIVATING SEATTLE’S COLLABORATIVE BEER SCENE.

[This article was originally published in Seattle Weekly. Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

The process behind this year’s Fresh Hop Harvest Ale from Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery was a little more complex than that of most brews. And a little more fun. Home-brewers and backyard gardeners from throughout the city had only 24 hours to harvest their homegrown hop plants, deliver them to Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, pluck the hop flowers from the vines and throw them into the brewmaster’s boil. In the end, the brewery collected nearly 100 pounds of fresh hops for its hyper-local harvest ale, a testament to the appeal of its core mission: to create “member-driven beer.”

Just over a year old, Flying Bike is the first 100 percent cooperatively owned and operated brewery in Washington. With its popular homebrew competitions, brewer’s roundtable gatherings, and community giving program, the Greenwood-based collective offers a structured space for people who want to get involved in the local beer scene. The brewery’s thriving taproom adds to its reputation as an exceptional neighborhood establishment—a place to enjoy unique craft beers, learn about the brewing process, and build community.

[Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

Seattle Growler Fills

Flying Bike Brewery Growlers

Photo by Will Foster @wfstr

Draft beer almost always tastes better than bottled or canned beer.* It’s fresher and hasn’t been exposed to heat, light, or oxygen—elements that can have a major negative impact on the beer’s taste and aroma. Despite the superiority of draft, we don’t always feel like going out for a pint. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I’m a prime example of a beer enthusiast who sometimes just wants to chill at home and watch a movie. Or read. Or drink a few beers while I cook dinner. This is when growlers come in handy. Typically 64 fluid ounces (the equivalent to 4 pints) or 32 fluid ounces (2 pints) breweries and taprooms will happily fill growler jugs with fresh, tasty, draft beer and allow patrons to grab quality beer to go.

*Although draft is almost always best, there are a couple of cases when bottles or cans are better. Some high alcohol beers are better after aging in bottles. And if tap lines are dirty, the same brew will likely taste better from a bottle or can.

In Seattle, getting your growler filled is easy if you know where to look. Here are six excellent beer choices from local craft breweries.

The White Lodge Belgian Style White Ale | Holy Mountain Brewing Co.

ABV: 4.8%
Holy Mountain has quickly made a name for itself in the Seattle brewery scene for its top-notch saisons, sours, and barrel-aged beers, and for its departure from the region’s IPA-dominated tap lists. The White Lodge is a refreshing Belgium-style witbier brewed with coriander and orange peel, resulting in a light and flavorful beer with bold aromatics. This beer is easily drinkable, slightly tart, with a hint of spice, making it a uniquely delicious growler choice. Growler fills available at Holy Mountain Brewing Company, 1421 Elliott Ave. W, Seattle.

Gateway Dry Hopped Pale | Rooftop Brewing Co.

ABV: 5.2% | IBU: 20
The brewers at Rooftop created the Gateway Pale as an introductory (or “gateway”) beer for people who don’t like hoppy beers. The pale ale ignites the senses with an upfront burst of delicate, floral, hop aroma, leading to a light hoppy flavor—and it ranks low on the bitterness scale. Notes of citrus and tropical fruit flavor lend a juiciness to this sessionable beer. Newbies will be surprised by how gentle and inviting hops can be. Growler fills available at Rooftop Brewing Company, 1220 W Nickerson St., Seattle.

Cocoa Vanilla Porter | Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Co.

ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 17
With an eclectic tap list that often includes beers like Blood Orange Honey Wheat, Raspberry Blonde, and Habanero Amber, Bad Jimmy’s consistently embraces the unexpected. The Cocoa Vanilla Porter, on its own, warrants a trip to this Ballard brewery. The smooth sipper delivers aromas and flavors of soft roasted malt, warm vanilla and plenty of chocolaty decadence. A growler of this brew on a crisp Seattle night will warm you to the core. Growler fills available at Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company, 4358 B Leary Way NW, Seattle.

Bike Rye’d Saison | Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery

ABV: 6.3% | IBU: 25
Originally brewed by one of Flying Bike’s member-owners, the Bike Rye’d Saison is among the brewery’s most popular beers. This traditional French-style, farmhouse ale is bright and refreshing. The brewers use plenty of rye to infuse the medium-bodied beer with a slightly peppery aroma, rounded out with flavors of lemon and rye-ginger spice to finish. Pair the saison with a few savory picnic snacks and enjoy it outdoors in your favorite neighborhood green space. Growler fills available at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery, 8570 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle.

Citra IPA | Stoup Brewing

ABV: 5.9% | IBU: 50
This complex IPA showcases the citrus power of Citra hops, and is, hands down, one of my personal favorites. This beer has a tangy sweetness, gentle undercurrents of toasted caramel and musky tropical fruits, and a full hop kick. Stoup’s Citra IPA is light and bright in both color and body and strikes a great balance of earthy hops and luscious grapefruit. Grab a growler of this brew for love at first sip. Growler fills available at Stoup Brewing, 1108 NW 52nd St., Seattle.

Cream Ale | Reuben’s Brews

ABV: 5.0% | IBU: 17
Reuben’s taproom offers an impressive selection of over 20 beers on draft, including a bunch of rotating brews and several mainstay award-winners. On frequent repeat is the Cream Ale—a pale, light-bodied beer with hints of creamy vanilla, smooth malt, and a sweet, clean finish. More unique than a classic lager, this cream ale is so smooth and easy to drink that you may need an extra growler fill by the end of the evening. Growler fills available at Reuben’s Brews, 5010 14th Ave. NW, Seattle.

[This article also appeared on PorchDrinking.com.]