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.]

Washington’s Best Beers Taste Better on a Boat

UP IN BELLINGHAM, A BREW-FUELED CRUISE SERIES IS TAKING HAPPY HOUR TO SEA.

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

It’s time for happy hour. A midweek interlude from everyday responsibilities. An evening to catch up with friends, sightsee with family, or relax with a partner. On this particular evening in late spring, happy hour involves a gangplank.

As the crowd walks single-file onto the Victoria Star 2, it sways, buoyed to the dock of Bellingham’s Alaska Ferry Terminal. Onboard, a few families settle at the tables and chairs that line the perimeter of the boat, while groups of friends and seasoned locals head straight to the main attraction: local craft brews.

With the San Juan Islands as a backdrop, couples hold hands on the boat’s outdoor decks and the vessel pulls away from the harbor. Inside, beers from Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, Seattle’s Fremont Brewing, and Diamond Knot Brewery in Mukilteo fill the three tasting tables.

This social event is the second Bellingham Bay BREWers Cruise of 2016. Every Wednesday evening from late May through September, Washington breweries and beer enthusiasts come together for education and conversation. With three featured breweries each week pouring at least three beers apiece, brewers teach passengers about their craft: how they develop new beers, which strains of grain and yeast they use, and new collaboration projects they’re launching with other breweries.

[Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

Spiked Ice Cream Drinks Deliver a Chill Summer

THESE THREE SEATTLE SHOPS REIMAGINE CHILDHOOD FAVORITES FOR DISCERNING ADULTS.

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

The root beer float is a thing of summertime nostalgia, recalling joyful childhood afternoons, and maybe flashbacks to the lovable and carefree crew of Happy Days. It is also just the kind of fetishized indulgence ripe for a reboot in present-day Seattle, where we adults face social expectations to refine our palates, challenge our taste buds, and immerse ourselves in the world of more “sophisticated desserts.” So it’s no surprise that establishments around the city now offer adult ice cream dessert drinks like craft-beer floats and spirited shakes that showcase the nuances of unexpected flavor pairings—with deliciously whimsical results. […]

[Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

Meet the Seattle Baker Giving New Life to Brewery Leftovers

MARLEY RALL HAS BUILT A BUSINESS ON REVITALIZING SPENT GRAINS FROM LOCAL BEER-MAKERS. NOW SHE’S READY TO GIVE BACK.

[This article was originally published in Seattle Weekly’s special 2016 brewery issue. Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

When Marley Rall first met her husband-to-be, a hobbyist home brewer, she knew almost nothing about beer. Four years, a wedding, and a career change later, Rall is carving out her own niche in the brewing industry.

It started when Rall noticed something about her husband’s home brewing process. She was shocked by the huge amount of by-product that went to waste after just a single batch of beer. A tenacious woman of many talents, Rall took a closer look and, after some detailed research into larger brewery operations, found much of the same. She also discovered that much of that waste, 85 percent on average, is spent grain that is discarded after its early role in the brewing life cycle.

Rall knew that that grain’s life was far from over. Building on her skills as an amateur home baker, she hatched an idea to bring the brewing process full circle. She met with local breweries to gauge interest and received an overwhelmingly positive response. Now Rall is the face of The Brewmaster’s Bakery, an innovative purveyor of sweet and savory snacks, granola, baked goods, and dog treats made with the spent grain from Seattle-area breweries. […]

[Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

Seattle’s Most Eclectic Brewery Events for Adventurous Drinkers

LOCAL BEER-MAKERS ARE GETTING CREATIVE WITH UNCONVENTIONAL EVENTS FOR SPACE NERDS, YOGIS, RUNNERS, AND MAKERS.

[This article was originally published in Seattle Weekly’s special 2016 brewery issue. Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]

Many beer enthusiasts are satisfied to spend a low-key evening at their favorite brewery, anchored to the bar, bantering with the tender, tasting hoppy brews, and soaking up the ambiance. Seattle certainly has a prolific array of neighborhood taprooms suitable for first dates, networking sessions, and friendly meet ups. However, for those who crave more than pretzels with their beer, breweries around Seattle are teaming up with a diverse set of community groups and hobbyists to add activities that include fitness, arts and crafts, and continuing education to the mix. […]

[Read the full article at SeattleWeekly.com.]