Monday, October 15, 2012

Drinkless in Seattle? Don't fret.

I got you. First off; Friday and Saturday Nights are for amateurs. Pros skip the crowds, opting to day-drink or go out on school nights. My favorite places to grab a pint, scarf some BBQ and talk shop in Seattle.

Rick and Ray are two of the funnest, friendliest, guys you could hope to meet. Thank goodness they opened up a brewery and started hosting public hours. Ray's beer is delicately flavored, nuanced and well rounded. I dig their apricot wit and their IPA is fantastic. No food, so bring your own. Tucked away in a light industry part of Woodinville, the bar is surprisingly warm and welcoming. You can meet wine and beer industry people in a laid back setting.

I love this place. Proper glassware, insane selection and a patio (hooligan class seating) It's as if your beer nerd buddies opened a bar and bottle shop. They have 20 taps and a ton of wine, cider, and mead. Stuck in a strip mall you can enjoy a good sunset and the delights of a gyro shop next door. It gets pretty crazy early on weekends. Later, the crowd thins and all the best beer nerds are left to discuss minutia amongst themselves. This place gets extra points for the rad elf painting in the bathroom and function forward plastic tables outside.

A good rotating tap list of beers I've always wanted to try. Not one off note in beer selection and nothing I've seen too often. Bottles are available as well. Strong offering of ciders as well. This place has the ambiance, staff and expertise to make it a beer lover's standard choice. Smaller and more intimate than Brouwer's Cafe and easily just as good.

Noble Fir's kitchen was closed so I dropped by this little gem. Cool place, great BBQ, more whiskey than you can shake a stick at. It's the dry kind of meat and they give you the sauce choices. I did a curry type that tasted great. James, “the BBQ king” insists that the sauce must be optional, so I trust this place to stand up to his discriminating taste. Also serving solid selection of NW ales.

Good LORD! The epic beer cavern of greatness. I could get lost in this beer list. It's like great museum, you could spend weeks in there and never see it all. The place is massive as well. Sitting at the bar is like being a the bottom a spelunking mission. Great beers. A beer list so deep you'll develop a liver problem before you try them all. This one could take me years to plow through. Friendly, helpful staff to guide you and frites! I love frites! I may live here for a while.

Small and well armed an with excellent selection of beers and ciders. Nothing I didn't want to try in their cases. This is a great place to waste an afternoon and catch up on your NW beer news reading. Complimentary Beer advocate magazines and a fire pit make this place cozy and just right for chilling. Also they do kegs to go. 

So my dear friend Kelsey thought it would be HILARIOUS to slip me a habenero tequila shot. Many tears, and much bitching later, their delightful barkeep ran out and got me some milk. Awww. This place has great staff and it's really fun.  

Happy drinking and remember to tip your bartender!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beer Snobs Suck

the fun out a room faster than a pack of IRS agents. I call myself a beer evangelist. Partly because I hope to bring the light craft beer enjoyment to as many people as possible and partly because craft beer is my higher calling.

Beer evangelism.
I'm at my best when I'm teaching and sharing my passion for craft beer. It's about pushing the craft beer agenda, but in a non pushy way. It's about spreading knowledge and creating joy in beer appreciation. I hate to see savvy beer drinkers use that knowledge to put less experienced beer lovers down. It's a sad waste of talent. Every domestic lager exclusivist is a potential craft beer drinker in my eyes.

On Domestic Lager and its fans.
I still drink Olympia, Rainier and PBR, and love those beers for what they are. I feel like people who claim to be better than domestic lagers are just missing the whole point. Of course it's not made from great ingredients and it doesn't delight the palette! It has it's place and time like all beers. Do I want a heavy, high ABV, hop bomb, IPA after running 3 miles in the summer heat? NO. (ok maybe a little) Truthfully sometimes I need a beer that's light and  refreshing.  Am I going to pair Oly with fine cheese? Hell no. am I going to pair it with a hot dog at a Mariners game? Fuck yeah I am.
I love malt liquor. It's so good.

Better check yourself, before you wreck yourself.
So check your ego at the door when you enter a holy house of beer. This isn't about how  many hop varieties you can detect by smell. Every time you put down domestic beer to make yourself look good you're doing craft beer a disservice. We're all in this together. The big compaines have legistlative sway that craft brewers don't.  And, you look like an ass. Seriously,  stop it.

Industry Truth.
Almost every brewer I know drinks domestic lagers out a of can fairly often. These people make, taste and talk craft. They live it. But they still want a cheap, easy drinking, lager, like most beer drinkers. Maybe it's because a cheap, craft lager isn't widely available.  (full sail's session is an exception)

A call to arms.
Beer is the drink of the people, I say bring them in and teach them something about craft beer, foster their curiosity and answer their questions and we may have ourselves a new craft lover. I challenge eveyone in the industry to try to find ways to engage domestic beer drinkers. There is a craft beer out there for everyone.

Craft Beer Ambassador Cheat sheet

Potential craft convert: I like hefewiezen/blondes/ wheat.
Beer Ambassador:  awesome. me too. which brands?
PCC: Pyramid/shock top/red hook.
BA: Cool. that recipe is based off this traditional german style,  except the original is a bit lighter, try some.
give them a taster and check their reaction.

PCC: I want something light ( with a " don't judge me look on face")
BA: yeah it hot in here! proceed with any number of dunkles, pilsners, or vienna lager styles.

PCC: That's so dark and heavy!
BA: dark colored beer can be low in alcohol and light in body. guiness is only 4% ABV and full of antioxidants
hand them a dry irish stout or dunkle
BA: Do you like coffee or chocolate?
If yes proceed with taster fitting the note they enjoy.

So get out there and start doing something positive for the industry that produces craft beer you love so much!