Beer Line Blog

Q&A with Top Rung Brewing head brewer Jason Stoltz

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Top Rung Brewing Co. head brewer Jason Stoltz / photo credit: Mike Besser, sales executive at Top Rung Brewing Co. His first beer experience matched that of many other early teens: a room temperature MGD in the backyard while the parents were away. Of course, I hated it,” says Jason Stoltz. “I dumped the rest then hid the can.” Although his love for beer had a rocky start, Stoltz went on to become co-founder and head brewer at Top Rung Brewing Company in Lacey. Between the MGD dump and his brewing duties at Top Rung, Stoltz

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How it Gose at Wingman Brewers

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You’ve heard of Gose. It’s German, a sour beer. Pronounced “Go-zuh,” like the thing that wrecked New York in “Ghostbusters.” Reported to be between 200 and 1,000 years old, it’s sour and salty, a low-ABV session beer, which means it won’t get you sauced. Wingman Brewers has Lime Gose in its tanks. “The Lime Gose is just about done,” Wingman co-owner/head brewer Ken Thoburn told me this morning. “Sours take a bit of time and sometimes to get them to the perfect pH you need an extra week. But, right now, the coriander and sour flavors are perfect so we

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Portland International Beerfest recap

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Sure, you love beer. When you head to the bar for happy hour with friends, you carefully consider the draft, can and bottle lists. You often order something you’ve never tasted, just to see what it’s like. You might have gotten into the habit of filling a growler at a brewery every weekend, or stopping by the neighborhood bottle shop two or three times during the week. Perhaps you’re comfortable with spending $17 on a special beer every now and again. But have you stood outdoors in 96 degree heat for a four-ounce pour of some rare beer that either

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4 reasons to love Three Magnets Brewing

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Three Magnets Brewing head brewer Pat Jansen caught in the act of brewing. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner Three Magnets Brewing’s head brewer Pat Jansen checks his Strawberry Saison. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Three Magnets Brewing Co., which opened in early November last year. It’s located at the corner of Legion and Franklin streets in downtown Olympia, a stone’s throw (granted, a rather muscular one) from Darby’s Café, which Three Magnets co-owners Nathan and Sara Reilly also own. Head brewer Patrick Jansen is sour-obsessed;

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Engine House No. 9 to release five new bottled beers

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Engine House No. 9 Le Pelerin Saison Ale is now in bottles. Engine House No. 9 released its first bottles this past March — Raspberry Wild Ale and a Farmhouse Style Saison. Saturday, E9 head brewer Shane Johns leaned over and a Washington Beer Awards gold medal was placed around his neck for the Raspberry Wild. He leaned over again for a bronze for his Nefelibata sour. Saturday, June 27, E9 will release its next round of bottles when the doors open at 8 a.m. The restaurant and brewery at Sixth and Pine in Tacoma will

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Wet Coast Brewing Company opens

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Welcome to the South Sound suds scene Wet Coast Brewing Company. The Gig Harbor brewery is now open at 6820 Kimball Dr.

 

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10th Anniversary Washington Brewers Festival photos

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Woot! Day One of the 10th Anniversary Washington Brewers Festival is in the history books; a glorious affair nestled between a grassy field and beautiful skies. The state’s granddaddy of beer festivals has returned to Marymoor Park in Redmond, with 105 breweries pouring 400 different beers, plus a lot of free bags of Tim’s Cascade Chips. Day Two of the Washington Brewers Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. at Marymoor Park. Last night’s adult-only opening of the three-day festival was a blast, and the next two days promises more fun with more breweries and more kids. Yup, the next two

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Maritime Pacific Brewer’s Night at Puyallup River Alehouse

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Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. opened in 1990, making it the oldest brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The brewery sold 400 barrels that year. In 2010, they packed up the goods and sailed down the street to a location just west of 15th Avenue. Today, their Jolly Roger Taproom — a brewpub meets pirates’ lair, complete with a treasure map painted on the floor — is a beloved fixture in the neighborhood, and the 40-barrel brewhouse produces around 8,000 barrels per year for its taproom and distribution throughout the Puget Sound and Eastern Washington. Last night, the Maritime Pacific crew dropped

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A Very U.S. Open Redhook Putt Putt Golf Pub Crawl Sequel

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Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. Swiss bartender Josh Hill, now, about to become the 2015 U.S. Open Redhook Putt Putt Golf Pub Crawl champion. It looks like a mirac… It has hit the cans! It has hit the cans! It has hit the cans! Hill wasn’t the only pub golfer not to score a hole-in-one in Redhook’s indoor miniature golf contest at three Tacoma pubs yesterday. Hill missed the hole-in-one on The Swiss Restaurant & Pub course. Many others missed the prize at the other two spots — Rock The Dock Pub & Grill and The Valley. This isn’t a cakewalk.

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Portland Rye Beer Fest recap

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Rye has a long history as a brewer’s grain, but its prevalence in whiskey production has, until recently, overshadowed its use in beer. The explosion of craft brewing has seen rye become a more popular grain that gets used in both traditional styles and new hybrids. Brewers prize the unique dry and spicy character it lends to a beer’s flavor and aroma, and the proteins in rye can also provide a fuller mouthfeel and aid in head formation and retention. The Rye Beer Fest, a celebration of the revival of rye beers, was held at EastBurn on East Burnside yesterday

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Scenes from Portland Beer Week’s opening day

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As if Portland’s status as Beervana was in danger of lapsing, the fifth annual Portland Beer Week brings a whole slew of chances to celebrate Oregon suds. I previewed Portland Beer Week a few weeks ago here.  I have also listed a few highlights again below. Every year, PDX Beer Week organizer and New School Beer website founder Ezra Johnson-Greenough adds eats to the week’s beer treats. I ventured south for dinner during yesterday’s Portland Beer Week’s opening day festivities. The special Beer Week cake doughnuts made with Hopworks IPA were sold out at Blue Star Donuts on Washington Street.

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ParkWay Tavern presents Collab-A-Gasm for The Lost Kids

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One of the most incredible things I’ve witnessed covering the craft beer industry is the willingness and ability of its member companies to help out charity causes, campaigns and non-profit organizations. Prime example is the ParkWay Tavern’s Pints With Purpose Collab-A-Gasm Saturday, June 13. ParkWay manager Sean Jackson has elicited the help Of Columbia Distributing and six of the distributor’s client breweries/cideries. Hop Valley Brewing Co., Two Beers Brewing Co., Seattle Cider Company, New Belgium Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits and Georgetown Brewing will take over the ParkWay’s taps, host raffle drawings and help raise money for The Lost

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2015 Sasquatch Brew Fest in Eugene

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This year’s Sasquatch Brew Fest moved down the street from Ninkasi Brewing to Hop Valley Brewing’s distribution parking lot for the second year in a row of sunny weather. Folks huddled under a spray tent indifferent that their program guides listing the 45 participating breweries were soaked; they were too busy studying the more than 75 available beers from local Eugene and Springfield, regional Oregon breweries and even Fish Brewing from Olympia. All the fun of Sasquatch — the beer, Friday night’s beer dinner, a home brew contest, silent auction, food trucks and live bands The Sugarbeets, Mexican Gunfight, Halie

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Peaks and Pints wins Washington Beer Instagram contest

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Hey Peaks and Pints! You just won the Washington Beer ‪#‎DrinkWaBeer‬ Instagram contest. What are you going to do next? We’re going to the 10th Anniversary Washington Brewers Festival in Marymoor Park over Father’s Day weekend! A big THANK YOU to Washington Beer for naming https://instagram.com/peaksandpints the grand prize winner of its inaugural #DrinkWaBeer Instagram campaign. For five weeks Washington beer lovers posted pics centered on weekly theme. Peaks and Pints won two of the weeks: Week Four “Food” and Week Five “Sunsets.” Peaks and Pints scored free tickets to the Washington Brewers Festival. Below are the two winning shots

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Hitting the Eugene Ale Trail

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Close you eyes. Now think about your favorite beer being poured into a glass vessel at the right, chilly temperature. Think about the first sip, the touch of frothy head and rush of effervescence, the flavor balanced between sweet and bitter notes. Now, open your eyes. You’re in the brewery where this beer was brewed. Bags of grain are piled in the corner and bottles are stacked in another. In front of you, a stainless steel tank holds thousands of gallons of this precious liquid. You can hear the light gurgle of liquid fermentation. There are posters promoting their Tuesday

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Dick’s Brewing Belgian Tripel

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Dick’s Brewing Raspberry Tripel Pull up a map of Europe on your screen. It’s almost evenly split into wine and beer. South of the Alps, where fruit grows better than grain, wine is the fermented beverage of choice. North of the Alps, it’s beer. In a few places, fruit and grains both grow well, and things get weird. Belgium is in between them, which is why the beers there can be so like wine — barrel-aged, wild yeasts, blends of different fermentations and, sometimes, with fruit. Every spring Dick’s Brewing in Centralia centers on Belgium and

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Peddler Brewing opens its beer garden

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More than a hundred new breweries have opened in Washington state over the past two years, and on a warm summer day, there’s no finer place to be than on one of their patios. There’s no finer place to be on a perfect summer night, either. Peddler Brewing, the bicycling-beer enthusiast’s dream brewery in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, officially opened its new beer garden today, a week after the backyard beer garden’s soft opening. What once was no-man’s land is now strings of white lights, outdoor taps, gravel floor, food trucks and enough picnic tables to seat 400 people. It has,

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Scenes from Hellbent Brewing Company’s grand opening

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Running a brewery isn’t just waving a magic wand at grain and water and hops until beer appears; it’s dealing with dangerous gases, caustic chemicals, scalding water and a dozens of other things that can harm or even kill you. It’s not flipping a switch and you’re in business; it’s assembling a complicated, resource-hungry manufacturing system at the same time you’re building a neighborhood bar. Prepare to deal with bureaucracy at many different levels, and a mountain of ensuing paperwork to follow. Opening a brewery open is often hell. You have to be hell-bent to follow your dream. Today, four

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Words and photos from 7 Seas Brewing beer dinner at The Swiss

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Pairing beer with a meal — or courses within a meal — can be a delicate process. Trust me, it involves much more than grabbing a cold beer to go with your hot dog. Every chef will tell you, when he or she creates a dish they think about the intensity level first. Then, the chef seeks a beer with an equal amount of intensity. He or she doesn’t want a beer that’s going to get lost or overpower the food. The chef wants both to shine. Thankfully, Jacob Thacker, chef at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, follows the same

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Pacific Brewing and Malting begins bottling

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For much of the last few years, if you wanted to drink beer from South Sound’s newer and smaller breweries you had to travel to their taprooms or seek it out on draft. Cans of 7 Seas Rude Parrot and Wingman P-51 Porter or bottles of Harmon Point Defiance IPA and Narrows Brewing Galloping Gertie Golden Ale might be ubiquitous at local stores, but for many other breweries, time-sensitive growlers have been the only way for fans to share beer at a party or drink a pint at home. Pacific Brewing and Malting Co. head brewer

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South Sound Craft Crawl tour to launch in early June

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Did you just turn 21 years of age? Well gather around and listen to my tale. There was once a time when those of us aged more than 25 years — you know, “old farts” — didn’t have a fully interactive, voice-activated GPS in our pocket at all times. We had to carry around giant, totally unfoldable pieces of tree carcass with directions scrawled on them in tiny, barely legible print to know where we were going. You know, maps. And in this age of smartphones, it would be almost inconceivable that anyone would still lug one of those dinosaurs

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Deschutes Brewery goes big in Tacoma

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There are certain weird circles of the craft beer movement that refuse to acknowledge that one of the primary motivations for bending the old elbow is to get at least a bit of a glow going. And these buzz-deniers exist at both ends of the preferred-ABV spectrum. There are the session-beer zealots who insist that as long as your beer is below five-percent ABV, it is basically just extra-invigorating water that can be safely drunk round the clock. Then there are the tough people who mock the session-beer pansies for their inability to hold their liquor and/or control their intake.

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Friendships and beeryamids were formed at inaugural BikeroBrew

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If there’s one thing we know, it’s that happiness and deep sense of connection never comes from material success. Human connectivity doesn’t come from sitting around Instagramming, Twittering and Facebooking your soul into abject numbness. No, it’s much simpler. It can happen on a Saturday afternoon with strangers, over beers, of course. Yesterday’s BikeroBrew (by-kroh-broo) saw 35 or so participants ride bicycles between downtown Tacoma microbreweries, drink craft beer and learn about Tacoma’s history. The event wasn’t one of those Tough Mudder or Warrior Dash races where you beat the hell out of your knees for a T-shirt, cute selfies

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Van Halen “Diver Down” vs. Narrows Brewing Diver Down IPA

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They both carry the scuba diver down flag on their frontsides. They both had frontman changes. They both have tasty licks. But between Van Halen’s “Diver Down” album and Narrows Brewing’s Diver Down IPA, who can truly claim they rule the red with a white stripe from the upper left corner to the lower right corner? >>> Born On Date VAN HALEN: Their fifth album, 1982′s “Diver Down,” turned 33 years April 14, 2015. As a hastily-recorded collection featuring only four full-length original songs, this record should by all rights be a disaster. Instead, it’s just about the most fun

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Seattle Beer Week Randall Night

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There’s this device called a “Randall the Enamel Animal,” or “Randall” for short. It was created and perfected by Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione. The Randall attaches to a draft line and infuses fresh hops, fruit, herbs, or almost any other ingredient of choice into a beer. Last night, as part of Seattle Beer Week, The Pine Box in Seattle hosted “Can You Handle My Randall,” 12 crazy-infused beers from Washington, Oregon and California. The Randall contraption looked straight out of a mad scientist’s lab. Crazy beer reps at The Pine Box’s Randall night. Photo credit: Pappi

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Narrows Brewing taste update, Octopus battle tonight

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There have been two high-profile changes recently at two Tacoma breweries. Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. assistant brewer Bethany Carlsen left for a head brewer job at Gig Harbor Brewing Co. Former head brewer for RAM Restaurant and Brewery Andy Kenser joined the Pacific Brewing’s sales team freeing up co-founder Steve Navarro to concentrate on brewing. Before Pacific’s change, Narrows Brewing head brewer Joe Walts, who helped build and open the brewery back in 2013, moved back home to Madison, Wisconsin, to be closer to his family and resume his old quality control job at Ale Alsyum. Stepping into the

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Words and photos from Gig Harbor Beer Festival

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Saturday, May 9, a sold-out crowd packed a giant beer garden at The Gig Harbor Uptown Pavilion, 4701 Point Fosdick Dr., to enjoy suds and sunshine (fourth year in a row) at the fourth annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival. John Fosberg, festival organizer and founder of soon-to-open-Gig Harbor Brewing Company, wasn’t on site due to a family member’s college graduation many miles away, but the staff was on it, handling the capacity crowd and keeping the beer cold. Gig Harbor Brewing Company head brewer Bethany Carlsen donned a pretzel necklace and festival three-ounce shot glass, with news her budding brewery

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Three Magnets Brewing forced to change Rainy Day IPA name

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Breweries do what they can to control their image, from their beers to their taglines to their Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. They hire publicists. They issue press releases. They give interviews. Sometimes, they even change their names in an effort to rebrand themselves, and sometimes these strategies work. Sometimes breweries are forced to make a name change. In early April, Three Magnets Brewing Co. in downtown Olympia received a phone call from another brewery requesting that they change the name of their Rainy Day IPA, citing that it was too similar to the name of their brewery, and was

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Whole Foods opens and pours beers in University Place

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You could feel the excitement at 3515 Bridgeport Way W. next to the University Place Library. A large crowd milled about in the Whole Foods Market Chambers Bay parking lot, drinking free coffee, high-fiving the Sonics Guy, watching the Curtis High School Pep Band cranked out the tunes. Wood-fired pizza, live-mollusk tanks and more cheese than University Place roundabouts were discussed outside the closed doors. Whole Foods Chambers Bay is now open in University Place. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner Then the countdown began: 10, 9, 8 … when everyone yelled “One,” the doors opened and the

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Beer and loafing in Westport Washington

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My family and I spent the weekend at DeRosa Manor in Westport, Washington. I spent very little time on the beach. Two reasons. First, an invasion is afoot in Westport, Washington. Yes, there are millions of dead glassy purple, jellyfish-like sea creatures that look like sailboats stretching as far as the eye can see. Known as “by-the-wind sailors,” Velella velella typically live in the open ocean, but when warm water and storms draw them near shore, the wind blows them onto beaches, where they die in stinking piles — emphasis on stinking. Beach strolls ended up as eye rolls, so

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Hop Valley Brewing dinner at Bayview School of Cooking

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How much do I loooove Cinco de Mayo? Every Fifth of May I bathe in salsa and ride a burro around Tacoma’s Proctor District handing out chimichangas and parasitic water. But even though Cinco de Mayo is dominated by idiots mainlining margaritas, it is, in fact, an actual holiday. Apparently, on May 5, 1862, a French army landed in Mexico to collect outstanding debts from the newly elected government of democratic president Benito Juarez. Well, there would be no dinero for those greedy dudes as 4,000 scrappy Mexicans beat the pommes frites out of the French army and protected their

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Scenes from 2015 Craft Brewers Conference

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Times have changed since the halcyon hedonism of yore, when Hunter S. Thompson — the most celebrated master of the fine art of spending a spell in a faraway locale, imbibing and debauching on someone else’s dime — was staggering drunk, weaving his half-remembered adventures into fabulist prose. Nowadays, when a beer at lunch is looked at askance, there’s a palpable button-down mentality that frowns on overindulgence. I prefer zippers. So when the folks at the Brewers Association gave me the green light to hang at the Craft Brewers Conference for a few days and a few hundred pints, I

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