Mac & Jack’s Starts Canning

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I remember the first Mac & Jack’s experience I ever had; my brother and I were going to dinner when I was about 19 or 20, he was wearing a “Mac & Jack’s African Amber” shirt and there just so happened to be the African Amber on tap. I literally had no idea about Mac & Jack’s then (okay, or any beer except that disgusting stuff you drink in college) but instantly thought it was cool because, honestly, I just wanted to be as cool as my brother.

Fast forward a few years and I still believed that that was the name of the beer- and I know I’m not alone here… Chances are if you’ve worked at a bar and have anything on tap from them, everyone assumes it’s just the African Amber. And I bet you might even be guilty of that as well (no judgment… I did it too).

Mac & Jack’s is a brewery out of Redmond, WA and was founded in 1993 by Mac and, yes, Jack. Today the brewery is still owned AND operated by those two gentlemen. Yep, that’s right. No corporate beer here! These two dudes started brewing in their garage years before, only now they are brewing out of an old automotive garage off 520.

They are known for their African Amber, but also have a few staple beers (seriously, try their stout because it’s damn good) and are coming up with more rotating brews to keep us all on our toes. So. Why the hell are they canning now? What happened after 24 years that pushed them in that direction? Well, they say why the hell not. Craft beer has some serious competition these days and you have to make your beer interesting, exciting and readily available- and that’s exactly what they’re doing.

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You Say Oulde We Say New Pale Ale is an English style ale with American hops and is a collaboration with their friends from Foggy Noggin; Fn is a brewery out of Bothell that operates out of a garage (with all the legality there) and seemed like the perfect combination for M&J’s canning dreams.

This beer is small batch; which means you shouldn’t expect it to stick around long. While Mac & Jack’s is just starting to can, they want to keep it small and keep it fresh.

This ale was a bit of a surprise for me; it was pretty refreshing with a nice level of hop bitterness but had a little English malt twist to it. A little under carbonated, but still pretty crushable.

Maybe english malt isn’t your jam, but this beer really is something worth trying! If you love your west coast style beers, this one will tug at your heart strings! Plus it’s still hot as hell outside and you can suck this beer down way too quick.

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While Columbia Distribution has gotten a bit of these, definitely check out their brewery (sorry, no tasting room but you CAN get some cans– see what I did there?) and you better do it quick! Also keep your eyes peeled for more exciting and amazing things coming from the crew at Mac & Jack’s!!

 

Cheers to local brews, small batch & drinks on a Wednesday.

Xx

Supporting Local Brews

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I love beer fests. Seeing brewers, owners and other staff just being completely jacked about their beer and seeing everyone being equally excited about drinking that beer is just way too awesome. But it also gives me this sense of urgency to really support those smaller breweries hiding out at these festivals and to really explore new beer things to fall in love with.

In the wake of Wicked Weed Brewing being bought up, Lagunitas’ full buy out by Heineken, and our access to hops being hindered, it’s been pretty interesting watching how people adjust, protest and shut down Big Beer.

The Big Bad Wolf who is Anheuser-Busch seems to be going after all our beloved beers, and now even our hops. Sure, businesses open to bring in revenue and, of course, they want to keep that train rolling. But when and how do they stop caring about the beer and start caring about how deep their pockets will get? Wicked Weed might have been one of the most controversial (in my SUPER professional opinion); they made damn good beer and had four successful locations around North Carolina and had collabs with some of the best.

You’re probably thinking, “why the hell is she bringing this up now??”- Well, now is the time to support your local breweries. I think Jester King Brewing did an amazing job explaining Big Beer and why they won’t support them; breweries under AB inBev might still make some good brews (okay, let me know if this is true… because I’m not sure), but the money that this big corporation brings in is used to hurt craft breweries (read the full press release from Jester King here).

While I’m so thankful for every beer opportunity I have been given, loved every owner, brewer, beertender, sales guy and supportive manager I have crossed paths with, it’s also taught me a lot about the ambitions and intentions of this industry.

I love all beer things- hopefully you know that by now… I’ve worked with people who absolutely want to share their beer passions with people… and also those people who only care about the $$$ and not about the consumer or even the people who work for them. And honestly, that breaks my heart! As I pointed out before, the point of a business is to bring in money (in some people’s opinions…), but it just sucks when someone almost takes advantage of an industry just to bring in the dough?

Let me clear a thing or two up; I don’t completely despise those who are in the business just for money, but I kind of get super bummed when breweries fully sell out to huge conglomerates like AB InBev. AB is known for being dicey and quick to try and nip craft beer in the bud… or whatever. Distributers have the option to renegotiate distribution ‘laws’, and for big macro breweries who have a bit more of a say (whether that’s money or something else), they can help sway a distributor to choose that macro brewery over a smaller brewery- leaving the little guys with not a lot of choices.

Also, local breweries like to support local companies! How great is it when breweries use hops from local farmers or get their supplies from a local shop? It’s pretty damn awesome to see the community supporting eachother and putting that energy, focus and love back into it!

Alright. Maybe I just needed a minute to bitch, and thank you if you made it this far. I guess what I want people to take out of this, or think about, is those breweries who live for their patrons; the breweries who stepped away from the big guys to follow their passion (Uhhem- Cloudburst’s Steve Luke leaving Elysian because of personal beliefs. You the real MVP).

Plus- small breweries (generally) make even more delicious beers. So use your power. Stand up for better beer.

 

Cheers Xx

Flying Bike Cooperative Brewing Celebrates IPApril

Is it just me or is this winter last forever and ever? Seriously. We had, what, 40 straight days of rain? I know- we live in Seattle and should be used to the rain.. but sometimes you just need some damn sun! And I know for a fact I’m not the only one walking around with a depressing little grey cloud above my head.

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So how are we going to jump (hopefully) into Spring? Well, with some celebrating of course!

 I love any excuse to celebrate beer. Stout month? Okay. A special release? Don’t mind if I do! But we’re talking about some next level celebrating here.

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For the month of April, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery will be throwing down some seriously delicious IPAS to chase those blues away. Every Tuesday in IPApril, Flying Bike will be releasing a new IPA to send your taste buds on a delicious adventure.

As I’ve told you guys before about Flying Bike, they are member operated and ran, so these tasty beers are hand-crafted, selected and brewed by your neighbors!

These four beers include a limited Endo Triple IPA aged on rye oak chips, a Lavender IPA Redux which has been aged on dry lavender (personally one of my favorites from them), Tropical Heat IPA infusing their flagship IPA with pineapple, mango and chilies and The Rill Dill IPA which utilizes Sorachi Ace and Mosaic hops combing it with fresh dill, garlic cloves and some chilies.

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I’m not sure about you, but these beers sound damn tasty! Read the full press release below and see yah there!

 Cheers Xx

 

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Flying Bike Co-Op Celebrates Stout Month

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It’s officially February- and thank god for that! Although the temperature in Seattle has been plummeting the last few days (I’m sorry, 34 degrees is WAY too cold), we’re slowly moving on to early spring beers! I’m pumped for beers such as ISAs, lighter IPAs and other special releases, but Flying Bike is really hitting home for me this month. That’s right. Stouts. All. Month. Long.

For the month of February, Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery will be hosting their 2nd Annual Stout Month. Every Tuesday this month, along with one Saturday, the brewery will be introducing a new stout to their taproom.

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They started this event yesterday by rereleasing their Razryadka Barrel Aged Stout that’s the very first of their bottle releases (circa early 2016)! This stout is rye whiskey aged and is sure to be damn tasty. While this was tapped yesterday, everything is released in 1/6bbl and is sure to go really fast! Definitely get down their as soon as you can before it’s too late!

*This beer is draft only

Next up they will be releasing a chocolate & coconut infused oatmeal stout AND it’s on nitro! If you have a slight addiction to chocolate like myself, this stout will literally taste like a mounds bar. Does it get any better than that? No. The answer is no.

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Okay, maybe I’m wrong. It gets much, much better! Have any plans for the dreadful V-Day? On February 14th these guys will be releasing a PB&J infused nitro oatmeal stout. I’m just saying- you could skip out on your dinner plans and just drink your dinner! The goal of this stout was to bring out that inner child in you and take you all the way back to those grade school days.

Following up the PB&J, on the 18th of February FBCB will be introducing a brand new stout; the Snarky Stout. This straight-ahead American Stout will be nothing short of delicious. We’re talking a 7% classic roasty & toasty, chocolatey masterpiece .

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Have you ever had a stout infused with mushrooms? Well, here’s your chance! for the 5th release, the adventurous brewers at Flying Bike have literally taken the brand-spankin’-new Snarky Stout and thrown in some mushrooms. Not too convinced? The mushrooms actually meld tastily with the stout and give a balance of minerality and smokiness; throw in a solid stout and this beer will be nothing but a winner.

Ending the month with the Razryadka back on draft, you’re not going to want to miss out on this stout month. If you aren’t familiar with Flying Bike and what they’re all about, this brewery is 100% co-op; every beer comes from a simple suggestion from one of their members from the community. That’s right. If you’re a member you too could create one of these masterpieces!

Below I’ll post their schedule of the release and what this whole membership thing is all about! Hope to see you guys there.

 

Cheers Xx

 

 

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*photos courtesy of the beer geniuses at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery

Cozy Sweater Ale

Growing up in the Northwest has to be one of the best; we get beautiful sunny days, perfectly overcast skies, medium temperatures and some fantastic beer. You know what the PNW doesn’t prepare you for? Negative 800 degree weather. Waking up to 28 degrees outside is throwing this Northwest native for a loop!

Sure, we’ve had our share of cold weather, but it’s honestly been years. It was snowing the other morning and I woke up with a mild panic attack going on. You see, I drive a tiny little Nissan Nugget (still trademarking that) that has possibly the worst tires in all the lands and I just. can’t. even. My boyfriend was like “- wait, it gets cold here and snows though..”; Then I started to actually think about it.. we haven’t had actual snow in like two years. I’m not even exaggerating.. but please don’t fact check me.

dsc07389I sometimes forget that Ellensburg has a brewery, and even after I lived there for two years! Chances are that if I’m going to be drinking a stout, nine times out of ten it’s going to be a milk stout. I blame my mother for my sweet tooth.

The Cozy Sweater Vanilla Milk Stout is one of Iron Horse Brewing‘s winter beers and pretty damn tasty. The pour is a rich brown, almost black, and has a substantial head that leaves behind adequate lacing. Aroma smells damn good with notes of roasty toasty malts, coffee and some vanilla undertones. A bit on the sweeter side of milk stouts offering those roasted malts, chocolate and coffee at the first sip and melding into more of a mocha-y flavor to finish off. Honestly, I missed a bit of the vanilla in it and might lean more towards a regular milk stout; however, I’m really in to stouts for the coffee anyway- so I’ll chalk it up to a win. Mouthfeel was medium to a bit thin, especially for a stout, but nonetheless delicious.

Okay okay, I’m giving this beer some pretty good thumbs up. You want to know the one thing that disappoints me about this beer? While it’s sweet, delicious and warms me up, I received zero cozy sweaters and am stuck with a half crocheted blanket on my lap in hops to thaw me from this impossible weather. Other than the lack of free sweater, you should definitely go snag this beer and put on your fanciest, coziest sweater and prepare for this winter storm weather (anything below 52 and I’m out)!

P.S if you’re obsessed with candles, you should snag this pint candle from Stone Brewing because it’s the best thing ever and will change your life.

 

Cheers Xx

Wingman’s P-51 Porter

Christmas is right around the corner and I’m silently freaking the f out. I feel like yesterday it was February and BOOM- now it’s the end of the year?? Thankful I skipped out on those pesky New Years resolutions (since I’ve never been a fan of telling myself what to do and ACTUALLY sticking to it…) and decided to settle for all the beer drinking adventures!

I’m having somewhat of a crisis when it comes to dark beers, as in, I just haven’t been into them this year. Isn’t it weird how your tastebuds change and evolve?

While my dark beer consumption has gone way down, I’ll forever have a place in my heart for Wingman Brewers P-51 Porter series. Porters are a great compromise when it comes to dark beers; sometimes I’m craving the chocolate and coffee that’s found in stouts but not feeling the heaviness that most stouts offer. Porters tend to be a more medium to light mouthfeel but still pack the flavor!

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The P-51 Porter pours a beautiful dark brown with a decent peanut butter brown head (don’t be fooled, it’s not actually pb). Aroma was pretty standard for a porter and graces the nose with chocolate and toasted malts which was followed up in the taste for sure. This one had a bit of a bitter-hop finish that I’m not used to in porters, but was still tasty nonetheless.

Apparently there have been some bad cans out there that give off a completely different mouthfeel/carbonation/flavor profile; don’t let this throw you off! Because it definitely is a tasty little brew.

Have a porter or stout you’re digging on right now? Let me know and I’ll give them a try!

 

Cheers Xx

20 Corners Brewing

 

Washington is  blessed with the amount of breweries that call this state home; with over 300 breweries and new ones popping up every day, it’s damn near impossible to not benefit from all these tasty brews we have around us.

So what makes a brewery stand out? And how do you find the perfect one?

Every brewery is fighting for their craft beer to be the best of the best- or really, trying to bring something new to the table. Perhaps the second most important thing is atmosphere; while trying to jump between this IPA and that one, finding the perfect stout or scouting out something unique, I find the pub itself wins me over.

Seriously, have you been to a place that just didn’t have a good vibe? It almost ruins it for you! The expansion of breweries around the greater Seattle area is giving me hope that moving out of the city was a good idea.

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One of those downright awesome places is 20 Corners Brewing Co. out of Woodinville that opened up just three months ago. If you’re in to really dope spots, this taproom will knock your socks off. From the clean exterior of the building, the industrial and sleek inside and awesome taproom garage doors, I had a bit of a fan-girl architecture moment (that’s a thing, right?). If you’re an outdoor fiend like most of us PNW’ers, you’ll dig the vibe of this taproom for sure. With big T.V.’s plastering the walls, you’ll find mostly some extreme sport being streamed (and don’t worry, Seahawks too) and chill surfer/reggae music on in the background. A passion for both beer and the outdoors brings something to the area that not a lot of other breweries have; you can feel the dedication, curiosity and adventure as soon as you step through the doors.

Head brewer/part owner Jake comes to the area from Colorado where he was brewing for six years at Upslope Brewing and Odd13 Brewing (add those to your travel list!) and helping out brewers around town. His passion for good beer, sports and opening a brewery led him to mesh with Vern & Andrew, the two other owners. The interesting thing about this brewery is that all three of these guys wanted to open up their own breweries; with individual passions, funding and excitement, 20 Corners is lucky enough to have literally all the beer enthusiasts!

dsc07012While these dudes are still getting things up and running, the dream is to have ten core beers and 22 rotating; currently they have about 16 brews on tap and have nailed down four to be consistent- you’ll just have to wait and see! Most of the rotating will be small-batch experimental brews that Jake’s mad scientist mind will brew up, along with cider and rumors of wine. Currently you can find some great fresh hop beers on tap, their infamous Autonomous IPA, stouts, ambers and saisons.  How are they going to accommodate such mayhem? The brewery actually owns the building, so with what seems like a bagillion square feet of open space, they are planning to expand to a 30bbl system in December and really get the brews flowing!

A lot of breweries in the area don’t offer food options other than a little nibble so 20 Corners decided to open with a fully functioning kitchen and some damn good food! If you know me, I am obsessed with pizza and pizza-like things and they just so happen to have really, really, really good pizza! Alongside that they offer ‘folds’ which are pretty much sandwiches but MADE WITH PIZZA DOUGH. That alone has be freaking out! Definitely snag the pretzel if you get the chance because that beer-cheese is 100% yes please.

Brewery shirts and swag might be some of my favorite things as well. I love being able to rep the beers I like and also the people I stand behind; 20 Corners offers some of seriously awesome things from shirts, sweatshirts & even snapbacks.

Have little ones? No worries! This brewery is all ages and allows those families to get together, enjoy some good food and brews as well.

The passion that these guys have shows in every aspect of their brewery and has been so well thought out and put together, it’s hard to not think that they might just take over the Eastside and raise that bar for breweries around town.  If you haven’t gotten in to the pub yet, you better hurry! Currently they are closed on Monday and Tuesday’s, but Wed-Fri they are open 3p.m.-10p.m., Sat 11a.m.-10p.m. & Sun 11a.m.-8p.m.

Cheers Xx

Fresh Hop Ale Fest

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We made it out alive! And only one stolen Apple watch, one shattered phone and no one getting too lost. And yes… I’m the one that can’t have nice things…

I’ve gotta say, the beer was absolutely fantastic at the Fresh Hop Ale Fest on Saturday night; the only rough thing about it was that a lot of kegs blew way too quickly! Als0, since it started at 5, it was almost impossible to get any pictures… you’ll have to deal with ridiculous selfies and my boring words to get you through.

What I really dug about this festival is that it wasn’t just Washington (local Seattle) breweries. While Seattle will always hold my heart, I had the chance to check out some other breweries around the state and in to Oregon as well!

The taster glasses (yeah, that full pint you see in the first picture) probably knocked all of us on our a$$. Just look at the functioning group pictures we took below… One ticket got you 8 ounces, but every half pour ended up being around 3/4 of the glass.

When if feels like every brewery is doing a Citra something-or-other, festivals like this remind us of all the lovely hop creations that are grown right here in Yakima. Mosaic hops are kind of new to town when it comes to hops, and is an offspring of Simcoe. It brings all three of the bitterness, aroma and flavor that a beer maker (and drinker) could ask for; the aroma tends to lean towards other fruits like blueberry, tangerine & other floral aspects. So if you aren’t huge in to the mango and grapefruit, these hops specifically create a one-of-a-kind profile that other hops might lack.

I think pFriem Family Brewers will always be one of my go-to’s, and I’m so happy I got to them just a little after 7pm. Right when I walked up they had just blown their Citra Fresh Hop; sure, I love citra beers, but I had my eye on their Fresh Hop Mosaic Pale- holy damn. Yes. I want a handful of kegs.

Let’s face it, you can give me any beer from pFriem and I’m going to love it to death. This mosaic was beyond tasty with a pretty intense hop profile up-front and throughout. The aroma was enough to get me obsessed right away; from the moment I sniffed it, I immediately wanted to bottle it up- hop perfume isn’t weird, right? The hops were so fresh on this I felt like I was tasting the straight little green nubs! It reminded me of when my dad crushed open a hop for me and let me smell it. Seriously, you can’t beat it!

Another brew that was my favorite was Cloudburst Brewing‘s Essence of Wetness and had such a complex flavor/aroma going on! Light caramel-ly malt, citrus, grapefruit & some pretty nice dankness definitely greets the nose and blends in to light piney and citrus hops, grapefruit and some stone fruits on the palette; I really dug how the malt didn’t take over in this brew, and the freshness from the hops really stole the show. I hear from everyone that Cloudburst is one helluvuh brewery, and I guess I have no other option but to get myself down there!

Stoup Brewing out of Ballard also had a killer Simcoe Fresh Hop that, with great sadness, I didn’t get a full glass out of. The great thing about having beer friends is that their beer becomes your beer by nature. After tasting Kevin’s Simcoe I tried to hunt it down, but no luck! This brew had a little less bitterness and mild malt, thanks to the fresh Simcoe hops, and definitely had a huge juicy flavor. Honestly, I’ve been a little back and forth with Stoup, but this is drawing me in!

With so many beers to check out and so many breweries , it’s easy to get a little carried away at these things. I love writing about beer, taking all the pictures and really figuring out the complexity of the brews, but events like these remind me so much why I even got in to writing about beer. These events are full of breweries who are passionate about their beer and the people who want to explore their love for beer even more.

What do I suggest for beer fests? Well, you should be going to every single one you can, enjoy times with beer friends, dance it out (even when your boyfriend forces you) and make sure to drink all the water! Also, look out for me- because I’m bound to be running around somewhere!

 

Cheers Xx

 

Two Beers Goes Farmin’

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I have to be honest when I tell you that my heart literally fell a bit after seeing that Two Beers Brewing & Seattle Cider Co are merging with another company. Sure, we all know of a brewery that has ‘sold out’ or ‘partnered’ with a bigger company; next thing you know they slowly lose control of their small brewery and the beer quality changes…

Agrial, the company that has merged with our beloved Seattle bevs, is a farming cooperative that is almost the complete opposite of the other giant corporations we see taking over the craft beer industry. They are leading the way with cider in France, as well as other divisions, and are member ran (about 80% of the fresh fruits come from farmer-members).

So I don’t know about you, but this seems to be the perfect fit for the two to take over the beer & cider world. Agrial will give more opportunity for expansion for Two Beers & Seattle Cider, but will still let them hold the reigns and call the shots. Briefly knowing one of the sales guys for Seattle Cider out in Chicago and how well they have done in other states, it’s going to be absolutely exciting to see where this will take these companies!

Cheers to healthy mergers, and opportunities that will benefit both sides! This is the kind of thing I love about the beer/cider world; when companies want to help others out!

 

Check out their press release, for all the nitty-gritty:

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Kulshan Brewing & RMR

As of 8:22 yesterday morning, I have officially graduated college!! I expected to feel this overwhelming sense of calm, cool and collectedness… but I’m honestly just sitting here stressing out about the next 50 years of my life. Is this what adulting feels like??

I’ve started writing for this amazing Northwest base site, Respect My Region, and and I took on the task of Thirsty Thursday! So if you haven’t checked them out, seriously do- and not just because yours truly is now a big-time blogger.

DSC06614For my first official post (here) I decided to assign myself to drink four summer IPAs; have you seen me in a bottle shop? I went in for four IPAs and left with five cans and six 22s. It’s like I run in there making it rain (my wallet does NOT appreciate me). One of those beers just so happened to be Kulshan Brewing’s Bastard Kat IPA- and let’s just say I was pretty damn into it.

The beer pours your typical IPA golden orange and is pretty clear with a nice fluffy head and decent lacing. Definitely hop forward with a nice bitter bite, but not enough to really throw me off and the citrus notes along with a bready malt won me over with this beer. The only thing I would wish, dream and hope for is a bit more aroma! I felt like the taste took the cake (as it should, right?) but the lack of smell really threw me off! Bellingham offers some damn great breweries, and I’m just adding this to the list of places I gotta check out!

 

Cheers Xx