Updated Apr 10, 2012 - 6:30 pm
The Pine Box and the Randall
There's a new kid on the block up on Capitol Hill. He moved into a beautiful old building on Melrose Ave and he's brought a new toy to mix into the Seattle microbrew scene. His name is The Pine Box and the new toy is a Randall, a flavor infusing piece of beer serving equipment.
The Pine Box opened it's doors in late March to a densely populated neighborhood craving good beer. After a full remodel of the bar formerly known as Chapel, The Pine Box began pouring some of the best microbrews from Washington and beyond.
The vibe is spacious and airy, with a warm essence radiating from the hardwood which fills the room. The bright atmosphere and high ceilings reminiscent of German beer houses echo softly with the conversations of happy beer drinkers and encourage everyone to join in the vibrant and jovial atmosphere.
The Pine Box, as of now, is the only place I know in Seattle with a Randall. If you have not kept up with your Dogfish Head news in the past decade, you might not be aware of what a Randall is. Developed by the crack team at Dogfish Head for an IPA competition. Its original name was Randall the Enamel Animal, as there was a concern it might remove the enamel from your teeth with the intense hop oils it produces. This is an over exaggeration, sure, but how much of an over exaggeration? I don't know. Anyway, it is essentially a chamber that is filled with hops, spices, coffee, fruit, or anything else that you can imagine, in which beer is introduced into. The alcohol of the beer then strips the flavor from the chambered ingredients, and the beer is tapped from the other side, carrying hop oils, chocolate fats, fruit flavor or coffee into the pint glass.
The day that I visited The Pine Box they had Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin infused with cocoa nibs in the Randall. The result was a thick, smooth oatmeal stout with the aroma of cocoa and a back bone of rich bitter chocolate. It was quite...indulgent. That word reminds me of some chocolate commercial directed at house wives. Indulgent. But it fits. The Velvet Merlin in a Randall with cocoa nib is not a beer I could drink several of, but to fulfill my curiosity in the device and get a nice chocolate oatmeal stout truly was.. indulgent.
I highly recommend heading to The Pine Box on Capitol Hill (1600 Melrose Ave Seattle, WA) and having a couple pints. It is warm and inviting with a friendly and knowledgeable staff that will answer any beer questions which might arise. And while you are there, be sure to check out the Randall. I can't wait to go back and get something from the Randall a little less safe than a chocolate oatmeal stout. Something like a Thai chili and lemon grass hefe, mango and lemon peal pale, or an IPA so intense it will confuse the hell out of my dentist.
(Post and Photos by Dean Westling)
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