Updated May 15, 2012 - 10:13 pm
NW Seattle Brewery Crawl Wrap Up
On Saturday, May 12th, thirty some adventurous beer lovers gathered at the NW Peaks Brewery Base Camp and prepared for a journey that would prove to be challenging, eye opening, and a damn good time. I am happy to announce that the Life by the Pint Brewery Crawl, NW Seattle Edition, was a outstanding success as the beer was cold, the sun was hot, and the companionship beyond measure.
The Brewery Crawl started at NW Peaks, the smallest operation on the Crawl, where Dr. Peaks, aka Kevin Klein, poured sampler after sampler and pint after pint for the growing number of participants relaxing in the warm sun. NW Peaks offers four beers on tap which change frequently and are all top notch brews. During the Crawl Dr. Peaks was pouring Magic Brown, Hannegan Red, Esmeralda and Redoubt Red. The reds were tasty, the brown was delicious, but the favorite of the four seemed to be the Esmeralda, a take on an English Pale, brewed with molasses, corn, Apollo and Goldings hops. Like all NW Peaks beers this is a different sort of beer. It is light on the hops and contains an unusual sweetness and smoothness, a result of the corn and molasses. And like the other three beers on tap at NW Peaks, it is a beautiful beer, an earthy yet crystal clear tan color.
After a round of samplers and pints, the Brewery Crawl Crew of pint pounding palate pleasers, waved good-bye to Dr. Peaks and his Base Camp, and moved around the corner to Hilliard's Beer for more delicious "cool ones". Arriving at Hilliard's we were blessed with a welcome break from the sun (spoken like a true Seattlite) as the cool concrete floor and slight breeze of the brewery brought everyone's temps down a couple degrees. Hilliard's is an inviting location which feels vast and intimate at the same time. Pils, saisons, ambers, ESBs (extra special Belgian), and malty blonds provide something for everyone at Hilliard's Beer. I had the saison which was delicious, but the Pils and the ESB seemed to be popular with the Brewery Crawl Crew. After a solid 45 minutes of laughs, stories and beer talk, the Crawl Crew was rallied and departed, sights set for Maritime Pacific.
It was this portion of the crawl that the crew was the largest at just over 30 people, enough to fill a half city block. It was a testament to the brewing culture of the great Emerald City that so many people were interested and enthusiastic about trying something new and relying on the local brewers to make the afternoon memorable.
Arriving at Maritime Pacific we settled in for some sliders and, you guessed it, pints of brew. Maritime has recently re-released their Seattle Beer Week beer from last year, Decompression Ale, an American strong, which I had to order. Tis the season right? A few pints, a few pitchers and were were on our way down the Burke-Gilman trail to Hale's Ales.
Arriving at Hale's Ales we were lucky to find that we had beat the Tour de Pints crew of 50+ people, which means the beer was poured quickly from the friendly staff of Hales and space was abundant. At Hale's I had the Supergoose Double IPA, as was delighted as always with its citrusy bitter, caramel sweet flavors. But the big hit at Hale's Ales was the Tres Fem a Belgian style golden ale with sour cherries. It was truly a delightfully drinkable sweet and sour ale with just the right amount of fruit flavor.
Departing Hale's Ales we began the longest trek of the Crawl, a 1.3 mile stroll down the Burke-Gilman trail and the banks of the ship canal. Saturday was a beautiful day and after 4 pints, this was a welcome bit of exercise. We even stopped to dip our feet in the water and take in the passing boats.
Then it was on to Fremont Brewing.
First off, I love Fremont Brewing. The atmosphere is low key, the beer is top notch and it always seems to have the right amount of people just hanging out.
In a 2011 Best of the Year post, Jeff and I both gave our Best Beer of the Year award to Fremont Brewing. Jeff's favorite was the Summer Solstice, mine was the Bourbon Abominable (AKA B-Bomb), which recently won a bronze medal at the World Beer Cup. I was delighted to find that both of these magnificent brews were on tap at Fremont Brewing. The B-Bomb is a rich and delicious beer with intense caramel, vanilla, chocolate, bourbon and oak flavors. The Summer Solstice is a perfectly hopped summer beer with notes of tangerine. Once again Fremont Brewing treated us right.
The Life by the Pint Brewery Crawl, NW Seattle Edition was a perfect way to celebrate one year of beer blogging. It has been exciting, exhausting, and a true learning experience, and it could not have been possible without the support of our friends, family and the Seattle microbrew culture. Here's to many years of beers to come!
(Post and Photos by Dean Westling, except "Maritime Cheers" and "Decompression Sip" which were taken by Jer Barnes. Check out his awesome hiking blog here: http://www.hikingwithmybrother.com/)
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