Lucky Envelope Brewing

Ballard had ten breweries for a little while, then dropped to nine when one relocated to Magnolia, but Lucky Envelope Brewing brought the count back up to ten. Whew! I visited them twice on short bike rides around town, and then they won a GABF medal for their Helles Lager. Pretty surprising for a brand new brewery, but good for them. Their taproom has a nice open feel to it, there’s a good-sized patio for the warmer months, and occasional food trucks. In addition to their regular production equipment, they make use of a small pilot system to try out new ideas, so there’s usually some interesting one-offs on tap.

drink dr. lucky

Feeling lucky at Lucky Envelope Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Schwarzbier Lager – 5% – Light on the tongue, with rich chocolate/coffee and roasty maltiness. Hint of spicy hops, and a bit of underlying lemon citrus edge. Goes right down.
  • Fog Dart Pale Ale – 5.4% – Mix of citrus, pine, earthy hops with underlying caramel. Nice lingering hop flavors.
  • ENIAC Mosaic IPA – 7.3% – Pretty smooth. Light citrus and tropical fruit hops, with light pine towards the finish. Underlying caramel sweetness.
  • Spanish Cedar ENIAC – 7.3% – Small batch. Pretty similar to the above ENIAC Mosaic, but with a bit more grapefruit and more of a rounder mouthfeel. Light woody finish, as well, and a touch of smoke.
  • British Stout – 4.4% – Chocolate/coffee and roasty maltiness with some underlying sweetness. Dry finish.
  • Two Pepper Pale Ale – 5.4% – Fog Dart infused with shisito and habanero peppers. Really nice pepper flavors but without too much heat, though it does build up. Malty backbone supports the peppers well.
    The Rest

  • Helles Lager – 5.3% – Herbal and spicy hops with light biscuity malt. Touch of lemon at the end. Fair amount of bitterness.
  • Thaiger Mom Tripel – 9% – Pretty sweet. Banana, bubblegum, some lemon, some lime. Some spiciness on the tongue. Too sweet for me.
  • Citra IPA – 7.2% – Floral, citrus, earthy hops with underlying caramel. Decent, but the hop mix just wasn’t my thing.

It seems like the ten Ballard breweries are doing pretty well — I guess the neighborhood hasn’t yet hit its brewery saturation point. Will be interesting to see how many more open there.

Bad Jimmy’s

It took a long time for Bad Jimmy’s Brewing Company to open. I think they were originally aiming for April 2013, but didn’t open their doors until late December (at least it was still 2013). I’d been following their updates and so was curious to finally check them out, as well as another brand new brewery. It was a cold but dry bike ride that day, but fun to squeeze two more breweries into 2013. Now I just have to squeeze both posts into 2014. Anyway, they had four beers on tap at the time, three of which were quite cloudy, but I liked them all. Figured it wouldn’t be long until my next visit, but it me took about eight months to return for some reason. Laziness on my part, most likely. The cloudiness was gone, and they had a new logo (no more front and center Space Needle because legal stuff – my original logo pint glass is now a collector’s item, I guess), and some of the recipes had been tweaked. I’ll only be including my notes on the latest iterations of the beers of theirs I’ve tried because that’s what I’ve decided I’ll do. Seems kind of silly to have “IPA 12/2013” and “IPA 8/2014” but maybe that’s just me. Maybe it would actually be useful. You never know what’s useful until you need it, or something. Okay, I’ll stop rambling now.

Bad Jimmy's taster flight

Bad Jimmy’s taster flight — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Cascadian Dark Ale – 7.5% – Roasty aroma and flavor, with a citrus edge. Fairly light on the tongue. Good mix of citrus, dark chocolate and coffee bitterness on the finish.
  • IPA – 8.8% – Tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Good caramel malt backbone.
  • Red IPA – 7.2% – Biscuit and caramel malt start to citrus, herbal hop finish.
  • Amber – 7.6% – Pretty strong for an amber, which is nice (for me). Caramel, with herbal hops and light earthy and floral notes. Some biscuit and breadiness, as well. Finish has some bitterness.
  • Habañero Amber – 6.8% – Brief caramel malt start before habañero heat takes over. Some smokiness and underlying breadiness. You gotta like the heat, though.
  • Red – 6.9% – Caramel malt, light on the tongue, with a sweet and tart citrus profile. Not the usual red, which is nice. Light breadiness, too, and light underlying bitterness.
    The Rest

  • Strawberry Mango Hef – 6.6% – Bready with light strawberry and mango notes. Not as interesting as it sounds, but the fruit flavors do become more prominent as it warms.
  • Pale – 6.3% – Nice mix of malts. Caramel, bready, biscuit, honey. Light herbal hops. Pretty mellow.
  • Cocoa Vanilla Porter – 7.5% – Dark chocolate, light coffee flavors. Pronounced dark chocolate bitterness. Light underlying vanilla and slight alcohol edge. A touch watery, though.

I visited Bad Jimmy’s a third time soon after the second time, and have been meaning to stop by again because they keep putting interesting sounding beers on tap. That’s part of why it’s taken me so long to write this post. But yeah, 2014 is rapidly coming to an end, and I really want to get this and one more written before that happens. I don’t want to be writing about breweries I visited in 2013 when it’s 2015. Jeez.

Stoup Brewing

The Ballard breweries just keep coming. Will nothing stop them?! I can only hope that no, nothing will. For about two months Stoup Brewing was the newest Ballard brewery, but then another one opened. You’d think I’d move from Capitol Hill to Ballard in order to keep up with all the beer happenings there. It’s tempting, but it’s probably better for my health being a bike ride away. Anyway, the Stoup folks are pretty nice. Some scientist types and a fully-certified Cicerone. Since my first visit, I’ve been by a couple more times to gather enough experimental data before writing up my findings and conclusions.

Stoup Laboraties

Little beakers of beer at Stoup Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • mk Special Bitter – 4.8% – Bitter start to biscuit and caramel, then changes to bready finish with some citrus. Interesting.
  • Citra IPA – 5.9% – Tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Big, juicy fruit flavors to a lingering finish.
  • T2R Haymaker TIPA – 10.5% – Made for the Hop Mob Triple IPA Road Show. Fairly light in color. Boozy, piney aroma and flavor with a bready finish.
  • Weissbier – 5% – Bavarian Hefeweizen. Spicy banana/clove aroma. Great balance of banana/clove and spicy flavors, with subtle bitterness and good bready finish.
  • IPA – 7.5% – Good amount of citrus and floral hop flavor with caramel and biscuit malt balance. Nice lingering flavors and a medium amount of bitterness that blends back in fairly well.
  • NW Red – 5.5% – Biscuit malt aroma and flavor with light balancing floral hops. Smooth but with a bit of a bitter bite at the end.
  • Porter – 6.5% – Coffee and dark chocolate aroma and flavor. Pretty complex malts. Bit of spiciness on the tongue and very subtle floral hops. Fairly dry finish. A big but subtle beer.
    The Rest

  • Bike Rye’d Saison – 6.7% – Collaboration with Flying Bike Coop. Light, some funk, dry rye spiciness, bit of lemon, and subtle egginess. Some bitterness on finish.
  • ISA – 5% – Citrus and floral aroma. More floral than citrus flavor, though. Light malt. Fair amount of lingering bitterness and a slight lemon zing at the end.

So yes, the data indicates that Stoup is a good addition to the Ballard brewery scene. Ongoing data collection will need to happen, however, to corroborate my findings. Will update as necessary.

Populuxe

The other half of the big Ballard brewery opening weekend extravaganza was Populuxe Brewing. They’re keeping it on the small side, with a smaller building and a smaller system than Peddler. As far as I know, though, they were the first brewery in these parts to feature cornhole — trendsetters, those Populuxe folk. I have since seen it at a couple other places, including Peddler, and a set just showed up at my own day job. It’s the new thing! Anyway, Populuxe has been making lots of different beers, and there’s always something new on tap from week to week. I’ve only visited twice so far, but there’s been a friendly, laid-back vibe both times, even when it’s crowded. There’s usually a food truck in the adjoining lot (in addition to the cornhole) or across the street, so it’s a good place to go if you’re not in a hurry.

Populuxe tasting room

Took a while to capture a moment of calm at the Populuxe tap handles on their opening night — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Peppercorn Saison – 7.3% – Light funk aroma. Good, well-balanced mix of flavors – sweetness (more caramel, less bubble gum), funk, subtle pepper. Slight bitter zing on the finish. Very drinkable saison.
  • Precipitation Plum Porter – 6% – Coffee/chocolate as well as plum aroma. Good coffee, chocolate, plum flavor balance. Plum is light but a great complement. Dry finish. Really quite nice.
  • Euro Blonde – 4.8% – Crisp, not very bready. Hazelnut, subtle hint of honey. Good biscuity maltiness to bitter finish.
  • Populuxe IPA – 5.5% – Sharp passion fruit and resiny hop aroma. Strong hop flavors with well-balanced underlying biscuity maltiness. Good bitterness, too.
  • Burke-Gilman Bitter – 5.2% – Biscuity maltiness with herbal hop flavor. Lingering bitterness, but smooth and crisp. Very drinkable.
  • Cinderblock CDA – 5.8% – Grapefruit/piney hop and roasty malt aromas and flavors. Fairly light on the tongue. Big flavors but balanced. Great bitter citrus and piney edge but very little lingering bitterness.
  • Beer Snob Brown – 5.1% – Very roasty. Complex malt character – roasty, coffee, biscuity, touch of caramel. Fairly dry finish.
    The Rest

  • Mild – 3.5% – Light chocolate/coffee/earthy aroma. Surprisingly carbonated. Coffee flavors, but in a weird way too clean, and with a slight metallic hint.

With so many breweries opening up in Ballard, I’ve noticed that my bike rides to the area have shifted to be more about sampling the new beers available rather than being a stop on a longer ride. Maybe I need to adjust the riding plans to end up in Ballard rather than heading there first. Will need to take this into consideration, perhaps over a beer.

Peddler Brewing

When I first heard about the bike-centric Peddler Brewing, it sounded like a perfect fit for me, what with my apparent obsession with biking to breweries and all. I even pre-ordered a logo pint glass by kicking in a few bucks to their Kickstarter campaign. The two Peddlers, Dave and Haley, took over the old Maritime Pacific space and made it their own with an indoor hanging bike rack and workstation, sidewalk patio, and an awesome concrete bar with embedded bike parts. Interestingly, they and neighboring brewery Populuxe (more on them in an upcoming post) officially opened on the same day — I wasn’t sure how that would pan out, but the local media deemed it newsworthy, using it as a lead-in to stories on the burgeoning Ballard brewing scene. Both places were packed all weekend.

Peddler sampler

Peddler Brewing samplers (couldn’t think of a clever bike pun, sorry). They have since upgraded the logo sign hanging above the taps. — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Kolsch – 4.9% – Light banana/clove aroma. B/C flavor lighter the aroma, with herbal and floral hoppiness, light breadiness, a bit of sweetness, and some bitterness on the finish.
  • Caramel ESB – 5.4% – Light and not too sweet. Caramel comes in middle to finish. Very subtle floral hoppiness. Great balance and somewhat restrained.
  • Tangerine Wheat – 5.5% – Tangerine aroma. The flavor goes well with the wheat. Some tanginess, some breadiness, good mouthfeel. Nice tangerine finish.
  • IPA – 5% – Muted hoppiness. Subtle flavor mix: grapefruit, floral, lemon, malty backbone. Lightly bitter.
  • Snow Beer’d – 7.9% – Caramel aroma and flavor. Good carbonation. Bit of alcohol edge on the finish. Nice balance.
  • Patio Pale – 5.1% – Floral aroma. Nice light floral and herbal hop flavors. Fairly complex maltiness to balance — biscuit, toast, caramel. Really drinkable.
  • Stage 22 Stout – 5% – Strong coffee/chocolate aroma. Light, with coffee/chocolate flavors and a bit of a spicy mouthfeel. Bit of dark chocolate bitterness on the finish.
    The Rest

  • On Your Left IPA – 6.4% – Quite bitter. Masks the other flavors, unfortunately. Some floral hop flavor and maybe some herbal, too, and some sort of maltiness.
  • Rye-P-A – 5% – Floral aroma. Floral and herbal hoppiness. Caramel maltiness. Rye is subtle but there if you look for it. Lingering floral flavor.
  • Coffee Saison – 7% – Banana/clove aroma and flavor, with some coriander that goes well with it. Little bit of bitterness on the finish and maybe some very subtle coffee flavor there, as well, but I wouldn’t have noticed it if not for the name.
  • Pale Ale – 4.8% – First batch on their production system. Pretty bready, light on the hops, and a touch of lemon.
  • Belgian Spice – 7% – Banana/clove aroma and flavor. Ginger flavor, too. Fairly light and bubbly, but a touch watery.

Now that the local media have done the Ballard brewery story, I wonder how that’ll affect the openings for the two to three new breweries planning to open there this year. Might be just a matter of time before we start seeing “Not another Ballard brewery!” headlines.

Reuben’s Brews

Shortly after my little ride to Elliott Bay Brewing, I came down with a very annoying and lingering sore throat, which really cut into my biking and drinking time. After a week and a half, I caved and saw a doctor, who kindly prescribed me some antibiotics. Rather than heeding my brother’s advice of gargling acid, or some such, I started on the course and several days later felt well enough to get back in the (bike) saddle. A short ride seemed in order, and so I headed for the brand new Reuben’s Brews in Ballard. By strategically missing their grand opening earlier that week, I was able to sample their Imperial IPA, which just went on tap. At least, that’s how I console myself.

Update! May 12, 2013: I was driving through Ballard several months after my first visit and after some random turns, saw the Reuben’s Brews sandwich board on the sidewalk, which reminded me that I’d been wanting to stop by again. The owner Adam remembered me, surprisingly enough, so I guess I should make a point of visiting more often.

Reuben's tasters

Shiny new beer at Reuben’s Brews — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Doubloon’s India Wheat Ale – 6.9% – Floral aroma. Nice floral hop flavor with creamy mouthfeel and subtle breadiness. Bitter finish. Bit of subtle citrusy sweetness too. Really drinkable.
  • Imperial Oatmeal Stout – 8.4% – Chocolate/coffee aroma and flavors. Slight alcohol edge on start, then flows to chewy chocolate/coffee finish.
  • Red – 5.4% – Smooth and malty, with good caramel flavor. Subtle floral hoppiness. Quite drinkable.
  • Imperial Rye IPA – 8.4% – Floral aroma. Sharp floral/grapefruit/piney hoppiness with smooth rye base and some caramel maltiness. Some lingering bitterness. Pretty compelling.
  • American Rye – 5.4% – Lemony/rye aroma. Light citrusy flavor and slightly spicy on the tongue. Good bitter edge, and quite drinkable.
  • American Brown – 5.9% – Slightly darker than the Roggenbier, with a coffee aroma. Surprising citrus blast with the coffee/chocolate flavors, with an underlying bitterness. Lingering grapefruit and coffee flavors. Very interesting.
  • Imperial IPA – 9.4% – Pretty intense and lingering citrus flavors, good malty backbone, and a nice bitterness. Doesn’t taste like 9.4% — pretty cool.
  • Robust Porter – 6% – Chocolate/coffee aroma. More chocolate than coffee flavors, and fairly creamy. Subtle bitterness. Pretty thick for a porter but very drinkable.
  • Dry Stout – 4.9% – Chocolate/coffee aroma. Roasty coffee flavor with bitter edge. Somewhat creamy, somewhat dry. Really interesting mix of flavors and mouthfeel.
    The Rest

  • Belgian Pale Ale – 5.7% – More clove than banana aroma and flavor. A bit creamy. Pretty nice, but not sure I’d go for a whole pint.
  • Roasted Rye IPA – 7% – Floral/citrus hoppiness and malty sweetness, plus caramel, with rye base. Very interesting. Some lingering bitterness. Kind of a dubbel/IPA hybrid.
  • Roggenbier – 5.3% – Malty/banana/clove aroma, and nice brown color. Malty sweet and banana/clove start to dry brown finish. Creamy smooth. Interesting, but a bit too sweet for me.

As I was finishing up the tasters and trying to decide which one to have a full pint of, I checked Twitter and saw that Lantern Brewing (a tiny nanobrewery) was hosting an open house that evening as part of the Phinney/Greenwood Night Out. So I settled up instead and started pedaling to the second brewery of the evening, wondering just how long of a night this was going to be.

Northwest Peaks

With a title like “Northwest Peaks” you’d think this would be a post about climbing or hiking, but April Fools! It is, once again, about a brewery. Specifically, the NW Peaks Brewery, a one-man show in Ballard, just around the corner from the significantly more funded Hilliard’s.

It’s a nice casual vibe at the NW Peaks Base Camp. I rolled my bike right in, propped it up against the fence, grabbed a sampler, and sat down at one of the two plastic picnic tables. Other folks wandered in, and the table eventually filled up. Lots of beer talk, and one guy was also a beer biker, although he was on foot that day. Good times.

Update! 4/25/12: I happened to be in the neighborhood just as Base Camp was opening, and they had four new beers on tap. Seemed like a good time for another sampler.

not my usual picture of northwest peaks

Easy climbing with the Northwest Peaks sampler — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Redoubt Red – Nice crisp malty red, bit of bitterness. Yum.
  • Esmeralda English Pale Ale – Pretty light with really nice caramel sweetness. Interesting cherry flavor, too, and an underlying bitterness. Nice smooth body.
  • Hannegan Red – 4.7% – Pretty mellow and smooth. Good maltiness to strong bready finish. Subtle hoppiness. Quite drinkable. Slightly flat, but sometimes reds are.
  • Early Morning Stout – Good dry coffee flavor and somewhat hoppy. Fairly light on the tongue for a stout, too.
  • Oak Aged Stuart Stout – Strong oaky/bourbon start. Gives way to dry bourbon/coffee mix. Yum!
    The Rest

  • Ingalls Ginger Pale Ale – Light and crisp, with a nice ‘n easy ginger flavor and underlying bitterness. Slightly watery, though.
  • Colchuck Pale Ale – Very light in color. Pretty crisp and light with subtle maltiness. Very slight sweet start but quickly replaced by a lingering bitterness. Supposedly more grapefruit notes in the hops.
  • Eldorado Pale Ale – Interesting. Lots of floral hops. Somewhat bready. Fairly bold, but light on the tongue. Lingering floral hoppiness. Pretty good, but too floral for me.

NW Peaks is one of those places I’ll have to re-visit periodically because they have no year-round beers — new brews every month. There are lots of mountains to climb in the Cascades, and lots of beers to make at NW Peaks.

Hilliard’s Beer

It was a cold and sunny November Saturday, and my climbing plans got canceled. So I called beer-biking friend Jonny and made plans for a pleasant little ride to the very new Hilliard’s Beer in Ballard. I’d read a few blog posts of theirs earlier in the year and was looking forward to visiting. We hit the Burke-Gilman and slowly made our way through the weekend throngs to Fremont, where we decided to take a detour and check out the new section of the Ship Canal bike trail. It’s still under construction, but the trail part was done — all that’s left is finishing the fencing (which made it easy to get on the trail) and doing the landscaping. Can’t wait for it to be officially open! Unfortunately, its western end was more securely gated, and we had to backtrack a little ways in order to then get to Magnolia and cross the locks.

Skillet and, eventually, the Blue Truck Special were parked in Hilliard’s parking lot and serving up food. I got the veggie option from Skillet, their fresh berry brioche dessert. It was wonderfully tasty and filling, and probably packed more calories than I burned on the whole bike ride. We sat down inside and sampled the three beers they had available. I liked them all, which made it a hard choice to pick just one for a full pint, but I went with the freshly canned Amber (just two days previous). Hilliard’s is now the third Puget Sound brewery I know of that’s canning (after 7 Seas and Two Beers), and apparently the micro-canning revolution is really taking off — the Hilliard’s guy said that Sierra Nevada is going to start canning, as well. Go figure.

Update! March 24, 2012: Finally re-visited, after hitting NW Peaks just around the corner. Got the Saison this time, but the three other beers available were the same as before. Just one food truck this time, and it looked like some pork-only outfit. Ah well. May 23, 2015: Hilliard’s has been doing well. They can’t make enough of The 12th Can when it’s football season, the hipster crowd has embraced their Chrome Satan, and it’s a party at the brewery most every weekend with live music and DJs. They’ve been doing some barrel aging and just released an IPA. Busy busy busy.

Hilliard's samples

Hilliard’s samples — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • The 12th Can – 4.5% – Sportsy pale ale. Floral citrus aroma and initial flavor. Light, almost watery, then breadiness kicks in. Slight lingering bitterness, with a touch of honey at the end, as well. Enough flavor going on to make up for the watery aspect.
  • Joint Effort – 5.6% – Collaboration with Redhook. Bit of malty, earthy aroma. Sweet but edgy start, with caramel and slight toasty maltiness. Light herbal hops with good bitterness. Underlying funky vegetal and earthy flavors from the hemp seeds.
  • Chrome Satan – 5.7% – California Common style, with cute “Anchor Steam” anagram for the name. Biscuity maltiness. Crisp and somewhat light, with a light bitter finish. Pretty drinkable.
  • Pils – 5.5% – Lemony aroma. Light, bready, lemony, with a nice little bitter twist and subtle herbal hops. Easy drinking.
  • Murdered Out Stout – 5.1% – Light, with coffee/chocolate flavors, and a quite pleasant mouthfeel. Interesting bridge edge, with the slightest hint of sour mash flavor. Good light bitterness on finish.
  • Amber – Very slight floral aroma. Good hoppy/malty mix, with a bit of an alcohol flavor. Not a wimpy amber.
  • Regimental Scottish Blonde – Tangy, hoppy start, bready finish, with a very subtle lemon flavor. Nice and crisp for an unfiltered beer. Very refreshing.
  • Cast Iron Stout – [Name changed to Murdered Out, but my tasting notes were different enough that I’m keeping this one here because maybe they tweaked the recipe a bit, too. Who knows.] A hoppy stout, with a strong coffee start, subtle caramel sweetness, and a Guinness aftertaste. Not too heavy, as well.
    The Rest

  • The Fino Countdown – 6.3% – Sherry barrel aged porter. Bright sherry start that mellows to chocolatey, roasty malt finish. Interesting but flavors don’t quite work together.
  • Saison – Pretty cool mix of a light tripel and slight lemon flavor. Caramel and alcohol flavors. Somewhat sweet but also has a slight sour mash edge. Bit of that clove/banana taste, too. Sort of all over the place, actually. Pretty wild beer to can.
  • Nautical Reference Pale Ale – Floral and malty.  Crisp and fairly bitter, but with a very subtle sweetness.  A little too bitter for me, though.

It’s interesting how each of the Ballard breweries has its own personality. Hilliard’s sort of feels like the popular party kid of the bunch. Very few other breweries feel that way to me. So yeah, interesting.

Hale’s Ales

It’s been a while since my last visit to Hale’s, but after a couple hours at Vertical World it seemed like a good spot for some post-climbing refreshment. For some reason, in my mind Hale’s always seemed to pale in comparison to Maritime Pacific, but thankfully I’ve now cleared up my misconception. They serve up some fine brews. Well, except for that banana beer. Shudder.

Update! May 12, 2013: Haven’t been back to the brewpub, but have tried some interesting offerings on tap at other bars around town.

Hale's tasters

Hale’s tasters — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Pikop Andropov’s Rushin’ Imperial Stout – 8% – Bourbon barrel aged stout. Really smooth. Good underlying bourbon oaky/vanilla flavor with sweet finish. Some roasty maltiness. Usual stout flavors are pretty subtle.
  • Barrel Aged Wee Heavy – 7.4% – Good, even whiskey aroma and flavor that is a nice complement to the sweet caramel maltiness. Prominent alcohol flavor throughout. Very much a winter warmer.
  • Fresh Hop Pale Ale 2012 – 4.5% – Slight spicy aroma. Very light in color. Light on the tongue, too, with some spicy hoppiness, mixed with a little bitterness, to a bready finish. Drinkable but more like a summer beer than a fall fresh hop. As it warms up, though, hop profile (pungent spiciness and passion fruit) becomes more pronounced, which is nice.
  • Kolsch – 4.5% – Starts off with a slight lemon flavor before the bready taste kicks in. Nice, light, and drinkable.
  • Red Menace – 5.3% – “Big Amber” – Ambers are usually pretty mellow but this one makes things interesting with extra hops and an appealing red color. Nicely balanced.
  • Super Goose IPA – 7.1% – Big hops! Kinda floral but also citrusy, which makes up for that…
  • Troll Porter – 6.9% – Good smoky chocolate flavor. Not too heavy.
  • Cream Stout – 5.2% – Nitro pour. So smooth and chocolatey and chewy. Definitely a meal in itself.
    The Rest

  • Pale American Ale – 5% – Pretty smooth and hoppy, but it has that floral hoppiness that I don’t particularly like.
  • Cream Ale – 4.5% – Nitro pour. Very smooth and drinkable. Not hoppy at all.
  • El Jefe – 5.2% – Banana beer. Fairly light, but the banana aroma and taste are very strong. The banana taste lingers, too.
  • Belgian – Super smooth. Has a good caramel taste, as well as an aroma and flavor of what reminded me at first of Bazooka Joe bubblegum. As it warmed up (and after I tried El Jefe) the Bazooka Joe aspect became more like banana. It was certainly an interesting beer, but I don’t think I’d want more than a taster.

This will be it for post-gym climbing beer posts. Unless, of course, I venture out to the Bremerton or Tacoma gyms and then hit Der Blokken or Harmon’s or Engine House #9 or some such. Hmm. Now that I think about it…

Martime Pacific

I finally made it to the new location of the Maritime Pacific Brewing Company and its adjoining Jolly Roger Taproom. The Jolly Roger and I go way back — back to the early days of Vertical World 3.0, when a fairly regular group of us would climb most every Wednesday evening and then hit the Jolly Roger for post-climbing beers and/or Lil Mahis. Times change, though, and most of them are now married or have kids or got too busy with other things in life, and so I stopped going because going there by myself just wasn’t as fun (okay, so times change for everyone except me, apparently).

Anyway, one of the old crowd managed to make it out for an evening of climbing (his pregnant wife had just left on a business trip), and afterwards the two of us headed to the new and improved Jolly Roger. I’m happy to say it holds up well. Same decor, same (or an amazing copy of) bar and cupboards and taps, but in a space maybe three times as big. I felt right at home. In addition to the sampler (plus one), I had the Lil Mahis, and they (and the accompanying sauces) were just as tasty as they’d always been. Almost brought a tear to the eye.

Update! May 12, 2013: After several more visits to the Jolly Roger, I’m finally getting around to adding my notes. Hmm, all these updates I’ve been doing has worked up my appetite for some Lil Mahis…

Maritime Pacific

Maritime Pacific taster tray — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Navigator Dunkelweizen – Sweet malty start to nice caramel finish. Interesting bready mouthfeel but not so much in taste. Bit of spiciness on the tongue, too.
  • Windfest Oktoberfest Lager – Subtle banana start but quickly overtaken by breadiness and a light caramel finish. Light, though not as crisp as your usual lager, and really drinkable.
  • Autumn Pale Ale – 5% – Pungent spicy and floral aroma, but light and creamy. Sharp floral hoppiness with a light malty base. Pretty drinkable but some lingering bitterness.
  • XPA 2012 – Lots of hop flavor going on: mostly floral with citrus and some spiciness, as well as some grassy undertones. Good biscuity malty balance and fairly complex finish of all the flavors. Pretty great.
  • XPA 2011 – Fresh hop pale ale. Good citrusy hop aroma and flavor, with some floral notes, too. Good maltiness, with great lingering hop bite. Light on the tongue — goes right down.
  • Islander Pale Ale – 5% – Pretty smooth with good strong hoppiness. Yum.
  • Flagship Red Alt Ale – 5.2% – Nice balance, slight nuttiness, very drinkable.
  • Nightwatch Dark Ale – 5.5% – Really nice. Dark in color but tastes light. Great balance. Not so hoppy, but double yum!
  • Imperial IPA – 7.5% – Remarkably well-balanced, although not as hoppy as I’d like. Maybe I should’ve gone with the double dry-hopped version they had on tap…
  • Jolly Roger Christmas Ale – Not as dark in color as I remember but so good. One of my favorite winter ales, bit of a caramel taste with an edge. And it’s strong – a friend of mine drank three pints and ended up slumped over and drooling.
    The Rest

  • Dry Hopped Pils – Lemony aroma. Initial lemony flavor gives way to breadiness. Pretty bubbly. Pretty good. Doesn’t seem too hoppy, actually.
  • Old Seattle Lager – 4.3% – Light but not particularly crisp. Fairly bubbly. Pretty drinkable but not really my thing.

It’s good to know that while some things change, some things (besides me) stay the same.

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