Hellbent Brewing

I was in the mood for a slightly longer Seattle bike ride and so headed north to Hellbent Brewing, just a couple blocks north of the Lake City Way Elliott Bay Brewpub. Didn’t know too much about them except the head brewer had worked at a few other breweries, and, well, I have to say I was pretty impressed with the what they’ve done. Hellbent is in a former machine shop that’s been totally redone, with a nice long bar, lots of taps (some their beer, the rest other local brews), a view into the glassed-off brewhouse with lots of big, shiny new stainless steel equipment. There’s a better view of it, too, from the second floor, which also has a pool table, dartboard, and Big Buck Hunter. Lots of big screen tvs, a nice patio, plus food trucks pretty much daily. They went all out opening this place.

hellbent tasters

The road to Hellbent Brewing is paved with good fermentation. Ha! — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Olympic Hills Spring Ale – 5.4% – Herbal and earthy hops, light biscuit malt, and some bitterness on the finish.
  • Funky RED Patina Red Ale – 5.3% – Caramel and biscuit malts with light herbal hops. Good mix.
  • First Born IPA – 6.5% – Big grapefruit and citrus, light piney hops. Bit of tropical fruit, too. Solid underlying caramel.
  • Moon Tower Stout – 6.4% – Smooth coffee and chocolate with some dark chocolate bitterness.
    The Rest

  • Fresh Hopped Pale Ale – 5.8% – Piney, minty, some grassiness, with caramel base. Somewhat bitter finish. Bit of sugary sweetness as it warms.
  • Jasmine Wheat – 5.1% – Sweet start, with a bit of bubblegum. Herbal and light earthy hops, touch of spiciness, to light bready and jasmine finish, with light bitterness.

This was my first time biking to Lake City Way. Pretty nice nine mile ride. Looking forward to doing it again.

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Counterbalance Brewing

It had been a couple years since a new brewery opened in Georgetown, but Counterbalance Brewing finally put an end to that dry spell. So on a particularly hot summer day I hopped on my bike to pay them a visit. I’d worked up quite a sweat by the time I got there, and since the taproom was surprisingly quiet I was able to sit next to the fan while re-hydrating with the taster tray.

duck duck beer

Taster tray at Counterbalance Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Counterbalance IPA – 6.1% – Smooth, with big tropical fruit and light earthy hops. Good caramel malt backbone.
  • Kushetka Imperial Stout – 8.9% – Coffee/chocolate aroma and flavors. Sweet molasses, too, with a bit of a dark chocolate bitter finish. Creamy mouthfeel.
  • Pogo Duck ISA – 5% – Light, with earthy hops and a little bit of sweetness. Subtle underlying caramel.
  • Maibock – 5% – Caramel and light biscuit maltiness. Some herbal hops. Pretty smooth. Nice mix of flavors.
  • Summer Wheat – 5.5% – Tropical fruit hop flavor, light underlying breadiness. Hint of bubblegum sweetness, with mellow bitterness on the finish. Unfiltered.
    The Rest

  • Abigale Blonde Ale – 5.2% – Sweet bubblegum, some herbal hops, bitter zing on the finish. Bit of lemon. Very slight breadiness.
  • Bad Wolf Dark Ale – 6.7% – Dark reddish-brown color. Roasty, light coffee/chocolate maltiness. Citrus and herbal hop edge. Interesting but a little too sweet for me.
  • Storm Cycle CDA – 7.5% – Collaboration with Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery. Chocolate, coffee, light roasty maltiness. Herbal hops. A bit creamy mouthfeel. Molasses on finish. Interesting.

There are plenty of brewery stop options now for south end rides through Sodo, Georgetown, and South Park. The only drawback is the increased likelihood of spending most of the time drinking beer instead of on the bike. This is why I always seem to end up biking home at night.

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.

Outer Planet Brewing

For a long time, the Capitol Hill neighborhood was home to only two breweries, Elysian’s original brewpub and McMenamins Six Arms (which I always seem to forget about). So I was happy to hear that two new ones were planning to open in 2015. The smaller of the two, Outer Planet Brewing, opened first, and holds the distinction of being the closest brewery to where I live. It’s an eight minute walk uphill from my place to Outer Planet. Not bad. The brewer’s been making a few Brett beers, which is cool, but since he has a small system in a small space, is a bit risky. Hopefully he has the quality control all dialed in.

planetoids

Sampler flight at Capitol Hill’s Outer Planet Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • IPA – 7% – Fairly big piney and citrus hops, caramel malt. Light earthiness.
  • Utopia Planitia – 6.5% – Farmhouse ale. Bubblegum, clove, some spiciness, with decent body. Bit of underlying caramel and coriander.
  • The Brett Pumpkin – 6% – Pumpkin spice aroma. Somewhat muted nutmeg, cinnamon, clove flavors. Bit of funk balances it out. Good solid body. Brewer said he might bottle a little of it to see how it develops.
  • Ghost of Jupiter – 7.5% – Wet hop ale. Citrusy, fruity aroma and flavor. Pretty juicy. Some piney hops, as well. Underlying caramel.
  • Oats and Rye Saison – 5.5% – Some sweetness, some rye, some straw, some spiciness, some coriander. Nice balance.
    The Rest

  • The Bohemian – 4.5% – I liked this when I first had it but on my October 2015 visit something was off. Light, bit of honey, hint of lemon. Light biscuit on the finish, as well as a bit of oxidation or cross-contamination Brett funk.
  • ESB – 6% – Light floral aroma. Caramel, biscuit malts. Strong bubblegum-like sweetness. Light floral hop flavor.
  • American Pale Ale – 6% – Some caramel, light honey, light herbal hops. Medium body. Some bitterness on the finish.
  • Oatmeal Brown – 6% – Chocolate, coffee aroma and flavor. Brown sugar. Some citrus and floral hops lurking about. Medium-light body.
  • Clementine Wit – 4% – Light, a bit watery. Light orange, light coriander, a touch spicy/peppery, hint of floral.

With Outer Planet’s convenient location, I’m sure I’ll be dropping in on a fairly regular basis to see what they’re up to.

Holy Mountain Brewing

The most anticipated Seattle brewery opening in 2014 was Holy Mountain Brewing. The three guys who started it were all industry vets, and the brewer had worked at a couple other local breweries, where he’d earned a great reputation. The timing on their licensing was very auspicious — the first beer they released was a Fresh Hop Pale Ale, and since then they’ve been producing all sorts of fascinating small batch concoctions that are barrel-fermented or foudre-aged or house-wild-yeast-blend fermented, as well as really solid IPAs, Pales, and other standards (and less-than-standards). Their grand opening party at The Pine Box in October 2014 was packed (they were still building out their taproom) and featured the only keg of their “Un-Oaked” Midnight Still Imperial Stout, the rest of which went into barrels (and which are still barrel-ing away). I knew I’d be visiting their taproom when it opened, so I started scribbling down my tasting notes from the start. I still somehow managed to forget to take notes on their Astral Projection Double IPA and The Ox Farmhouse Ale when I had them, but at least I remembered when trying the brett-fermented and brett-conditioned versions.

holy mountain, look so tasty

A couple of pours at Holy Mountain Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Om – 4.3% – Brett table beer. Peachy aroma. Pretty smooth, with peach and tropical fruit flavors. Very light funk.
  • Ritual (Citra fresh hop) – 4.2% – Brett pale ale. Big citrus, tropical fruit aroma with a light funky edge. Same with the flavor, but also some melon. Hint of bubblegum sweetness. Fairly dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness and funk.
  • Choir of the Sun (bottle conditioned) – 5.2% – The bottle conditioning really amped up the fruity aspect. Bottle was a bit lively. Pretty big fruitiness, fairly dry, some straw, with lemon and light sweetness on the finish.
  • Amarillo Fresh Hop Pale Ale – 5% – Sort of has a Juicy Fruit gum flavor with a bit of melon, too. Good supporting malt. Fairly restrained for a fresh hop, but pretty solid.
  • The Augur – 4.7% – Spelt saison. Light and dry, with straw, light lemon, and a touch of breadiness.
  • Citra Extra Pale Ale – 5% – Awesome citrus aroma and flavor. Very juicy. Touch of pine on the finish.
  • Gose (Fall 2015) – 3.8% – Great tartness and good amount of salt. Bit of lemony flavor up front, then briny, lightly bready finish.
  • Cherry Bourbon King’s Head – 9% – Aged for 7 months in rye whiskey barrel with sweetheart cherries. Cherry, chocolate, bourbon aroma. Fun mix of those flavors plus coffee and some rye spice.
  • Witchfinder Saison – 5.5% – Dry, spicy and peppery. Light hay, lightly tannic, hint of lemon. Underlying nutty maltiness. Dry, lightly bitter finish.
  • Grapefruit Saison – 4.8% – Made with zest and juice from several hundred pounds of grapefruit. Big grapefruit aroma and flavor with underlying funk/hay. Fairly juicy, lightly grainy, with some grapefruit peel bitterness.
  • Barrel Fermented Celestial Lineage – 9.5% – Fermented in a 4th-use Westland Whiskey barrel just emptied of Deadfall (see below). Whole lot going on. Fairly big chocolate/coffee, some caramel, hint of citrus. Touch of smoky whiskey and some oak. Smooth but a bit spicy. Pretty great one-off.
  • Fellowcraft – 5% – Made for The Masonry’s 2nd anniversary. Amarillo pale ale base barrel aged with brett then dry hopped. Fruity, with light citrus and herbal hop flavors, some biscuity malt, light oak, decent bitterness. Hint of sweetness on finish.
  • The Ox (brett conditioned) – 6% – Farmhouse ale brewed with citrus zest and dry hopped with Cascade. Big citrus flavor, underlying funk, and dry finish with some citrus peel bitterness.
  • Mandarina Table Sour – 5% – Single keg of forthcoming batch of Table Sour dry hopped with Mandarina Bavaria hops. Mandarin aroma. Big lemon and mandarin flavors with fairly high level of sourness. Lightly dry finish. Sour citrusy goodness.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 5) – 5% – Nelson Sauvin and bit of Galaxy hops. Big fruity character with resinous edge. Some underlying honey sweetness and juicy mouthfeel. Fairly bitter finish.
  • Le P’tit Gris – 4.5% – Light, grainy, with a touch of hay and a touch of lemon. Very dry finish.
  • Mosaic Extra Pale Ale – 5% – All the tropical fruit flavors in Mosaic I like and none of cattiness I don’t. Very juicy. Bit of orange, too. Touch of breadiness as it warms up. Light citrus peel bitterness.
  • Pyrokinesis – 9.6% – Double IPA. Big earthiness, light citrus, and piney hops over solid caramel base. Hint of herbal hops, too.
  • Blackberry Table Sour – 5% – Really nice blackberry flavor and light aroma. Great tartness, from fruit in addition to wild culture. A little dry on the finish.
  • Choir of the Sun – 5.2% – Barrel aged brett saison. Light, fruity, dry, a little grainy. Some lemon, hint of tartness. Bit of white wine aspect, a touch tannic. Fairly restrained.
  • Barrel Aged River of Ash – 6.8% – Wine barrel aged with brett for five months. Dark fruit, cherries, oak, touch of dryness, touch of funk. Wonderful aroma and lingering flavors. Pretty great.
  • Apricot Table Sour – 5% – Great apricot flavor, medium-light sour, quite dry.
  • Spelt Saison – 4.4% – Light toasty maltiness, with lemon, light fruitiness, and light herbal flavors. Subtle funk and hint of bubblegum. Pretty dry, with a touch of bitterness on the finish.
  • Helmsman – 3.7% – Dark mild. Chocolate/coffee aroma and flavors. Some caramel and light brown sugar, too. Touch of herbal hops on the finish.
  • Brett-Fermented Astral Projection – 9% – Huge fruit aroma and flavors. Peach, tropical fruit, grapefruit, touch of earthiness. Bit of underlying caramel amps it all up. Great citrus peel bitterness on finish. Amazing. Fermented in oak barrel entirely with brett and dry hopped in barrel with Citra and Galaxy.
  • Bourbon Barrel-Aged King’s Head – 9% – Aged six months in Kentucky bourbon barrel. Prominent bourbon aroma and flavor. Coffee/chocolate flavors around the edges. Kinda spicy, with light vanilla. Not quite as creamy as original King’s Head, if I remember correctly.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 4) – 5.2% – With Mandarina Bavaria and Centennial hops. Big citrus, mandarin orange aroma and flavor. Grapefruit bitterness. Lingering flavors. Pretty cool batch.
  • Three Fates – 4.8% – Czech-style pilsner. Light, bready, and crisp, with a light spicy hoppiness and bitter zing on the end.
  • Silent Sun – 4.7% – Dry-hopped tart wheat ale. Light, with medium tartness. Light lemon, underlying breadiness, somewhat citrusy, with a hint of herbal hops and tannins.
  • Watchman’s House – 6% – Common lager, Batch 2. Fermented in stainless rather than rye whiskey barrels like Batch 1 (below). Smooth big caramel nuttiness to light herbal bitter finish.
  • Grisette – 4.8% – Tank fermented then wine barrel aged with Brett and lacto. Light lacto tartness that plays out nicely. Juicy citrus with a mix of bubblegum and light white wine, and a touch of funk and dryness. Some underlying breadiness as it warms. Ridiculously good. [This was the first batch. Second batch was not as complex, but still quite good.]
  • The Goat (brett conditioned) – 5% – Fruity, oak, rye spice with smooth underlying funk. Bitter edge and light smoke on the finish. Some bubblegum but other flavors kinda twist it around. Unique and fascinating.
  • The Arrow – 3.5% – Lightly tart and lemony. Light underlying wheat with a touch of funk. Lemon tartness sticks around all the way to the finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 3) – 5.2% – With Galaxy and Centennial hops. Piney, resin, citrus, earthy hop tour de force. Solid caramel malt backbone. Some bitterness on the finish.
  • Celestial Lineage – 9% – Imperial rye milk stout. Sweet, chocolatey, creamy, with underlying subtle rye. Dark chocolate bitterness on the finish. A thick, chewy stout that makes you think.
  • Lager Beer – 5% – Honey flavor with floral hops, some lager-y alcohol flavor, and a hint of spiciness. Bit of a bitter zing on the finish. Really drinkable.
  • The Third Nail (draft) – 6% – Dry-hopped barrel aged Belgian pale ale. Citrus floral aroma. Mix of citrus, floral, and some earthy hops with a fairly big malt profile. Light fruitiness. Strong bitterness throughout, with lingering floral notes. Some brett funk comes out as it warms.
  • Heartwork – 5.5% – Fruity, wine aroma and flavor. Herbal spicy hops that mix well with the other flavors. Some oak and a lightly bitter finish.
  • Five of Swords – 6% – IPA collaboration with E9. Big hops. Citrus, earthy, bit of melon tang. Solid underlying caramel. Fairly bitter finish but blends back in well with the citrus peel start.
  • White Lodge Wit – 4.8% – Eggy and lemon aroma and flavor. Breadiness and tons of flavor – cinnamon, coriander, honey, light citrus peel. Fun.
  • The Goat – 5% – Foudre fermented. Crystal clear. Light honey flavor, with rye edge, some funk, and light oakiness. Light, dry, and crisp, with nice little bitter bite on the finish.
  • Ceremony – 6% – 100% brett fermented with Citra hops. Huge grapefruit citrus aroma and flavor, as well as some earthy hops. Juicy mouthfeel. Good citrus peel bitterness on the finish.
  • River of Ash – 6.66% – Barrel fermented dark farmhouse with cherries. Interesting. Dark fruit, malt, hint of tobacco. Light cherry finish. Smooth underling oak.
  • Watchman’s House Oaked Lager – 6% – Fermented in rye whiskey barrels. Sweet alcohol aroma and flavor. Oak takes a bit of the edge off the alcohol flavor. Honey, caramel, with light herbal hops and light bitter finish.
  • Kiln & Cone (Batch 1) – 5.2% – Big citrus, herbal, earthy aroma and flavor. Honey and caramel malt backbone. Good earthy bitter finish. Awesome.
  • Wayward Black Beer – 4.7% – Roasty aroma. Roasty flavor with a bit less chocolate/coffee malts. Light on the tongue. Dark chocolate and subtle orange peel bitterness.
  • Double IPA – 9.5% – Citrus, piney, tropical fruit, touch of earthiness. Solid caramel malt backbone. Big!
  • The Gray Tower – 5.2% – Barrel blended saison. Some funk, light tart edge, earthy, light lemon, bit of oaky smoothness, hint of coriander.
  • Un-Oaked Midnight Still Imperial Stout – 9.99% – Pretty intense coffee/dark chocolate aroma and flavor. Roasty malt, too. Bit of alcohol, smoke, and molasses. Bit of interesting graininess, as well. One and only keg. Rest going into barrels.
  • Gose – 4.6% – Light sour aroma but not much sourness. Light, with lemon and subtle salt that’s noticeable at the very end of the lingering lemon flavor.
  • The Seer Hoppy Saison – 5% – Big citrus and tropical fruit aroma and flavor. Some grainy dryness, light funk. Bitter finish that blends back in well.
  • King’s Head Double Oat Brown – 8% – Creamy with big dark chocolate flavor and bitterness. Bit of toffee and caramel, too. Not very brown-like, which is good…
  • Fresh Hop Pale Equinox 2014 – 5% – Really good citrus flavor, with underlying earthiness, to light bready finish. Some citrus peel bitterness on finish.
    The Rest

  • Deadfall – 9% – Westland whiskey barrel aged stock ale. Whiskey, raisin, and candied orange aroma (the latter from the info sheet). Interesting mix of flavors. Whiskey, caramel, raisin, brûlée sugar (sheet again), bit of spiciness, light citrus. Very complex and interesting, but not what I’d usually drink.
  • Amarillo Pale – 4.6% – Single hop. Earthy/herbal/citrus hop flavor mix. Caramel and bready malt. Good balance. Fairly bitter finish.

As you can see, I’ve been visiting their taproom quite often. All the small batch stuff they do just keeps me coming back. The Kiln & Cone is their house pale ale, only available at the brewery, and they brew each batch with a different hop profile, hence all the “Batch #”s for it. They’ve started doing occasional bottle releases, as well, and yes, I’ve hoarded a few in my fridge and storage closet. They’re mostly bottle conditioned versions of draft beers they’ve made, and I’ll most likely be doing the nerdy thing of writing separate entries above for them. All I have to do is start opening them up and drinking them.

Flying Lion Brewing

The latest brewery to open in Seattle’s south end is Flying Lion Brewing in the Columbia City neighborhood, not too far north of Spinnaker Bay in Hillman City. It’s great to have another place to stop when I do the south Lake Washington loop ride (and in case I haven’t gotten enough exercise when I get there, Flying Lion has a bicycle-powered grain grinder – good to have an option available for burning a couple more calories…). From recent pictures I’ve seen, it looks like they’ve added a few more taps since I took the picture below. Guess I’ll have re-visit sooner rather than later to check out the new set-up.

little cubs at Flying Lion

Sampler flight at Flying Lion — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Single Hop Pale Ale – 6.2% – Citrus aroma. Citrus and earthy hop flavors with underlying biscuit maltiness. Forgot to ask which hop, but a little research points to Centennial.
  • Another IPA – 6.1% – Similar to the Single Hop but bigger hop presence. Touch of caramel malt, too. Earthy bitterness on finish that blends back in well.
  • CDA – 5.3% – Roasty malt with light chocolate/coffee. Citrus and floral hops. Some dark chocolate bitterness on the finish. Pretty good.
  • Baltic Porter – 5.6% – Dry, with roasty malt and underlying citrus.
  • Chocolate Milk Stout – 5% – Smooth and chocolatey. Good amount of sweetness with some dark chocolate bitterness and a lightly dry finish.

And I’m finally done with new 2014 brewery (and cidery) visits! Perhaps I should reward myself with a bike ride around the south end of Lake Washington. Yeah, sounds like a fine idea. [In case anyone is wondering, only 15 more posts and I’ll be up-to-date with the backlog (so far) of 2015 breweries. Sigh.]

Burdick Brewery

With Burdick Brewery, my posts on the trifecta of new South Park breweries is now complete. Burdick was the first to open in late 2013, but so far I’ve only managed to visit once. Their hours weren’t terribly regular at first, and then they ran out of beer for a few weeks, but I finally made it in for a visit in April 2014. Then that August (about ten months after they opened) they closed in order to upgrade their entire brewing system. From recent Facebook posts, they finally got that done about three weeks ago and have just started brewing again, with a projected mid-April re-opening of the taproom. So yeah, the beers I tried last year might just all taste different. Life’s like that.

the old Burdick Brewery set-up

Burdick Brewery — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • ISA – 5.5% – Light and crisp. Subtle astringency, light smoke, and herbal hops. Great mix.
  • Blonde – 4.8% – Crisp and light with some breadiness and light smoke. Bit of herbal hops, too.
  • Red – 6.3% – Crisp. Caramel, with light floral and herbal hops, and a bit of an alcohol edge. Quite drinkable.
  • Nitro Stout – 5.9% – Coffee/chocolate aroma and flavor. Fairly dry and smooth, with dark chocolate bitterness. Very easy to drink.
    The Rest

  • Pale – 5.7% – Floral aroma and flavor. Strong caramel malt with some graham cracker, as well. Some astringency on the finish.

With Burdick’s upcoming re-opening, I might be able to accomplish what I wasn’t able to do last year: visit all three of the South Park breweries on one bike ride. (Okay, so technically Odin is also a South Park brewery, but they’re in the process of moving to Tukwila, so I’m not counting them.) Will keep my fingers crossed.

Tin Dog Brewing

The third new brewery that opened in South Park was Tin Dog Brewing, located a short ride away from the conjoined Lowercase and Burdick. Tin Dog is run by a husband and wife team, and they mostly do Belgian and Belgian-influenced beers. Nice folks, and they have their own bike rack they put out in front when they’re open. First time I visited they were doing samplers in little plastic cups (as pictured below), but when I returned several months later it was only schooners and pints.

this Tin Dog don't bite

Tin Dog Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Saison – 6.6% – Crisp, with a nice mix of coriander, pepper, alcohol, and a bit of floral. Light funk towards the end and light bitterness.
  • Hoppe the Belgian – 6.5% – Good mix of caramel, alcohol, and banana/clove flavors, with a bit of astringency. Makes you think.
  • NW Pale – 5.5% – Bready, with some sweetness, some bitterness, some caramel, and a hint of astringency on the finish. Easy drinking.
  • White IPA – 4% – Light, crisp, with coriander and citrus peel flavors. Herbal hop and nice bitter finish.
  • Fresh Hop Pale Ale 2014 – 5.7% – West Seattle hops from brother’s backyard. Crisp, with an interesting mix of flavors: bubblegum, light grassiness, light herbal hops, and caramel. Touch of bitterness on the end.
    The Rest

  • Belgian Blonde – 5.6% – Smooth, sweet, light banana/clove, light bubblegum.
  • Too Wit – 5.7% – Smooth, with light rosewater flavor, touch of honey sweetness, and a bit of astringency on the finish.

I was meaning to go back a third time to try their Black Tripel and Pumpkin Saison, but for some reason that didn’t happen. Now that spring is here, though, I’ll have to get back on the bike and pay South Park another visit.

Lowercase

In late 2012 and early 2013, three new breweries opened in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood. I tried waiting until all three had opened before biking down in order to kill three birds with one stone, so to speak, but I ran out of patience after the second brewery opened. So I hopped on the bike and pedalled down the Duwamish Trail. As it turned out, the first brewery was not open that day, and so I was only able to visit Lowercase Brewing. That’ll teach me to be patient. Instant gratification is the way to go, apparently. Anyway, it’s a nice short loop ride for me — after South Park, I cross the Duwamish via the 1st Ave Bridge or the shiny new South Park Bridge, hit a brewery or two in Georgetown and/or Sodo, then head back north.

LOWERCASE BREWING

Having a beer at Lowercase Brewing — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Pale Ale – 5.5% – Light and citrusy, to passion fruit/tropical flavors. Good underlying malt. Fairly dry, too, with slight rye astringency.
  • ESB – 6.8% – More malt forward than the Pale. Caramel and bready. Light citrusy hops and some lingering bitterness. Dry and slight astringent rye finish.
  • Mexican Lager – 4.5% – Crisp and light, with very light breadiness and very subtle banana.
  • Brown – 5.5% – Light, with good strong coffee flavor and some crisp bright sweetness. Good lingering flavors.
  • Squash – 5.3% – Made with butternut squash. Caramel, roasty aroma and flavor. Creamy and smooth, presumably from the squash, but still has a crisp edge. Light underlying squash flavor. A bit watery, but enough going on to make up for it.
  • Ginger Ale – 0% – Good crisp spicy ginger flavor with caramel sweetness.
  • Root Beer – 0% – First batch I tried was pretty yummy stuff, with all sorts of interesting flavors going on. Later batch, though, had too much licorice for me.
    The Rest

  • IPA – 7.2% – Unfiltered. Citrusy aroma. Crisp and dry, but denser mouthfeel than Pale. Bigger biscuit and caramel malt base. Citrus and tropical fruit hop flavors not so prominent. Dry rye finish.
  • Stout – 5% – Pretty thin for a stout. Kinda watery, with very light coffee and vanilla flavors.

A thing they did in 2014 was have Game of Thrones nights, which was very useful because I refuse to get cable for some reason. I hope they do it again this year.

West Seattle Brewing

My final brewery visit of 2013 was to West Seattle Brewing (their facebook page has a lot more information, such as their address). They had just recently opened in a pretty cool space but were not yet equipped to do taster flights, and so I ended up getting several schooners instead. And, well, unfortunately, three of the five beers I tried had an off flavor, almost a sour mash aspect that should not have been there. Best I could hope for was they’d fix that before my second-chance visit. And I’m very happy to say that they did in fact clean up their act, so to speak, by the time I finally revisited nine months later. They also had an upgraded system, logo glassware for sale, and were doing taster flights. I’d prefer to forget about that first experience, but I’m including the other two beers from that visit, and if anyone reading this also tried them early on and haven’t been back, then I would definitely recommend giving them another shot.

West Seattle Brewing taster flight

West Seattle Brewing taster flight — Seattle, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Bavarian Lite – Light and lager-y with a slight alcohol edge. Touch of smoke. Bit of clove, almost no banana. Light bitterness on finish. Easy drinking.
  • Wheaten Pale Ale – Honey and caramel malts. Herbal hops with underlying citrus. Fairly sweet and pretty drinkable.
  • Triangle Tripel – 9.2% – Caramel malt with very light alcohol edge. Citrus hops. Nice sweetness and subtle coriander.
  • House IPA – 7.2% – Big tropical fruit, light herbal and earthy hops. Good caramel backbone.
  • Dunkelweiss – Big roastiness to light citrusy finish. Light on the tongue. Refreshing.
  • Imperial Stout – Coffee/chocolate and roasty malts, with a touch of molasses. Alcohol edge and dark chocolate bitterness. Not too thick and pretty sharp.
  • Road Rage Red – Big citrus and earthy hops. Lots of malt to back it up. Some lingering bitterness.
  • Wieting Pils – 5.2% – Light. Lighlty bready, bit of honey, light herbal hops, light bitter edge.
    The Rest

  • American Wheat – Light, lemon-y, some breadiness. Herbal hops. Somewhat tea-like.
  • Ratteburg – Sweet bubblegum and banana start to herbal hop finish. Tannic. Light caramel, pretty smooth, and a touch of bitterness. Not bad but not my thing.
  • Honey Pale Ale – 5% – Honey and caramel up front. Light herbal hops, with some bitterness on the finish. A little too sweet for me, though.
  • W ESB – Pretty well-balanced. Floral, herbal, light citrus hops. Caramel, toast, biscuit malt. Subtle honey/sugar sweetness on finish. Fairly bitter. But not quite my thing.

And there you have it, folks, my last 2013 brewery in my last 2014 post. Next up will be a summary of 2014 and 2015 stuff. So much to look forward to in the new year!

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