We at Seattle magazine like to throw ourselves into researching our stories, so when we decided to do a beer issue to tap into (sorry) the recent resurgence of craft brewing, well, you can imagine how we felt we needed to take one for the team.
I am generally more of a wine drinker, but this summer as we worked on the story, I deliberately put on my beer goggles (so to speak) and every time I wanted a little refreshment, I tried a different beer that was on our list of best local brews.
I have to admit, it wasn’t easy at first.
Seattle microbrews have a bold, distinct taste and I am more of a girlie-beer kind of person. When I lived in Madison, Wisconsin, I had an apartment right behind the city’s best brew pub, The Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co., and every summer I looked forward to their raspberry beer. One of my favorite beers when I moved here (and still is) is Pyramid’s Apricot Ale, another fruity hefeweizen type of beer.
Fortunately, I was not the one doing the real research on this issue.
Kendall Jones, the lead writer for our cover story on “Best Local Beers” and author of the Washington Beer Blog, along with our wine writer Shannon Borg (who also happens to know a lot about local brews), were our guiding lights.
We were most intrigued by the wave of spirited, innovative brewers doing new and unusual things (mushrooms in beer! Garagista brewers!). And the local microbrew scene has gotten really micro with a wave of nanobreweries making small batches of specialty beer.
And beer, if you haven’t heard, is the new culinary pairing darling: Don’t miss Tom Douglas’ “beer czar” and Brave Horse Tavern chef Warren Peterson’s recommendations for beer-and-cheese pairings for a fun twist on your Oktoberfest party this fall.
As I write this, it’s late August and summer is still blazing strong. While tasting through Kendall’s and Shannon’s picks this past summer, I sipped something I never thought I’d like, since I’m not much of a floral-with-my-food person: Elysian’s Avatar Jasmine IPA.
I asked our Facebook friends what their go-to summer local microbrew is, and the responses, down to the particulars of how you drink it, show that Seattle remains as passionate about microbrews as it was when our city pioneered the craft beer movement back in the ’80s.
James Smith is a Redhook ESB fan; Shannon Collier Peters wrote, “Diamond Knot IPA—yum!”; Rhonda Gothberg enjoys “Boundary Bay Brewing Scotch Ale. On tap, at home...life is good.” Erik Baldwin couldn’t decide: “Odin’s Kolsch, Schooner Exact 3 Grid IPA, or Two Beers IPA (in a can).” Jessica Schmidt gave a shout out to Hood Canal Brewery’s Agate Pass Amber; DJ Septon exclaimed, “Maritime Imperial! Actually, kinda all year long”; and Debby Kleiss is a Pyramid’s Curve Ball gal.
My new favorite after all my step-away-from-the-hef-enlightenment: Scuttlebutt’s Amber Ale. It’s delicious, drinkable with all sorts of food and something that will take me through all seasons.
Enjoy tasting through our guide and finding your favorite.
Editorial Director, Seattle magazine
P.S. Visit our Facebook page on September 16 and leave a comment telling us your favorite Washington craft brew. On September 21, one lucky winner and a friend will be chosen to be our guests at the Craft Beer+Food event on Wednesday, September 28 at the Yacht Club on Lake Union. Save the date, and we’ll see you there to continue the “research.”