Saturday, 22 December 2012

USA 2012-2013: Brewery tours in Seattle (Part II)

Seattle, Washington has some of the best local and micro breweries in the US. So why not take a tour? Thanks to Evergreen Escapes I managed to do just that. Waiting outside my hotel I was picked up by Jeremy, our local tour guide who just loves talking about Seattle and its breweries.

Jeremy typified the customer service since my arrival in the US. Authentic, genuine and having a care for your clients. He explained to us that our tour would lead us to the following breweries: Pyramid Alehouse, Elliot Bay Brewing and Elysian  Brewing.

Our first stop was Pyramid Alehouse. It was founded in Kalama, Washington back in 1984 and was then known as Hart Brewing. About the same time there was another small start-up brewery over on Bainbridge Island called Thomas Kemper Brewing.

Both breweries were looking for investors, and it just so happened that both breweries got the same five investors. It was then decided by these five investors to merge both Hart Brewing and Thomas Kemper Brewing and name it Pyramid Brewing.  Why Pyramid? Tracing back the beer linage to the ancient Egyptians is said to have been the reason why they named it so, which is to pay homage to our ancestral beer makers.

On the menu at Pyramid
What a damn fine place Pyramid Alehouse turned out to be. It's certainly a place to stop, have a few beers and eat to your heart's content. The trip was made even more special as we were given a taste testing session with some of their beers. Available to the tour group were: Crystal Wheat 5.1%, Pyramid Hefeweizen 5.6% and Pyramid Hop Tap IPA 6.7% at 67 IBU's.

No sooner had we finished our beer tasters it was time for us to leave Pyramid Alehouse and see our next brewery, Elliot Bay Brewing. A nice, quaint and cozy place that made you feel very much at home. It had a range of craft beers on tap that made me drool with delight. Of course, I had to get my very own tasting paddle in order to sample some of the best beers Seattle had to offer.
Elliot Bay sample paddle

I wasn't disappointed. My favourite was the No Doubt Stout. A classy attempt with roasted flavours oozing out of its sides. The Luna Weizen was another great attempt at a style that US breweries like to recreate. This was a much lighter version than I had anticipated, but it was still a beer I enjoyed greatly.

In fact, all the beers I tried were great. The tour was so far a success, with Jeremy being an excellent guide. He actually made this a really fun day. However, as the samples were getting lower and time running out it was, again, time to move on to our next (and last) brewery, Elysian Brewing.
Elliot Bay samples

Elysian Brewing was enormous, yet the front door didn't indicate this as we were about to enter. At first, the huge premises intimidates but once you sit down and open the beer menu it becomes awe-inspiring. A tsunami of creative craft beers at your fingertips made me jump for joy.

But how can I choose only 5 samples in this wonderful array of craft beers listed on the menu? It was a damn tough choice. It was agony and ecstasy all at the same time, just like watching your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new BMW. 
Elysian samples

I had to decide, and decide quick. Thankfully my choice of beers was top-notch. They were:
Men's Room Black 9.3% 96 IBUs, Men's Room Original Red 5.6%, The Immortal: India Pale Ale 6.3% 54 IBUs, Perseus Porter 5.4% 25IBUs and Dark O' The Moon Pumpkin Stout 6.5%.

OH. MY. GOD. I don't think there are any words in the dictionary that can describe the gorgeous samples I had in my possession. Sexy. Hot. Desirable. Vogue. It was at this point I recognised that Elysian Brewing was my favourite brewery. It had class, it had style. It was the "in thing" to do in Seattle. I tip my hat off to the head brewer. A master-stroke of great inventive beers that took my breath away.

Pumpkin Stout
It ended up that the Pumpkin Stout made my top-five beer list. A clinically creative beer that had all the aspects of a stout, but had the additional aromas and flavours of a pumpkin ale. Total genius. And with that final beer gone, so was our tour just about complete.

Jeremy drove each of us back to the hotel, talking all the while about our experiences and many other great things Seattle has to offer. I not only got to know Seattle, I got to know each of the breweries and got to know Jeremy, our tour guide. Thanks to him this tour was one of the best tours that I'll never forget.
The Journey continues.....