Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: February, 2015 (16) Currently Viewing: 11 - 16 of 16

February 17, 2015 at 3:29pm

Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow to park at The Red Hot

Snipes Mountain Brewing’s Hayduke the Wrencher was voted Best Triple IPA at the Hop Mob Roadshow kickoff event at Brouwer’s Café in Seattle Feb. 6. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Hop Head. Sounds like a euphemism for a speed addict, no? Or a professional pogo stick stunt artist. Maybe a bunny-loving furry. Well, it's none of those things. Hops go in beer, and hop heads like 'em bitter. Meet some hardcore Hop Heads as they drink highly alcoholic, wonderfully hoppy triple IPAs at The Red Hot tomorrow.

A brewer of imperial IPAs, Adam Robbings of Reuben's Brews in Seattle shined a spotlight on triple IPAs last year launching the Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow, a series of triple IPA tasting events in Western Washington. The two-week event was a smash(ed) success. This year's Hop Mob Roadshow - 30 breweries showcased at seven events driven this year by Washington's King and Queen of Beers (Kim and Kendall Jones of the Washington Beer Blog) - ends Feb. 21, but not before making its South Sound appearance tomorrow at The Red Hot.

Triple IPAs are such a new style that most national competitions don't offer a "Triple IPA" category, forcing most of the high-alcohol, hopped-to-hell beers to compete under "Imperial/Double IPA" headers. But the actual line between a double and a triple IPA is hard to draw. Some say that any IPA over 10 percent ABV should be considered a triple. Still, beers that might fit the ABV and hop-burn requirements are still labeled as a double IPA, leaving the term "triple IPA" more of a marketing preference than an official style.

"Triple IPA is a difficult style of beer to master and breweries that do it well are highly revered," says Kim Sharpe Jones in a new release. "Some out-of-state triple IPAs get an enormous amount of attention and cause beer enthusiasts to swoon like preteens at a One Direction concert. Our goal with Hop Mob is to show that Washington's brewers can produce beers that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any of those ballyhooed, out-of-state beers. Also, it's a great excuse to drink some really excellent stuff."

According to pre-event hype, "to brew a good triple IPA, brewers use a substantial amount of malted barley, which provides the elevated alcohol content. To balance-out the malty sweetness and give the beer its requisite hoppy character, brewers rely on substantial quantities of hops. In Washington, hops are more than an ingredient; they're a way of life. The Yakima Valley produces between seventy-five and eighty percent of the nation's hop crop each year and some of the farms are operated by families that have grown hops for four and five generations."

At 11 a.m. tomorrow, The Red Hot will tap 14 triple IPA kegs - all brewed in Washington state - and poured into 6-ounce glasses. Here's what to expect:

  • 7 Seas Trident 10.3%
  • Black Raven Birdserker 10.2%
  • Fremont Triple Trifecta 11.8%
  • Georgetown Kiss Ass Blaster 11.4%
  • Rainy Daze Tri-Power 11%
  • Stoup Brewing TR2 Haymaker 10.5%
  • Snipes Mountain Hayduke The Wrencher 9.3%
  • Reuben's Brews Blimey Thats Bitter 10.5%
  • Naked City Cry Me A River 10%
  • Bainbridge Brewing Hoptopus Rex 10.3%
  • Maritime Pacific Hop Surge 11.2%
  • Pike Hopulus Erectus 9.5%
  • Boundary Bay Dry Hopped IIIPA 9.7%
  • Spinnaker Bay What? A Tripp 10.9%

WASHINGTON HOP MOB TRIPLE IPA ROADSHOW, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 18, The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, no cover, 253.779.0229

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

February 23, 2015 at 10:26am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with Mike Besser of Top Rung Brewing Company

You'd be hard to find someone more knowledgeable about all aspects of the beer industry than Mike Besser of Top Rung Brewing Co. in Lacey. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Mike Besser.

Server Banner Boy, Feb. 23-March 1, 2015

Mike Besser

Mike Besser has his grandfather to thank for enticing him into the beer and liquor industry. As a young boy he would have conversations with his "grandpa" came home from work. He was a butler/bartender for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills from the late 1940s until the mid 1990s and knew everyone. "Grandpa Charles was awesome," says Besser. "He would come home with different items from the parties. He would wake me and my brother up to show us what the lady of the house let him bring home. Most of the time it was whole hams, big bags of fresh food but then other times he would bring home whole bottles of whiskey. Now we were much too young to try it, but the bottles looked so cool. And he would tell us about how Jimmy Stewart would order his drink or how President Reagan would order and then Nancy would make him water down his drink. I was hooked!"

Besser knew he had to become a bartender when he turned of age.  At 21, he became a bartender at oceans restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since then, he has worked in many restaurants, bars and beer bars. When he and his wife decided to have a child, Besser became a stay-at-home dad. Although he had been home brewing and blogging for years, he decided to broaden his two loves and was born around 10 years ago, which coincided with his daughter's birth, who is known today as "SodaKid." Besser posted stories daily with periodic piece in Northwest Brewing News and trips to the Beer Blogger Conference.

When Top Rung Brewing Co. in Lacey approached him to help with sales, he answered yes before owners Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz could finish their question.

Today, when he's not posting as BrewDad or on the streets selling beers, you can find him at the Lacey brewing giving tours and pouring beers.

Why do you serve?

"I love chatting with people and when you include beer it is always a win-win for me." 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"My favorite server these days is Jarred at Skep & Skein. He has super knowledge of the product and always a huge smile followed by a big ‘Hi Mike.'"

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am most proud when I am serving a great beer that I can get behind. Take our CDA at Top Rung; this is a beer that can sell itself. The flavor profile along with the excellent brewing makes this one of my favorites to sell. I was sad to see it go so fast but. Not to worry - in a short time it will be back on our taps and available for me to sell." 

What's your current drink of choice? 

"I love a big citrus hoppy IPA. I love ours, of course; I can drink the Prying Irons IPA all day. Our Heavy Irons with the extra umph from the hops is always a tasty treat I quaff upon." 

Favorite movie?

"Give me any western and I am in. Lonesome Dove - although it's actually a TV mini-series - is my all-time favorite western movie. 'A man who wouldn't cheat for a poke don't want one bad enough.' - Augustus ‘Gus' McCrae" 

What don't you serve?

"Call me old fashioned but I will never serve anything with energy drink added. I think that is the worst invention and addition for drinking ever. When I see kids these days adding energy drinks to their drinks it is just a recipe for epically bad results." 

What's on your radar at Top Rung Brewing?

"Top Rung is headed for a terrific year. As we approach our first anniversary, I know for myself we have exceeded many of our goals we set last year. I am just so excited to see what unfolds as we venture into new areas and new accounts. just hope we get a new Top Rung rig for the sales department. Hint hint."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

February 23, 2015 at 4:33pm

Eat This Now (Weekend): Bertha's Big ol' Biscuits

Bertha's Big ol' Biscuits features two biscuits, housemade sausage gravy and hash browns. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

When you walk through the doors of Stadium District's Shake Shake Shake it's like walking through a time warp portal delivering you smack dab into a rad, vintage burger joint: think soda machine, clean cut, bee bopping bunny hoppin', McFly fun with creamy delectable shakes and damn tasty burgers. The vibe is rad and the grub is good.

Just when I thought it couldn't get much better Shake Shake Shake rolls out of bed earlier with breakfast on the weekends. Oh yes, and it has just gotten better.

Large perfectly prepared waffles with golden brown edges and fluffy interiors are adorned with strawberries, caramel, whipped topping and even Nutella. Le sigh. Also on the morning menu are Pig-sicles, Scramble Scramble Scramble, Stadium Bowl Breakfast, Shakin' Egg Sandwich and several dishes paired with Bloody Marys or Mimosas.

There was one Shake Shake Shake breakfast dish that stood out: Bertha's Big ol' Biscuits ($5.99/$7.99). The biscuits are the proper fluffy consistency - not too dense - while the housemade sausage gravy highlights loads of tasty meaty bites and a nice creamy pepperiness you expect from your breakfast gravy.

I'm fairly certain the "hash browns" are really tater tot crumbles. I'm not complaining; I believe tots are the best manifestation of the potato.

Bottom line, check out Shake Shake Shake for breakfast before the masses catch on and the wait times are as severe as the rest in town. This menu is the bee's knees and will have you saying, "yum yum yum."

SHAKE SHAKE SHAKE, 8-11:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, 253.507.4060

>>> This is one spicy Bloody Mary!

Filed under: Breakfast, Eat This Now, Tacoma,

February 24, 2015 at 10:40am

Where to plan your South Sound beer enterprise

Oly Taproom bottle shop opened last week across from Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

You know they heard. South Sound beer entrepreneurs have read the studies. They know sitting for long periods is the single-most horrible thing you can do to your body - next to twerking in a bouncy house or babysitting a Viking child or trying to ski this season in the Pacific Northwest. Beer entrepreneurs might stretch, exercise regularly, eat right and take great care of his or her bodies, mostly. Doesn't matter. WebMD says if you sit for long enough periods, you're in peril. Period. Sitting for a long time causes muscles to burn less fat and blood to flow more sluggishly, which can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and other problems.

Several South Sound beer lovers have moved from sitting enthusiasts to entrepreneurs. They have moved from the stool to standing and dodging and twirling and leaning on the other side of the bar. Want proof? Beautiful Zog's Pub is serving craft beer on Fox Island. Levi Hendricks and Sanrica Marquez just opened the handsome Oly Taproom across from Percival Landing in downtown Olympia. Bryan and Molly Copland and Aaron and April Johnson are still forging ahead with their Wet Coast Brewing in Gig Harbor. John Fosberg and crew have installed the tanks at their forthcoming Gig Harbor Brewing Company. Half Pint Pizza Pub owners are brewing Sluggo Brewing. Award-winning home brewers Jay Walker and Shawn Anderson have formed the Grit City Group. Destiny City Brewing has a future. Fox Island Brewing is sly like a fox. Tacoma World Beer changed hands. Fish Brewing now has cans.  

You can't pull a chair out from under these folks. They kicked the chair over.

What do you have planned? Maybe you'll meet your new beer business partner at one of these events tomorrow night.


Beer entrepreneurs Renee and Barry Watson host Loowit Brewing from 5-7 p.m. at their Pint Defiance Specialty Beers and Taproom. The Watsons have spent a lot of time visiting brewers in Vancouver, Washington. Loowit is one of their favorites. Devon Bray and Thomas Poffenroth opened Loowit in 2012 specializing in approachable, well-balanced ales. Expect to drink Shadow Ninja IPA, Flawless Victory IPA, Two Sixteen Red Ale and Der Couvensteiner Dunkel, among others. The Watsons will have the raffle machine running, too.

The Red Hot will more a bunch of Full Sail beers including Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter, 2013 Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, 2015 Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, Full Sail 27th Anniversary Wheat Wine, Powder Stash Pale and Session IPA, beginning at 5 p.m.

Meet Rob Brunsman from the newly distributed Hop Valley Brewing Company from Eugene, Oregon at the Puyallup River Alehouse. Hop Valley opened their doors on Friday, Feb. 13th, 2009 in Springfield, Oregon. Their brewery is placed on the same grounds that used to be the hot-bed for hop production before prohibition, and is a marker to those that drink their beers, that they are proud to still be using the same local hops that once supplied the industry. Since opening, they have accomplished a lot, including increasing their overall production from 1,000 barrels/year to 12,000 barrels with their current setup in Eugene, and have also won a couple World Beer Cup medals. Brunsman has beer and prizes from 6-9 p.m.

According to Laurelwood Brewing Co. in Portland, Oregon, coffee and beer can help ignite your creative juices. They posted this ditty on their blog: "What's the drink you reach for to get that first burst of motivation at work? That's right, coffee. But how many of you have had that ‘lightbulb moment' after a couple of beers? It turns out both coffee and beer are good for your creative process, each in their own way." They suggest you head to their Brewer's Night from 6-9 p.m. at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub, drink their Organic Portland Roasting Espresso Stout, and think of your next brilliant idea. I predict the rich, chocolate flavors and warm, roasted aromas will inspire the idea to have another.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma, Puyallup,

February 25, 2015 at 3:46pm

Engine House No. 9 to open a beer Barrel House, release first-ever bottles

Engine House No. 9 is moving its barrel program to Tacoma's Stadium District, setting up a Barrel House. Courtesy photo

This just in from Engine House No. 9 World Headquarters on Pine Street in Tacoma. I imagine E9 head brewer Shane "Saison" Johns is swinging from the top branch of that big ol' tree in front of the joint. Congratulations!

Tacoma, WA - We are excited to announce that plans are in motion to expand the existing brewery fermentation capabilities, as well as the creation of a new barrel storage facility that will increase our current barrelage ten-fold. The existing 7 BBL brew house will remain in tact with a few needed upgrades in the original space at 609 Pine St., next to the historic Engine House Nine restaurant and brew pub. The first phase of the new Barrel House addition will be located in the Stadium District, closer to downtown. Tacoma's first craft brewery will now have the first Barrel House in Tacoma, and possibly the state...

Increased product availability-

The increased stainless steel fermentation space will allow us to continue to keep up with the heavy demand of our brew pub next door, and increase the distribution of kegs throughout western Washington, which we began last year with Alpha Beer Distributing, based out of Kent, WA. The massive increase of oak barrels, combined with the purchase of a new bottling system, will allow us to start releasing some of (Head Brewer) Shane Johns' award winning style beers, including American wilds, saisons, sour beers, and lambics. There will also be barrel space dedicated to higher gravity barrel-aged beers, like barley-wines and imperial stouts.

First-ever Bottle Release Saturday 3/7/2015

We will be releasing 375mL bottles of a raspberry wild ale and a farmhouse style saison. There is a very limited number of these first batches, and will be first come, first served. There will be a kegged version of the raspberry on tap at the brew pub, so you can try it before you buy. You will also be able to sign up for a new "Sour Club", as well as a newsletter that will announce future bottle releases and events. This will be the beginning of hopefully a long line of bottle releases to come from one of the only true producers of wild ales in this state.

More event info here:!/events/1609958445891962/

February 26, 2015 at 1:11pm

Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

A night with Goose Island Beer Co. at Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge in Tacoma, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015.

Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

Chef Hudson Slater stands in the kitchen at Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge on ready alert, staring at his stovetop. Hudson draws a breath, then forces himself to grab the saute pan off the heat. The flames shoot into the air. Suddenly, the kale breaks apart. The purple leaves break in every direction as he BLASTS through their formation. Something comes up through the flames. A sous chef darts by. The line cook drops in and locks onto him.

"Talk to me, Goose," pleads Hudson as he turns toward Goose.

The clanking of cookware drown out the roar of the flames.

"Critical point," Hudson quips to Goose.

Hudson takes a 180 turn and presses both hands on his Tom Douglas cookbook sitting on the counter, the inspiration for his career. ...

He stares at the cover as if he can read page 59.

He twists back around.    

"I'm gonna go! THREE ... TWO ... ONE. ..."

Hudson engages his cutlery and cookware as if in a dogfight. Blades twirling, ingredients airborne, liquids falling like Niagara Falls. His kitchen companions gaze in disbelief. A fusion with steamed edamame sprinkled with black-olive powder, garnished with shiso leaves and surrounded by dots of black-olive-and-citron crème, morphs into a curried green-coconut-milk soup with tiny clams, scallops, flying fish eggs and garnished with flash-fried whitebait turns into grilled sardine brushed with jalapeño juice. He dumps each dish into the trash. Hudson gives a nod to Goose, and with adrenaline pumping as a charging bull, a rabbit mignon in a syrupy caramel of Iberian-ham drippings with a smoked-eel petit four suddenly appears, as if it was pulled from a hat.

The twirling stops like Dorothy's house in Oz. Panting, Hudson takes a swig of Goose, dumps the rabbit down the hole and dives back in. Gaining speed, he plunges toward the dessert. His Marzipan spacers and zester become one with his hands; a slow-motion blur that would draw a smile from Morpheus.

The music builds. The action increases. As the scene fades to black, you can make out a smile as Hudson asks permission for a fly-by from Maxwell's owner Steve Anderson.

Judging from the frequency of high (and low) fives, Chef Hudson Slater and Goose Island Beer Company do it all well, and they prefer to do it together. In a kitchen full of barely contained roars and lots of nutty oak, dark dried fruit, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, bittersweet chocolate and burnt raisin, Hudson and Goose have the real bromance. They're on top of their game and they're always there for each other with a commendable loyalty.

>>> Chef Hudson Slater

When he's not posting exquisite cuisine art on his Instagram, brewing craft beer with bacon, sharing recipes for published cookbooks or pushing the envelope in Maxwell's Kitchen, Chef Hudson Slater is winning chef competitions - almost every one he enters. The young family man from University Place cuts his teeth at Gordon and Steve Naccarato's The Beach House at Purdy before rising from cook to executive chef at the stylish fine-dining restaurant he clocks in today.

>>> Derek Wieting, sales representative, Goose Island Beer Co., Anheuser-Busch

In the late '80s, traveling salesman John Hall turned his passion into a career when he introduced his craft beer brewing Goose Island Brewpub to the macrobeer chugging city of Chicago. In 1992, Goose Island gave the beer industry a new reason to belly up to the bar: bourbon-aged beer. Then in 2004, America had a new tradition - the annual post-Thanksgiving release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout, one of the most important beers in the history of American brewing. Heavily charred barrels from bourbon distilleries give way to roasty cocoa flavors with traces of caramelized wood sugars and vanillin compounds.

Last night, 20 people floated like gods, above Maxwell's dining tables, above the dinnerware, looking down at what one of the top bromances on the planet can create in the kitchen. With inspiration from his co-pilot Goose, Chef Hudson presented his five final dishes for a beer-pairing dinner.


"I strived to awaken your palate with this first dish," announces Chef Hudson. "The green curry edamame puree and japaleno bring a little heat; also on the plate are shiitake mushrooms from across the Purdy Bridge, a poached quail egg - so pop it open - plus pickled mustard seed and fennel."

Derek Wieting, the Washington, Oregon and Idaho sales representative for Goose Island Beer Co. - and all the Anheuser-Busch InBev products - as well as a Seattle Queen Anne Hill neighborhood resident, praised Chef Hudson for choosing the Goose Island India Pale Ale with his spicy dish. Wieting proudly announced the IPA is made with hops (Pilgrim, Styrian Golding Celeia, Cascade, Centennial) from Elk Mountain Farm, Goose Island's own hop farm in the Idaho panhandle, so it has Northwest roots. The multiple award-winning IPA has 55 IBUs, "making it really sessionable," he says. "This beer pairs really well with food, especially the dish in front of you. It's not a typical Northwest IPA, and shouldn't destroy your palate." 


"Since Goose Island is from Chicago, this next dish is my tribute to the city. I created a Chicago Hot Dog - kind of," says Chef Hudson. " I call it "Chicago Dog Ravioli," with all the elements of a hot dog - beef sausage, braised tomato, onion, sport pepper, dill pickle relish and a mustard sauce, plus a poppy seed aioli."

Wieting chimes in, "Our Goose Island Ten Hills Pale Ale has its roots firmly planted in the Northwest. All the hops come out of our hop farm in northern Idaho." Wieting went on to explain a dedicated Goose Island hop farm is one of the advantages of A-B purchasing Goose Island four years ago. The Goose Island brewers spent quality time on the farm and the community surrounding Elk Mountain Farm, forging a relationship between farmer and brewer to a point in which Elk Mountain Farms now grows more than 100 acres of hops for Goose Island annually. "We have access to hops that aren't readily available to a lot of other breweries," says Wieting. The Goose brewers picked the hops (Perle, Cascade and Saaz) on site for the Ten Hills Pale Ale. The apricot and tangerine aroma, with sweet honey and toasted flavors paired well with Chef Hudson's pasta dog. It's more floral than the IPA.


Touting the Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale as his favorite beer of the night, Chef Hudson wanted to complement the beer's spicy yeast flavor, so he choose a smoked mussel aioli as well as a single smoked mussel on the plate. He added a poached halibut seared in nutty brown butter with butter lettuce, puffed quinoa and roasted shallot.

Wieting explained the legend of Matilda of Tuscany, who lost her wedding ring in a lake. A fish appeared clutching the ring in its mouth. Overwhelmed with joy, Matilda funded the neighboring monastery and its brewing operation.

Inspired by great Trappist ales, this complex Belgian Style Pale Ale is fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. The Goose brewers claim its has a farmhouse funk taste, "with lots of dried fruit and clove aromas," adds Wieting. On the tongue, thickness from sweet malts coat the tongue followed by flavors of earthy mushroom, orange peel and heavy yeast. The clove and peach preserves are present, with hay - mingling on the tongue while spiciness pushes out from the finish.

Wieting says the Matilda is aged in wine barrels, not so much for the flavor but rather as a second fermentation. The pale ale is part of the brewery's Vintage Series where they blend beers aged in wine barrels for different lengths to bring out complex wine-like notes paired with evolving tart or fruity qualities.

With the wild yeast slightly altering the taste every year, a five-year vertical flight can be a fun, tasty experiment. He added with the A-B buyout, Goose's Barrel House went from 30,000 barrels to 130,000 barrels.


"I love Bourbon County so I went with clean flavors for its pairing - braised beef short rib, celery root and parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts and stout demi glace," explains Chef Hudson.  "It's not overpowering."

Wieting introduced Bourbon County Brand Stout saying, "I commend Chef Hudson for pairing the Bourbon County Aged Stout with a main dish and not dessert. Typically, chefs save this beer for the end of the meal. I applaud Chef Hudson's innovation."


Wieting paused. ... "There are a lot of bourbon-barrel aged beers now - Goose was the first." Goose Island was indeed there first - in 1992, long before anyone in the Idaho hop field had anything to do with the brewery. The Goose brewers age the beer in a warehouse that has no temperature controls for nine months to a year. The result is a rich, complex SMOOTH blend of bourbon, chocolate, cherry, leather and many more layered flavors at 12 to 13 percent alcohol by volume. "By the way," Wieting adds, "if you get a hold of our Bourbon County Coffee, please let me know and I'll buy it off you. It's ranked number two in the world."


"This is by far my most favorite beer in the Goose portfolio," says Wieting. "Named after Goose founder's granddaughter Sofie, we age the Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale for nine months in wine barrels with an abundance of oranges fresh from our fields - bacteria, dirt and all. I'm talking fifty pounds of oranges per barrel. It's bubbly with almost a champagne-like effervesce. I love this beer in the summer - light, refreshing with a creamy vanilla finish."

Chef Hudson created an upscale take on the banana cream pie to pair with Sofie's citrus notes. He offered a beautiful play of roasted bananas cream panna cotta, Nilla Wafer, strawberry mousse "macaron" with whipped cream, Nilla Wafer brittle and meringue. He added a dehydrated candy strawberry that's not on the menu.

"I feel the need ... the need for more beer," Chef Hudson didn't say as he bought the room another round of Bourbon County Aged Stout, as well as poured his personal bottles of Matilda and Goose black saison Pepe Nero.

You can be my wingman anytime Chef Hudson!

About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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