Sunday, August 30, 2009

How To Choose a Beer For Your Party

In a city full of top notch breweries, well stocked beer shops and a beer knowledgeable populace, why do we still end up at parties that offer yellow and uninteresting beer? If you're lucky you'll find a keg of Manny's Pale ale - don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of all the Georgetown brews - but often there is no variety. Most often one of two things will happen to those planning parties - they wait to long and the only beers left are the piss water offspring of major corporations or they are afraid to offer an unknown beer that may be rejected by the party goers. Here's a couple of tips for buying great beer for your next party.

Tip #1: Buy beer that has a broad appeal. This is not to say, however, that you need to buy watered down beer. A good place to start is one of the better beer rating websites like or Tuesday's Taste at The Beer Authority took this into consideration: Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale (RB 96%) and Allagash White (RB 88%), Iron Horse's Quilters Irish Death (BA B-).

Tip #2: Think about the season. This is pretty straight forward: Oktoberfest beers are great in the fall, Porter/Stouts/Christmas beers in the winter, Maibocks and Browns in the spring, etc.

Tip #3: Think about your audience. A party in Ballard would be a perfect place for Belgian and other beers from Northern Europe.

Lastly, think about quantity. Most etiquette websites agree that you should provide 3-4 beers per person attending an evening party, or 1 1/2 beers for a dinner party. For a smaller party, a great way to go is a 5.16 (1/6 bbl) keg. The small keg route allows you to minimize your waste and offer a selection if you want to provide two or more. Each 1/6 bbl keg holds about 41 16 oz. cups of beer and will fit almost anywhere.

There are many factors involved in throwing a great party and selecting the right beer can make a huge difference. As always, everyone at The Beer Authority is ready to help you with all of your beer needs!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Sour Beer For the Masses

The Beer Authority is now stocking the Duchesse De Bourgogne from Brouwerij Verhaeghe, a brewery in the West Flanders region of Belgian. Pronounced DOO-SHAY, this Flemmish Red is a traditional sour brewed with all roasted malts and water from a deep aquifer not available to most belgian breweries. Blended from eight and eighteen month batches that are aged in oak barrels to impart a rich texture and long, dry finnish, this beer is best when imbibed from the Duchesse glass, but in a pinch use a red wine glass.

Named for Mary of Burgundy, the daughter of the Duke of Burgundy, who became the Duchess after the passing of her father. Mary only lived to 25 years, succumbing to injuries after falling off her horse while falcon hunting - no joke.

The current batch in stock at The Beer Authority expires in December of 2010, so you can wait until the perfect moment to enjoy the Duchesse.

Available in 750ml only, $10.69 per bottle.

Saturday Taste 8.29.09

We don't know why it always seems to be cloudy on Saturdays in the summer, but we've got the beer that will make the day brighter. This Saturday we are tasting 3 Dunkelweizens - dark hefeweizens - and hope that you will attend. The tasting goes all day, from noon until 6 pm, so put the college game on 'pause' and get down to the store! Here's more information from each brewery about their beers:

Leavenworth Boulder Bend Dunkel: Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen is an exceptional creation. This is an unfiltered dark Hefeweizen, with a gently sweet character infusing its medium-bodied smoothness. Notes of chocolate and caramel mingle with a cereal malt flavor contributed by additions of malted wheat. Other Northwest examples of this classic German style are rare and few. Certainly none are as tasty.

Weihenstephaner Dunkel: Supple, malty and mellow. Its harmonious flavour is the great strength of our dark wheat beer. Not only as a good combination with hearty dishes but consumed alone.

Erdinger Dunkel: Erdinger Weissbier 'dark' is a rich and smooth wheat beer specialty from Erdinger Weissbräu. It owes its full-bodied flavor to the fine hops and dark malt used in its production. The dark beer specialty is brewed according to an age-old recipe. Its spicy flavor also results from the increased proportion (about 13%) of original wort.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday Taste 8/25/09

Today we are tasting 3 styles of Belgian Ales: Golden, Dubbel and Tripel.

Golden ales are, as the name suggests, golden to straw colored. They are clear, crisp, and dry, with low-to-medium bitterness. Fruitiness from esters are also present in the beer.

Dubbels, created and commercially available in 1861 by the Westmalle Trappists, are a strong version of a Belgian brown ale.

Tripels, again created by the Westmalle Trappists, are a Belgian strong pale ale- typically the strongest beer in a brewery's line.

North Coast Pranqster Golden: Belgian Ales represent the height of the brewers' art. Sophisticated brewing techniques, yeast blends and unique flavoring elements have elevated the beers of Belgium to the status enjoyed by wine in other countries. PranQster follows in this tradition using a mixed culture of antique yeast strains that results in a floral nose, a full fruity flavor and a clean finish.

Grimbergen Dubbel:
The Grimbergen Dubbel has undergone two fermentations, which gives this ale a chocolatey, toffee taste with a warming brandy-like finish.

Pikes Monks Uncle Tripel: Big, full bodied and complex with a yeasty nose, fruity esters and malty dryness. Brewed with Belgian yeast and candied sugars.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Saturday Taste 8.22.09

I figured on this typically Seattle weekend (that is to say cold and cloudy) amber beers would really hit the spot. I picked 3 examples from three different regions of the US - Washington, Colorado and Louisiana (which is actually a lagered beer). Join me at The Beer Authority on Saturday, August 22 to sample them - there is no fee but remember to bring your ID because you have to be 21 to participate!

Fish Tale Organic Amber: A Cascadian treasure, certified Organic Amber Ale is a medium-bodied beer with an appealing deep amber hue. Our malts--a pleasant blend or organic Pale, Munich, Honey, Crystal and lend a gentle sweet character which is difficult to resist. From organic Hallertauer hops come a zesty flavor and aroma that beautifully balances Organic Amber's malt character.

New Belgian Fat Tire Amber:
Named in honor of our founder Jeff’s bike trip through Belgium, Fat Tire Amber Ale marks a turning point in the young electrical engineer’s home brewing. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles. Jeff found the Belgian approach freeing. Upon his return, Jeff created Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale, (assuming Abbey would be his big gun). He and his wife, Kim traveled around sampling their homebrews to the public. Fat Tire’s appeal quickly became evident. People liked everything about it. Except the name. Fat Tire won fans is in its sense of balance: toasty, biscuit-like malt flavors coasting in equilibrium with hoppy freshness.

Abita Amber Lager:
Abita Amber is a Munich style lager brewed with crystal malt and Perle hops. It has a smooth, malty, slightly caramel flavor and a rich amber color.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Samuel Smith Yorkshire Stingo - Limited Release

The brewers at Samuel Smith have just released a new and limited (only 2,000 cases produced) strong ale called the Yorkshire Stingo. Brewed with British malts and the classic Sam Smith yeast, the beer is aged for a year in oak casks that have previously held other aged beers lending it a complex flavor profile. This ale is finished by bottle conditioning to add smoothness and a fruity finish. The Stingo weighs in at a respectable 8% and is available at The Beer Authority in 18.7 oz. bottles.

The name Yorkshire is for the open, stone sided fermentation tanks and Stingo is actually a slang term for strong ales in the 18th century. The beer pours a dark brown with a flavor profile containing rich malts, raisin, dried fruit and caramel. Works best with strong flavored meats and cheeses or as a fantastic stand alone!

Get yours today!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dogfish Brings Up Old S**t!

Theombroma, straight from the off-centered brain trust at Dogfish Head Brewing, has landed at The Beer Authority. Like many of their other occasional rarities, this one has a story to tell. To quote from their website:

This beer is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras which revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions. The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1200 BC. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head’s Theobroma (translated into 'food of the gods') is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies, and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

Try one for yourself today - you've been good, have a beer!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bear Republic Out Races the Pack!

The votes are in and Bear Republic's Racer 5 IPA edged out Rogues Dead Guy Ale to go on sale this week at a jaw dropping $4.49 for a 22 0z. bottle! Bear's flagship IPA was previously listed at $5.37, so you'll be saving close to 20 percent this week. Please note that twelve ounce bottles are not part of the sale.

The Racer 5 is a big IPA, loaded with Cascade and it's high alpha acid cousin Columbus hops. Traditionally a bittering hop, Bear decided to use a large amount of the Columbus as an aromatic to give the beer it's unique hop profile.

Bear Republic picked up a Gold medal at the 1999 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) with the Racer 5. To see other awards, check out the brewery's website.

Don't miss this fantastic brew (98 percentile at, it's only on sale through next Tuesday. As always, check out our next sale poll to the right!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saturday Taste 8.15.09

Fresh off a successful tasting with Skagit River on Thursday - thanks again to Mike Armstrong - we will be comparing three different styles of Stout: Beamish Irish Dry, North Coast's Imperial Old Rasputin and Left Hand's Milk Stout. We'll be tasting from noon to 6 pm, so come on down!

Style Notes:

Irish Stout. Irish stout or dry stout (in Irish, leann dubh, "black ale") is very dark or rich in colour and it often has a "toast" or coffee-like taste.

Imperial Stout. Imperial stout, also known as "Russian Imperial Stout" or "Imperial Russian Stout," is a strong dark beer or stout in the style that was brewed in 1796 by Thrale's brewery in London, England for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia, as "Thrale's Entire Porter" - when the brewery was taken over by Courage the beer was renamed Courage Imperial Russian Stout. It has a high alcohol content - nine or ten percent abv is common. Imperial stout exhibits very strong malt flavours, hints of dark fruits, and is often quite rich, resembling a chocolate dessert.

Milk Stout. Milk stout (also called sweet stout or cream stout) is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose is unfermentable by beer yeast, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer. Milk stout was claimed to be nutritious, and was given to nursing mothers, along with other stouts, such as Guinness. The classic surviving example of milk stout is Mackeson Stout, for which the original brewers claimed that "each pint contains the energising carbohydrates of 10 ounces of pure dairy milk". In the period just after the Second World War when rationing was in place, the British government required brewers to remove the word "milk" from labels and adverts, and any imagery associated with milk.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Skagit River Brewery Tasting 8.13.09

Mike Armstrong from Skagit River Brewing will be in the store from 5-7 pm on Thursday, August 13 - this is a tasting you don't want to miss!

Anyone serious beer lover who has ventured north of Everett has payed homage to Skagit River, located in downtown Mr. Vernon. We'll be tasting four excellent beers that we stock plus a "mystery" beer that Mike will be bringing with him. Bring your ID and you taste buds for a unique beer experience.

Beers to be tasted:
Scullers IPA
Jenny's Scotch Ale
Trumpeter Stout
Steelie Brown Ale

"Mystery" beer

See you here!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's A Draw-Dales and the Immortal Both On Sale!

It came down to the wire and both Oskar Blue's Dales Pale Ale and Elysian's Immortal IPA had the exact same number of votes. Considering the support they both received we'll be putting both beers on sale starting Wednesday morning. Make sure you vote for next weeks sale beer so you can reap big savings!

Elysian Immortal IPA: 86%, A Northwest interpretation of a classic English style, golden copper in color and loaded with New World hop flavor and aroma.

Was $4.29/22 oz. Now $2.99

Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale: 96%,
Brewed with hefty amounts of European malts and four kinds of American hops, it delivers a blast of hop aromas, a rich middle of malt and hops, and a thrilling finish. It weighs in at 6.5 % alcohol by volume. Why squeeze such a big brew into a little can? Because we think fun in the great outdoors calls for great beer. Our cans go where bottled beers can't, where flavorless canned beers don't belong. And no matter where you drink Dale's Pale Ale, our can protect it from light and oxidation far better than bottles do.

Was $1.72/ 12 oz. Now $1.33

Dogfish Head's Raison D'etra will remain on sale until the end of Tuesday, so come pick up a few before they go back to their normal price!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Saturday Taste 8/9/09

Another glorious Seattle summer weekend is upon us, grey and in the 60's! That makes it a perfect time to taste a few imperial reds - enough malt sweetness to chase away the clouds with a kick of alcohol to warm the spirits! We'll be trying the Loco Red from Iron Horse, Ninkasi's Beliver Double Red and the Lucky #13 from Lagunitas!

Iron Horse Loco Imperial Red: Its like an imperial IPA with a big malt body. Dark red in color with lots of hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma, this ale is a malty, high gravity gem (7.5% ABV) crafted from two types of malt and four types of hops. Once called Loco-Motive Imperial Red Ale, we shortened... 'cause it was too long.

Ninkasi Believer Double Red: A rich deep red with roasted malt and caramel notes, balanced by plentiful hops. Brewed for the believers of Ninkasi, delicious and satisfying, a wonderful representation of what the Northwest beer scene is all about. 6.9 % alc./vol. 60 ibus.

Lagunitas Lucky #13: Their 13th birthday beer, big on hops and the dark malts.8.3% alc./vol. 76.92 ibus.

See you here, we'll be tasting all day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Taste 8/4/09

It's been so hot so long we're getting a little tired of tasting light bodied beers. Today we're bucking the trend and going with three black beers: Lev Black Lion (CZR), Pinkus Jubilate (GER) and Baron Schwarzbier (WAS).

Lev Black Lion: Is a classic Czech "tmave" (dark) beer with a sweet malty, coffee-like accent. Sweet malts are to the fore on the palate with a hint of drying sensation and a degree of fruitiness on the very lightly hopped finish.

Pinkus Jubilate: Certified organic, medium body with caramel flavor notes, rich depth, an smooth elegant finish.

Baron Schwarzbier:
A classic German black beer. The color is black with tinges of ruby and brown. The flavor is full and crisp. The Schwarzbier starts with a slight roast flavor upfront followed by a faint chocolate body with a very crisp clean lagered finish. A very full yet drinkable lager.

Tasting is from 4:30-7:30, no fee tonight!

Dogfish Head Goes on Sale!

The people have spoken - Dogfish Head Raison D'etra will go on sale starting tomorrow afternoon. Our first 'Next Sale Beer' poll finished at noon today with the malty, green raisin flavored ale edging out Oskar Blue's Dale's Pale Ale and Elysian's Immortal IPA. Check out the scorecard for the Raison D'Etra (or 'reason for being') below:

Raison D'etra: 92% Percentile Overall. Raison D'Etre Voted 'American Beer Of The Year' in January 2000 by Malt Advocate Magazine. A deep mahogany ale brewed with beet sugar, green raisins, and Belgian yeast. As complex as a fine red wine. 36 IBU - available year round, 12 ounce bottles & draft - Descriptors: Notes of pit fruit, decadent, winey, raisiney, malty.

Was $2.51/btl Now $1.99/bottle

6pack was $15.06 Now $11.94

Sale runs until the next poll or until supplies last!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Temptation Next Week

I've already been fielding several phone calls regarding Russian River's Temptation so I thought I'd better let everyone know what's going on. Yes, Temptation is in town but came in after my delivery this week so my allotment is being held until next week. Wednesday afternoon is the best guess for when I'll have it in my hands, but as always I will send out an email alert as soon as I get them. In addition to Temptation I'll be getting an allotment of Pliny the Elder - see you on Wednesday!