A pint for Dionysus

November 30, 2011

Black Raven Brewing

Filed under: out and about — Tags: , — grotusque @ 1:25 pm

Getting a brief respite from the traditional Thanksgiving activities was easy. Driving to the Black Raven brewery in Redmond, a little less so. I’m currently willing to bet that the Seattle metro area was cityscaped by people who hate human beings, robots and lesser gods. Nothing makes any sense while driving there, unless you use the logic of hate.

That said, we still found our way to (and from!) the brewery which from the outside: not so impressive. Camouflaged in a business park, the Black Raven brewery could be anything: a CIA front, deliverers of teddy bears, spawning ground for Elder Gods-whatever bland, nondescript, terrible thing that tends to hide in these places. It did not inspire confidence.

The inside was a totally different story though; only two televisions, neither of which were oversized or too dominant, warm lighting which was easy enough to see by but low enough to bring a date, plenty of space to get comfy and a staff that enthusiastically expressed their knowledge of Black Raven’s beverages. I felt a little like Dorothy walking into Oz, though with much more comfortable shoes.

And then there was the beer. In the foreground is the Scottish ale, in the background is the sampler tray (with my Scottish ale obscuring the Scottish sample.)

Not a bad beer in the bunch. Favorites included the pale and the brown ales; they were a cut above due to the drinkability. However, this drinkability ran through the entire line of beers and worked against the stout, IPA and Scottish ales. Not that those beers were bad by any means, merely that because they were so drinkable, I felt that some of the elements of the style that I’d come to expect, like denser flavors or a more viscous mouthfeel, these things were held back in order to serve a more ‘sessionable’ brew.

Again: They were not bad! I heartily recommend Black Raven’s stuff to anyone who has the chance to try them. Getting to taste samples and picking up what I felt was an overall philosophy (we want to make drinkable beers across a range of styles) is a hell of a thing. It may very well be that, due to being spoiled in Portland, I occasionally neglect to appreciate beers that are well within their style guidelines. Even lesser deities are not perfect.

September 2, 2011

Seattle wrapup

Filed under: commercial beers, out and about — Tags: , , , , , , — grotusque @ 10:11 am

While spending much of the last weekend at PAX, I made sure to take some time taking in what the locals drink and here’s what I recall:

Fremont Brewing had a lovely summer pale ale that made a very positive impression on me. It had an easy drinking quality and I would compare it to Deschutes’ Mirror Pond. I’d like to go back and get some more of their wares, because it really was a tasty beverage that I’d like more of and I’d like to see what else they do.

Brouwer’s pub is a great place to catch a pint or two. Go during happy hour though; it’s a little pricey. I can’t remember what brews I had exactly but I can tell you they were tasty and served properly. I was distracted by getting tiny plates of fries and sliders for dinner, which were super good. The staff was also tremendously helpful, returning a map for me that I very much needed to navigate the rough paths of Seattle. To the staff: thanks so much!

black raven ipaFinally, I had some of Black Raven‘s Trickster ale at the Parkway in Tacoma. As readers probably know by now, I have a thing for any beer named after mythological creatures and the Trickster is one of my favorite ones. It was an IPA that tasted like raspberries up front, drop of malt, then hoppy goodness at the end. Wonderful beer and if you have the opportunity, try it.

The beer was almost good enough for me to overlook the surliness of my server. Fortunately for us, she was soon supplanted by a much more pleasant one.

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