Friday, February 19, 2010

Seattle -- Second Round

"What does it take / To get a drink in this place" -Postal Service

Libby’s primary concern was finding a bar where we could watch the Nuggets game. She admitted that she wasn’t certain of the beer selection while driving me to Jillian’s. Given I am in Seattle, and they seem to be rather proud of their beer here, I assumed there would be *something* on tap I hadn’t had before. I just hoped it was something good.

Jillian’s is a chain of Dave and Busters-like pool halls. I had been to one before, just can’t remember where. That’s the thing about Jillian’s – it doesn’t matter what city you’re in, they’re all the same. But tonight was about two things: Libby and the Nuggets beating the Cavs (she says confidently after watching Melo sink a winning shot over Lebron in overtime). And yes, there was good beer there that I hadn’t had before.

Mac & Jack’s African Amber

Libby was surprised that this beer was new to me. I guess it’s a pretty big deal out here. Let’s see, locally brewed amber ale that’s frequently on tap… I won’t say it, but you know what I’m thinking. This beer actually reminded me more of Avalanche than Fat Tire. There was a slight citrus front to it, which, as far as I can recall, I’ve never come across in an amber before. But it works.

The commercial description says that “no visit to the great beer city of Seattle is complete without a couple of pints of this magnificent amber ale.” Yes, I very much liked it. Yes, I am glad I tried it, especially considering its apparent fame in Seattle. But I’m here for three days; I’m moving on to my next drink. (Once again, lacking photos of Seattle, here’s me with a lion cub in Africa.)

Red Hook Mudslinger/Nut Brown Ale

There should be an experiment where someone tests how much I like my beer based on whether or not the Nuggets are winning. Actually, I can think of someone who I imagine would do a very good job of determining this. African Amber? We were up somewhere between five and ten points. I ordered the Mudslinger right about the time that the Cavs had their first lead that I had seen in the game.

Maybe it’s the fact that I see the words “nut” and “ale” and expect Tommyknocker’s Maple Nut Ale or maybe it’s the fact that I have no tolerance for us losing our lead in the second half. But I was not impressed by this beer. The website lists it as “medium body,” I found it lighter than that. A little watered down almost. The flavor was sweet and nutty, but it got too sweet at times. A pruney taste surfaced from time to time, not something I want in a nut ale. So I decided to chance the hefeweizen.

Pyramid’s Haywire Hefeweizen

Back home, at least among my friends, Pyramid brewery is known for its Apricot Ale. We’re a unique bunch though, so this might just be us. I can’t say that I have had any of Pyramid’s other beers. (I do hear that they have an amazing brewery tour, but something tells me that I won’t be making it there today.) I also don’t like hefeweizens, at least usually. The one thing I tend to not tolerate in beers, on a personal level, is that weird taste in heavily unfiltered beers. Hefeweizens more or less guarantee that flavor, so I tend to avoid them. I know, it’s a problem I have, I’m trying to get over it. This beer, however, didn’t have that taste. As a result I liked it, I felt like I was cheating, but I liked it (and no, the Nuggets weren’t necessarily winning. Damn, Lebron is a hell of a player).

Haywire, it turns out, won the gold for 2009 American-Style Wheat Beer with Yeast at GABF. This makes me feel justified in liking the beer, but also given the title of the prize, it’s obviously not a real hefeweizen. The beer reminded me of Breckenridge’s Agave Wheat, only lighter – one of those rare times when lighter is actually better. It was less filling than Agave while maintaining the citrus-sweetness, but not in an overwhelming way like Michelob’s Shock Top or Lienenkugel’s Sunset Wheat.

I finished it shortly after Melo sunk his winning two-pointer with only seconds to go.

I like Seattle.


  1. Kitty! What was this post about again? Oh, "heavily unfiltered"? Please explain that to me.

  2. So there are unfiltered beers, think the cloudy wheats like Easy Street. Then there are the more unfiltered ones where the taste is affected by the lack of filtration. It's a term I made up, but whenever I say I don't like unfiltered beers to Justy, he starts talking about cloudy beers. And there are a lot of cloudy beers I like.

    Make sense? Also, get over the kitty.

  3. Anonymous here. I haven't been able to follow for a while.
    Now as we have discussed, I am actually some hot girl from the midwest. BUT I have a friend who has told me a lot about Seattle over the years. He is super smart and good looking - this friend of mine.

    Anyway, here are some things he told me:
    1) He is also not a big Mac and Jack fan. He thinks it is decently crafted and whatever, but doesn't really care for it. Too much fruit, not enough body. (He feels similarly about Fat Tire as it happens)

    2) He wishes he could have advised you on a couple points. He missed the window and now feels like an ass - a smart, good looking ass - but an ass nevertheless.
    Had he been able to advise you, he would have begged you to try beers at the Big Time brewery in the university district. There are about 3 beers there that can really make an impression.
    In fact, after a ski trip, he says that a good friend of his who was actually FROM Denver described the Atlas Amber at Big Time as the best pint he had ever tasted outside of Ireland... My friend regrets not sending you to Big Time.

    3) My friend also deeply regrets not introducing you to a magical beer - meal combination that is VERY Seattle. Go to any of the good seafood places (Ivars, Ray's, Duke's, the list is pretty big). Order a local IPA (again, big list) and get an appetizer of steamed clams and some sourdough bread.
    Drink the pint while eating the clams and dipping the bread in the leftover clam nectar and you will go to PNW flavor heaven.

    Again, I am some hot girl in the midwest. But my smart and good looking Seattle friend says he is really sorry he did not make these two suggestions.


  4. One more thing from my friend who knows Seattle. He wanted to agree with you about Jillian's and he wishes you hadn't gone there as it is a dumb-ass chain that in no way represents anything except the lowest common denominator.

    Anonymous midwestern girl

  5. Anonymous midwestern girl,

    Check back later this week.

    That's all I got for now.