Pass me another Rye. RyeFest in review


Seattle beer week is a magical time when breweries and bars across Seattle celebrate our wonderful tradition of making some of the best beer around.  From Tacoma to Everett – the Seattle metropolitan area is littered with fantastic breweries that have a myriad of delicious beers.  It is a wonderful time to be a beer snob.  Now is the time to support local craft breweries, and the creative, often wonderful, beers they provide.

Rye.  For centuries it has been associated with whiskey, especially in the United States.  Rye Whiskey is a popular alternative to Bourbon.  The rye gives a more powerful, bold, spicy body to the whiskey.  It is a wonderful change of pace for whiskey drinkers, especially if you love Islay Scotch or Whiskey with less fruit or floral flavors.  But alas, this isn’t a whiskey blog (Although, I do love me some whiskey).  This is a beer blog, and we are here to talk some rye beer.

During this past Seattle Beer Week, Reuben’s brewing in Ballard accepted the challenge to create a rye beer for every palate.  Why rye?  Like in the use of whiskey, rye gives a completely different flavor profile and that provides a subtle but noticeable difference. IPAs are known for their hoppy finish, but when you create a RYE-PA you’ll still have that hoppy finish, but you’ll notice a completely different body, which may or may not be your style but it’s worth a shot.

Reuben’s makes tremendous beers.  The brewery is insanely popular for a reason, and I love the idea of them having an RyeFest, something different than the norm.  This year’s RyeFest had 14 or so rye beers on tap, ranging from Rye Shandys to Kentucky Commons to a Rye beer made with Earl Grey Tea.

A couple of them really stood out to me, first was the Imperial Rye IPA.  This rye really packed a punch with hints of floral and citrus from the hops, but the rye body which gives it a different flavor from imperial IPAs made with all barley.  At 8.4% abv and 100 IBUs, this was something I wish I could have had a pint of, but since I had to drive, a taster would suffice. Another beer that really stood out was the Tropical Rye Shandy.  I know… I know… Rye shandy?! HAVE THEY GONE MAD?! Well, maybe, but it was delicious. With a tropical nose and taste, but with a different spicier body than your usual shandy, it’s a great take on a summer classic.

At the end of the day, it was a wonderful RyeFest.  Next year will be the 5th year they do it and I highly suggest you come out to Ballard and enjoy the rye.

Podcast 5 – Ellensburg

Another day and another podcast.  We drive east to Ellensburg, WA to enjoy Iron Horse and Whipsaw and we talk about Roslyn brewing too.  As always you can listen here or you can listen here –

Or you can go to iTunes and download it.  Search Wabljourney.

Entry 65: Catching a buzz at Propolis

Brewery: Propolis Brewing

Location: Port Townsand, WA
Reason: Do we need one?

My absolute favorite thing about this blog is the excuse to travel around Washington and visit breweries on our free time in the name of research. Since we have started this blog I have gotten to visit some cool towns, meet some really interesting people, and explore a lot of this beautiful state (as well as others). There are certain breweries that I can’t help but get excited about when we discover them almost accidentally.

Matt had been in charge of the agenda for this particular journey and I actually wasn’t aware that Propolis was on the agenda, but I was pretty optimistic when we pulled up to the bright yellow building. Since this was a brand new stop for the two of us we decided to go ahead and split a sampler of everything on tap. Now, if you listen to our podcast you imageknow that I really like sour beers, more and more, they are becoming a personal favorite. If you listen to the podcast, you also know that Matt REALLY doesn’t like sour beers, so this review is all me.

If I had to describe Propolis Brewing, and I do since I’m writing a blog, I would describe them as earthy and playful. Almost everything is infused with herbs or dandelions and wonderfully unique. Even the name Propolis is a play on words, orignally from the Greek words pro (before) and polis (city), propolis is also the term for a resin collected by honeybees.

Going through the tasters felt a little like sampling the output of an alchemists laboratory.  The beers we tried were a combination of farmhouse ales and barrel aged ales. I personally gravitated more towards the traditional farmhouse ales, particularly enjoying the Cedar and the Herbal Golden.

I liked Propolis, I liked the patio outside, the bright yellow building, and the beer on tap. It will absolutely be a staple when visiting Port Townsand, and if you are a fan of sour beers, this place is probably for you too.


Entry 64: 101 4 life

Brewery: 101 Brewing
Location: Quilcene, WA
Reason: Its literally right off the highway.

Highway 101 is one of the more majestic highways in the United States. Starting from Olympia and follows the coast all the way to LA, it a beautiful stretch of road. At almost every single minute of the drive you’ll have water on one of the sides of your automobile. A very awesome situation. But we aren’t here to talk about roads, or water, we are here to talk about beer. And thankfully, along this route there are plenty of breweries. From the start, you have a bunch of Olympia, then 1 in Shelton. And finally, you come to the town of Quilcene, where you have 101 Brewing.

There is probably no brewery in the United States closer to a highway than 101 Brewing. As you’re driving north through Quilcene, the brewing will be situated just off the highway on the eastside of the road. It doesn’t look like much, just your everyday peninsula building. But inside there is beer. And food!

The selection may not be the grandest in the world, they only have 4 beers on tap. A pale, a wheat, a brown and a stout. I know that seems CRAZY, but again, this is a small town and everything is brewed in house. The beer itself was fine. I’ve had them a few times now, the pale by far being my favorite. The wheat can be a on the sweet side, so if you like that in wheat beers, I highly suggest that route.

If you’re making the journey to Port Angeles or Port Townsend and need a quick bite and some beer, give it a shot. #DrinkWaBeer