Entry 34: Scotland the Brave (Part 1)

Location:  Scotland, England

Brewery:  Drygate, Brewdog (Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle)

Reason:  Sometimes you need to travel for beer

Roaming the glens and lochs of Scotland, Sam and I continue our trek for beer.  Normally we don’t venture far from the safety of Washington State, but we needed to cross the pond for beer.  And alas, we did.  Our first stop was the city of Glasgow in Scotland.  The hustle and bustle of cabs, people with thick accents and sleepyness of jet lag stood in our way, but we were not scared.  In fact, we were thirsty.  Thirsty for Scottish beer.

Drygate brewing was the first stop.  Located next to the giant that is Tennants, Drygate is a decent enough Scottish craft brewery.  With the slogan, “Brewed Fearlessly” we had to remind ourselves not to be scared, it was just beer.

The first thing you notice when you step into a Scottish brewery is that half the beers are on cask.  Which in my mind is great!  But, unless you love malty 3.8% ABV beers, it may not be your jam.  In the United States, I love cask beers, normally cause they are IPAs, that is not the case in Scotland.  They love their beers malty and flavorless.  Which is very disappointing.

The beers I had there were the Gladeye IPA, Reflex Red Ale and Emery Bell.  The IPA was fine. It is nothing like our IPAs, since the IBUs were only at 42.  Which is a pale in my mind.  But it was a good beer.  Nice caramel flavor to it, I think they add a  bit more hops, and I’d love it.  The Red ale and Emery Bell were average.  The Emery Bell was like 3% abv, where is the fun in that?  Sam thought there beer was average too.  But the brewery had an awesome feel to it, and we actually went to it twice, we enjoyed that whole feel of it.

From Drygate, we eventually make our way to Brewdog Brewing.  TO BE CONTINUED….


Entry 33: The Eastside Flycaster

Location:  Kirkland, WA

Brewery:  Flycaster Brewing

Reason:  We had to run up to Bothell and well, this was on the way back

Every great journey requires some kind of hunt. No matter how prepared you are for the road ahead there comes a time where you need to become resourceful, where you need to take matters into your own hands, where you need to just catch a damn fish. In order to catch said fish, one must visit the expert, one must seek the experienced flycaster.

It had been a long weekend. A couple of our fellow brewery aficionados decided to finally tie the knot. After an absolutely AWESOME night of celebrating a couple of our favorite people, it was time for us to get back to reality. Luckily, reality for us means visiting breweries.

One of the benefits of Flycaster is the location. Located near the Totem Lake area of Kirkland, its one of the easiest stops off the freeway on the eastside. Neither of us had been there before so we weren’t really sure what to expect. Flycaster doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you get inside its kind of a gem. The inside is warm and inviting. The brewer was there pouring that day and let us peek in the back room and check out the brew system. This is a place that I would like to visit on a cold fall day and sip beer by their fireplace.

Since it was our first time there we decided to go ahead and split a sampler. The standouts were the IPA and the Hopper Pale. I still think that a brewery earns its stripes with their IPA and their pale, so Flycaster has my respect. I would also like to giver honorable mention to the Rosehip Pale, which I really enjoyed, Matt preferred the Hopper, but to each their own. We both enjoyed Flycaster enough to come back a few weeks later to grab a growler to bring to a 4th of July BBQ (Editors note:  Not only did we get a growler, but we brought it to other brewers.  Huge compliment!). I liked Flycaster and personally, am looking forward to coming back for that fireplace beer as soon as the weather in Seattle decides to cool down.

Entry 31: Fighting the Machine (House)

Location:  Seattle, WA

Brewery:  Machine House

Reason:  Pre-M’s game Cask Beer

There is a time in everyone’s life where they have to make the difficult decision.  For many it is, “Do I want a cask beer”?  Well, in our journey that question was answered for us, by Machine House.  Machine house is in an awesome location (Georgetown) in an awesome building (ITS MADE OF BRICK!) and more importantly, it is all cask beer.

Sam and I enter with hesitation.  Well, not me, I ran across the street and into the brewery.  But Sam was hesitant, since she isn’t the biggest cask beer person in the world.  Sam was also hungry.  And you don’t mess with Sam when she is hungry.  So we ordered a few cask beers and then I ran down the street to a neat little sandwich shop and got Sam some food.

For those who do not know, cask beer is a unique experience.  Since you usually drink cask beer closer to room temperature.  I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “So its just English beer!” Well, yes – but also no.  True, many English style ales are cask beers, since it just works that way.  But cask beer is about the way it is created.  Beer is carbonated and pressurized with COs (Or nitrogen for those Guinness type), but cask beer isn’t done that way, it is more natural.  When beer is done fermenting, it is transferred into a keg and carbonated (Not always, but lets keep it simple).  Cask is when the beer is poured into a cask, in its natural form and from there (Again, keeping it simple) eventually gets poured into our stomachs.  Because it isn’t chilled and carbonated, it will tend to be a bit more warm and wayyyyyy smooth.  Many breweries will do a “Cask tuesday/wednesday/etc”.  Or you can just go to Machine house.

They had 6 or so cask beers on tap.  All of which were good.  I had the gold, best bitter and brambling IPA.  I was a big fan of the IPA and bitter, those just work perfectly with cask beer.  Sam was not as impressed, but was a trooper and still had a few beers.

Regardless, just go and try a cask beer.  You won’t regret it!

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