Friday, August 15, 2014

2 Events That Might Have Flown Under Your Radar

Even as we wind down from the height of summer, weekends are still packed with beer events too numerous to attend them all, meaning you'll have to make decisions about which ones to green light and which ones will have to be missed. In this crowded arena it's easy to focus on the most well publicized ones and I stand by my conviction that if you want me to visit you have to remind me to do so. With that said, I offer up a couple of options for the upcoming weekend that may have flown under your radar so far.

Kells 2nd Anniversary Party - Friday, August 15th
Kells flies a little under the craft beer radar in general but that doesn't mean the guiding hand of Dave Flemming isn't turning out good product. The newest location of Kells in NW is the place where that magic happens and as it turns out, they're celebrating their 2nd anniversary this Friday. Two special tappings will take place at 6:00 pm, followed by live music starting at 9:00 pm.

Kells Barrel Aged Red: The brewers took their Kells Irish Red Ale and barrel aged it for many months in Bull Run Distillery whiskey barrels. Honey and vanilla notes of whiskey dance in your mouth with the light toffee and red fruits of the ale. 5% ABV

Billy Ray Citrus CDSL: This beer was specifically brewed for OBF and one keg was held back for the anniversary. Billy Ray Citrus merges the dark roasty richness of a stout with the smooth, easy taste of a session lager. Two-row, caramel, carafa II (dehusked black malt) and Vienna malts are balanced by Northern Brewer, Hallertauer, Mt. Hood and Saaz hops, a great blend of the traditional European noble hops with the freshness of the Northwest. Fermented with lager yeast at room temperature gives this beer its fruity esters and a mild green-apple aroma.

Mighty Mites Festival - Sunday, August 17th 11 am - 7 pm
The first Mighty Mites Festival I attended was back in 2011, held behind Coalition Brewing, in the space that is now home to several food carts. It took a hiatus in 2012, returning last year as part of the Hawthorne Street Fair and will be a part of the Fair again this year, situated outside Bazi Bierbrassiere.

For $10 you'll get a sampling glass plus 4 tickets, each good for a 7 oz sample. The 10 beers range from tart to hoppy, all with an ABV of 5% or less, meaning you could probably have all 10 even if the rooster crows early for you on Monday morning.

10 Barrel German Sparkle Party
Burnside Brewing Lowercase IPA
Breakside A Saison in Hell
Oakshire Amerikuh
Fort George Divinity
Gigantic Rooie Dop
Lompoc Blueberry Tea beer
Double Mountain Una Mas
Laurelwood Berliner-Weisse
pFriem Session IPA

Whatever your weekend plans are, have a good one and enjoy many a good craft beer!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

3 Reasons to Visit The Mash Tun Brewpub

When was the last time you visited The Mash Tun on NE Alberta? Months ago, years ago, maybe never? Then it's high time you stopped in.

I can't say it's a place I visit more than a few times a year, mostly because I just don't get up NE Alberta much and when I do there are so many places competing for my attention (many of which I was reminded of as I was making my way there last night). To help me remember to go more often and to prompt you to do the same, here are three reasons you should pay them a visit.

1. Their Alberta St Pale Ale is a deliciously bitter, full flavored beer. While pale ale purists may say it leans too far in the IPA direction I find it lovely and highly drinkable.
2. They have a great patio. Not only does it double their seating but it backs up garden boutique Thicket and is adjacent to Pine State's patio. You'll have no idea you're sitting just steps from bustling Alberta.
3. Tuesdays are $2 pint days. Yes, you read that right, $2 for any house pint all day. Add in their daily happy hour food offerings (3 - 6 pm) and you've got one of the least expensive ways around here to spend a Tuesday evening.

On previous visits the food has been hit or miss but I'm pretty sure I've always gobbled up their tots and I have a friend who can never pass up their beet salad.

As for the rest of their beers, again, hit and miss. Their IPAs, generally only one is available at a time but they change periodically (last night it was a single-hop version using Galena hops), are generally serviceable but not outstanding. Mag found his Blackberry Oatmeal Ale to taste a bit homebrew-y while the sip of Regan's Feats of Strength I had was outstanding.

Will this be a place you take out-of-towners to? Probably not. Will it be the first place that comes to mind when you're looking for a brewpub? Probably not. Will it be a place you visit occasionally? I sure hope so, especially on Tuesdays.