beer, History

Washington : Say WA!

While digging around the web to find something to put in this weeks post, I came upon the story of Bert Grant. Grant is credited with starting the first post-prohibition brewpub in the United States, back in 1982. Born in Scotland, Grant spent his formative years in Canada where he stared working in a brewery at the age of 16. Arriving in Yakima in 1967, Grant helped design and build a pelletizing operation for hops, before he finally opened his own brewery 15 years later. This pelletizing process was important for this region, and the craft beer industry.

Prior to the development of hops pellets, brewers had to rely on bales of whole hops. These bales were large and susceptible to spoilage. With the advent of the pellet, brewers could more easily store the hops, and had their brewing opportunities opened with the introduction of mixed hops pellets.

Washington presents as a craft beer state. From its Yakima valley, which comprising 75% of the total hops acreage in the U.S. and is one of the most productive hops production regions in the world, to its ranking of 8th nationally for breweries per capita. However when it came to locating beer from Washington, it was much harder than I expected. Because of that, we only had two different styles of beer to try  for this week.

washington craft beer

Two craft beers from Washington

 

The first beer of the evening was an Imperial IPA from Pyramid brewing called Outburst. Imperial, now a vague term meant to imply a stronger than normal beer, was originally intended for beer brewed for the crown heads of Europe. This beer, with its dark, golden honey color emitted a very sweet smell that carried over into its taste. In fact, it was one of the more sweeter IPAs we had this year.

The next, and final beer we cracked up was a barley wine. Known as the strongest of beers, barley wines are often 10% ABV and higher, and the one we had, Pike Old Bawdy, fell right on the mark with an ABV of 10%. With its Dark Red color, this beer was imposing. But the smell was even sweeter than the Outburst. With its thick mouth feel and sweet flavors, this beer was not something you would sit down and drink a glass of. It was a beer that would better complement a nice dessert.

With only two samples, we were presented with a really sweet introduction to the craft beer of Washington state. Given its strong history and importance to the brewing industry, getting the chance to try some beer from Washington was a fun experience.

Thanks for reading. Next post is Idaho.

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beer, History

Nevada : Wide Open

On October 31, 1864, eight days before Abraham Lincoln was re-elected for a second term, Nevada became the 36th state, and this week we will be celebrating the 36th state with some beer from Tenaya Creek Brewery.

Nevada Craft Beer

Nevada Craft Beer — Tenaya Creek

The first known brewery in Nevada, the Carson City Brewing Company was established in 1860. Originally brewing steam beer, the brewery switched to brewing lager in 1913. But that wouldn’t last long, as the state of Nevada started prohibition in 1919, killing most of the breweries in the state. But Carson City Brewing was able to stay afloat during the prohibition years brewing near beer. At the end of Prohibition, Carson City Brewing was back up and running, and they would continue brewing their famous lager Tahoe Beer until 1948 when the brewery finally succumbed to the competition of the much larger national brewers that were taking over the industry.

Another brewery, the Reno Brewing Company would hold off the National brands for another nine years, producing its last batch of beer 1957. It would take 30 years for another brewery to open in Nevada, with the Union Brewery, opening in 1987 paving the way for a new era of beer and brewing in the state.

To experience what is going on in Nevada, we got our hands on two bottles of beer from Tenaya Creek Brewery. The first bottle came from The Beer Babe, the other was from an old high school friend who now lives in Arizona.

Nevada Craft Beer

Tenaya Creek Imperial Stout

The first beer we opened from Tenaya Creek was an Imperial Stout. This stout, originally brewed in London for export to the Russia and Baltic countries was the beer provided to the imperial court of Catherine the Great, where it gained its Imperial moniker.

Our stout, a limited special release, was bottled on 12/12/12. Aged! This bottle was protected with a thick wax seal that took some effort to get opened, but the end result was well worth it. With its chocolate smell, and taste, mixed with some great malty flavors, this was a great beer. There was a hint of bitterness on the tail end, a product of the large amount of hops typically used in this style of beer. Joel rated it as a top 10 for the year on his list, and I totally agree.

After the Imperial Stout, we opened the Old Jackalope, a limited release barley wine. In the glass, this beer had a very sweet smell. The taste was sweet too, maybe a little too sweet. Of course, anything following that Imperial Stout was in for trouble.

In the end, we really enjoyed Tenaya Creek, and if I ever get to Vegas, I will be sure to pick up a few more selections from this brewery.

Thanks again to Beer Babe and Matt for getting us some beer from Nevada. We appreciated it.

Thanks for reading. Next week we will be drinking some beer from Nebraska.

Since we opened with a link to Abraham Lincoln, we will end with a quote from him.

 I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.
— Abraham Lincoln

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