Saturday, July 16, 2011

3 Grid IPA from Schooner Exact

In the 90’s Red Hook’s ESB was the beer that every Seattle bar had on tap. In the 2000’s it was Mac & Jack’s Amber. Hopefully, in this decade that beer will be the 3 Grid IPA from Schooner Exact. I’m not a real creature of habit when it comes to craft beer: there are just too many good ones to try, but I could drink this beer every day. The 3 Grid IPA has a nice soft foamy head, like a hop infused bubble bath (if I owned the brewery, I would bathe in it), and loaded with Yakima hop varieties like Cascade, Chinook, Columbus, and Amarillo, 3 Grid is hoppy, but drinkable. The citrusy tamarind bitterness doesn’t stick to your palate, and is nicely balanced with a firm malty texture. “We wanted to make a session IPA”, co-founder Matt Mclung once told me. When some hear the term “session beer” they think of something mild and limp; this beer is neither one of those things, but it is perfect if you are out with your friends having a few.
High School Chemistry teacher Matt Mclung and his wife Heather, started Schooner Exact (with a third partner, now gone) with a ½ barrel pilot brewing system they bought on Craig’s list, and set up shop in an Active Space in West Seattle, not far from where the Denny Party’s ship-The Schooner Exact-first landed in landed in Seattle in 1851. The 3 Grid name is also a nod to Seattle history, referring to the three grids of traffic, resulting from a land dispute between three of Seattle’s founding fathers. Their current brewery is located in Georgetown, and features a tap room to enjoy a fresh pint, or fill up a growler. Stop in and say hi; this brewery is one of the reasons Seattle is a great place to live.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Georgetown Porter from Georgetown Brewing Co.

While the success of the Georgetown Brewery has been built on Manny’s Pale Ale (many Seattleites think Manny’s is the name of the brewery), it is their Georgetown Porter that keeps me driving down south to fill up my growler. Originally known as the 9 Pound Porter, a nod to one of Georgetown’s oldest and revered watering holes-the name was recently changed when the Magic Hat Brewery threatened legal action because they claimed the name infringed on their #9 beer. Georgetown Brewing’s founders, Manny Chao and Roger Bialous changed the name after consulting with the 9 Pound Hammer’s owners to make sure it was ok, but it is no coincidence that the arm holding the hammer on the logo is the same for the 9 Pound Hammer. You can probably guess who the “suck it” refers to.
Legal issues aside, this beer is one tasty porter. Chocolate malt, a hint of coffee bitterness, and a clean finish make the Georgetown Porter drinkable, but not too heavy, and I think the original porters in the London markets (for whom the style is named after) would be proud. Given the fact that this porter is not too sweet, and not too bitter, but still has depth of flavor, it is ideal for a wide variety of cooking applications, ranging from pulled pork to beer and cheese soup. Georgetown’s brewery and retail store are located just south of Qwest and Safeco fields, and they have the cheapest growlers in town ($6 for a half-gallon). The growlers are filled with a counter pressure system that eliminates any excess air, so the growlers will keep in the fridge for at least two weeks unopened, but the only time I have it last that long is when I was away on vacation!