Monday, November 18, 2013

Seattle Brewery - Road Dog Tour

Snapped a couple of pics on my walk down to the Brewery Tour

Gotta Ride the Ferris Wheel Soon

I forgot to get a pic of the van we took the tour in so I got this one off the web, that is not our tour guide.

While waiting on the van I walked into Pikes right next door to the Pick up point and watched this Brewer adjust some valves, then she went down below to a huge tank and started pouring in Hop Pellets

Our first Stop

The Barley comes from the trucks to these large Hoppers.

The Barley turned into malts by roasting. The darker the roast the darker the beer. 

This was double sided so we got to taste 4 of the year round brews and 4 of the Seasonals

Our tour Guide Jason explaining the Brew process, The tanks where the stairs are are the first step as the barley or malts, hops, and water are heated up to form a Mash. 

after about a three hour process the mash is pumped into one of these containers where yeast is added and the Fermentation process takes about two weeks, you can see under the second tank in front where the Yeast has settled to the bottom and is taken off to be re-used again.

When the beer is ready you can buy it by the growler full seen here at a filling station

This was a really cool funky brewery, small scale but Good Brew!

Lots of Kegs stored for pick up besides the Brewery, they can do this since it ain't Hot here. 

A lot of creative Labels pointing to the Beer culture of the PNW

We got to go in back and check it all out, several different types of Barley or Malts

Not everything comes from the Yakima Valley

We tasted some different malts at the first brewery and it is clear now how beer gets that unique taste. 

The Mash Pit at Big Al's

The smaler brewery's often get their start by buying used equipment from the bigger guys. 

Older style Fermentation tank

Jason and Lauara in the Cooler at Big Al's

Pyramid was the largest of the Brewery's we went to, since this was our last one it is hard to remember what the beer tasted like!

I asked Jason advice on which ones to taste since the selection was so large and we could pick three.

Jason was my Kinda Guy and he nailed my taste for beer.

Jason makes himself comfortable in his Zone!

Seattle Brewery - Road Dog Tour

I told my Daughter I was interested in taking a Beer Tour here in Seattle. Since her husband works for Amazon she is always keeping up with the Offers on Amazon This is sorta like Groupon but Amazon instead. A Offer to take a Brewery Tour for Half Price appeared and she emailed the link to me so I bought a ticket right away. It took about two weeks before I could schedule the tour since I had to coordinate with my Baby Drew schedule. They have 3-4 tours each day so I decided to take the 2:30 pm tour since 10 am is just to early for me to be drinking and I did not want to take the late one either. This way there would be daylight and I could see where it was we were going in Seattle If I decided to return on my own in the future. You go to three breweries out of the 40+ available to tour in Seattle. You stay at each one for about an hour then hop in the Van and truck on over to the next.
I walked on down to 1st and Union where the pick up point was and since I got down there a bit early I went in next door to walk around and there happened to be Pikes Brewery so I took a pic of a brewer adjusting some valves near a big tank and then she went downstairs and I could see her pouring big pales of pellets into another big tank that had some type of liquid pouring in from a huge pipe.The liquid of course turned out to be water, and the pellets were Hops. I returned to the pick up point and there I saw Jason driving in the Road Dog Tour van and met a Women taking the tour, Laura from Chico, California where one of my previous favorites sierra Nevada is brewed. There were supposed to be 4 persons on our tour but two  had car trouble so that just left Laura and myself with our own private Guide, Jason. This was great, It would be easy to get all my questions about brewing taken care of for sure.

One of the first things Jason showed us right after boarding the Van was the Bail Out Pale, that would be for persons who are not True Beer Drinkers of Course! Besides I was not worried since the Admiral and I used a Groupon for a late lunch and I ate a fine Roast Beef Sandwich at the Buffalo Deli just before leaving on the tour.The first stop was a medium sized brewery, Georgetown Brewing,  and this is where we learned the most about the brew process. We tasted 8 beers here in small 5 ounce taster glasses. We also got to crunch on some roasted barley or Malt, this really helped in understanding how each brew gets their unique taste. I wanted to eat a Hop Pellet but Jason said I would not like it! Hops are ground up and shaped into pellets (like rabbit feed) to make shipping more efficient.  Georgetown only sells Growlers to the public, the rest goes to bars and restaurants in Kegs. there were a lot of people there buying more than one growler, about $9.00 for a 1/2 gallon of beer.
 In Seattle they sell 22oz bottles of craft beers in the stores. I regularly bring a different one home to taste, it is just 2 ounces over an Imperial (British Pint), an American pint is 16 ounces. So when you go to a Bar and order a Pint, ask for a Imperial Pint and see what you get! Anyway I decided that if I was going to drink all these different craft brews I needed to learn about the brewing process. In addition I registered on and started rating the beers I drank to facilitate the learning process. The fact is everyone's taste is different, but your taste can develope and change so rating is very subjective. There are basically two types of beers, Lagers and Ales, see , I favor Ales but wouldn't turn down a fine Lager. 
The next stop was big Al's where we selected 6 four ounce pours which they put on a little tray for us so we could take them back in the brewery to enjoy while continuing the education. All craft breweries must have started out like this small operation. Old equipment in a comparitive small space. It was very cool to think the comon man could start his own beer empire just like this. 
Then we went to one of the largest craft breweries in Seattle, Pyramid. By now our consumption was near max and I had Jason make the reccomendations for my 3 Six ounce taste. Laura just sat on a chair and sipped on her beer while Jason took me back to see the brewery. I do not even remember exactly what these three tasted like, I was pretty much tasted out but I did enjoy them!
Jason said their best customer has been on 9 tours and has never been to the same brewery twice.  Even better if you could do that for half price each time. But since I now understand the lay of the land I think my next tour will be self guided and just take it one at a time.

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