Commercial Beer

Craft Brew Alliance to Launch pH Experiment Pacer Low Proof Seltzer

Brewpublic - Wed, 04/10/2019 - 3:55am
Craft Brew Alliance will be adding a hard seltzer line to its product mix in late May. But this endeavor will not be coming from Widmer Brothers Brewing or Redhook Brewery or Kona Brewing. This new line of Pacer Low Proof Seltzer will be launched by CBA’s pH Experiment. The goal with its pH Experiment, […]
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Pelican Brewing Company Releases Pink Boots India Pale Lager

Brewpublic - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 8:05pm
Pacific City, Oregon (April 9, 2019)—With a deep commitment to its brewery staff and the mission of the Pink Boots Society, Pelican Brewing Company this month releases its inaugural Pink Boots India Pale Lager. Pelican brewer and Pink Boots Society member, Cat Wiest, collaborated on the beer with female colleagues to celebrate the contributions of women in brewing—the […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Zoiglhaus Brewing to Host 2019 Lagers for Lenses

Brewpublic - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 5:49pm
The local beer community comes together once again to raise money for the OHSU Casey Eye Institute when Lagers for Lenses comes to Zoiglhaus Brewing. This family friendly benefit will help fund quality prescription glasses for underserved Oregon residents through the Casey Community Outreach Program. All daylong on Sunday, April 28h, Zoiglhaus Brewing will donate […]
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Leavenworth Ale Fest this Saturday, April 13th

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 10:09am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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The 13th Annual Leavenworth Ale Fest takes place at the Leavenworth Festhalle on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Among the breweries involved, some that are not familiar to us westsiders, like Whipsaw Brewing, Single Hill Brewing, Burwood Brewing, and others. (Complete list of breweries is below.)

Same great event, but with a new beneficiary and a plan to make the festival bigger and better. The Leavenworth Ale Fest will now raise funds to support the arts across North-Central Washington. Leavenworth’s Icicle Creek Center for the Arts has officially taken the reins for the event. After an official application process, the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, which founded the event in 2007, chose Icicle Creek to take over the event.

“We’re grateful to be assuming responsibility for this festival and will work hard to turn it into an
important annual fundraiser in support of the arts and arts education across North Central
Washington,” said Jamie Howell, Icicle Creek’s Development Director,  who is also serving as the
new festival director.

Icicle Creek is undertaking a full rebranding of the event, has launched a new website (, and is making a series of updates to the event itself. The changes include:

  • More breweries: The 2019 Leavenworth Ale Fest will feature no fewer than 40 breweries, up from the 24 participating breweries in recent years.
  • Single day event: The event will run one day only this year – Sat., April 13 – from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., with VIP tickets allowing early access at 5:30.
  • Make Ale for the Arts Home Brew Competition: A new competition for home brewers has been added to the event with BJCP-certified judges.
  • The event will continue to feature live music, beer tastings (and ciders), and brewery awards, as
    well as continuing to take place at the Leavenworth Festhalle.

A portion of the event proceeds remain earmarked to support The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, but the primary beneficiary will now be Icicle Creek Center for the Arts. Founded in 1995 by Harriet Bullitt and the late Wilfred Woods, Icicle Creek, located on a 13-acre campus three miles outside of Leavenworth, provides arts education to more than 6,000 students around North-Central Washington each year. It offers a full performance season that draws more than 10,000 audience members annually.

More details are available at

  • 20 Corners Brewing
  • 509 Bierwerks
  • Aslan Brewing Company
  • Badger Mountain Brewing
  • Bale Breaker Brewing
  • Berchman’s Brewing Company
  • Bosk Brew Works
  • Brothers Cascadia Brewing
  • Burwood Brewing Company
  • Cash Brewing Company
  • Doghaus Brewery
  • Dreadnought Brewing
  • Farmstrong Brewing
  • Ghostfish Brewing Co. 
  • Gig Harbor Brewing
  • Hellbent Brewing Co.
  • Hop Nation Brewing Company
  • Icicle Brewing Company 
  • Island Hoppin’ Brewery
  • Iron Goat Brewing
  • Kulshan Brewing Company
  • Merchant du Vin
  • Milepost 111 Brewing
  • Northwest Brewing
  • Old Schoolhouse Brewery
  • Ordnance Brewing
  • Scuttlebutt Brewing
  • Single Hill Brewing
  • Taneum Creek Brewing
  • Ten Pin Brewing 
  • Timber Monster Brewing
  • Varietal Beer Company
  • Wenatchee Valley Brewing
  • West Seattle Brewing
  • Western Red Brewing
  • Whipsaw Brewing
  • Yakima Craft Brewing


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Wingman Brewers celebrates anniversary with a super-collaboration beer

Washington Beer News - Tue, 04/09/2019 - 9:39am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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What is a super-collaboration beer? Well, it’s how  Wingman Brewers of Tacoma decided to commemorate its  8th anniversary. The brewery teamed up with seven local breweries and one local malting company to create an eight-brewery collaboration beer: Fortune Teller IPA. (See the beer stats below.)

They’ll tap into the brew on Saturday, April 20th at the anniversary celebration at the Wingman Brewers taproom. “We’re super excited to be celebrating 8 years of business and so very thankful for all those who have supported our little brewery since its inception in 2011,” says Ken Thoburn of Wingman Brewers.

“The beer is called Fortune Teller because we used paper fortune tellers to pick out the ingredients,” says Thoburn. “With so many brewers involved, we figured to avoid a ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ type scenario we would just leave the deciding of ingredients up to chance. After sourcing the ingredients locally (All Washington State), as a group on the brew day we decided how much of what ingredients to put in the recipe to make a deliciously special beer.”

The breweries involved in the project include 7 Seas Brewing, Pacific Brewing & Malting Brewing, North 47 Brewing, Top Rung Brewing, Three Magnets Brewing, Brothers Cascadia Brewing, and Airways Brewing. Most locally sourced barley came from Skagit Valley Malting in Burlington.

Saturday, April 20th

Sirius Wood Fired Pizza will be at the Anniversary celebration serving up hot pizza pies.
There is no entry fee and if you buy a beer you’ll get a commemorative glass.

Fortune Teller Collaboration IPA stats:
7% ABV
Skagit Valley Malts
Yakima sourced Mosaic, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

5 Chefs 5 Beers – Chefs Cycle Portland Fundraiser at Great Notion Brewing NW

Brewpublic - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 10:43pm
Prior to traveling south to Santa Rosa, California in May to participate in the 2019 Chefs Cycle fundraising bicycle ride, Portland’s Team Sack Lunch will be raising money to support No Kid Hungry at some upcoming events. On Thursday, April 11th, Team Sack Lunch will be part of the 5 Chefs 5 Beers fundraiser at […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Little Beast Brewing to Release Wolf Camp Hoppy Saison + Hot Break Dry-Hopped Sour Ale in 16oz Cans

Brewpublic - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 6:53pm
When Little Beast Brewing releases its next two seasonal beers on Wednesday, April 10th, both will be hitting the market in 16-ounce cans. Be one of the first to try both Wolf Camp Hoppy Saison and Hot Break Dry-Hopped Sour Ale on Wednesday beginning at 5:00pm at Little Beast Brewing Beer Garden in Southeast Portland. […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

How does Washington stack up on Untappd?

Washington Beer News - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 2:19pm

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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What do Floodlands Brewing, Holy Mountain Brewing, and Fremont Brewing have in common? Well, besides the obvious, those are the three top-rated breweries in Washington according to Untappd. But how do Washington’s breweries and beers stack up against the rest of the nation?

As promised in a previous post, below I share some data analysis of beer ratings on Untappd as related to Washington breweries and Washington beer. This info was provided by Derek Gaughan of Brewfuse. He originally contacted me with some overall analysis of data from Untappd, but I was more interested in how it applied to Washington since that tends to be the focus here on the Washington Beer Blog. More specifically, I was curious about how Washington breweries and beers ranked against those from all the other states. Also, how do they stack up against each other?

“Overall I looked at ~1,800 US breweries that had a beer listed as one of Untappd’s top 50 beers in any category (that dataset had over 9,000 beers),” said Gaughan. “So overall the sample used could be considered a sample of the top rated breweries, definitely not a complete list.”

Do you understand? Read it again slowly. “Breweries that had a beer listed as one of Untappd’s top 50 in any category.” Not every brewery in the nation, but breweries with some kind of beer in the top 50 of some category. In a nation with over 7,000 breweries, I guess you could say these are notable breweries.

The first chart shows the average brewery rating grouped by state. Gaughan filtered out states with less than 20 breweries because many of them had so few that it didn’t make sense to compare with other states. As you can see, our Washington’s breweries rate right about in the middle. Note that the range of scores is very tight, with Vermont leading the way at 3.87, down to Wisconsin at 3.71, suggesting that there is good beer everywhere according to Untappd ratings.

The next chart shows how many breweries from each state appeared in Gaughan’s sample of ~1,800 breweries (Washington had 62, tied with Minnesota). It’s not surprising that California had so many breweries appear here: that state has the most breweries overall, by a long shot.

The bar chart below shows the number of breweries in each city for Washington. That is, Washington has 62 breweries in the dataset and this is where they’re located.  As expected, Seattle led the way with 17 breweries. Woodinville, Vancouver, and Bellingham followed, respectively.

I want to make it clear that we are talking about a select group of breweries: only those breweries with beers rated on Untappd. Below, the list of Washington’s 62 breweries, including the brewery name, city, and Untappd rating. Note that there are some anomalies. The list includes cider producers, for instance. Also, the list includes at least one brewery that no longer exists.

Floodland Brewing, Seattle – 4.38
Holy Mountain Brewing, Seattle – 4.11
Fremont Brewing, Seattle – 4.02
D’s Wicked Cider, Kennewick – 3.99
One Tree Hard Cider, Spokane – 3.98
Skookum Brewery, Arlington – 3.97
Cloudburst Brewing, Seattle – 3.97
Ravenna Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.93
Trap Door Brewing, Vancouver – 3.92
Urban Family Brewing, Seattle – 3.9
Brothers Cascadia Brewing, Vancouver – 3.89
Bale Breaker Brewing Company, Yakima – 3.89
Propolis Brewing, Port Townsend – 3.87
Reuben’s Brews, Seattle – 3.86
Three Magnets Brewing Company, Olympia – 3.85
Matchless Brewing, Tumwater – 3.84
Wander Brewing, Bellingham – 3.84
Elemental Hard Cider, Woodinville – 3.82
Heathen Brewing, Vancouver – 3.82
Crucible Brewing Company, Everett – 3.82
Big Block Brewing, Sammamish – 3.81
Winsome Ciderworks, Woodinville – 3.8
Black Raven Brewing Company, Redmond – 3.8
Georgetown Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.8
Rainy Daze Brewing Company, Poulsbo – 3.79
Well 80, Olympia – 3.78
Snowdrift Cider Co., East Wenatchee – 3.78
Finnriver Farm & Cidery, Chimacum – 3.78
Alpenfire Cider, Port Townsend – 3.78
Aslan Brewing Company, Bellingham – 3.77
Elysian Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.76
Silver City Brewery, Bremerton – 3.75
Icicle Brewing Company, Leavenworth – 3.74
20 Corners Brewing Company, Woodinville – 3.73
North Jetty Brewing, Seaview – 3.73
Sound Brewery, Poulsbo – 3.73
Loowit Brewing Company, Vancouver – 3.73
Chainline Brewing Company, Kirkland – 3.72
Triplehorn Brewing, Woodinville – 3.71
Four Generals Brewing, Renton – 3.7
Locust Cider, Woodinville – 3.69
Backwoods Brewing Company, Carson – 3.69
Boundary Bay Brewery, Bellingham – 3.68
Mac & Jack’s Brewing Company, Redmond – 3.68
Mollusk Brewing, Seattle – 3.66
Dru Bru, Snoqualmie Pass – 3.66
Figurehead Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.66
Beardslee Public House, Bothell – 3.65
Odin Brewing Company, Tukwila – 3.65
No-Li Brewhouse, Spokane – 3.65
Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham – 3.64
Spire Mountain, Olympia – 3.61
Schilling Cider, Seattle – 3.6
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company, Snoqualmie – 3.6
Tieton Cider Works, Yakima – 3.6
Optimism Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.58
Diamond Knot Brewing Company, Mukilteo – 3.57
Foggy Noggin Brewing, Bothell – 3.56
Maritime Pacific Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.55
Big Al Brewing, Seattle – 3.54
Ghostfish Brewing Company, Seattle – 3.45
Pyramid Brewing Co, Seattle – 3.43


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest – ticket giveaway

Washington Beer News - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 9:29am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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This festival is about more than beer. Oh, there will be plenty of beer served up by local breweries like Jellyfish Brewing, Bellevue Brewing, Doghaus Brewery, Hellbent Brewing, Fremont Brewing, and others. But what makes Seattle Scotch and Beer Fest a bit different than other beer festivals is the Scotch and other spirits, not to mention the educational component. If you want to learn about Scotch whiskey, they’re offering seminars led by a Certified Master of Scotch.

The event takes place in Seattle at Fremont Studios on Friday, April 19th and Saturday, April 20th. There are several different levels of tickets available, depending on what you want to experience at the event.

We are giving away tickets to this event! Three pairs, to be exact. We will pick the three lucky winners on Friday, April 12th – selecting three winners at random from all entrants.

Three ways to enter the giveaway:

  • Did you get here via the Tweet? Go back to Twitter and retweet our tweet about the event and you will be entered. (Find our Twitter page here.)
  • or… Go to our Facebook page and find the post about this event. Follow the instructions there.
  • or… Leave a comment here, in the comments field below.

Learn more about this event and secure your tickets at the event website.

Seattle Scotch and Beer Fest 2019
Friday, April 19 & Saturday, April 20, 2019
at Fremont Studios
21+ Only. No exceptions.
All admission is valid for a single day.
Friday, April 19: 6pm – 12am • Saturday, April 20: 1pm – 11pm
50 Beers and Ciders on Tap
Craft Cocktails
Flights, including 6 Scotches and 6 Whiskey-Inspired Spirits

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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Three beer releases for the season from Atwood Ales

Washington Beer News - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 8:50am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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Here is information about three new beer releases from Atwood Ales.

Autumn Rabbit  ABV 6.1% 

Farmhouse Ale w/ Carrots  500ml Bottle Conditioned

Pairings: substantial salads; rustic French dishes like cassoulet, herbed lamb, roasted chicken; works well with Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines; very nice with nutty (asiago) or tangy (feta) cheeses

What’s up, doc? This amber-hued, biere de garde style, farmhouse ale was not brewed with rabbits. Toasty malts and the light sweetness of candied carrots fade away to earthy, musty notes, a wisp of black pepper and ginger, and the mild, lingering astringency of black tea on the finish. Brewed with 100% estate-grown carrots and hops.

Raccoon Bacchanal ABV 5.2%

Saison w/ Sour Grapes 500ml Bottle Conditioned

Pairings: salads w/ vinagrette, fried chicken, calamari, ceviche; goat & blue cheese; fruit compote, cheesecake, plum upside down cake

In years past, our small crop of grapes has been decimated in a single night by a group of mischievous raccoons who leave only their muddy footprints on our grape trellises. After a mixed-primary fermentation with saison yeast and brettanomyces, red grape must was added to secondary, bringing hints of rosé, with very mild acidity and light funk notes. This beer’s acidity, aromas and flavors will continue to evolve over time due to the presence of wild yeast and bacteria from the grape skins. Dry hopping with Hallertau Blanc adds additional, subtleties of white grape, gooseberry and mild tropical fruit.

Vers l’Ouest ABV 4.9%
Saison 500ml Bottle Conditioned

Pairings: grilled meats and vegetables; fish tacos; instantly classic with funky, soft cheeses; fresh figs

Vers l’Ouest, or “Westward,” is the very first beer fermented in our newest tank, an open fermenter formerly used to produce lagers at North Fork Brewery in Deming. Vers l’Ouest is a very dry, crisp and refreshing saison-style beer with light spice, stone fruit and very mild barnyard funk flavors and aromas. Fermented with a mixed culture of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces yeasts, and then bottle conditioned for 5 months. Brewed with estate-grown Cascade hops; Citra and Crystal hops; Canadian oats; and Skagit Valley barley and wheat malts.


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Fort George Brewery 2019 Lupulin Ecstasy 3-Way IPA Fest

Brewpublic - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 7:08am
Back in 2015 Fort George Brewery hosted a 3-Day 3-Way Weekend over Independence Day Weekend. Now four years later, the Astoria brewer will once again host a festival that features its popular summer beer release 3-Way IPA. Seven years of 3-Way IPA from Fort George Brewery will come together for Lupulin Ecstasy, a one-day event […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Chuckanut Breweryn & Kitchen 2019 Spring Beer Dinner

Brewpublic - Mon, 04/08/2019 - 6:32am
One way to close out the 2019 Bellingham Beer Week is to attend the 2019 Spring Beer Dinner hosted inside the brewery at the legendary Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen. This dinner will take place at Chuckanut Brewery in downtown Bellingham, Washington on Sunday, April 28th beginning at 5:30pm. Chuckanuts Brewery’s Chef Jabez Yohannes has a […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Celebrate National Beer Day on April 7th

Washington Beer News - Sun, 04/07/2019 - 8:20am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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For some of us, every day is beer day, but officially April 7th is National Beer Day. There’s a simple reason why: it was on April 7, 1933 that beer became legal and the complete end of Prohibition was in sight. It would take a while for other alcoholic beverages to enjoy the same status. 

National Beer Day celebrates the passage of the Cullen-Harrison Act, the first step in the process of repealing the 18th Amendment. Reportedly, over 1.5 million barrels of beer were sold on April 7, 1933. Later that year the 21st Amendment was ratified, completely repealing the 18th Amendment.

We owe it to all of those people who suffered through Prohibition to celebration National Beer Day. Although teetotalers thought they were doing the right thing, Prohibition was a dark period in our nation’s history. 

Enjoy a beer or two, post about it on social media. Share the story, and a beer, with friends. 


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Ninkasi Brewing Sells Majority Ownership To ERP Properties and Legacy Breweries

Brewpublic - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 1:53am
Yesterday, Ninkasi Brewing announced on its website that it is now part of a new strategic partnership with EPR Properties and Legacy Breweries. Ninkasi Brewing is currently the 35th largest craft brewery within the United States and was co-founded in 2005 by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge. EPR Properties is a NYSE (EPR) publicly traded […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Alesong Brewing & Blending 2019 Second Quarter Beer Release

Brewpublic - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 12:20am
Alesong Brewing & Blending is set to release five new beers for its 2019 Second Quarter Beer Release. These five new beers include Common Nectar, the brewery’s second collaboration brewed with the The Commons Brewery prior to its closure, along with Terroir: Chardonnay, Touch of Brett: Galaxy, Touch of Brett: Old Tom, and Kind of […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

Deschutes Brewery Hires Industry Veteran Neal Stewart as New Vice President of Marketing

Brewpublic - Fri, 04/05/2019 - 12:05am
Bend, OR ‐‐ April 4, 2019 – Deschutes Brewery, the tenth largest craft brewery in the U.S. and family and employee owned since 1988, welcomes Neal Stewart, former Vice President of Marketing at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery in Milton, DE. Stewart joins the leadership team in Bend as the new Vice President of Marketing, bringing nearly […]
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List of brewers for the Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival – April 27th

Washington Beer News - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 2:40pm

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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The Washington Beer Commission the list of 28 local craft breweries that will participate in the 3rd Annual Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival on Saturday, April 27 in Kennewick, WA. In all, participating breweries will pour no less than 90 beers.

“The Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival will have an indoor/outdoor element to take advantage of the typically pleasant spring weather in the area,” said the event organizers. “Local food trucks and a music component will make for a festive atmosphere to go along with the delicious Washington craft beer selections.”

“Tasting festivals are a great marketing tool for the state’s breweries and the primary source of funding for the Washington Beer Commission. All event proceeds get reinvested in the marketing and promotion of Washington state craft beer and its 402 statewide breweries.”

Here is the list of participating breweries in the 2019 Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival:

  • Badass Backyard Brewing – Spokane Valley
  • Bale Breaker Brewing -Yakima
  • Berchman’s Brewing – Yakima
  • Big Barn Brewing – Mead
  • Brothers Cascadia Brewing – Vancouver
  • Burwood Brewing – Walla Walla
  • Elysian Brewing – Seattle
  • Fremont Brewing – Seattle
  • Georgetown Brewing – Seattle
  • Ghostfish Brewing – Seattle
  • Gig Harbor Brewing Company – Tacoma
  • Ice Harbor Brewing – Kennewick
  • Icicle Brewing – Leavenworth
  • Iron Goat Brewing – Spokane
  • Laht Neppur Brewing – Waitsburg
  • M.T. Head Brewing – Walla Wall
  • No-Li Brewhouse – Spokane
  • Paradise Creek Brewery – Pullman
  • Silver City Brewery and Taproom – Bremerton
  • Single Hill Brewing – Yakima
  • Stormy Mountain Brewing – Chelan
  • Sumerian Brewing – Woodinville
  • Ten Pin Brewing – Moses Lake
  • Varietal Beer Co. – Sunnyside
  • Waddell’s Brewpub & Grille – Spokane
  • Wandering Hop Brewery – Yakima
  • Wenatchee Valley Brewing – Wenatchee
  • White Bluffs Brewing – Richland

Established in July 2007 the Washington Beer Commission represents all 402 craft breweries in Washington state. The Commission’s mission is to promote Washington beer, benefit the state’s breweries, and increase awareness and demand. It is still the only beer commission in the country! For more information about the Washington Beer Commission and its events please visit:

Saturday, April 27th

Southridge Sports and Events Complex
2901 Southridge Blvd
Kennewick, WA 99337

Age 21+ Event

$20 advance tickets/$25 at the door while supplies last

Admission includes a commemorative tasting glass & eight 4 oz. tastes

Additional tasting tokens may be purchased at $2 each or three for $5

Designated driver admission is $5 and available at the door only (includes free water/soda)

Tickets on sale now! Tri-Cities Craft Beer Festival


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

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The folly of app-driven groupthink and its impact on craft beer

Washington Beer News - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 1:37pm

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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Recently, I got my hands on some data that revealed how Washington-brewed beers rank against beers from other states. What I have, and will share with you in a different post, is an analysis of data harvested from Untappd, the beer rating app that so many of us use to track and rate the beers we drink. (My username is BeerBlog, BTW)

When I got that report, I looked at the numbers and pondered what it really means. I couldn’t help questioning the nature of these kinds of beer ratings. Not because of how Washington’s beer ranked, which was about what I expected, but moreover it spawned a bigger question. I began to wonder about the value of such ratings. Are they useful? Are they harmful? Is this just another first-world beer problem? Probably.

According to Psychology Today magazine, “Groupthink occurs when a group of well-intentioned people make irrational or non-optimal decisions that are spurred by the urge to conform or the discouragement of dissent.”

Hans Christian Anderson published The Emperor’s New Clothes nearly 200 years ago, so the concept of groupthink is not new. The Emperor’s clothes were said to be so fine and so beautiful that they could only be seen by the most intelligent and sophisticated people. Of course, nobody wanted to admit that the Emperor was naked for fear of being dubbed an unworldly idiot.

Has that kind of unhealthy groupthink infiltrated the world of beer?

When you open Untappd, RateBeer, or similar online forums, and search for a beer, you are presented with that beer’s score as determined by the crowd that came before you. How can seeing that score not impact your own judgment? Now, I know that you are not influenced by the opinions of other people, but everyone else is.

If these beer ratings are influenced by something other than the beer itself, what’s the point?

Burnt Hair and Unwashed Ass

If you encounter a new beer that smells like burnt hair and tastes like unwashed ass, but then you see that it has a 4.5 rating on RateBeer, it would be immensely human of you to adjust your opinion. I mean, not you, but everyone else. Instead of reading your modified opinion, I am much more interested in reading your honest assessment, especially since I have never tasted unwashed ass.

To some extent, everyone except you is vulnerable to this kind of groupthink. I am willing to admit that I have, on plenty of occasions, checked myself and questioned my own opinion after seeing the collective opinion of the group, doubting my own level of taste and wondering if maybe all those people on Untappd are better beer drinkers than I am.

Truthfully, I tend to not check-in to beers that I don’t like, so I am a really bad example. If I really like a beer, I am much more likely to take the phone out of my pocket. I try to remind myself to use Untappd to track all of the beers I drink, without concern for the ratings, but instead, I only check-in to about one of every 20 new beers I drink. In other words, I suck at Untappd.

Here’s what I see as the problem, and this is probably obvious by now, published scores beget similar scores. If the first two people who taste a new beer rate it very high, it would be unusual for the third person to rate it very low. Once again, I am not talking about you; rather, I am talking about everyone else.

In many cases, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Unobtainable Barrel-Aged Stout is highly rated because it is highly rated. If you jump in and give Unobtainable Barrel-Aged Stout a crappy score, you will be seen as an outlier or a contrarian at best.

How much of an impact groupthink has on the beer’s eventual score, I do not know. Maybe a lot, maybe very little. Maybe you completely disagree with me and think it has no bearing on the final score. Maybe you don’t care and think that it’s okay that nobody mentions that the Emperor is naked.

B-Bomb is a Great Beer Regardless of the Groupthink

If Fremont Brewing’s B-Bomb is a great beer, it’s not because the group says it’s a great beer. Sure, the folks who make it are probably happy that it is so highly rated, and maybe it provides some validation, but that’s not the goal; great brewers work hard to impress themselves first, and then hope that we agree that something is good.

Still, if a brewery produces a beer that enjoys a high ranking, it should be proud. I do not mean to suggest that such rankings are complete nonsense, I am simply pointing out the nature of such rankings and how the unavoidable groupthink factor influences them.

Personally, and brewers probably agree with me, I am more interested results and feedback from blind tasting events where the judges do not know what beer they are drinking or how anyone else at the table is scoring it. At some tasting panels, I have even been asked not to voice any reactions to the beers while the tasting panel is in session. Not even a “hmmm” or an “ahhh.” No raised eyebrows, no crinkled noses. The goal is to remove groupthink from the equation.

In the end, I suppose none of this really matters all that much unless you’re a brewery that gets a crappy rating and can’t shake it. One bad Yelp review has been known to send a restaurant into an irreversible nose dive.

Here’s an idea. How about a beer app that doesn’t let you see other ratings until you’ve rated the beer yourself? When you bring up a beer on the app, you must choose whether you want to rate the beer yourself or see how other people have rated it. Once you’ve seen the beer’s score, you cannot rate that beer.

That way, we won’t be tempted to open the app to find out if we should, or should not, enjoy the beer we are drinking. I worry that too many people use beer apps and online forums for that reason.

It’s easy to adopt an opinion, but it is much more difficult to formulate one of your own.

Again, I am not talking about you. I’m talking about everyone else.

The ideas and opinions expressed in this editorial are purely my own and do not reflect the ideas or opinions of anyone else. That is unless you agree with me. No beers were harmed in the making of this editorial.  




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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

UW now offering beer classes in Bothell – classes start in a couple weeks

Washington Beer News - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 10:20am

By Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog

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It’s not news that the University of Washington offers beer classes and Craft Beer Certification Programs that are suitable for all levels of beer lovers, but now they’re offering a class in Bothell, in addition to classes in Tacoma and Seattle. Enrollment is now open for classes beginning in a couple weeks. See our story from earlier this year about the UW’s beer programs.

Learn about all of the UW Craft Beer Certificate Programs here.

The Mastering Beer Styles: Exploration and Evaluation classes at Beardsless Public House in Bothell begin on April 16th. The course will be led by Dean Priebe, the award-winning brewer at Icicle Brewing Company.

The 10-week course guides students on an exploration through the world of beer. The program provides the core knowledge around the history, terminology and style characteristics of beers. The curriculum is based on the information covered in industry standard exam certifications such as the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) and Cicerone.

  • Classes start in Bothell at Beardslee Public House on April 16th
  • Classes start in Seattle at Lowercase Brewing on April 22nd
  • Classes start in Tacoma at 7 Seas Brewing on April 15th

For more information visit the program’s website.


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For the latest news and information about beer in and around Washington, visit Washington Beer Blog.

Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs

5th Annual Portland Craft Beer Festival Expands in 2019

Brewpublic - Thu, 04/04/2019 - 6:22am
When the Portland Craft Beer Festival arrives in 2019, the festival will expand to four days this Independence Day weekend. Held each year at The Fields Park in Portland’s Pearl District, the 5th Annual Portland Craft Beer Festival takes place from Thursday, July 4th through Sunday, July 7th. The Portland Craft Beer Festival (PCBF) is […]
Categories: Commercial Beer Blogs