An Update on Hale’s AlesMarch 12th, 2009 by Derek Sheppard
If all goes as planned, beer geeks may have to break out their protractors to decide where to eat in Silverdale.
Mike Hale, founder of Seattle’s Hale’s Ales, said nothing’s been set in stone, but the options for a restaurant and brewery in Kitsap County are pointing to Silverdale. He hopes to open by next winter.
So, would that mean war with perennial local hot spot Silver City Restaurant and Brewery?
Not necessarily, Hale said, offering an explanation thusly:Imagine a Friday night, and all the people waiting in the lobbies of Silverdale’s eateries, including Silver City. Then imagine all the other folks hungering for a reasonably-priced meal and good beer who stayed at home to avoid the crowds. There’s enough people there to make things interesting, and make it work as a business.
Hale and I sat down for a brief chat Wednesday night at The Manette in Bremerton, where he was doing a promo for his beers, including a new imperial stout. (More on that later.)
If he were to come to Kitsap, which the Suquamish resident has been looking into for a while, he hopes to open a restaurant and brewery about the same size as Silver City.
The bulk of production would remain at the Fremont/Ballard area brewery.
Brewing over here would allow Hale’s brewers to stretch their
legs into wilder territories yonder.
“It’s where we can do the experimental beers comfortably,” he said.
The bulk of production for the Hale’s mainstays would be in Seattle, a much larger operation, with the seasonal and experimental stuff largely happening over here.
Hale said he’s gotten interest from landowners and landlords in Poulsbo, Suquamish and Port Orchard, but not a ton from Bremerton, he said.
“They would come to Bremerton, too,” he said. “But they’re
already in Silverdale.”
They being customers.
THE NEW BEER
Heavy on the roasted malts and black as night, the ale’s dark hue sends an ALL CAPS telegraph to your taste buds.
Unlike some other imperial stouts, which can either exhibit syrupy or overly-astringent characteristics (Did I mention it’s not uncommon for an imperial stout’s ABV to creep into double digits..before the decimal.), Hale’s is relatively smooth. That doesn’t mean one-dimensional.
“You don’t get it in the first sip,” Hale said. “You have to
work through it.”
He likened it to a poem. You don’t get it on the first read.
At first the roasted malt character comes through, with a well-rounded mouth feel. A hint of smoke from its aging in oak barrels pokes its head in, too.
After a few more sips, you start to pick out more of the fruity undertones. I was getting dark stone fruits. Cherries, raspberries, etc. As always, brown sugar and molasses flavors blanket the palette.
Suggested serving temp is 55 degrees, which may surprise those of you who feel beer should be just north of 0 Kelvin. When beer actually tastes good, let it warm up. Please. Cold numbs your tastebuds.
I genuinely liked it, but still have a soft spot for another
mega-stout, the Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
If you get your hands on the Pikop and want a little more oomph from the folks at Hale’s, just wait a few months. Hale said they’re reserving a portion of this beer to be aged six months in an old whiskey barrel.
I might have to give that one a shot, too…
– Derek Sheppard