It was a fortuitous coincidence that sent us to tasting rooms at
Poulsbo’s newest breweries. Not only did I learn that Slippery
Pig now has a tasting area open (and also apparently a fine
Dandelion Bitter and Rhubarb Pale Ale), but also that last weekend
kicked off the weeklong Kitsap Hopstock.
Sadly, I missed a chance to tell you about Der Blokken’s dinner
(that I missed too) last Saturday, but there will be plenty of
other events going on this week. Various bars will have specials
and add local brews to their lineups.
From 5 to 7 tonight, Tizley’s Europub in
downtown Poulsbo hosts a meet-and-greet with local brewers, after
which they all head down to Marina Market for a “Throwdown!” to pit
local beers against international bestsellers.
On Wednesday, Poulsbo Pub crawl with 4-ounce tasters of local
beers at a dozen spots around town.
On Saturday, Stone Crow in Bremerton (on Sylvan Way at Wheaton)
will have a pig roast, classic cars and specials on local
On Sunday, Slippery Pig will host what seems to be a big
backyard barbecue including a $5 badminton tournament with prizes.
The tasting area will be open and a grill will be on for anyone who
wants to bring and grill their own meat.
This weekend, foodies can choose from wine tastings and tours to
the expanding openings of farmers markets.
Beer: Tonight (OK, technically not the
will welcome it’s newest brewery, Sound Brewery. There
will be a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. and the taps will pour until 9
p.m. I, unfortunately, will miss the grand opening, so I expect
reports, people! After the grand opening, it will be open from 2
p.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (when I hope to check it
out, making it a weekend event for me). They’ll have six
beers on tap at $4 a glass.
Farmers Markets: On Friday (again, not the
weekend, but close enough) Olalla Valley Farmers
Market makes its debut at 1 p.m. It joins Poulsbo and
Bainbridge markets, both on Saturday, on the “open” list.
Wine and Cheese: From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
Saturday and Sunday, Olympic Peninsula
wineries will host their third annual Northwest wine and cheese
Area wines and ciders are paired with cheeses from Northwest
creameries, which include Port Townsend’s Mt. Townsend Creamery.
The tour is self-guided among the associations eight
wineries. Tickets are $25 if purchased in advance online
or you can pay a $5 tasting fee at each winery.
Bainbridge wine weekend: Bainbridge Island’s
seven wineries will open their doors again from noon to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday for their monthly tasting event. Tasting
fees run from free to several dollars. Information on the wineries
is available at bainbridgewineries.com. You
can expect to see representatives from both The Food Life and
Cheers to You
I can get away with calling some people from Port Townsend
strange. I mean, the unofficial town slogan is “We’re here because
we’re not all there.” And I love that little city all the more for
I can find myriad reasons for going: to visit some pretty good
people, fantastic consignment shops, good restaurants, a place to
get vintage cookbooks and coming Jan. 28-30, the seventh annual
In years past, it had been hosted at Water Street Brewing, which
closed its doors in June. But people involved with Water Street are
again involved in the Strange Brewfest, though this year it will be
at the American Legion, which just happens to about double the
Thirty breweries will be there, as will food (the site hints at
some kind of fresh fish tacos), and entertainment ranges from music
to a costume contest Saturday. Cost is $25 cash.
Kitsap has two new venues to celebrate today and Saturday.
Today, Valhöll Brewery, 20186 Front Street, celebrates the
opening of its taproom to the general public. Some locals got a
taste of Valhöl’s beers at the Kitsap Oktoberfest this summer,
where they served up a Smoked Cherry Rye and a Licorice IPA, both
of which quickly disappeared. I tried one, the smoked cherry, at
the suggestion of Charles Keating, who suggested rightly that it
went well with the Popcorn
Chef’s dark chocolate and chipotle flavor.
Reporter Tristan Baurick will have had
a story on the brewery in Monday’s paper. He says the beers all
pack a punch, (though apparently it was too early in the day for
him to taste-test it) and are brewed to be full of flavor.
The grand opening is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. (sorry for the late
notice). Their beer also is on tap at Tizley’s and Hare &
On Saturday, the trio of ladies from Bella Bella, who we
met last spring, have opened a retail location for their
cupcakes at 10726 Silverdale Way, Suite 107, in Silverdale. Their
celebration goes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and they’ll serve cupcakes
(of course), kolaches, Blue Bird Coffee and Espresso, Viking Feast
Ice Cream, and Smith Brothers Farms Milk.
For much of the past year, they had been making cupcakes at a
commercial kitchen in Bremerton for parties and for special order.
They started baking in their new kitchen today, according to a post
on their Facebook page.
The big talk during this legislative session will be, of course,
cutting the budget. However, many bills will be introduced (and
will likely never make it out of committee) to address any number
Among those many pieces of suggested legislation is
a bill that could pave the way for beer and wine tastings at
farmers markets, according to a
story from the Seattle Times. Tastings would have to be two
ounces or less, and only four ounces per customer.
Last year, the Legislature allowed grocery stores to allow wine
and beer tastings, though if there have been any locally, I missed
So far, this seems to be the only food-related bill, but it’s
only the first day of this year’s session.
One of the partners opening the brewery, Jeff Holcomb, said in a
recent e-mail that they have gotten their state license and are
able to sell kegs. They are planning a release party at Tizely’s
Europub and then at Hare and Hounds sometime in the next few
Now we’ve had craft brews, craft wines, and apparently the new
movement in the lush world of spirits are craft distilleries. And a
new one is set to open in August on Bainbridge Island.
Bainbridge Organic Distillery is one of a half dozen new craft
distilleries to be approved to start up in Washington state since a
law last summer allowed craft distilleries, according to a May
Seattle Times article. More than a dozen others also
were awaiting approval at the time. Also according to the Times
story, another hopeful Bainbridge operation, Hidden Cove
Distillery, also was awaiting approval from the state, but I wasn’t
able to track down more information in a brief search.
The Bainbridge Organic Distillery will likely open later this
month, but owners Keith Barnes and his son Patrick, gave a few of
us from the Sun a sneak peak (maybe not so sneak, but it makes me
feel special) at the operation off Sportsman Club Road. They make
whiskey, and as that ages, they also make a gin and vodka to sell
while their whiskey ages.
The first batch of whiskey hasn’t had a lot of time to age (they
just started the operation less than a year ago), but the couple,
quick tastes I had revealed it as an already complex drink. It’s
caramel in color and in the first sweet notes that waft up from a
snifter. It hits the tongue smooth and warm with a smoky exhale
that the alcohol picked up from the charred inside of oak barrels.
The gin, a drink that I’m in general not as familiar with, had
definite notes of juniper berry as well as the characteristic
When they open later in August, I’ll take one for the team and
do more in-depth tastings.
In addition to the great lesson in distilling, I learned at
least one whiskey-drinking hint. Patrick showed me how to bring out
the flavor notes in a whiskey by adding a touch of water, in this
case RO water,
essentially a filtered water. It wasn’t enough to water it down,
but it cut it just enough to smooth it out a little more and all
the smoky, sweet notes just popped.
Bainbridge reporter Tristan Baurick will have many more details
about the distillery in Monday’s paper, but I thought I’d share the
video I shot now. The first one is the one that will go with the
story. The second is just some raw footage of Keith Barnes
describing the distilling process, which I cut out of the final
video, but that I found just so darn interesting that I shared it
You know you’re a lush when you roll through the grocery store
checkout line with a basketful of beer and little else. I try to
explain it away by saying I’m sharing, I don’t drink it all at once
and I have to taste test things. I’m a food blogger.
So I’m legitimizing the basketful of beer I brought home last
weekend with a review, though it be a well-warranted one.
I’m always looking to try something new, and I hit up several
grocery stores that often have good beer selections. One being the
beer aisles of Central Market in Poulsbo, the occasional gem found
at the Red Apple in Silverdale and on occasion Fred Meyer in
Bremerton. I’m also told the Albertson’s in Port Orchard also has a
top-notch selection, though I’ve not seen it for myself.
On this particular day, I was in Fred Meyer. Not actually for
beer, but while I was there … Their overall beer selection is OK,
but what makes this place stand out are the Belgians. I picked out
a few based on some vague memories of hearing the name from
friends, beer sites or maybe just walking through a beer aisle one
too many times.
But the first bottle we cracked, a Three Philosophers Belgian
Style Blend (Quadrupel) from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New
York, was a delight. It was my first quadrupel, a Belgian ale that
isn’t as common as its sibling the Tripel ale. It’s more akin to
wine, and has the same ability to improve with age.
But to heck with the aging (for now), on to the opening:
The bottle has instructions for pouring. That’s how serious it
is. They mostly caution you to pour carefully so as not to disrupt
too much sediment from the bottom.
It pours out dark amber with ruby notes in the color. There’s a
fair amount of sediment at the bottom of the bottle
Taking a good whiff before drinking, you get a malty fruity
note. This beer is blended (as the name implies) with cherry Lambic
(98-percent ale, 2-percent cherry) , but it’s not overt and it’s
not cloyingly sweet.
Overall, it’s a complex beer mixing creamy notes with a fresh
note from the cherry. It’s a fairly malty beer but doesn’t feel too
heavy. It’s warming and, without too much bitter tone, very
The slightly sweet and fruit tones paired well with the smoky,
kebabs I made. Heck, we may have thought it paired well
with anything after half a glass. The beer has 9.8 percent alcohol
But don’t just take my word for it. Try it yourself (assuming
you’re of drinking age, etc., etc.) or read reviews from more
experienced beer reviewers than I: the beer geeks over at
beeradvocate.com, have a fair set of
reviews. Of the more than 1,000 reviewers, Three
Philosphers got an overall A- rating.
With only about a day
left, I thought I’d put my little two cents in on that oft-written
about bubbly beverage of choice for New Year’s Eve
With so much out there about what champagne to get, I’m not
going to go there, but if you need help picking a bottle, the
Seattle P-I ran a decent
primer on sparkling wines . And your local wine
proprietor can definitely help.
What I’m blogging about today are champagne cocktails.
You can stick with one recipe for the night, or try what I did
for a party a few years back: let your guests mix a variety.
I searched out a bunch of champagne cocktail recipes and picked
out ones that matched the contents of my liquor cabinet. With each
recipe, I created little drink stations around the house. I created
standard-sized paper recipe cards for each, pasted it on
nifty-looking stock paper, colored little pictures on it (I was in
some kind of weird crafty mood) and stuck it up on the wall above a
collection of ingredients, cups and napkins.
It worked out perhaps a little too well. One thing to note:
definitely have your guests get a cab or a designated driver or
they’ll be sleeping on your sticky floor or in odd, uncomfortable
positions on your living room chairs.
Here are a few of the favorite cocktail recipes from that
In the past week, I’ve found
plenty of folks are using all that time at home, stuck in the snow,
as a good excuse to take in a nip here, and a nip there. The couple
times I passed by a liquor store, one in Seattle and one in
Bremerton, people have definitely decided a bottle is among their
necessary snow provisions. I’m not judging, I’ve had my own share
hot-buttered rum and cocoa spiked with peppermint
I tried calling the state liquor control board to see if there
was any spike in sales, but I haven’t heard back yet. So, I decided
instead to share a few warm drink recipes I found online.
Plus, I felt this was a good excuse to share a really cute
snow/drink photo I saw in our reader-submitted photo gallery. Misty Winter Warmer