For many in the craft beer world, a handful of limited release brews have reached the ultimate "Holy Grail" status. Among these beers is the infamous Black Tuesday— an Imperial Stout brewed by The Bruery in Placentia, California. Aged in bourbon barrels for over a year, and weighing in at nearly 20% ABV, Black Tuesday is available in limited quantities only once a year on the final Tuesday of October.
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It has been over 60 years since production brewing has been in Washington D.C. However, since just last year, 3 breweries have starting making beer and once again the city is flowing with local suds.
Stepping inside the Goose Island Beer Co.'s Fulton Street brewery, I was struck by the sweet, bready aroma that saturated the warm, humid air. The heat was intense—the brewery runs 24/7 to meet demand—but the smell was welcoming. Goose Island's communications manager, Mark Mahoney, was leading the way; he had invited me to visit for a rare private tour of the facility, which is not typically open to the public.
As demand for craft beer continues to grow, Seattle's Elysian Brewing has expanded by opening a 35,000 square foot production facility in south Seattle. I had the opportunity to stop by the new space, located in Georgetown, on the day they were brewing their first batch.
Hale's Brewery in Seattle, Washington has been in the craft beer scene since the early 80s. Inspired by the ales that founder and president Mike Hale tasted during a year long bicycling trip in southern England, Hale's produces their lineup of beers using traditional English brewing methods. Key to this method is employing a yeast specially adapted to open-topped fermenters. Housed in a 17,000 square foot building, formerly an industrial hose manufacturing plant, is a 30 barrel, gravity-fed, all steam-heated brewing system plus a 125 seat pub. The open floor plan, which shows off the fermenting room behind panes of glass with mirrors on the ceiling, allows pub visitors to take in the sights and smells of the brewing process. We stepped behind the scenes for a closer look.
"We never set out to have our beers become cult favorites among beer enthusiasts—it's just something that sort of happened." Vinnie Cilurzo and his wife Natalie. [Photographs: Russian River Brewing Company] [Flickr: freeloosedirt] The beers from Russian River Brewing Company...
Small-scale distilleries are on the upswing nationwide, as consumers take greater interest in locally sourced products and states reassess the tax revenue such operations can generate. And while many distilleries are truly independent startups, many talented brewers who have learned the business from making quality beer are either adding distilleries to existing operations, or working in tandem with like-minded distillers.