Using my anniversary to enjoy some great beer

A few weeks back my wife and I celebrated our 11th anniversary of wedded bliss.

It’s been a great ride, but I have to admit it’s gotten a bit tough over the past three years. You see, my lovely wife, who used to be my beer-drinking partner in fermentation, was forced to go entirely gluten free around 2011 and it’s put a crick in our pub crawling. We’ve taste-tasted a variety of GF beers and she’s warmed up to ciders a bit, but it’s not quite the same as ordering up a nice, complex stout, sharing it and taking notes.

I’m only kidding about the lack of my wife’s beer drinking making our marriage tougher — hey, I can still drink the stuff — but it is something we miss. So my wife’s present to me on our anniversary was to take me to a few nice places for beer … and, of course, food. I like food.

We started at Slough Food in Edison. Slough Food has a larger wine selection than beer, so the wife was happy, but it usually has at least one great beer on tap and some regional beers like Boundary Bay or the like in 22s. It didn’t disappoint. It was pouring Bellingham’s Kulshan Brewery’s Bastard Kat IPA and it was the perfect remedy on the hot afternoon. Packed with three different hops and with an IBU rating of 75, the Bastard Kat is quite hoppy but also very refreshing. It paired perfectly with the meat and cheese plate we ordered.

After a round of hitting golf balls, we headed to A-Town Bistro in Anacortes. This is another great place for beer and cocktails. It also has amazing food. We ordered up some fries with curry ketchup on the side and I got the Slainte Stout from North Sound that was on nitro. My wife got The Patterson, a cocktail made of Basil Hayden Bourbon, Bénédictine, Fernet Branca and Campari, and it looked amazing (my wife confirmed that it was). The stout was good, but the nitro seemed to mute the taste and aroma a litte. There was a taste of chocolate and roast.

It was early evening but the temperature outside and inside the restaurant was still sweltering so I ordered up a light pilsner for my second beer. The restaurant had a nice one from Breakside Brewery, of Portland, called Liquid Sunshine. The name was fitting because it was light and refreshing — just what you want in a pilsner.

After a few more appetizers, we shared a the White Marble Farms Bone-in Pork Loin, which was divine. I decided to up my game a bit to go with the pork so I got Dogfish Head’s Festina Peche. If you’ve never had a beer from Dogfish Head than you’re missing out. With finely tuned brews that are both subtle and wildly experimental, they put the craft in craft beer. If brewing beer was making cars, Dogfish Head would be Ferrari. Festina Peche, brewed in the Berliner Weisse style, is both full-bodied and refreshing with just a slight hint of peach. It’s an amazing beer and was a perfect companion to the pork loin.

For her second drink, my wife ordered the Geronimo, which has Zapopan Reposado Tequila, lemon juice, Serrano simple syrup and Bittermens Xocolatl Mole Bitters. Again it was another amazing cocktail and made us envy the bartenders’ long list of choices to craft these drinks.

Overall it was a great way to celebrate our anniversary. I’m a pretty lucky guy.

Here are some notes from the past week:

  • The Everett Craft Beer Fest is Saturday and a late entry to the party is the estimable Boundary Bay Brewing from Bellingham. BB is bringing their Thai-PA, which is heavily dry-hopped with Kaffir lime leaves, galangal and lemongrass; Traverse Red IPA, which has a big, malty body with a deep ruby red color; and Whatcom Wheat Krystalweizen, the 2014 Bellingham Beer Week collaboration beer. For more on the beer lineup for ECBF, click here.
  • Fish Brewing, which has a brewpub in Everett, is brewing three beers to commemorate the soon-to-be-released Hobbit movie. Smaug Stout, which is a Russian stout with habanero chilis, sounds interesting. For more, click here.
  • The Washington Post recently undertook a virtuous study to find out which baseball parks have the best beer on tap. Not surprisingly Safeco Field was ranked first overall and also in uniqueness and locality. The top five beers on tap at Safeco, according to the WaPo, were Laurelwood’s Workhorse IPA, Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo IPA and Pale Ale, Fremont’s Summer Ale, and Bale Breaker’s Field 41. For more, click here.
  • The fires in eastern and central Washington have decimated communities. Iron Horse Brewing, of Ellensburg, and Icicle Brewing, of Leavenworth, have both stepped up to brew a series of beer called Beer vs. Fire to raise money for the local Red Cross and individual families. Look for it in stores around the state soon. For more, click here.
  • Daily Rind has become a summer staple and it’s back on tap at Skookum Brewery in Arlington. Here’s what the brewery posted on its Facebook page the other day: “It might be dreary outside but we’ve got summer in a glass here at Skookum today. The Daily Rind makes its return. A pale ale brewed with clementines, limes &grapefruit and heavily hopped with citra and amarillo. We open at 2; come get some!” Hurry in before the last keg blows.

Everybody remembers our Daily Rind from last year right? Thought so. Well its back on starting today. #Citrus

— Skookum Brewery (@SkookumBrewery) August 13, 2014

  • Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch CEO and co-founder was recently on Adam Carolla’s podcast talking about beer. In between Carolla’s rantings, he gets in some interesting thoughts on the craft beer industry and his memories of how he and Stone got started. Click here to listen (Warning: explicit language)
  • When I think of beer pairings, my first thought isn’t always chocolate. But Recchiuti Chocolates, of San Francisco, has the perfect chocolate kit to go with the “earthiness of an IPA.”
  • Want to take beer hiking or camping? Well these will help.

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