Sumerian Brewing, Woodinville
Style: Scotch ale
Stats: 7.0 percent ABV, 25 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and Special Brews, Harry’s on Tye and Route 2 Taproom
My thoughts: Don’t let the mundane name fool you, this Scotch ale from Sumerian is a tasty beer that is a nice addition to the up-and-coming brewery’s lineup.
Since opening in 2013, owners Mark and Holly Ihrig have quickly turned their brewery into one of the area’s fastest growing and most recognizable. Much of that has to do with a strong marketing game, creative business sense and, of course, a good product.
Holly, who worked in marketing at Microsoft for more than 20 years, has helped get Sumerian’s brand in front of craft beer fans using traditional avenues like rock and sports radio, as well as social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. Mark’s business acumen — he started two internet-based beer and wine clubs — has been key to getting Sumerian into the canned beer game and keeping the brewery ahead of the curve in terms of brewing equipment, which he buys and sells as a side business.
But in the craft beer game it always comes down to quality, and one of the couple’s smartest moves was convincing Tyson Schiffner to become their head brewer. With more than a decade of experience as a brewer at Red Hook and cellar master at exclusive wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle and Betz Family Winery, Schiffner creates beers that can be clean and exacting while at the same time fresh and interesting.
“We wouldn’t be where we are without Tyson and the quality of beer he makes on a daily basis,” Mark Ihrig said. “It’s invaluable to our sales team that they can go out and stand behind a good product.”
Having brewed 700 barrels in its first year, Sumerian ended 2017 with more than 2,200 barrels of production and hopes to grow that in the new year. Because of the success of their can line, which includes flagship beers like Lucidity Pilsner, Holy Water IPA and Hopruption DIPA, most of the brewery’s sales is off-premise at grocery stores and bottle shops.
As the brewery continues to expand its portfolio, beers like the Scotch Ale and another new beer, Dank AF IPA, fit in as beers that try to reach an audience that is seeking more experimentation. Mark said he’s encouraging Tyson to continue to build on the brewery’s base lineup, which includes Lucidity Pilsner, Holy Water IPA and Warrior Imperial Stout. For example, he’s worked with local distilleries and wineries to create a barrel-aging lineup that includes a stout in whiskey barrels and pilsner in sauvignon blanc barrels.
Maybe one day the Scotch Ale will get as cool of a name as those other beers.
From the brewery: Our classic Scotch Ale is malty with rich caramel notes and a light, sweet finish.
More new releases
Milk Stout, Lost Canoe Brewing: First production-size batch of this rich, creamy and chocolatey stout that is an easy drinker. Available on tap at the brewery.
Auxiliary IPA, Decibel Brewing: A rotating IPA made with different hops in each batch, this version uses HBC-682 to dry hop, giving it an earthy and floral aroma. Available on tap at the brewery.
Twisted Schwarz, Lake Stevens Brewing: With the light body of a lager and a midnight black color, this schwarzbier has hints of chocolate and roasted malt with a crisp finish. Available on tap at the brewery.
Lambent IPA, Skookum Brewery: Made with North American 2-row and German Vienna malts and Mosaic and German blanc hops, this IPA has big fruit-forward characteristics. Available on tap at the brewery.
Name Beardslee’s new pilsner
Beardslee Public House head brewer Drew Cluley has brewed his first pilsner and the brewery is asking for help naming it. From now until Jan. 14, patrons of the Bothell brewery can submit name suggestions in person. A winner will be chosen Jan. 16 and will take home a $50 Beardslee gift card, growler and a growler punch card. Cluley said good names will take into consideration Beardslee’s history of logger-themed names and Bothell history.