With less than a week away until summer officially starts, following a sometime hot spring in the Seattle area, both the weather and brews are changing.
Summer is the time of year when beers begin to get drier, lighter and more citrus-flavored, said John Carothers, president and brewer at Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond.
Carothers said their summer seasonal is called Headphone and uses a blend of Columbus, Amarillo, Mandarina Bavaria and El Dorado hops as well as citrus flavors.
“So you put all these together and you get something that has the delightful aroma of something I like to call a Hawaiian flower shop,” he said.
Another non-seasonal beer, but one they will be releasing for the first time is a wood barrel-aged Russian Imperial Stout with a rich, velvety flavor. It will be released around the beginning of July.
Their popular Whiskey Vanilla Porter will also be released and served at this weekend’s Washington Brewer’s Festival at Marymoor Park. The porter uses Tennessee whiskey, honey and Mexican vanilla for flavoring.
Black Raven Brewing is located in the northern reaches of the city along Willows Road.
Taproom manager Karen Troy said they have four seasonal beers on tap.
The first is Beaktweaker Citrus IPA, an Indian Pale Ale made with barley and rye with citrus flavors, black lemon, and orange and lemon peels.
Hochzeit Pilsner is also on the menu as a summer lager using Czech-grown and malted barley and domestic and European hops. It’s only available in the taproom, but Troy said it’s her favorite.
“I’m a big fan of the pilsner, it just depends, for hot summer days the pilsner is refreshing,” she said.
Flock Party Anniversary Ale is a pale ale brewed with mandarin orange and tangerine peels made with wheat, rye and oats. Once it’s finished brewing, the ale is recirculated through acacia wood and decagon mandarin peels.
The fourth seasonal beer is Three Sundays Tripel, which Troy described as a naked Belgian triple and is aged in French and American oak casks.
Next up was Postdoc Brewing Company, which sits nestled along the northeast corner of Marymoor Park.
Tom Schmidlin is the owner and head brewer and has crafted a whopping eight seasonals, which are either currently available or will be shortly.
While there’s annual staples Schmidlin is excited for, he has his eyes on the Hive Mind Session IPA.
“I’m pretty excited for this beer that we just did that is going to be out in the next two weeks, it’s one that was a collaboration beer for the Collective on Top and Mollusk Brewing,” he said.
Session beers have alcohol contents around typical domestic beers, hovering generally between 4.5 to 5.5 percent as opposed to stronger craft beers that can reach into the double-digit percentages.
Hive Mind features smells of pine, citrus, melon and papaya and Schmidlin said it has a creamy mouthfeel and a light bitter finish. It will be released in June.
Also on tap is Dissertation, which has passionfruit, mango, pine and citrus flavors.
Raspberry Gose is also available and is a sour wheat beer with raspberries, sea salt and coriander flavors.
Schmidlin also has Grapefruit Kolsch on tap, which is a radler-style ale a citrus aroma and light grapefruit bitterness.
Pop Quiz #2 is available as well and is described as an experimental IPA with “a stupid amount of hops,” with smells of pine and pineapple and grapefruit and passionfruit added.
Three more beers will be released in June or July and include Evans Kriek, a Flanders-style red ale made with pie cherries and aged in oak barrels for 16 months; Hydrogeological Session IPA, which uses ground water from the brewery and which uses Mosaic hops giving the beer the taste of pine, citrus and tropical fruit; and finally, For Chuck’s Sake IPA, which is made with more than 200 pounds of guava per batch and vanilla beans and mild sugar for a creamy fruit beer with vanilla notes.
Giacomo Kelley, tap room manager with Bushnell Craft Brewing Company, said they have two seasonal brews.
The first is called The Goon and is a White IPA wheat beer. It uses Summit, Amarillo, El Dorado and Simcoe hops as well as coriander and orange peels.
The second is called Brewers Tap and it’s a Summer IPA. Kelley said it is light and crisp and brewed using Citra, Centennial, Amarillo and El Dorado hops.
Mac &Jack’s Brewery was also contacted for this story but had not responded by the time of publication.
Mac &Jack’s will be hosting the 12th Annual Washington Brewer’s Festival this Friday through Sunday at Marymoor Park. Attendees can sample more than 500 beers from 130 Washington breweries. The festival also offers wine and cider tastings, food trucks, live music and all-ages activities. Times are 4-9:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.
They are now brewing Citra Pale Ale and are known for African Amber, Serengeti Wheat, Blackcat Porter, Two Tun IPA and their seasonal Cascadian Dark Ale, according to their web site and Facebook page.