Good Hair Day: Reuben's Brews x Rudy's Barbershop

To celebrate and support a long time queer business during Pride month, Ballard brewery Reuben’s Brews collaborated with the owners of Rudy’s Barbershop to brew a session IPA that anyone in a barber chair can enjoy. Rudy’s has made’s it’s name across the PNW as a chill spot where anyone can get a great cut. Starting in Capitol Hill in 1993, they now have locations in six states. 2018 marks their 25th Anniversary and they wanted to brew a beer that represents their company as well as one that appeals to every palette. Part of invoking the comfortable vibe is providing fresh local beer for folks to enjoy while getting a cut. So of course when planning out the style of beer to brew, everyone agreed that an easy drinking ale with a pop of bright, citrusy hops was the way to go. Enter: Good Hair Day.

Reuben’s Brews // Good Hair Day Session Pale // Seattle. WA // 4.25% ABV

Color: Pale straw and brilliant

Aroma: Mellow grapefruit, fresh orange peel, lightly toasted biscuit on the head.

Taste: Extra pale body with a crisp yet airy mouthfeel. Delicate citrus leads into a dry finish that keeps your palette asking for more.

Overall: While the overall body is limiting, a strong profile is not the goal of this beer. This is an easy drinker that you need for an easy activity; whether thats tending to the garden or getting your hair cut. Soon, you’re beginning your next sip before you even realized you finished the first one.

Hamma Hamma Oyster Farming and Pairing

Us Pacific Northwesterners are a lucky bunch with access to some of the best seafood there is. With access to some many forms of waterways: The Pacific Ocean, Salish Sea, Puget Sound, Columbia River and endless lakes, all offering their unique shares of water creatures. Where the South Sound meets Highway 101 is where some of the most beloved oysters are farmed on Hama Hama. Prime Washington Oyster season is between December and April and Hama Hama opens up their beaches to visitors a couple times a year who would like to get dolled up in boots and elbow length gloves to scoop up some sustainable mollusks for themselves. April, while the tail end of the season, proved to be bountiful in the oyster harvest. And even when its’ raining, you leave Seattle late, and get to the farm as the tide is rising, nothing compares to shucking your yield in the back of the Subaru with homemade mignonettes and delightful beer pairings.

Selecting a beer to drink with freshly farmed oysters takes some consideration. These are delicate sea creatures, with subtle minerality and sweetness. But as oysters are famously paired with vinegar based mignonette sauces, a little bit of acidity is necessary to complete a beer and oyster pairing. Both of these beers are light bodied but different styles both highlighting acidity. When pairing with seafood, but especially oysters, you want to drink something dry that doesn’t overpower the palette. Here are two local beauties that found their match on a drizzly day in Lilliwaup.

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Atwood Ales // Tide Flats Oyster Gose // Blaine, WA // 4.2% ABV

Color: Hazy amber orange and early sunset yellow.

Aroma: Seawater, sourdough, lemon, and coriander.

Taste: Briney and rustic with a coastal soil earthiness. Mellow but present minerality. Moderate level salt and sourness.

Pairing: Traditional Red Wine Vinegar Mignonette. Red wine richness adds depth to the vinegar base while shallots bring a grounded yet effervescent note to the sauce. Listen, the French are doing it right, let’s not mess with their classic seafood dressing.

Overall: A step away from the traditional and a leap into the whimsical. Atwood Ales are a true farmhouse brewery that go out of their way to ensure Western Washington terroir shines in their beers. Using salt water (or as they say, oyster juice) from Drayton Harbor Oyster Company as their salt in a gose, while allowing for the yeast and grains to remain in suspension gives a homegrown Pacific Northwest authenticity that is rarely drank.

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Mollusk Brewing // Merroir Extra Pale Ale // Seattle, WA // 5.0% ABV

Color: Pale straw yellow, slight haze

Aroma: Fresh lemon rind, bread crumbs, cracker.

Taste: Spritz on the tongue with a dry finish. Mellow and light body that functions more as a palette cleanser to allow subtle oyster notes to shine.

Pairing: Lemon Fennel Mignonette. Brighten up the extra dry pale body while adding an herbal grassy note to compliment the hops and balance the rich oyster body.

Overall: This pale was actually brewed for the Hama Hama Oyster Saloon falling in line with the seafood-subset named brewery. Brewed with lemons and extra pale malt, this was made to be paired with the freshest of the fresh PNW oysters.

Mollusk Biru Sencha

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Mollusk // Biru Sencha Green Tea Lager // Seattle, WA // 4.2% ABV

Color: Golden and slightly opaque with an airy head. 

Smell: Cracker and loose-leaf green tea. 

Taste: Earthy, bready , essences of floral jasmine, with a delicate finish. 

Overall: We've all heard the term yard beer, but this is a garden beer. Classy enough to serve at a wedding shower yet drinkable enough for all party-goers to enjoy - even Aunt Helen who only drinks Stella or a Riesling. The refreshing lager crisp you need with an elegant and floral touch. 

Reuben's Brews Mosaic Crush

Reuben's constantly surprises me with the consistent ratio of quality to quantity. They always have a huge list at the taproom and it feels like every time I go in there's something new. Currently, they have a taproom release going called the Crush Series. Starting with the Galaxy Crush, they moved onto the Loral, and now the Mosaic (the later two which have been invented and bred by Hop Breeding Company in Yakima, WA). 

As the craft beer scene has exploded over the past 20 years, so has hop production and breeding. Us hop heads in the Pacific Northwest have easy access to the largest region of hop agriculture, the Yakima Valley. And as the demand for more IPAs and hop-forward beers has increased, so has the ingenuity and breeding of varietals by botanists. The term "hoppy" or "hop bitterness" has entered a new level of complexity as new varietals are constantly developed. Reuben's has taken advantage of the abundance of strains and introduced the Crush Series devoted to the recognition and flavor profiles of these hops. 

Mosaic Hops: a newer hop breed introduced in 2012. It's science name is HBC 369 (damn she fine) and it's known for its tropical and floral properties. The Mosaic has been bred and engineered to contain an array of flavors and enhanced drinking experience, giving it versatility in how it can be used. Liked for both it's high alpha acid percentage and aromatic assets, it can be used in several types of beers from IPAs to saisons. The popularity of the Mosaic has increased dramatically with growers in Yakima increasing their production over 300% in the past 4 years. And there's good reason for it.

Reuben's Brews // Mosaic Crush IPA // Seattle, WA // 6% ABV 47 IBU

Color: A pale and slightly hazy straw yellow.

Smell: Tropical fruits, peach, blooming flowers, and citrus groves. 

Taste: Peach rings and underripe mango. Bright hops shine in the beginning of the profile but it goes down easy with a light mouthfeel. A juicy body with a dry finish.

Overall: The Mosaic Crush drinks like a session with the ABV of a standard IPA. Floral and fruity, it's light on the tongue and easy to throw back - totally crushable.

 

Fremont Dark Heron

For 15 years nerds from all around the Pacific Northwest journey to downtown Seattle to convene and discuss everything from comics to tv fan theories at the Emerald City Comic Con. Fremont Brewing is an official sponsor and beer representative for ECCC, brewing the Dark Heron just for this con. In the spirit of nerds everywhere, Fremont created a superhero of their own to represent this IPA. While I've never delved into the world of superhero comics (more of an RPG nerd myself), the striking visual of a dark heroine gracing the front of a beer was more than enough inspiration to indulge. 

"Our hero, Dark Heron, was exiled from her flock for daring to express herself differently from the rest. Forever banished from the heron fold, Dark Heron vowed to never sacrifice her right of free expression to the tyranny of conformity. Dark Heron stands as a beacon of light and justice, calling to all those who seek to protect the freedom of expression! Dare to be different!"

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Fremont Brewing // Dark Heron IPA // Seattle, WA // 6.6% ABV 60 IBU

Color: Light copper.

Smell: Fresh and clean, citrus and pine. 

Taste: Heavy for most of the profile, but has a clean citrus-hop finish. Still, the high dose of malt sits on the palate after each sip. 

Overall: A classic strong Seattle IPA to represent a kick-ass heroine. While it's not exceptionally different, it does represent the expressive brew style of Seattle, an omage I can appreciate.