Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get To Know Your Reviewer: Eric Sanford

Your faithful blogger "deep" in "thought" at Flathead Lake Brewing in Missoula, MT

-Boring white dude from Seattle in his late 20s who works in ITS despite having little to no background in it
-Loyal, self-hating and joy-starved Seattle Mariners fan
-Nicolas Cage superfan
-Wrangler of this little shithead

Current beer preferences:

Being from the Northwest, I'm much more familiar with North American ales like porters, stouts, IPAs, pale ales and so on. Lately I've really felt the urge to expand my pallette and try more European beers, especially Belgians and German beers. I've gotten pretty tired of IPAs because I feel like there's some law now where every single NW brewery has to have 3 IPAs going at all times and they've all started to taste the same to me. The bitter hoppiness just tends to overwhelm my tastebuds and then I can't taste anything else. But, I still like double/imperial IPAs and I really dig fresh hop IPAs. Those are the best. But, overall I'm a fan of bold, but balanced flavors and any sort of experimental small-batch brews that some crazy brewmaster decided to throw together.

Most beer nerds would consider me a novice, I'm sure. I've never done any homebrewing. I don't really understand what IBUs are. I mean, I kind of do, but not really. But, I know what I like and I know quality when I taste it.

Top 5 styles:

Barleywine - Because there is so much variety experimentation within the style. And I love how the aging process can completely change how they taste.

Porter - Whether they're smooth and sessionable or imperial and super strong, I love 'em all.

- I'm pretty sure the first beer I really experienced was a Guiness stout on tap while in London when I was 18. Now, while we all know Guiness is rather pedestrian for beer nerds, the stout style had an impact on me. Always a favorite.

Black IPA -  Or "Cascadian Dark Ale" as some nerds call it. I love this style because it has a lot more depth in it's flavor than regular IPAs.

Scotch ale - I went to college in Bellingham, WA, home of Boundary Bay Brewery. Their Scotch Ale is the reason why this style is among my favorites. It can be a bit overwhelming and heavy, but it's a great cold weather style. That reminds me how much I love winter ales....hmm.

Top 5 NW breweries:

Fort George Brewing in Astoria, OR - I LOVE microbrews in cans and their Oatmeal Pale Ale is absolutely incredible.

Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham, WA -
I spent 5 years in Bellingham where I remarkably did not drink very often in my college days. Now I realize even more how special this place is. Their sweatshirts are ubiquitous for a reason.

Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR -
If The Abyss was the only beer Deschutes made, they'd be on my list. But, they make tons of other great ones, too. Black Butte Porter and Obsidian Stout are both top notch.

Fremont Brewing in Seattle, WA - They've only been around a couple years but they just keep getting better and better. Their Summer Ale is particularly awesome this year.

North Sound Brewing in Mount Vernon, WA - A brand new brewery up north that's giving Boundary Bay a run for it's money, in my opinion. Their new imperial pilsner is, as my friend Jim always says, "phenaaaah-menal."

Top 5 non-NW breweries:

Brooklyn Brewery in Brooklyn, NY - Oh, how I covet breweries that aren't distributed in Washington. I've loved everything I've tried from Brooklyn Brewery.

New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO - Their Fat Tire amber is available pretty much everywhere in America, but it's all their seasonal and experimental limited releases that make New Belgium awesome.

Surly Brewing Co. in Minneapolis, MN - I've only tried 2 of their beers, Bender and Furious, and I can't wait to try more next time I'm in Minnesota. Sadly, not distributed in Washington.

Russian River Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, CA - Okay, so a beer nerd liking Russian River is like a pastor enjoying reading passages out of the bible. They just go hand in hand. RR is always in high demand and they're not in any hurry to increase their capacity. One of these days I'll get my hands on a glass of Pliney The Younger. Maybe.

Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont, CO - One of the very earliest adopters of releasing microbrews in cans. Their Dale's Pale Ale is always a go-to brew for hanging out with folks and everything else they make rules, too. Colorado has a lot of awesome breweries.

Top 5 Favorite Seattle beer spots:

Beveridge Place Pub - I would move to West Seattle in a heartbeat if I found a place for cheap nearby BPP. Heaven on earth. They know their shit, but they're never snobby about it. They just provide a laid back atmosphere with unbeatable tap selection.

Uber Tavern - Near and dear to my heart since I used to live right up the street from Uber and still live pretty close by. Their recent remodel made the place even classier looking and created a bit more seating. It's really a toss up for my number spot between Uber and BPP. I can never decide.

The Yard - This new-ish place in Greenwood is unassuming when you first see it, but they keep some really interesting stuff on tap. A few weeks ago, they just randomly had The Abyss on tap, which gets released in November typically. Takes patience to sit on a keg of The Abyss for that long. Made my night, big time. Plus, they have a menu of fantastic, non-gringo mexican food.

The Burgundian - It's nearby my house, they have a ridiculous selection AND unreal chicken and waffles. Yes, please.

Collins Pub - Recently discovered this downtown gem. Really wish I'd found it sooner as it's become my go-to spot for a beer before Mariners games. Elysian down by the stadiums is pretty good, but this place is really mellow and much more my style. The owners know their shit and keep a great selection going. Good food, too.

And my go-to beer shop is Bottleworks in Wallingford. It's close to where I live and love how dark and dingy it is. I also love doing mix and match six packs. Great way to sample new beers without fully committing to buying a whole bunch of 'em.

Other internet activities:

Follow me on Twitter @sanford_and_son where I retweet lots of depressing things about the Mariners and post really angsty things while riding the bus.

This is my other blog, Rep-Detect, where I write (rant) about pop culture stuff. Mostly just movies, though.

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