Hop into midsummer with these local brews

While the weather hasn’t been acting like its the middle of summer lately, local breweries are still releasing their mid-summer seasonal specials along with some new brews that may withstand the test of time.

Beer brewing in Washington state began in the 1880s with breweries in Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia. Since then the state has become home to more than 330 breweries and ranks second in the nation for most craft breweries statewide and sixth in breweries-per-capita according to the Brewers Association.

Over the course of the next few weeks the North Kitsap Herald will be featuring local brewers and their newest brews along with their summer seasonals. This week’s breweries are straight out of Poulsbo with frothy potables from Valhöll Brewing and the Slippery Pig Brewery.

Slippery Pig’s owner and head brewer, Dave Lambert, opened up shop in 2010. Lambert’s bastion of beer has hosted a wide variety of brews since opening.

“We offer a wide variety of ales built around traditional ideas such as using local ingredients and locally grown hops,” Lambert said.

The newest editions to Slippery Pig’s beer list are the Orange Ginger Wit, Sitrus Fjell IPA , Queen Sonja Blonde and summer seasonal Mojito Wit.

The Orange Ginger Wit is a 6.5 percent ABV (alcohol by volume) Belgian style wheat beer infused with orange, coriander and a hint of ginger. Striking a balance for those who like bold flavor with less hoppiness.

For those that like to smell and taste the hops in their beer, the 6.3 percent ABV Sitrus Fjell IPA (India Pale Ale) adds a little bite to Slippery Pigs beer list. Sitrus Fjell gets its hoppy bite from the brewing process where dry citra hops are added during the secondary portion of the process.

Next up is the Queen Sonja Blonde, which Lambert noted is made with Slippery Pig’s Baldur’s Blonde recipe but uses Sigmond Voss Kviek yeast, a Norwegian farmhouse yeast that has been used and reused for generations. This 5 percent ABV blonde is ideal for those that want a light but flavorful beer on a hot summer day.

Speaking of summer, the Slippery Pig’s summer seasonal, Mojito Wit, will transport drinkers to the island of Cuba. The 6.5 percent ABV Belgian style Wit has hints of mint and lime that leave it as the lightest and most refreshing of Slippery Pig’s newest brews.

When it comes to naming its brews the Slippery Pig spends a lot of time coming up with names that either have to do with Norse culture and heritage, such as the Sitrus Fjell and Queen Sonja, or of course something to do with pigs. But when they struggle to find a name they rely on the taste and descriptions of the brews themselves for names such as the Orange Ginger and Mojito Wits.

North Kitsap Herald’s resident beer connoisseur, Ken Park, also chatted with Kyle Spoon, head brewer at Valhöll Brewing about what’s new on tap.

As its name suggests, Valhöll is a Viking-inspired brewery, which, like The Slippery Pig, has been operating in Poulsbo since 2010. Nearly all of its beers have names that are connected to Viking and Norse culture, making Poulsbo Valhöll’s perfect home.

Of its newer beers the ones sporting the Nordic names are the Fenrir Double IPA and the Asgard Pale Ale.

In Nordic and Germanic mythology, Fenrir is depicted as a massive wolf that is said to bring about the Ragnarok or “doomsday.” Whereas Asgard refers to the home of the Norse god Odin.

In the case of Fenrir, this dog’s got some teeth, the double IPA is the heaviest of the new beers and sits at 8 percent ABV but is very smooth and with hints of tropical and citrus fruits.

Asgard Pale Ale is the lightest of the beers at 5 percent and is a good choice for those who enjoy some hoppy taste in their pale ales.

Not all of Valhöll’s beers have been honored with a Nordic name though, mainly because they are so new that their permanence at the brewery is still unknown.

“One of our newest beers is an American wheat beer which uses the same recipe as our cherry wheat beer only with less cherries,” Spoon said.

The American wheat beer is not expected to be on tap until the end of July, but folks can taste its predecessor to get a sense of what it might taste like.

“We don’t have a name for this one yet because it’s so new and we may just keep the names of Cherry Wheat and American Wheat,” Spoon said.

The same is true for the Belgian Wit, which isn’t that new, but comes as a recommended summer beer by the brewery.

“Were still working on a name for this one too,” Spoon said.

Like most Wits, the Belgian sits a 5 percent ABV and is very light and sweet.

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