Friday, September 16, 2011

More Airways Brewing Company - The Proper Visit (Part the Second)

In Part I of the Airways Experience blog, I mentioned going back for a 'proper visit' after the Tap Room expansion party. As you can see from my attempts to use a ‘real’ camera (read: not my phone and not a digi-cam) we end up with a picture of me, my purse, a bunny, and some chickens. Plus the wooden drinking man. That my brother took. That's what happens when I don't have Real MGD with me, pretty picture maker of extraordinary proportions. Here's what happens when I do have him:

A view as we approach the Airways Tap Room. As you can see, that's a lie. I'm already inside cheesing it up just in case I'm included in the scenery picture.
Many a lovely customer enjoying a Thursday pint
The loverly Dione Dittmar spent lots of time talking beer with us (yay!) while everyone else works hard in the background. Winna!
Jet City Lavender (with an extra dose of lavender outside) ESB. Gorgeous.
Although I had never seen the old tap room in person, the new place is just lovely. Inside you will find a wide open space with lots of windows and seating, where one can feel like part of a larger group even while at a cozy corner table for two. The bar top is absolutely gorgeous, people seem to drop by to chat up the Airways peeps or watch a game. Or drink beer. Or all of the above.

Every Thursday is Cask Night at Airways. We came specifically for the Jet City Lavender ESB on cask and stayed for a few more, soaking up the atmosphere & chatting with Dione (Alex Dittmar's wife, therefore must be blessed with the tolerance and patience of a saint, just as long as no one give's Alex any more plane parts as gifts).

When hearing of our alleged dropping by at the tap room, Alex (being the superb salesman that he is) expressed his sadness at not being around that day and relayed that he hoped the Lavender ESB didn't taste like shit. Happy to report that it was damn delicious. AKA: I hoped it wouldn't fucking suck and it didn't. Not even one little bit. After an hour long conversation about laundry (don't ask, I don't know either), our whistles needed additional wetting and we tried the following brews.

Jet City Lavender ESB on cask (I know I already said this 2 seconds ago. But this is like the separate, bold list that people who just skim my blog will see. Deal with it.)
Sky Hag IPA
Dirty Hag - 75% Sky Hag & 25% Starliner Stout (I'll give you 5 guesses who ordered that beauty, but you're only going to need one. Holy effing yum!)
It was a long overdue visit(s) to Airways and I'm sad we didn't make the trip sooner. I'm looking forward to the day when they either move their collective awesomeness to Tacoma (officially not holding my breath) or expand their tap room hours (Thurs & Fri: 4-8pm, Sat: 1-5pm) so that I have more opportunities to stop by. Until then I'll probably have to love on them and their beer at festivals and continue to harass them on Facebook. Please keep the restraining orders to a dull roar, thanks guys.

Can't think of a witty closing line,
the pissed liBEERian

Alex & I at the Winter Beer Festival

Photography by The Real MGD

Sunday, September 11, 2011

An Airways Experience - Part the First

This guy is a two-parter so go ahead and get back up, head to the kitchen for a beer then get comfy. Airways Brewing Company, holla! They are doing so well (not exactly shocking) with the making of the beers, that they recently expanded their Tap Room in Kent and hosted a celebration (July 9th, Part I). Sadly, MGD was unable to attend this event so during his recent visit home, we were 'forced' to make a 'proper' visit to Airways as a part of our beer related rounds (September 1st, Part II). 

Will touch more on what ‘proper’ implies, later. 

Airways Tap Room Expansion Party (Part I)

As many of you know, I have multiple minions. Real MGD being #1 and other random peeps who attempt to fill the wingman gap when he’s not available. As my sibling was already locked into helping me move heavy boxes & build the ugliest dresser in existence that weekend, he was the natural (read: he had no say) choice to accompany me. Now taking your brother to a beer event is akin to taking your cousin to prom. It’s done out of necessity only and you pray that no one notices. But hey, you made it, right?! Hahaha, kidding. My brother's awesome.

The Tap Room was easy to find, tucked away in a Kent business park, just a short 30min drive from Tacoma. The weather was gorgeous that day and the celebration was in full swing by the time we arrived, inside and out. There was even a giant wooden man with an automated arm, drinking beer. Add that to the ‘something you don’t see every day’ list. After saying hello to some friends (and introducing my brother to the Washington Beer Blog peoples for the 3rd time, my memory is awesome like that), we grabbed a couple o' pints and pulled up a patch of grass in the sun near the make shift chicken coup. 

This is the chicken trying to attack me
Effing chickens. 

This is the chickens trying to escape
I knew they would be present via a blurb that Airways put out on the Book of the Face but still, I have a long running (read: lifetime) issue with fowl. They were there to exhibit Airways’ full circle-ness, how their spent grain becomes farm feed, blah blah blah. Only after Alex Dittmar (founder & brewer) assured me that the chickens would not be roaming free in the area, but caged within an inch of their life, did I agree to attend. So naturally, I get outside and sit right next to the little jerks. Although they eyed me in what can only be described as an evil manner, it was easier to keep an attentive eye on their escape attempts from a close position. It would appear that I survived the experience to tell my tale.

Moving on… (for a moment anyways) the beer served at this event was both interesting and phenomenal. Airways Brewing Company had me at ‘One Token Please’ (Sky Hag IPA on Cask at TCBF 2010) and they have continued to win me over, this particular experience in mouthhole pleasure being a high point. Collectively, Tyball and I tried the following from their celebratory offerings:

Uber Hag IPA (Bourbon barrel aged Sky Hag IPA) - Have immensely enjoyed Sky Hag in the past but the Uber Hag takes the damn cake. I love this beer immensely. Those magical barrels transform that which is an already solid IPA, by adding flavors and complexities that even the non IPA obsessed will find delight in. 
Chocolate Cherry Stout
Tickel Your Zwickel (ohhhh, yes please!)
a Sour (yeah that's what I wrote, no name or anything, just 'sour'. go go gadget note taker. yummy as sin though, thanks guys!)
Berliner Weisse

The lovely people of Airways were a very busy group that day but Alex took a few moments from being the host with the most, to give us a short tour behind the scenes. A decent amount of space (one wall is taken up with the nose of Boeing 747 that I said looked like a giant boob) but due to supply and demand, Alex contract brews elsewhere to make big fatty batches of the stuff. I harassed Alex to start making temporary tattoos for the 7th time, discussed how the look of the Uber Hag (pretty sure she’s got a riding crop behind her back, just waiting for her perfect moment) is even scarier than the Sky Hag and tried to convince Alex to release his final barrel of Uber Hag at a time that MGD can try some. 

This is me trying to figure out how to use my camera before taking pictures of random people & looking like a creepster
In addition to having a loverly time, my bro-hole and I went home with the following…
  • Very happy mouths    
  • 1 Airways pint glass   
  • 1 Airways work-shirt (thanks Alex!!!)   
  • 1 ‘In case of emergency, beer will begin to flow’ shirt     
  • 1 Uber Hag poster (as I type, she is staring me down from across the room)    
  • 1 Airways bumper sticker (I actually just found it y’day, but I’m hoping it came from a festival at some point because it’s not on my receipt and I don’t like to steal stuff unintentionally)
  • A strike (there's bowling in the women's bathroom, sorry boys but you already have stuff to play with in your bathroom)

Stay tuned for Part Dos of the Airways Brewing ULTIMATE Experience...
the pissed liBEERian

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