Liquid Assets

Oyster Wines

A dozen Pacific Northwest oysters, served icy cold on a platter of shaved ice, hold the promise of an enlivening dining experience. Yet that very same platter represents a tough task for local wine connoisseurs and sommeliers, for those plump little oysters are notoriously difficult to pair with wine.

Bainbridge Organic Distillery

Step through the door to Bainbridge Organic Distillers and the aroma is tantalizing, like bread baking. “That’s mash cooking,” says Keith Barnes, who owns the distillery with his son Patrick.

OUR AVAS – Red Mountain

There’s no official ranking of vineyard quality in North America, but if there were, Red Mountain would surely be Washington’s very best vineyard site, what the French would call a Grand Cru. That said, it’s neither red nor mountain…

Elliott Bay Brewing Company

The Burien pub is airy and inviting, and Elliott Bay’s head brewer Doug Hindman’s affable attitude suggests that the complex brewing system he manages brings him more joy than stress. “Craft brewers are generally a pretty agreeable lot,” …

Riesling’s Renaissance

Years ago, my wine shopping strategy was simple. I’d visit my local wine shop and make a beeline to whichever section held my favorite varietal, Riesling. Then I’d scan the shelf for German Rieslings, which I believed to be the best Rieslings in the world…

Boundary Bay Brewery

Since opening almost 15 years ago in downtown Bellingham, proprietor Ed Bennett and his brewers have been tinkering with the brewery’s recipes — and plan continual evaluation of the brews. And that has given Boundary Bay plenty of regional and national acclaim.

The Cask Ale Challenge

Every beer we drink causes millions of tiny deaths. Rarely do we give thanks to the yeast whose tireless efforts give us so much pleasure, but we can at least see them off in style if we choose. Downing a cask ale—unpasteurized, naturally carbonated and still containing living organisms—gives a yeast colony the Viking funeral it so richly deserves.It’s been hard to find cask ale over the past few generations, but it’s making a steady comeback. Dozens of local breweries and bars offer cask ales, though more often than not, drinkers need to do their homework and arrive at the right time on the right evening to ensure access to this specialty drink. A few, like Queen Anne’s Hilltop Ale House and Fremont’s Brouwer’s Cafe, offer cask ales continuously. It’s worth the effort for those of us who love beer with strong, unique personalities…

The Grappa Guys

Soft Tails’ smoother style of grappa appeals to new grappa drinkers and visitors who have tried other brands of grappa, but dismissed them as too harsh for their taste. It also attracts locavores and wine country tour groups who are looking for a respite from another glass of Merlot during their trip to Woodinville Wine Country.

The Gospel According to Joel Butler

In the panoply of dream jobs, few have more potential for pleasure and satisfaction than Joel Butler’s: he is director of education for Ste. Michelle Estates. Sometimes in tee-shirt and jeans, sometimes in coat and tie, he travels the country as a sort of wine evangelist, thumping a bible of enology, converting skeptics with logic and hedonism, rejoicing in those “Aha!..

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