So where was I? Oh yeah. When last we left our intrepid hero, he was reluctantly vacating the beginnings of an epic microbrewery crawl to go watch a USL 1st Division soccer game that didn’t even feature the team he supported…
(Hold on a sec while Mark bitchslaps himself for using this third-person prose)
OK. Whew. I’m good. Anyway, there’s something to be said for watching soccer on a field demarcated for football in a nearly vacant 70,000-seat stadium. The open seating for the 3,000 or so Seattle Sounders fans in attendance was all on the east side of the field, and acres of folded blue jumpseats towered over us like a permanently cresting wave as we kicked back with our Rogue IPA (a very nice touch for the stadium vendors). The only way this place could’ve been emptier is if the Cleveland Browns were in town.
Five or six $8 Rogues later (Hey, our hero TOLD you he was intrepid), we tottered off the the nearby Pyramid Brewing Company, nestled in the shadow of Safeco Field.
With an MLB park across the street, and an NFL stadium the next block up, Pyramid is geared for mass service. A large, crescent-shaped bar serves as the focal point for the cavernous seating and merch area. The brewery sits in a glass-enclosed room off to the side.
“Hi, I’m John from Spokane,” slurs the guy next to me. He’d been holding that stool down for a while.
“Hi. How’s the beer?”
“It’s awesome. I like the Curve Ball [Koelsch] the best.”
Based on this recommendation, I promptly ordered a Hefeweizen, the beer for which Pyramid is famous, despite their weird marketing campaign insisting patrons receive a lemon in it.
John wasn’t done with me. He moved to Spokane from Fort Lauderdale, and really likes the Pacific Northwest, partly because of the beer and also partly because it looks less stupid to walk around in flannel than in a wifebeater. I bought him another Curve Ball and settled in for some serious Weizenation.
Hefeweizen is one of those styles that really benefitted from the tenacity of American brewers. Five years ago, American Hefes sucked. The characteristc banana/clove notes imparted by the yeast were usually absent. The space above the beer where your nose goes was often suffused with a swampy, sump-pump odor, and the liquid sometimes had a weird yellow-green tinge. The fact that breweries like Pyramid are now producing excellent Hefeweizen, with perfect apricot coloring and a big, soapy head, is one of those things that instills patriotic pride within me. I drank two. And a Curve Ball Koelsch for John’s sake.
It’s simple evolution; a mediocre brewery would not be allowed to survive in this capitol of beer. My only regret about the Seattle trip was a lack of time to visit the other breweries. This will be rectified sometime this winter. In the words of a Great Seattleite, KAMPAI! (Oh, and Ichiro, get your ass over to the Yankees. We could use you in right field).