Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Pacific Northwest - How To Beat The Heat

This has been a really long and hot summer for most folks so I decided to post not about beer recipes or brewing techniques this time. Instead I will share with you some of the highlights of my summer vacation to the Pacific Northwest. The trip was really cool both literally and figuratively in that the weather there was on average 50F lower than it was where I live in New Jersey on the east coast of the United States. Of course any trip requires a tasting of the local beers and this one was no exception. I was fortunate enough to be traveling with a best friend who has years of traveling and beer drinking experience, in short we had a blast!

View From Atop The 510 Foot High Space Needle
Our first stop was in Seattle Washington where we planned to stay for 2 days prior to heading out for the rest of our trip. As it happens we lucked out and picked 2 of the most perfect weather days they've had in recent memory both days were sunny and warm with temperatures in the upper 80s.

Everyone Loves A Walk On A Sunny Day
We loved Seattle! The very first stop we made after checking into the Westin Hotel was to head on out to Pike's Brewery were we meet up fellow brewer and forum member Kenny Lee to sample some of Pike's best beers and grab a bite to eat. We ordered pitchers of Pike's regular IPA which we all really enjoyed followed by their Double IPA then their Dry Wit and their Kiltlifter Scotch ale before ordering and up some Scuttlebutt Amber (from Everett, WA.) from their guest tap. We ate and talked about beer, brewing and travel while drinking these amazing beers and downing some great bar food. Pike's is a must see when you're in town. We planed on sampling each of their beers and as it turned out we ordered full pitchers of each of them instead, what can I say we like beer!

Words Simply Cannot Describe The Wonders
Within days we would be viewing one of Earth's most impressive and beautiful places from the warmth and comfort of our cruise ship. The slow, peaceful and meandering visit to Alaska's Glacier Bay Park will forever be one of the coolest things I've ever been lucky enough to have experienced in my life. The table I sat at was located 140 feet above the waterline and only 50 feet from the nearest bar where they served up ice cold Alaskan Brewery Summer Ale and Amber Ale. Although I really liked their Pale Ale it was only available in the towns we stopped in, for some strange reason the ship's bars didn't stock it.

If Beer Is Proof That God Loves Us Then What Is This?
We spent the entire day and much of the early evening in our front row seats looking out at the grand vistas that appeared around every bend of the bay. Whenever something spectacular came into site we rushed outside to the deck rail to snap our pictures. Much of the time we found ourselves moving from one side of the ship to the other in order to get pictures of the scenery as we passed by. It was hard to believe that this 1000 foot deep bay our enormous ship was navigating through was solid glacier ice 250 years ago. All the glaciers that feed into Glacier Bay are in retreat except for one, which scientists say is actually growing 12 feet a year. Maybe someday that glacier will influence all the others to do the same and restore the bay to it's former glacier self.

Did Someone Say There's A Heat Wave?
At the height of our trip the time change was 4 hours earlier than east coast time and the sunset at 10:30 pm local time. Some of our shore excursions started at 6:00 pm and we had to be back on board the ship by midnight. In between all the beer sampling, time changes and the extended daylight hours we lost all concept of time somehow not knowing or caring about anything but what we were going to do next. In all honesty we found ourselves adrift in time, left alone by the rest of the world's problems of the day, to experience some of the most spectacular sites on earth. This my friends and fellow brewers was as close to Nirvana as anyone can ever come to expect and in so many ways one of the best vacations I've ever had.


  1. I lived in the Pacific Northwest until I went into 6th grade. Sometimes I really miss it.

  2. I can understand why too, the days we spent in Seattle were perfect with lots of sunshine and warm breezes....I miss it already. I can't say the same for Alaska though, in fact even though it stayed daylight until 10:30pm we didn't see the sun or a blue sky all week.