Taco Tuesday (Big Block Brewery)

Big Block2Big Block Brewery is a nano-brewery about fifteen miles east of Seattle. When I first visited on a Saturday afternoon, it wasn’t crowded, but it was busy enough. Parking was plentiful and close.

About a dozen customers were either sitting at the bar or around tables. Big Block1 (2)Another twelve were seated in a spacious outdoor courtyard area while a few more played a game that involved the tossing small bean bags into a hole in a wooden target. Several other games were available outside.

The on-tap beer menu was neatly listed on a large, black chalk-board over the bar. Of the four columns, three listed house brews. The fourth column listed several beers from other places. They post this menu on-line so customers can see what is being served.

Big Block 3

I thought the atmosphere pleasant. 1970’s soft-rock music was playing low enough for customers to converse in normal voice, but loud enough to be clearly heard. I have tried taking a book and reading — worked fine when I did it. Who needs Starbucks? Restrooms were clean.

The name Big Block refers to big, powerful muscle-car engines. The industrial décor, which was based on cars, engines, and tools was comfortable and consistently themed. The service was good, but I had to go to the bar to order my second beer and to pay my tab.

The porter and black ale that I sampled were good; the stout was better. One customer told me that he liked the IPA. He mentioned that you need to like the taste of hoppy beer for that (I don’t).

Beer samples served in red tool box.

Beer samples served in red tool box.

The sampler package is cleverly presented encased in a small, red, metal tool box containing five small, four or five-ounce glasses of a variety of the brew on tap. A big part of the business appeared to be filling growlers (one gallon bottles) with beer. Several customers left carrying one or two full growlers.

Big Block1 (6)I am a beer drinker and a bit of a beer snob. I don’t pretend to be a beer aficionado. But based on what I could see, the beer is good—if you drink beer. If you do not, there is an issue. I asked what they serve for people who don’t drink beer (like my dear wife). They have a limited supply of wine, water, and nothing else.

Big Block Brewery doesn’t have food service and offers virtually no snacks. However, customers may bring in anything they want to eat or drink. Making a trip to the convenience store next door seems inconvenient (pun, sorry), but reasonable. So bringing in a sack lunch (open for lunch on weekends only) is acceptable.

Pizza delivery is also okay and Uncle Si’s Pizza is only about 40-paces south. I’m okay with that. I suppose that they have a good reason for the limit (or the freedom, depending upon your point of view). If it works for the owner, I am good with beer and pizza anytime. But there is no in-house point-of-sale for munchies. I think I saw a couple of bags of something on one shelf.

The web page is passable. It has a good backstory about the business and description of beers. It is not as useful as their other sites. The web page beer menu was outdated when I looked at it. The Instagram link from their web page takes you to some great pictures of the establishment. Click the Twitter link from the web page for an updated list of beer on tap. I couldn’t find a link for their Facebook page, but it is useful and has a current menu (Facebook page link).

Big Block4In my opinion, Yelp also does a good job providing information. The reviews were very positive (4.5 stars). There’s a nice review and announcement on Washington Beer Blog.

Anyway, I will be going back and I hope to see you there. Do you have any favorite places like this near you?

Big Block Brewery:
3310 East Lake Sammamish Pkwy SE,
Sammamish, WA 98075

Operating Hours (49 hours per week):
Closed on Mondays.
Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (3:00 pm – 9:00 pm),
Friday, Saturday (11:00 am – 10:00 pm), & Sunday (11:00 am – 8:00 pm)

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Taco Tuesday (Seattle Beer Week)

Taco Tuesday (Seattle Beer Week)

I grew up around beer. We had several breweries in town. One (Stegmaier Brewing Company) is still in business but is owned by a competitor of many years (The Lion Brewery). My parents drank beer since before I was born, and I was sucking suds long before I was of legal age. I still drink beer. When people see me with the occasional glass of wine, they ask if I am feeling well.

Here’s to a long life and a happy one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A good girl and an honest one.
A cold pint and another one.

No blog of mine on beer would be complete without the wonderful pub song by Tom T. Hall, I Like Beer.

 

seattle beer week1So this week’s Taco Tuesday recognizes Seattle Beer Week, which is actually 11 days long. It is a huge beer celebration in terms of both participation and geography. The Pacific Northwest has more breweries and beers than I can imagine.

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let’s all get drunk, and go to heaven!
–Old Irish toast

Walking down the beer isle in my grocery store I experience sensory overload, and that is just a wee sample of the plethora of brews one may imbibe in these parts. Beer week brings together retail establishments, all kinds and sizes of brewers, and beer aficionados of all levels. This thing runs from the cities of Tacoma and Kent south of Sea-Tac Airport to the city of Lynnwood north of Seattle. It runs from Puget Sound to the west then past Lake Washington to Bellevue on the east side.

Here’s to cheating, stealing, fighting, and drinking.
If you cheat, may you cheat death.
If you steal, may you steal a woman’s heart.
If you fight, may you fight for a brother.
And if you drink, may you drink with me.

The links below are blogs related to Seattle Beer Week, and a few others I thought you might enjoy.

http://seattlebeernews.com/ Professionally presented blog with news about beer.

https://www.facebook.com/washingtonbeerblog Could not get link to blog to work, but the Facebook page is cool. Got it to work (yay) and worth a read: http://www.washingtonbeerblog.com/

http://brewdad.com/ Great blog. It has a long list of other beer blogs and more useful beer information.

http://nwbeerguide.blogspot.com/ Good blog about general Pacific Northwest area, including Alaska.

http://seattle.taplister.com/ Not a blog, but a cool little app site on finding beer.

I included a clip from the Washington Beer Festival that was last month, simply because it looks like fun to me.

Of all my favorite things to do,
the utmost is to have a brew.
My love grows for my foamy friend,
with each thirst-quenching elbow bend.
Beer’s so frothy, smooth and cold–
It’s paradise–pure liquid gold.
Yes, beer means many things to me…
That’s all for now, I gotta pee!