My newest goal is to learn more about the different styles of beer. I prefer wine, but wine just doesn’t feel right when you are at the pub. I’ve been in a bit of a beer rut for several years now. I typically choose one of two styles of beer when I’m out: a nice, hoppy IPA or a cheap yet light and refreshing Mexican, Japanese, Polish, etc. lager. This spring, I branched out and tried a Belgian pale ale, and I enjoyed it very much. Its spicy, almost floral, aroma was unique and made me realize that, like wine, there is a whole world of beers out there each with their own unique style. It was time I got to know some of them.

One website that I find particularly useful is There, you will find information on the various styles of beer, up-to-date beer news, community forums and tons of beer reviews. Recently, I enjoyed a beer called Mothership Wit from New Belgium Brewery. A quick search on informed me that this a witbier, a Belgian style of beer that is traditionally brewed with spices such as orange peel and coriander. Witbiers are typically very aromatic and a bit sour. Because they are unfiltered, witbiers are usually pale and cloudy in appearance (hence the name witbier which means “white beer.”) You may be familiar with Hoegaarden, a popular witbier found on many pub menus. I liked this style of beer enough that I picked up a bottle of Deschutes Brewery’s 20th Anniversary Wit to try. It was quite similar to the New Belgium Wit but perhaps a bit more subtle with the spices.

After work yesterday, I stopped by Pike Street Beer and Wine Shop, a relatively new neighborhood beer store located on Capitol Hill (on the corner of Pike and Belmont.) They have beers from all over the world – Russia, Japan, Great Britain, Lithuania, you name it! They have a decent selection of domestic beers as well. I spotted some rather unusual beers including a Japanese red rice ale and a beer brewed with dates. When I mentioned I was interested in learning more about beer, the shop’s owner suggested that I come to one of their weekly beer tastings (every Friday from 5-7.) Sounds like fun! I picked up a couple of saison farmhouse ales (sturdy, rustic beers that were traditionally brewed for consumption by farm workers throughout the summer harvest) and a bottle of Dogfish Head Brewery’s Punkin’ Ale. Dogfish Head is one of the highest rated pumpkin ales on I cracked that one open last night. It was less pumpkiny than the Elysian Night Owl I tried last year. Mostly, it tasted like a well-crafted brown ale: a bit bitter and bit sweet with just a light hint of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin ale – what a perfect way to kick off October!

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