Aubrey Laurence

About Aubrey Laurence

Aubrey has been a craft beer fanatic since the mid '90s and he has written about beer for a wide variety of publications in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado for well over a decade. He has judged beer in multiple competitions, plus he has rated and taken notes on thousands of beers from all 50 states and 68 countries -- visiting 16 of those countries on 6 continents. He is also a Certified Beer Server with the Cicerone Certification Program, an avid homebrewer, and a hop grower. In 2013 & 2014, he spearheaded Bellingham Beer Week. When he’s not drinking beer, he’s probably climbing a mountain somewhere. He lives in Bellingham with his wife and three cats. Follow him on twitter @AubreyLaurence.

On naming beers

With all the challenges of opening a brewery these days, coming up with names for beers is usually low on a brewer’s priority list. If anything, it may be viewed as one of the “fun” tasks. But it shouldn’t be taken lightly, as it’s an important part of a brewery’s brand. [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:03-07:00

‘Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest’ celebrates regional hikes and breweries

It’s hard to believe, but when Rachel Wood and Brandon Fralic came up with the idea to write a guidebook on hiking and beer just five years ago, Bellingham – as well as the entire state of Washington – only had half as many breweries as it does today. Incredulously, hiking [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:06-07:00

Homebrew Diaries: Making a kettle-soured beer

Sour ales, or beers that feature acidic and tart qualities derived from one or more strains of lactic acid bacteria, can be made in many different ways. Generally speaking, there are traditional, long-aged sour ales and there are quick/wort-soured sour ales. Most of the commercial sour ales on the market are [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:15-07:00

Méthode Traditionnelle attempts to define a growing category of American-made, Lambic-inspired beers

An increasing number of American breweries are making beers similar to Belgian Lambics using traditional methods, such as spontaneous fermentations, turbid mashes, long boils, barrel aging, etc., along with traditional ingredients such as raw/unmalted wheat and aged hops. Some are even blending one-, two-, and three-year-old batches, similar to Belgian Gueuze [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:20-07:00

This weekend, help these Bellingham breweries help others

I can’t think of an industry that is more charitable or gives back more to its local communities than the brewing industry, and Bellingham breweries are as generous as they come. A few events this weekend are perfect examples, even though this is just a slice of what our local breweries [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:23-07:00

Aslan Brewing takes big leap forward in sustainability

  With every decision Aslan Brewing’s owners make, they ask themselves: Does this support our principles? And as you may know, one of their core principles is producing 100% organic beer, which is a challenging and expensive way to make beer. Raw ingredients are limited and difficult to source, additives that [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:24-07:00

Bale Breaker Brewing announces Harvest Collaboration Series with four breweries

Bale Breaker Brewing just announced plans to collaborate with four different breweries this hop harvest season. “Brewers from across the country are planning trips to the hop fields of Yakima Valley for our upcoming harvest,” says Jessica Hawkins, Bale Breaker’s marketing manager. "It's the perfect time to brew with some of [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:25-07:00

Rural Meets Urban: Atwood Ales Farm Brewery collaborates with Urban Family Brewery

There are all sorts of brewer collaborations these days, but the best ones happen naturally. (Isaac, Josh, and Rowan) After enjoying some Atwood Ales beers, Rowan Chadwick and Isaac Koski, co-head brewers of Urban Family Brewing, contacted Atwood Ales owners Josh and Monica Smith about collaborating on a beer. [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:26-07:00

Skagit Valley Malting is leading the malting revolution

  Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles on Skagit Valley Malting. We'll be looking at SVM's impact on craft brewing, their importance to our region and the impact they can have on the malting industry. ------- There are now more than 5,300 breweries in America, and [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:31-07:00

Cholaca, world’s first and only liquid cacao, is a game changer for beer, coffee, cocktails

I love chocolate porters, stouts, and brown ales, but most of the commercial examples I have had lack the chocolate depth I desire, and many seem to get their chocolaty flavor more from dark malts than actual chocolate additions. I get it, though. As a homebrewer, I understand how challenging it [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:34-07:00

Pico introduces less expensive Pico C brewing appliance

Pico has recently introduced its new Model C brewing appliance, which builds on the technology created for its big brother, the Pico Model S (and its even bigger brother, the Zymatic). The company says this new machine is easier to use and more affordable. As of today (5/9/17), nearly $1.7 million [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:34-07:00

Another craft brewery acquisition, and why it’s upsetting

  It happened again. AB InBev acquired yet another craft brewery. I know, shock of the century. Except, this time it was the highly praised and respected Wicked Weed Brewing of Asheville, N.C., and it nearly broke the internet. After reading hundreds of comments from various sources, the same arguments, explanations, [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:35-07:00

A visit to Atwood Ales’ farmhouse brewery in Blaine

I recently had the opportunity to visit Atwood Ales’ brewery in Blaine, WA, which sits on an idyllic, 5-acre farm that is less than 2 miles from the Canadian border – as the bald eagle flies. The brewery isn’t open to the public, but Atwood Ales owner/brewer Josh Smith and his wife [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:36-07:00

Our beer options are exploding, and what it means

Two years ago, back when Bellingham had half the number of breweries that it does today, I outlined many reasons why I thought this city could sustain many more breweries. Even though Bellingham now has 10 breweries (with more in the works), plus a continuously expanding selection of beers from other [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:36-07:00

Brewers Association releases list of 50 largest breweries of 2016

The Brewers Association (BA) – the not-for-profit trade group representing small and independent craft brewers – just released its annual lists of the top 50 craft and overall brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume. Of the top 50 overall brewing companies, 40 were craft brewing companies. The [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:37-07:00

Unique beers in the plans at Gruff Brewing

Gruff Brewing is planning to use some interesting ingredients in upcoming beers. The brewery has made unique beers before, such as its pineapple hefeweizen, spiced imperial Belgian brown, and chocolate coffee stout, but it’s about to take things to another level. No, it’s not going to use odd or gross ingredients. [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:37-07:00

BrewDog opens new brewery in America

Scotland’s dog-friendly brewery, BrewDog, opened its new brewery, restaurant and taproom in Columbus, Ohio yesterday. Named DogTap Columbus, the stylish building features a gaming area, a full restaurant, and a dozen taps from BrewDog and other guest breweries (see photos below from brewdog.com). Once its brewhouse is fully operational, it will double [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:39-07:00

RateBeer Best Awards from year 2016 released

RateBeer has just released its last batch of competition results from its annual RateBeer Best Awards for the year 2016. “I'd like to raise a glass to the people who make the beer we drink,” says Joe Tucker, executive director of RateBeer. “These men and women are the artists, engineers, visionaries, [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:45-07:00

Less Hype, More Hops: Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow celebrates strong, aggressively hopped beers

The fourth annual Washington Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow kicks off tomorrow, Feb. 2, at Brouwer’s Café in Seattle, where you will find a whopping 32 Hop Mob beers on tap. Through Feb. 12, other Hop Mob events will follow in 8 western Washington cities, from Bellingham to Vancouver. This year, [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:45-07:00

A visit to Anacortes’ newest brewery, Bastion Brewing Co.

With all the new breweries opening in Bellingham and across the country, it’s easy to forget that this growth isn’t occurring in every city. Anacortes is one example, which, until recently, has had just one brewery for many years. The Anacortes Brewery (at The Rockfish Grill), which opened in 1994, is [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:53-07:00

2016 GABF Roundup, winners from WA & B’ham

  In its 30th year of competition (35th year of the festival), the 2016 Great American Beer Festival (GABF) awarded 286 medals to some of the best commercial breweries in the U.S., plus three GABF Pro-Am medals to teams of amateur homebrewers paired with professionals. In a ceremony on Oct. 8 at the Colorado [...]

2018-10-18T13:21:54-07:00

Recommended reading for beer enthusiasts, pro and home brewers: ‘Brewing Local’ by Stan Hieronymus

The latest book from Brewers Publications, Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer, examines the increased demand for locally brewed beers as well as beers made with “non-traditional” ingredients. Author Stan Hieronymus chronicles the history of how distinctly American beers came about, visits farm breweries, and forages for both plants and yeast to discover how brewers are [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:01-07:00

The venerable IPA

Yesterday was “IPA Day,” a special day that was created in 2011 to celebrate the India pale ale through social media (#IPAday) and various events. With the popularity of IPA these days, some joke that every day is IPA Day. "Session" IPAs Even though I appreciate and enjoy drinking [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:13-07:00

Wander Brewing adds a coolship to its Barrel Project

Wander Brewing’s new coolship (an anglicized term from the Dutch/Flemish word, koelschip) may not be the sexiest-looking piece of equipment in the brewery, but it’s arguably the most romantic. This large, shallow and open stainless steel vessel will be used to make spontaneously fermented ales, similar to how they’re made by [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:17-07:00

U.S. hop acreage reaches an all-time high

According to a report released last week by Hop Growers of America (HGA), an organization that promotes American-grown hops, U.S. hop acreage increased a whopping 18.5% this year. Total acreage now stands at 53,213, which is an all-time high and 8,303 more acres than 2015. With the number of craft breweries surging in [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:18-07:00

Taming wild terms: mixed-fermentation, 100% Brett, spontaneously fermented, Lambic, wild, sour, farmhouse

With the rise in popularity of mixed-fermentation beers, 100-percent Brett beers, spontaneously fermented beers and Lambics, wild ales, sour ales and farmhouse beers, the terms that define these beers get tossed around more and more. Some of these terms are used interchangeably, and some people interpret them differently, adding confusion. To [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:27-07:00

Inspirations behind beer recipe formulations

In talking with many professional brewers and home brewers over the last two decades, I have learned that beer-recipe-formulation approaches vary greatly. Most brewers, however, start with a flavor profile in mind. It could be a simple goal, such as creating a balanced pale ale with tropical notes, or it might [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:41-07:00

Two Bellingham breweries awarded medals at the 2016 World Beer Cup

The Brewers Association (BA) — the not-for-profit trade group dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s small and independent craft brewers — announced the results of one of the largest commercial beer competitions to date, the 2016 World Beer Cup. The awards were presented at the conclusion of the Craft Brewers Conference & [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:42-07:00

The grossest ingredients in beer

Beyond the four main ingredients in beer (malted barley, hops, water and yeast), many brewers also use a variety of other ingredients, including spices, chocolate, fruits, vegetables, sugars, roots, you name it. But some brewers take things a bit further by adding extremely uncommon or shocking ingredients. Sometimes they do this as gimmicky marketing [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:43-07:00

Merchant du Vin creates first annual Orval Day

This Saturday, March 26, devotees of Orval Trappist Ale will convene in bars across America to celebrate one of the world’s finest and most unique beers. Orval Day was created by Merchant du Vin, a Seattle-based specialty beer importer since 1978, and it will feature celebrations in many cities, including Seattle, [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:47-07:00

Why there’s a lack of love for (craft) lagers

Lagers dominate the beer market in the United States. By volume, they make up more than three-fourths of the market, and the top 20 best-selling beers in America are all lagers. But in the craft beer segment, lagers make up the minority. Craft breweries mostly produce ales, and ales are overwhelmingly [...]

2018-10-18T13:22:58-07:00