Easy Monkey Taphouse

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IPAs: What Are They?

Maybe you’ve tried an IPA (India Pale Ale) or two. Or maybe you’ve tried many, many varieties of the currently very popular type of pale ale you can find in any grocery store or bar. Maybe you even have a favorite IPA – but how much do you really know about this type of ale? How are they different than other pale ales? What do they have to do with India?

A Brief History of IPAs

While a wide variety of things grow in India – things like coffee, rubber, sugarcane, corn, and wheat, not to mention a variety of spices – crops aren’t as varied in England. During the first half of the 1700s, Britain had a strong trading presence in India (think “The British East India Trading Company”), but as time went on, British troops waged a successful war, and the monarchy eventually ruled there for almost 200 years. During that time, a great many things continued to be traded between the two places, and Britain sent beer to their soldiers in India; it was a light, refreshing, thirst quenching beverage. Because of the difference in climates, the brewers believed that the beer required a great deal of hops in order to endure the long (4,600+ mile) sea voyage and arrive fresh at its destination.

Feeling Hoppy

IPAs are, simply put, pale ales that were made to be transported from England to India; that’s why they’re called “India Pale Ales” instead of just pale ales. The hops involved in the creation of IPAs in the 17- and 1800s were East Kent Goldings hops, grown in England; today, IPA brewers use a wide variety of hops. Hops grow well in Washington state (in fact, Washington produces over 70 percent of the nation’s hops), and the IPAs made in this part of the U.S. use aroma and alpha (including super alpha) varieties of hops, including Willamette, Mt. Hood, Columbus/Tomahawk, Galena, Cascade, Nugget, and Zeus.

What are Hops, and Why are They Used to Make Beer?

The basic ingredients in beer are water, yeast (for fermentation), hops, and grain (frequently malted barley). The different ingredients have unique functions, and hops are no exception; hops give beer the following qualities:

  • Stability – That’s why it was used in beers that were transported all the way from England to India; hops make beer last longer
  • Aroma and flavor – There’s a strong relationship between what hops smell and taste like; when you crush the hops
  • Bitterness – Where malt is sweet, hops are more bitter, so they serve to balance the flavor

Put simply, hops make beer fun, interesting, and tasty. Why do wine drinkers like to drink wine? It’s the same reason IPA drinkers drink IPAs. Maybe it’s not your taste preference, but IPAs come in so many different, unique, and interesting varieties that many individuals have discovered that they enjoy the surprises, nuances, and diversity found in India Pale Ales.

Interested in Testing Your Tastes?

Currently on tap, we have a couple of America’s most popular craft beer, the IPA:

  • Dirty Bucket’s Sicyne IPA features an earthy, grassy, piney flavor of hops, with a clean, light, mildly sweet flavor and aroma gives this beer depth of character, something you may have to try more than once to completely appreciate.
  • Georgetown Brewing Company’s Lucille IPA has floral and citrus notes; they call it “innocent,” but if you’ve ever met anyone called “Lucy,” that notion alone might give you just enough pause to makes you want to try it.
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This Week, We’re Celebrating National Beer Day

In this era when everyone is supposed to be aware of everything – socially, politically, culturally – it’s nice to take a moment to appreciate the day set aside to celebrate something that means so much to so many of us. I’m talking, of course, about National Beer Day, which takes place every year on April 7. Did you miss it? Did you celebrate it without knowing that it was a special day? Not to worry: You can always celebrate it after the fact. In all honesty, any day is a great day to celebrate beer – but you might already have known that. Let’s get to the stuff you might not know about this obviously very important day.

The Great Depression and Prohibition

The years between 1920 and 1933 were sad, depressing years in this great country of ours – and not just because of the Great Depression, either. No – that’s because it was then illegal in the United States to make, transport, and sell any kind of alcohol. It seems there was a religious revival of sorts, and people started blaming the consumption of alcohol for a lot of society’s ills.

Fortunately for some, that law (also known as the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) was pretty difficult to enforce, and individuals across the country blatantly broke that law, finding some pretty inventive ways to avoid law enforcement attention. People went to some extreme lengths, even making “bathtub gin,” transporting liquor across state lines, and setting up “speakeasies” where people could buy the homemade alcohol.

FDR Wanted to Repeal Prohibition

In 1932, the Great Depression was in full swing, and FDR was running for President for the first time (he would eventually be reelected to serve a total of four terms); one of his main goals was to repeal Prohibition. Spoiler alert: He won, and in 1933, the 21st Amendment was ratified (Interesting fact: Utah provided the final deciding vote!), thereby nullifying the ban and allowing the production and consumption of alcohol in the U.S. again.

Why Celebrate Beer on April 7?

Mississippi Democrat Senator Pat Harrison and New York Democrat Representative Thomas H. Cullen wrote the Cullen-Harrison Act that aimed to legalize the sale and consumption of beer and wine with low alcohol content. Then relatively new, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed it into law on March 21, and the new law took effect on – you guessed it – April 7. But there’s more to the story: Perhaps the icing on the end-of-Prohibition cake is what FDR said as he signed The New Deal, which paved the way for Prohibition’s repeal: “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”

April 7 may be over and done, but come on into Easy Monkey to celebrate the end of Prohibition 85 years ago. Here’s to FDR, and here’s to the freedom to consume beer as we see fit. This really is a good time for a beer, don’t you think?

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Seattle’s Hoppin’ Beer Scene

Coffee, grunge bands, big business, movies, rain, and… beer? Absolutely! Seattle’s beer scene is hoppin’, as we like to say, and we’re thrilled to be apart of the craze.

Washington’s Got Hops

Seattle is famous for a lot of things, including beer. If you live here, you might already know this, but Washington state is one of the top places in the nation to grow hops, one of the key ingredients in one of the most popular types of microbrews today (IPA). In fact, Washington’s Yakima Valley produces almost three-quarters of the nation’s hops.

IPAs We Love

Right now, we have a number of IPAs that feature those wonderful, tasty hops: Hellbent’s Hop & Oats Pale Ale on tap, which has a smooth citrus and floral taste that comes from the kind of hops added during fermentation; Dirty Bucket’s Sicyne IPA is redder than you might expect from an IPA, but has a clean, light, malted caramel flavor you’ll love. Oh, and don’t forget – doesn’t everybody love Lucy? Georgetown’s Lucille IPA is “floral, citrusy, and awesome,” so if you love IPAs, you might find yourself telling everyone else how much you love Lucy, too.

IP-Nay?

But maybe you’re not as much of a fan of IPAs and hops as most other beer drinkers are these days, and that’s great. Part of the wonder of beer – and particularly the beers you’ll find offered here – is that there’s no right or wrong answer; it all depends on your own personal preference, and thanks to the wide range of types and styles we have here, you’ll be able to find something you love. From IPAs to blonde ales, stouts and browns, pilsners and wheat ales, we have a lot of options for you to try. Want to try something? Just ask – we’re always up for a good beer tasting.

At Easy Monkey Taphouse, you will find some of the best local microbrew beers and ales on tap, from some of the top-rated microbreweries in the area, not to mention the country! We have brews from some truly outstanding Seattle area breweries, including Salish Sea, Two Beers, American Brewing, Big E Ales, Dirty Bucket, and Georgetown, to name just a few.

Of course, now that you know we have some seriously tasty beers, you’ll have to come check out our taps for yourself – and if you’ve been here before, we’re always happy to see you again and welcome you back for more of Seattle’s best beers. And to make that beer even better, remember that we’re always planning and looking forward to our next exciting event, like beer tasting, live music, and our weekly trivia nights; there’s always a reason to get excited to come here and hang out with some friends and a brew.

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Live Music At Easy Monkey Taphouse

You’ve had some great beers and some fun times with us at Easy Monkey Taphouse. But do you know that we have regular nights when we feature live musicians? True story!

Wednesdays and Sundays

Opening up the week on Wednesdays (and closing the week on Sundays), from 7-9 p.m., we will feature Aram Mkrtchyan playing Spanish-style songs on his guitar. There’s no cover, so come in and relax to some tunes that pair nicely with your favorite brews or wine.

Thursdays

Continuing right along with another no-cover charge evening, check us out on Thursday evenings, 7-9 p.m. with more live music; although artists vary from week to week, we have gotten very positive reviews from the solos and duos that we’ve invited to perform here, so you won’t be disappointed.

Fridays and Saturdays

If you’re going to come for an experience, come 8-10 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday evening – or both! Not only will there be some sort of live music, but these are the cream of the crop (so there’s a super-low cover charge, just $5 per person). Recent bands that have performed here on these nights have included:

  • Seattle House Rockers, who played an assortment of R&B, boogie, swing, and blues types of music, have had experience playing with greats such as John Lee Hooker, Mel Soloman, and the Blue Flames, to name a few.
  • The T-Town Aces, once a group of four but now a group of five, play and sing their popular “electrified blues” featuring David Hudson on drums, Les White on bass, Tom Boyle on guitar, Dennis Ellis on sax and voice, and the group’s newest addition, Joel Astley, who sings and plays the harmonica.
  • Little Bill (Englehart) & the Blue Notes – Formed way back in the day (before Seattle became famous for producing stellar garage bands) in 1957, this band has some major gravitas; since 1988, they’ve release 11 CDs, and the Washington Blues Society has awarded “Little Bill” every single one of its awards except for one, the one for female vocalist.
  • Annie Eastwood (a.k.a. “Stickshift Annie”) with Kimball & the Fugitives – While she sings jazzy blues and some sultry, smoldering, sensitive tunes, Kimball Conant, a.k.a. “Dr. Richard Kimball” (see what he did there?) is a very talented guitar player – but he doesn’t just play the six-string version, no; he uses a slide to play not just standard jazz and blues, but also some Latin and Tex-Mex varieties.

Come Check It Out

So you see, there are some great acts that play in this great local bar where you can discover your new favorite local beers. Come check out the live music acts that perform here, and who knows? Maybe in a few years, you’ll be the guy telling everyone you saw the new musical act everyone’s talking about before they got big? This Saturday night’s act could be the next Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, or Dave Matthews!

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Deep Thoughts & Favorite Quotes About Beer

Prohibition – doesn’t it seem blasphemous now? For a period of thirteen years, this wonderful country we live in forbade the sale and consumption of alcohol, including beer. Starting in 1920, with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the production, sale, and transportation of alcohol became illegal.

Yeah. You know that beer in your hand? (Or, maybe you only wish it was in your hand right now). There was a time it was illegal. Still seems a bit surreal.

Back in 1919, Representative Andrew Volstead from Minnesota, then Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, pushed the “Volstead Act” and even though then-President Woodrow Wilson vetoed the bill, Congress overrode it, and it became law. How could the leader of the free world let this horrible thing happen, and let the sale of alcohol become illegal? It’s terrible and a travesty, I know.

This brief blip (and other times) in our nation’s history has given rise to some notable quotes from some of the more remarkable individuals in history, because isn’t beer a universally understood language?

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” -Benjamin Franklin

Okay, maybe this quote is or isn’t from Franklin (sources vary), but we can’t help but agree with the sentiment of this thought. Whether it came from a Founding Father/postmaster/inventor/statesman might be irrelevant

“Without beer, life would be a mistake.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

No doubt, Freddie, we hear you. Beer has an enhancing effect on life and everything in it, doesn’t it?

“Anyone can drink beer, but it takes intelligence to enjoy beer.” -Stephen Beaumont

Whether you’re a beer drinker or a beer enjoyer, we’re sure you’ll have a great time at Easy Monkey. You can find a wide assortment of different kinds of beers, some that you’ll enjoy more than others, but no matter your taste preferences, you’ll have fun trying the tasty beers from local breweries.

“A fine beer can be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” (Czech proverb)

When you visit Easy Monkey, we’ll do our best to help you find your new favorite beer. Maybe it’ll take a pint or two, or maybe you want to taste a few before you settle on your first pint – we’re up for beer tastings if you are!

And then there’s this, from one of the greatest, craziest minds of today, and of course we wholeheartedly agree:

“Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world.” -Jack Nicholson

Have your own thoughts on beer? We’d love to hear them – whether they’re deep, profound thoughts or something more akin to “this is the best beer I’ve ever had!” Come on in today to find your new favorite beer, have good times with friends, and maybe enjoy some of our in-house entertainment. Check out our calendar for upcoming events! We hope to see you soon!