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Weird Holidays Are Everywhere – But Here’s One We Can Take Seriously

Can we all just agree that there are some pretty out-there so-called “holidays”? (For example, February 15th is National Hippo Day, November 13th is National Chicken Nuggets Day, and March 11th is National Napping Day!) Depending how you look at it, summertime is either one big long holiday (with the kids out of school) or is seriously lacking in significant holidays that are so plentiful during the spring, autumn, and winter months (think Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s Day, to name just a few).

Maybe we could also all agree that there’s a saint for just about everything (Did you know, for example, that there is a patron saint of lost things, and a patron saint of patience? There’s also one of kidneys, another for yoga, and yet another just for food!) With those things said, those facts now acknowledged, you may be interested to know about a little-known day known as St. Arnold’s Day, which just happens to be coming up on July 18th.

Saints Arnold, Patron Saints of Brewers

Arnold of Metz was born around 580 A.D., became a French bishop in 612, and died in 640. Legend has it that his parishioners had to trek a long way one hot summer day in order to collect his remains and bring them back to where he was supposed to be buried in Metz. They were running low on supplies (otherwise known as beer) and prayed to Arnold to provide them what they needed (again, beer) and Arnold miraculously provided his followers enough beer to last them on their way back to Metz. It’s like the loaves and the fishes, but with beer! Have a drink in honor of St. Arnold of Metz! This St. Arnold is the one St. Arnold’s Day was intended to honor, but oddly enough, there’s more than one St. Arnold – and more than one St. Arnold who was a patron saint of beer and brewers!

Arnold (or Arnoul) of Soissons (a patron saint of brewers and hop pickers) lived about a hundred years after Arnold of Metz, described above. In 1080, Arnold of Soissons became a bishop of an abbey in Belgium, where he encouraged the peasants to drink the beer he brewed for its health benefits; as it turned out, in the process of brewing beer, the water became more pure, which halted or slowed the spread of sometimes lethal diseases, so it was literally a life-saving beverage (but today’s beers also have health benefits, including lowering bad cholesterol and increasing bone density)!

Drink to St. Arnold!

So, during these hot summer months (which, by the way, is the time of year when the most beer is consumed), think about Saint Arnold of Metz or Saint Arnold of Soissons when you’re drinking your beer. Drink to your health, remembering that sometimes, beer really is better for you than plain old boring, disease-ridden water. Drink to the saints who brewed their own beers, and promoted the consumption of the adult beverage we all love so much. Here’s to beer, brewers, and hop-pickers!

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Seattle Cider Company

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number and varieties of drinks that have been transformed from kids’ drinks (juices and sodas, for example) into more mature (and alcoholic) beverages. Because sometimes what sounds the best isn’t beer or wine, Easy Monkey also offers hard cider from Seattle Cider Company.

What Makes Seattle Cider Unique?

As many people know, a wide variety of apples are grown in Washington state, and they’re shipped across the country and even around the world. Our apples are some of the best in the world! Even if you like apples, you may find some hard ciders too sweet, but that’s not the case with Seattle Cider Company’s ciders; they bring out and emphasize the natural taste of apples, so the ciders aren’t overly sweet.

Seattle Cider Company Varieties

Currently on tap, we have their Semi-Sweet and Dry ciders, both at 6.5 percent ABV; however, Seattle Cider Company also makes a Tangerine Turmeric and a Basil Mint Hard Cider, and both of those come in at 6.9 percent ABV, and are produced year-round; they also offer some seasonal and limited edition varieties, including but not limited to the following:

  • Pumpkin Spice is semi-sweet with autumn season spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon with just a touch of pumpkin; this variety is available August through November.
  • The addition of toasted oak chips make this maple syrup-sweetened Oaked Maple cider perfect for those cold winter evenings.
  • Gin Botanical is available from February through May; this aromatic and refreshing semi-dry cider features aromas and flavors of cucumber, verbena, orange rind, lemon, and juniper. It would pair well with fruit or anything herbed.
  • Speaking of pairings, if you’re a fan of goat cheese, nuts, and charcuterie boards, Berry Rosé is the ticket. Available June through August, this cider starts out a little tart and finishes a little sweet.
  • Jalapeno, poblano, and habanero peppers give the Three Pepper cider a unique spice with a slightly sweet finish.
  • If you’re looking for a cider that will go well with Thanksgiving dinner, pick up some Cranberry cider; it’s dry, a little tart, and is made with local organic cranberries.
  • As its name suggests, the Olympic Honey cider is made with honey; what you may not realize is that the honey is produced in the apiary on the top of the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle.

What’s in Seattle Ciders?

You won’t find any high fructose corn syrup in these delicious hard ciders – there’s a short list of ingredients – just a variety of Washington-grown apples, pure cane sugar (and sometimes maple syrup), white wine yeast, and (depending on the variety of cider) some spices.

More About Seattle Cider Company

You can find out a lot about this company on their website (https://www.seattlecidercompany.com/), including the myriad varieties of ciders they make, the kinds of apples (and pears!) they use, the steps they take in order to make their wonderfully delicious products, and you’ll be able to see a picture of the whole Seattle Cider team! Want to know why they do what they do? On the website, you’ll find a list of some tasty sounding recipes, news links, and job postings. Plus, learn more about their driving forces – their mission, vision, and values – and how they dedicate themselves to supporting their local businesses and community, just like we do at Easy Monkey!

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Thirst Quenching Beers for Hot Summer Days

Petula Clark had it right when she sang about forgetting all your troubles and cares when you go downtown; in fact, she could’ve been singing about Easy Monkey! When you’re here, you’ll find plenty of beers, ciders, and snacks perfect for hot summer days (or afternoons, evenings, or nights). You might ask what beers are usually preferred during the summer months; the answer to that is (usually) wheat or hoppy beers with accents of a variety of fruit, mostly citrus fruits. IPAs are popular in the summer, because they are well-hopped and some contain fruit and citrus flavors. Wheat beers like hefeweizens and wit beers are also popular during the warm summer months. Although we offer more than these delightful summer options, if you’re looking for a way to cool down with a traditional summer flavor, you might enjoy these beers:

  • Golden ales like Dirty Bucket Brewing Company’s “Dirty Blonde” (4.7% ABV) go hand in hand with summer. It’s light and refreshing, with a smooth oat finish.
  • Another light, refreshing beer – this one more traditional than the last, and with a sweet aroma – is Two Beers’ “Pilchuk Pilsner” (4.7% ABV).
  • At 5.7% ABV, with oats, malted barley, and three different types of local hops, Hellbent Brewing Company’s “Hop & Oats” is a pale ale with a smooth citrus and floral taste.
  • Speaking of citrus, what’s summer without citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and lemons? Big E Ales’ “Summer Haze” (5% ABV) uses oranges and orange peel in addition to its unique coriander twist.
  • Floral and citrusy – that’s the name of the game when it comes to thirst-quenching summer beers, and Georgetown Brewing Company’s Lucille IPA (7% ABV) is just that – perfect for a hot summer day.

What You Might Not Know About Summer Beers

With IPAs and hoppy beers much more in vogue now than in decades past, you may have seen people putting salt in their beers, but do you know why? Salting your beer is far from a recent discovery. Salt is known for enhancing flavors of meats (for example), but it does the same and more for beers: That hoppiness (and the accompanying bitterness) that features so prominently in IPAs is, in fact, reduced when salt is added.

Here is something else you might not know: IPAs are one of the quintessential “summer” beers, and Seattle has developed a reputation as one of the best places to get an IPA. Maybe that’s because the nearby Yakima Valley grows so much of the world’s – not just the U.S.’s – hops, which are such an important ingredient in IPAs. As a matter of fact, the Yakima Valley grows more than 70% of the world’s hops.

Looking for Something a Little Different?

Think you’ve tried it all? Try some of our other options:

  • At 6.5% ABV, and light, crisp, and fruity, with notes of lemon, orange, apple, and a cinnamon finish, you’ll love Seattle Cider Company’s Semi-Sweet cider. If dry cider is more up your alley, you’ll love Seattle Cider Company’s Dry cider, which is unfiltered, has the same ABV, and features aromas and tastes of lilac, blood orange, green apple, nectarine, peach, and cherry.
  • For $8.50, you won’t find anything more summer-y than our double smoked brat with sides of baked beans and chips or our grilled honey ham (from DD Meats) and two-cheese panini sandwich.
  • On the lighter (and vegetarian) side, $7.50 will get you a plate of our delicious roasted red pepper hummus with veggies and pita bread.

Easy Monkey has everything your summer-loving heart could desire, so what are you waiting for? We can’t wait to see you, whether you’re a first-timer, a regular, or a visitor to the area, check us out; you won’t regret it.

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It’s That Time of Year Again – What Are You Getting Dad for Father’s Day?

Attention: Father’s Day is right around the corner! With everyone graduating this time of year, dads tend to go largely ignored… but maybe there’s a reason for that? Dads are usually easier to please.

Yes, there are always those outliers, but most dads don’t want a big deal made of the occasion; because of this, many people have trouble buying gifts for their husbands and fathers. Here’s the good news: We’re here to help you find the perfect thing, and the icing on the cake is that you’ll probably enjoy it, too.

Idea #1: A night out with friends at Easy Monkey

When you’re trying to figure out what the dads on your list might enjoy the most, you could always do a barbecue at home… Or you could let Dad relax away from any and all responsibilities, like tending the grill and making sure everything is cooked to perfection. But how? Gift Dad a night out at Easy Monkey with friends and/or family! (By the way, this is a perfect idea for Dad’s birthday and Christmas, too! Or, you know… a Thursday.)

What’s better than a night on the town with friends? Well, if your dad likes being around people in a social setting, not much, but if you’re shopping for a dad who isn’t much of a social butterfly, maybe you should consider our next idea.

Idea #2: A night out alone at Easy Monkey

If your dad prefers drinking his adult beverage without the familiar sounds of family conversation, maybe you should take him out for a one-on-one night at Easy Monkey. A night out spending quality time with one or two loved ones can work wonders for relationships and relaxation for everyone involved. Plus, if you come on one of the nights we have live music, you’ll get to enjoy that as well, whether it’s your focus or just in the background while you have deep, meaningful conversations.

(Note: This is also a fantastic idea for when Dad’s celebrating a promotion or his son winning, losing, or simply finishing playing a softball game.)

Idea #3: A night in with a movie and a growler from Easy Monkey

If you really want to treat Dad to a special night of his own choosing, let him pick his favorite on-tap beer and fill a growler to take home so you can take it home to enjoy a movie or a game night with a chosen group of friends. Take it up a notch with more than one growler – that way, Dad will be able to enjoy different kinds of beers, just as you would at the tap house.

(Tip: This is a fun way to mark the weekend or blow off steam after a long, stressful week at work.)

Idea #4: An Easy Monkey Gift Card!

If you can’t convince Dad to go out or decide on a growler, a gift card may be your best choice; with a gift card, Dad can choose when to go, who he wants to join him, and he can try anything he wants – beer, wine, food, or a combination of any and all of the above! Whatever he picks, he will certainly have a good time. Celebrate Dad the right way this year; don’t get him a tie.

 

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hops

That beer you’re drinking right now – it’s tasty, right? Well, that’s thanks in part to the hops used in the brewing and fermentation processes. But what do you care, as long as you love the beer you’re with, right? What if those hops were replaced with herbs and spices – maybe you’d care then, right? So maybe you can understand why it was so remarkable when brewers stopped using herbs and spices (then referred to as “gruit,” which sounds more like something you might be concerned enough to ask your doctor about) to brew beer, and replaced it with hops. Ahh, the hops… It’s kind of like scotch drinkers saying, “Ahh, the peat!” But wait – what’s a “hop” anyway? They’re more interesting than you might realize.

What You Didn’t Know You Always Wanted to Know About Hops

Hops are flowers herbal flowers; they come from the humulus lupulus plant and its perennial vines that can grow as much as 30 feet long. Hops are sometimes used as an herbal treatment for – maybe you could’ve guessed this – restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia; it’s even been shown to have a sedative effect on animals. Someone alert the press! Is this really a news flash? Probably not that part, but did you know that hops also have antibacterial properties? Here are some other things you might not know about hops:

  • As of 2012, Germany and the U.S. are top two producers of hops worldwide, and the United States alone produces more hops every year than the next seven highest producing countries combined!
  • Hops grows in moist temperate climates, in many of the same or similar areas as potatoes. It used to be that Germany grew the most hops in the world, but as of 2015, the Yakima Valley area (located just a bit southeast of Seattle) has edged them out to be the world’s largest producer of this key ingredient.
  • Oddly enough, Ireland (which grows a lot of potatoes) didn’t start growing hops until relatively late in the hops game, but by the mid-1700s, the country produced about 500 tons annually. If you’re from the Seattle area, you’ll know that potatoes grow well here, too – and lucky for us, the Washington soil and climate are both great for growing hops.
  • Don’t let your dog drink your beer – not only is it generally not advisable to give pets alcohol, hops are toxic to dogs. It just means that much more for you, right?
  • Hops come from the same plant family as cannabis; they look, feel, smell, and taste pretty similar, thanks to the terpenes in each.

Varieties of Hops

There are different varieties of hops, each giving the brew different levels of bitter, zesty, citrus, earthy flavors. Hops also provides stability to the brew. Most IPA drinkers might know that their chosen adult beverage can be heavily hopped, but hops are used in many if not all beers; there are different methods of using them in the brewing process. IPAs, for example, are made with very strongly bitter, pungent hops; they’re used in American stouts to give the drink a unique aroma and flavor.

There are bitter hops, aroma hops, “noble” hops (Hallertau, Tettnanger, Saaz, and Spalt), and alpha hops. Like the different varieties of wine grapes, the different types of hops produce different tastes, smells, and looks; like wine, what matters more than anything is not which type of hops were used, but rather that you enjoy your beverage. If you drink local Seattle area beers or anything with hops grown in or around this general area, you are probably drinking something with one of the more popular varietals grown here, which are Willamette (typically used in ales, pale ales, and porters), Cascade (used most frequently in pale ales, these are the most widely used of all hops), Mt. Hood (which are used in ales, pale ales, and brown ales), Columbus/Tomahawk (which are used in stouts in addition to the other more common ales and pale ales), Zeus (which are key in the flavor of stouts and pale ales), Nugget (bitter beers such as stouts and barley wine have this as an ingredient), and Galena (which are used in porters, stouts, and ales) hops.

So come on in to Easy Monkey to discover which brew is your favorite today. Your favorite this week might not be on tap next week, so hurry in to try what we have available now. Whichever your favorite, it’ll be local, and it’ll be fantastic.