Craft-beer geeks, rejoice. No Anchor is open. Also: how to make a Singapore Sling, why Yakima hops are so good, and which local bar made a list of America’s best.
The best new beer bar is finally here: No Anchor, the geekiest of beer bars, opened on Monday in Belltown. Hop heads and sour-beer fans are going to be pleased when they see the stash of cult and rare brews. Crowd pleasers such as Jolly Pumpkin and Melvin Brewing are on tap, but dig deeper and you’ll find lots of interesting beers with unique flavor profiles like the “Extra Dry” from Stillwater Artisanal Ales, a lemony saison brewed with rice to create a sake-like flavor profile.
No Anchor is a candy store for serious drinkers. Beers are served at 42 degrees or 52 degrees, depending on style, to accentuate the flavors and aromas. On the menu, there’s a clever drink matrix similar to the one run in New York magazine, to help guide those overwhelmed by the 17 different beers on tap. No Anchor is owned by Anu Apte, who runs Rob Roy nearby, and Chris Elford, a certified cicerone who helped start the great beer joint Proletariat in New York’s East Village.
Guess which local bar made America’s best-bar list: You’ll never get it. Bon Appétit’s “The Best Five Bars We Drank at This Year” listed Dino’s Tomato Pie on Capitol Hill, raving that “if this bar served nothing but Midorgaritas (Midori-spiked margaritas, a recent special) it would still be one of our favorite new places to hang out …” By the way, the top bar on that list was New York’s Bar Goto in the Lower East Side. The owner, Kenta Goto, used to worked at Pegu Club, where he learned from cocktail matriarch Audrey Saunders, who lives part-time in Duvall now.
Controversial distillery closes: In January 2015, during the craft booze boom, Our/Vodka opened and the backlash from local distillers and bartenders started from Day One. This “Ballard boutique distillery” was owned by one of the world’s largest liquor conglomerates, Pernod Ricard, but was marketing itself as a small, artisanal vodka operation, even hiring local artists to be the face of the brand. It never got much traction in the Seattle market and last week announced it was shutting down. Our/Vodka released a statement saying Seattle was a “challenging market” and that it’s now focusing on opening similar distilleries in Miami and New York.
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Across the Atlantic to Yakima: The Yakima Valley produces 75 percent of the country’s hops, partly because many brewers swear those hops make the best IPAs. One European brewer agrees, and he’s going so far as to fly here himself to find different hop varieties for acclaimed Meantime Brewery in London. Brewmaster Ciaran Giblin is scheduled to be in Yakima this week to buy hops for his London Pale Ale and Yakima Ale as well as for his seasonal ales and special brews. He’s also researching unusual hop varieties for the future. In an email before he flew to Seattle, Giblin wrote that “The climate and how the (Yakima) area is irrigated provides a unique hop flavor which we like in our beers.”
The best Singapore Sling: Every craft-cocktail bar seems to have a take on this tropical drink these days, not just as a summer libation but an all-season drink. The boozy kick will warm you up during the cold months. Foreign National’s is the best variation I’ve tasted this year. I love the barky and sweet notes the cognac and the sloe gin add to this beach classic. (Also, look out for Foreign National’s new drink menu in October. This drinking den on the Hill has put together a solid cocktail program.)
Foreign National’s Singapore Sling
1.5 ounce London-style gin (suggested Bombay Dry)
½ ounce cognac (suggested Landy cognac VS)
½ ounce Benedictine
½ ounce sloe gin (suggested Hayman’s)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce house sour cherry mix*
½ ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 ounces soda
Shake all ingredients, except the soda, with ice and then strain into 16-ounce glass. Fill with ice and top with soda.
*To duplicate the bar’s sour cherry mix, muddle or make a puree of sour cherries. Or add lemon to cherry juice to give it some tartness. Otherwise the drink will be too sweet.