(Our first round of photos from the communitywide LB debut is here)
Story by Stephanie Chacharon
Photos by Christina Chacharon
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
It was really only a matter of time before West Seattle had its own branded beer. Enter Löwman Bräu, a summery Kölsch-style beer that unapologetically boasts: “It’s a West Seattle thing, you wouldn’t understand.”
LB is the hops-filled lovechild of Feedback Lounge (WSB sponsor) proprietor Jeff Gilbert and master brewer Alejandro Brown of White Center’s Big Al Brewing (both pictured below with Feedback co-owner Matt Johnson). To celebrate the release of this local legend-in-the-making, ten neighborhood bars tapped their kegs at 7 pm Wednesday night — serving up frosty pints that both taste good and do good.
The Feedback Lounge was filled with neighbors bellied up to a pint (or two) of Löwman Bräu, many wearing the beer’s signature t-shirt, created by Modern Dog Design. Proprietor and LB-instigator Jeff greeted guests with a handshake or a cheerily raised glass, calling “Happy Löwman Bräu day!” to the steady crowd in front of the T-shirt table.
Asked to describe the beer, Jeff told WSB that it “just tastes like West Seattle,” elaborating with images of lounging at Alki on a rare warm and dry summer evening. Others called the hoppy beer light, refreshing, crisp, and clear. Wanting to make an educated observation of our own, we tried the beer and declared it delicious.
Jeff originally dreamed up the idea of creating a beer as a promotion for the Feedback Lounge. But, after calling Al to get a feel for the logistics of the endeavor, the once-small idea quickly snowballed into a keg-filled community-wide event. Jeff recruited his bar buddies to join in, but he says they needed little convincing and all jumped at the chance to support local charities.
Once a network was established, the real fun began. Jeff worked with Al to transform his vision into a unique seasonal beer — one that Al thought would be fun and interesting and summer-appropriate. The result was Löwman Bräu: A clear beer with a bright straw-yellow hue, and a prominent hoppiness that’s less bitter than a standard German pale lager.
Both Al and Jeff applauded the other — Jeff for Al’s mastery of his craft, and Al for Jeff’s ability to pull together such a coordinated community-focused event.
Löwman Bräu, by the numbers:
*Conception: Jeff’s beer-focused head, 2010
*Release date: June 15, 2011
*Kegs brewed: 60
*Participating bars: So far, ten (check out the full list here). Once the original ten participants pour the Kölsch for two weeks, it will be made available to other interested venues in West Seattle, White Center, and Georgetown
*Löwman Bräu’s preservative count: Zero
*Charity bucks: $1 of every pint sold goes toward a local non-profit
*Estimated empty-keg date: Mid August
WSB also spoke with Kat Fausett and friends, who’d staked out prime real estate at the Feedback Lounge’s bar. Kat, wearing her LB t-shirt, told us that she’d gotten the second pour from the keg (understandably, Jeff got the first taste). She dubbed the beer smooth and clean with a dry finish, calling it “perfect for summer.”
(From L to R: Karly Stevens, Jennifer Friedman, Kat Fausett, Dorcas Bean, Chad Hessoun)
Next door at Beveridge Place Pub, trivia contenders and hockey fans rubbed elbows while sipping Löwman Bräu.
Not to be outdone, patrons at the Junction’s West 5 sampled the beer — bartender Mike Howell told WSB that he hadn’t needed to announce the beer’s arrival, “people just knew.”
If this summer test goes as planned, Jeff and Al are already scheming about their next seasonal collaboration. Jeff’s even named his fall and winter projects, and he says Al is crafting the perfect recipes. He wouldn’t reveal the beers’ names quite yet, but says they’re very West Seattle-centric.
Until then, go forth and support your community with a cold one. You’ll thank yourself.
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