Downtown Spirits - Seattle

March 5, 2015 

Blog Post #1

Beer. Nectar of the gods. Back in the day, it was a form of sustenance. In ancient Egypt it was used to supply nutrients to the poor and was central to the diets of the affluent. During the middle ages, beer was safer to drink than water and was a staple in diets across Europe, often being served for breakfast in place of food. Today, we view beer a little differently. It’s no longer the nourishing beverage of the past. It’s a global behemoth that generates billions of dollars. Brands like Budweiser and Heineken will always exist and prosper, yet the craft beer movement, made up of thousands of independent breweries the world over, has been thriving for the past two decades, and is currently experiencing a golden age. New breweries, offering a wide range of beer styles, are opening up every week. Not just here in Seattle, but everywhere. We are no longer constrained to drinking only what’s locally available or widely distributed. We are free to choose our own drunken path. What are you in the mood for? That’s the question you must ask yourself these days when walking into a beer shop. Do you want a crisp, clean lager or a rich, chocolaty stout? A bitter, hoppy IPA or a funky, fruity sour? Do you want a local beer or one made thousands of miles away? What do you choose? Each style is filled with nuances unique to the ingredients put into it, and all those nuanced characteristics change depending on who brewed it and where. A German hefeweizen tastes very different than an American hefeweizen, and both, individually, taste very different depending on where it was brewed and how they brewed it. For beer lovers like myself, and presumably you because you’re reading my beer blog, walking into a beer shop is like walking into a glass paradise filled with endless joy and possibilities. You can have a quadruple ale made by monks from Belgium, followed by an IPA from Ballard, and then, if you’re lucky, a bourbon barrel stout from Grand Rapids, Michigan. There are so many different styles from so many different breweries that it’s hard to keep track of sometimes. And that’s where I come in.

My liver hates me because I love beer so much. And it isn’t a recent thing either. As I’m writing this, I’m now realizing that I’ve been drinking beer, good beer, consistently for almost half my life. When I started at the ripe, young age of 15, it was the classics, Natty Ice and 40’s. Just in it for the buzz in those days. My older brother introduced me to good beer while I was still in high school, but I didn’t recognize it for it what it was until I went to school at UMass Amherst. It was there, thanks to my amazing group of friends, that I truly discovered craft beer. With guidance from Berkshire Brewing Company, Paper City Brewing, Spirit Haus, and the entire Northeast brewing scene, I was able to discover the whole world of craft brewing. That’s the foundation that was truly laid in college. I’m definitely using that education more than my anthropology degree.

After college, I gradually moved West, drinking beers from across the nation while working in the service industry. I eventually landed here in Seattle, where I got a job at the nicest wine bar in town, Purple Café. I worked there for several years, eventually becoming a lead server and a sommelier. They became my family and wine was our religion. My love for beer never waned though, and everything I was learning about wine, I was applying to beer. Look, smell, taste, analyze, learn; I do that every time I taste anything. When I got the opportunity to take over the beer program at Downtown Spirits, I was ecstatic. It was the perfect job for me. I can expand my own knowledge, and I get to share all my knowledge and love of beer with people who actual want to hear me geek out on it. Not only that, but I can have a fridge that looks this on a regular basis….

That right there is why my liver hates me. I will drink all of those beers. Not all in one night, of course, but more than half of that will be gone in the next 3-4 days, and I’ll probably buy more before it ever looks empty. It’s an addiction. I follow beer like a teenage girl follows Taylor Swift. I actively seek out the newest and coolest beers like a hipster trying to find the next awesome band you’ve never heard of. I try as many as I can, and I do it all for you. OK, mostly for me. But Uncle Ben always said “With great power comes great responsibility.” That’s one of the reasons I’m starting this blog. I have access to all sorts of beers, all sorts of people, and all sorts of opinions. I should probably share a bit of my knowledge and experience in the beer world with you, the reader of this blog. Who knows where this journey will take us? It’s going to be a fun journey though.


Welcome to the beer blog. Cheers!


((Authors Note: That bottle of MOA Five Hop almost took my eye out. Always remember to hold the cork down when removing the cage from a bottle. And aim it away from people))

Written by Jon Olken — March 05, 2015

We are family owned and operated since 2012. Proud to offer Downtown Seattle's largest selection of wine, beer and spirits! Over 1200 wines, 900 craft beers, 10 growler taps, kegs, ciders, 1300 specialty spirits, and more.