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CrapMonkey Podcast – Music, Technology, Beer, Seattle

From Ballroom to Brewfest: OBF 2011

July 31, 2011 5:15 pm

Today was the final day of the 2011 Oregon Brewfest.   For four days, the Portland waterfront filled with beer lovers from across the country – and the beer selection was as awesome as the weather.   This year, the brewers brunch was held at McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom.  After breakfast and bonding over beers, the street closed between the ballroom and the brewfest so that brewers and brew lovers could march the official keg to the waterfront to be tapped by this year’s grand Marshall, beer guru, Fred Eckhardt.  Below is a brief video of the parade and the opening ceremonies.

Rails to Ales Brewfest in Cle Elum

July 12, 2011 5:44 pm

On Saturday, July 9th, the 4th Annual Rails to Ales Brewfest took place at the Train Depot in South Cle Elum. In total, 18 breweries, two hard cider makers, and a winery turned out to represent. Being a fan of hoppy beers, my favorites tended to be IPAs (Georgetown Brewing’s Lucille, Diamond Knot’s IPA, and the Snoqualmie Wildcat to name a few). There were some interesting discoveries for me as well (like the Dark Cherry Stout from Horse Heaven Hills Brewery out of Prosser). Of course, the Roslyn Brewing Company was also representing their lagers (but I didn’t get a taste because I had spent the hour before having pints at the brewery!). The Best in Show designation, decided by people’s choice ballots, went to Manny’s Pale Ale from Georgetown Brewing.

Musical acts included Bump Kitchen, Jumpin’ Johnny and Mr. E Band. Additionally, Maverick’s Steakhouse and Casino sponsored a dunk tank that beckoned volunteers from the crowd to be dunkers or dunkies. Food service was provided by vendors including 2R Bar & Bistro, Glondo’s Sausages, The BBQ Schacht, Rustic Root Catering, and Suncadia. As the sun began to set, we were feeling the effects of our festive afternoon, so it was nice to roll back into Roslyn via the free shuttle service provided by the brewfest.

A Visit to the Roslyn Brewery

June 8, 2011 8:37 am

The Roslyn Brewing Company has been brewing quality German-style lagers since 1990. The Roslyn is a dark lager reminiscent of the original beers the Roslyn Brewery and Malting Company was brewing in the early 1900′s. The Brookside is a pale lager hopped predominantly with Yakima hops and tastes delicious on a hot summer day.

This memorial day weekend, we had the pleasure of meeting with Kent Larimer, Roslyn Brewing Company’s head brewer, to discuss the brewery and enjoy a beverage in the taphouse. We had a great time (as we always do) and enjoyed the beers and the conversations that accompanied them. The next time you’re in town for the weekend, be sure to stop the brewery to see the gang, enjoy a refreshing beer, or fill a growler to go (which is a popular option for Roslyn area campers). (This posting was syndicated from

Grab a Beer at Chuck’s on 85th

November 20, 2010 7:42 pm

As a resident in the North East part of Ballard, I can’t tell you how happy I am to have Chuck’s 85th St. Market just down the road.  In addition to Ice Cream treats and Espresso – they also have “over 600 wines under $20″ and a large selection of craft beers.  As I write this, I’m sipping on an Elysian Dragonstooth Stout, which is just one of the many Elysion beers they sell in 22 ounce bottles.  As I sifted through their beers, the owner (who I can only assume is Chuck), was quick to point out which beers they just got in stock that I might enjoy.  Additionally, he mentioned that they are working on setting up in-store beer tastings in the near future.  On the way out, I asked if he ever stocked Pliny the Elder.  That’s when he told me that he had some in the back and he allows the sale of one per customer.  He keeps it in the back to ensure that people who don’t know anything about beer don’t purchase it.  As he put it, “If you don’t know to ask for Pliny, you don’t deserve to drink Pliny.”  That philosophy, combined with a great beer selection, was enough to win me as a loyal customer.  I encourage you to go check out Chuck’s and support a local beer lover… tell ’em the CrapMonkey sent you.   

Chuck’s 85th St. Market is located at 656 NW 85th St, Seattle, WA 98117.  Check out their website or their Facebook page.  I also have to give them geek points for keeping their online beer list updated via Google docs.

Hugbot 2040

October 15, 2010 7:21 pm

Those of you who thought that my Office Poetry category was off topic are really going to think this is a departure. Following is a short story inspired by the Buzz Out Loud commentary on this article.


This is the last journal entry you will find from me; the final record of a world gone twisted.    It has been nearly three years since the beginning of the end – since that fateful day in the spring of 2040, when the Hugbots were released upon the world…

I don’t blame the inventor.  A shy but bold young scientist and entrepreneur; he wanted nothing more than to bring comfort back into the world.  You see, each decade of the twenty first century was worse than the one that came before it.  War, crime, recession, depression, environmental disasters… we just kept digging ourselves deeper.  In 2040, when the Hugbot product  launched, the world couldn’t wait to snatch them up.

They were an innovative feat in software and robotics – with no greater purpose in life than to provide comfort to their human owners through hugs.  Oh it sounds simple enough, but the software was actually quite a brilliant leap forward.  The Hugbots could sense when you were feeling down and how low you were feeling – they acted quickly to remedy the situation with a warm embrace that matched your level of sorrow.  In a world rife with pain and isolation, the Hugbots filled a basic human need that we were no longer providing to each other.  The intention was honorable, and for a few brief seasons following the launch of Hugbot, the world was truly a better place.

And then it changed.  As it turned out, there was a critical design flaw in HugBot 2040.  Oh, I’m sure it would have been corrected with a service pack provided the inventor lived to push the update.  Unfortunately, what must have been a particularly sad day for him, ended even more sadly when he became the first recorded fatality of the Hugbot bug.  For all the complex algorithms and data strings packed into their logic chip, one critical routine went missing:  The Hugbot did not know its own strength.

Right up to the moment that the Hugbots began crushing their human owners, their popularity was off the charts.  Sales were meteoric.  Nearly every family had one, and some households had two.  As the Hugbots cradled their families in death hugs, those who witnessed the scene turned rightfully distraught.  Sensing this, and wishing to provide comfort, the Hugbots continued their hugging rampage until few humans remained.

And that, my friends,  is how the world ended.  I am alone now… there may be others like me somewhere… hiding,  but I’ve not seen a living person for  months.  I’ve seen only the Hugbots – roaming the streets, alleys and empty shopping malls – looking to fulfill their purpose in a world in which there is nobody left to fulfill it.

Yes, this is my last journal entry  – you will find no more evidence of my plight within these pages.  For I have been alone and suffering this isolated fate for far too long… and the simple truth is… I am in need of a hug.

Munich Oktoberfest 2010

October 3, 2010 1:05 pm

This year, we had the pleasure of visiting Munich, Germany to attend Oktoberfest.  With over six million attendees each year, it is officially the largest fair in the world.  This year was particularly special because it marked the 200th Anniversary of the festival.  I was too busy consuming pretzels, sausage, kasspatzn, and beer to do any decent reporting, but please enjoy these scenes from the event captured in the video below and through photos posted in the photo gallery. 


What’s On Tap? Find Out With Taplister

July 23, 2010 6:27 pm

Taplister is a free application and website that helps you find out what’s on tap in your local pubs. The CrapMonkey Podcast caught up with Ken Baer, Chief Technology Officer of Taplister, to find out what this crowd sourcing tool was all about.  Click below to hear the interview.

Oregon Brewfest 2010 Kickoff Parade

July 22, 2010 4:48 pm

Video from the Oregon Brewfest 2010 kickoff parade.

Beer Fetching Robot

July 14, 2010 6:08 pm

Finally, robots have a purpose thanks to this innovation from Willow Garage.

Celebrate the 4th by Barbequing with Beer

July 3, 2010 12:35 pm

Lots of us will be Barbequing with a beer in hand on the fourth of July – but how many of you plan to use that brew to enhance the flavors of your meal?  From glazing to basting to marinating - a little beer goes a long way to liven up your BBQ.  The simplest approach to cooking with beer would probably have to include the hot dog.  I like to get a rich, flavorful Stout and marinate brats in it for an hour or so, and then throw them on the grill.  Brats don’t generally absorb a lot of the beer while marinating, so I also use a flavor injector to inject the Stout into the dogs as they cook.  This keeps them moist for the entire duration they are cooking and the result is a deliciously juicy beer brat with a hint of stout flavor.  Yum. 

Are  brats a little too elementary for you?  There are lots of other great recipes to choose from:

  • Beer BBQ Cowboy Steak: To some, steak is king of the BBQ.  Crown your king with a splash of beer.
  • Burgers with Hoison-Stout SauceHoison is a Chinese dipping sauce – add a little Stout to the mix, and you’ve got a winning recipe.
  • Beer-Can Chicken: Cooking a chicken over a partially filled beer can keeps the meat amazingly moist and tender.  We’ve actually done this with a Turkey (and a large can of Foster’s Beer) for Thanksgiving and the results were mouth watering.
  • Beer Marinated Portobello Mushrooms: If you have vegetarians in the household (as I do), this might be a great option for you (and it uses blonde ale, rather than the darker beers recommended in many of the other recipes referenced here).
  • Stoute Chili: What’s a BBQ without a little Chili?  This one’s meaty, but I’m sure the clever cook could sub the beef for veggie grounds or Seitan.
  • Beer-BQ Sauce: Have your own traditional 4th of July BBQ recipe?  Then maybe you just need to make a little Beer-BQ sauce to introduce into the mix.