Skagit Brew Corner: Whistling Pig

SBCWhisPigGet familiar with a new arrival to the Co-op’s beer selection: locally brewed Whistling Pig Hefeweizen, an American wheat ale named for the whistling pig of Northwest Washington. Mild and refreshing with a slightly fruity finish, Whistling Pig is ideal for celebrating the end of a warm summer day.

Just in case you are wondering (as I was), whistle pigs are actually large squirrels known as marmots, small and furry critters that sometimes communicate with a sweet, high pitched whistle call. Marmots abound around Leavenworth, especially around Whistling Pig Meadow. (What are the odds?) So reward yourself with a bottle of this session-style beer when you feel like an industrious marmot, foraging for survival on the meadows of Northwestern Washington.

For over 20 years, Fish Brewing Company has made Whistling Pig as part of their Leavenworth Biers, a series of unfiltered beers inspired by traditional German flavors. Whistling Pig Hefeweizen is made in the south German style of a wheat beer (weissbier). It has a high ratio of wheat-to-barley malt and a yeast strain that is characterized by unique phenolic flavors of banana and spices, often with a dry and tart edge.

Typically with light hop bitterness and a moderate amount of alcohol, these beers are often unfiltered for a hazy, cloudy appearance. Classically, hefeweizens are well suited to pair with cheese. From light, creamy, soft-ripened bries to dense, waxed sharp cheddars, Whistling Pig’s sweet, fruit-forward malt flavors compliment the lactic tang of many styles of cultured curd.

Whistling Pig Hefeweizen from Leavenworth Biers, Fish Brewing, Olympia, WA. 5.4% Alcohol by volume / 22 IBU. This is a soft, grainy, sweet brew with undertones of lemon and apricot. Serve this brew with cheese plates and grilled summertime favorites such as burgers and hot dogs.

Hefeweizens have sweet, biscuity flavors that are versatile in recipes and other adventures in the kitchen. Try using hefeweizen to de-glaze a pan of roasted chicken or get adventurous and make a Honeydew Hefeweizen Beer Milkshake:

Recipe for Whistling Pig Hefeweizen Honeydew Milkshakebeermilkshake

(adapted from Eva’s Adventures in Cooking blog)


  • 1/2 Honeydew melon
  • 3 and 1/3 cups organic Co-op vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup Whistling Pig Hefeweizen (Wheat Beer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Honeydew Slices for Garnish (optional)


Peel, seed, and dice melon. Place the melon pieces in the freezer to chill for an hour or so; they will be cooler and add more substantial body to the milkshake. After the melon has chilled, add the pieces to a blender, and add ice cream, beer, and vanilla. Blend until smooth and serve immediately with honeydew slices for garnish. Enjoy!

What’s Dipping: Essentially Orange

SVFC_IceCream_Essentially OrangeTry our newest seasonal flavor of handmade ice cream: Essentially Orange. A blend of hand squeezed organic Valencia oranges, freshly grated zest, and pure vanilla ice cream, this flavor will send your taste buds on a trip down memory lane.

Creamy with bright and refreshing flavors, our own Essentially Orange is perfect for warm early summer days It also makes a delicious milk shake! Stop by our Deli and try some today! Now available in hand-packed pints.


The Cheese Whisperer: Bellavitano-a-Go-Go

The cheese arena stretches far and wide. Curds with varied characteristics, different aging times, and flavors abound and continue to challenge our understanding and comfort. Many popular cheeses are extra aged — typically meaning the milk curd has been cooked, pressed, and aged for over 1 year in order to develop intense, complex flavors, and firmer textures.


Delicious Two Bean Salad with Balsamic Bellavitano aged cheese! Did I hear someone say “picnic”?

Speaking of such elegant and aged cheeses: the line of Sartori Bellavitano cheeses are versatile and currently on sale for $3.99 per wedge at the Co-op’s Cheese Island.

What a deal! These extra sharp specialty wedges are available as Asiago, Parmesan or flavored with Balsamic vinegar, Raspberry tart ale, and Merlot wine. These excellent aged cheeses are crafted in a style similar to a fine Parmesan: sweet and sharp with tiny crystals of crunch, also known as crystallized milk proteins (casein) that contain the amino acid tyrosine. Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, and free of hormones and antibiotics.

Each of these high quality Bellavitano cheeses are a perfect addition to cheese plates. Or try crumbling them atop salads, pasta, and soups. Or add them to scrambled eggs or frittatas for breakfast.

Raspberry Bellavitano is a nutty, creamy aged cheese soaked with handcrafted Raspberry Tart ale. It features bright notes of red raspberries as well as caramelized sugar and hazelnuts. Most recently, it won a Bronze medal in the World Cheese Awards.

Balsamic Bellavitano is a sweet, tart, and fruit-flavored aged cheese that just won a Silver Medal at the World Cheese Awards. A classic aged Parmesan-style cheese accented with a few prized drops of genuine Modena balsamic vinegar. Cheesemaker Mike Matucheski blesses this cheese with a sweet coating that makes it ideal for cheese plates and pairings with toasted nuts, fresh green Castelveltrano olives and dried fruit.

Merlot Bellavitano is created by infusing the classic golden aged Bellavitano cheese with the rich, earthy plum-like flavors of Merlot wine. The marriage of creamy cheese flavor and tangy berry notes of Merlot paves the way for fabulous entertaining, alongside some toasted walnuts, thin slices of prosciutto, and semisweet chocolates for dessert.

Balsamic Bellavitano Two Bean Recipe (from Sartori website)

The following recipe makes for a delightful warm weather salad for outside entertaining or a simple family meal. It’s loaded with tangy, sweet, and fresh flavors sure that are sure to please. Read more The Cheese Whisperer: Bellavitano-a-Go-Go …

Skagit Brew Corner: New Planet Gluten Free!

PB-PaleAle-4pak+Glass+Bottle-175x160Most beers are brewed with malted barley or wheat and contain gluten. This can present a challenge for beer lovers who want to reduce or eliminate gluten from their diet. Fortunately for gluten-free brew hounds, the Co-op is carrying a new gluten free beer, New Planet’s Pale Ale (formerly Off the Grid Pale Ale)!

This Colorado-based company is among a select few companies worldwide dedicated to brewing gluten-free craft beer for the growing community of people diagnosed with Celiac Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and/or gluten intolerance.

Brewing with a combination of sorghum, brown rice, and molasses, New Planet’ s pale ale features Centennial, Cascade, and Sterling hops for a full and floral bouquet. Brewed in the spirit of a classic American Pale Ale, New Planet’s offering has a bold hop character with rich caramel and grapefruit flavors, and a clean finish.

New Planet Pale Ale from New Planet Brew Company of Boulder,  Colorado. 6.7% ABV / 45 IBU. Bright flavors and delicate carbonation merge to form this gluten free pale ale, which resembles a light American-style pale ale. Notes of pineapple and citrus peel are matched with a medium weight body to make this tangy ale a great companion at the dinner table. Serve this hoppy beer alongside food with smokey, spicy, and strong flavors. It will also compliment sharp or blue cheeses, so keep it in mind for salads and pasta dishes. Or pair with seafood stews, hot spiced Asian food, or slow-roasted barbeque.

All of New Planet’s beers are made with 100% gluten-free ingredients, processed with care and tested regularly to assure compliance with new gluten free labeling standards. In May 2012, in an effort to protect the gluten free community, the US Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) issued TTB Ruling 2012-2 to establish clear guidelines for the labeling and advertising of gluten-free beers. Some of their key statements include: “the statement must stipulate that ‘there is currently no valid test to verify the gluten content of the fermented product’ and ‘that the finished product may contain gluten.’” Source: TTB Ruling Number 2012-2 May 24, 2012.


Skagit Brew Corner: Cooking with Kölsch


Hale’s Ales in Seattle is an institution that produces consistently good quality beer. And as the Springtime inspires the brew masters to lighten their malts, Hale’s releases a fresh batch of their award-winning Kölsch ale. Gold Medal Winner at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival, this ale has wonderfully crisp, clean, and refreshing flavors of Pilsner and Torrefied Wheat malts. Slightly sweet and herbal Saaz and Sterling hops impart an old world elegance and medium body to this pleasant and refreshing brew: Kölsch Ale from Hale’s Ales of Seattle, WA. 5.1% ABV / 10 IBU

What makes a Kölsch ale? Traditionally Kölsch is a light, thirst-quenching German ale with low bitterness and a golden color. Originally from Cologne, this pale beer is fermented with an ale yeast, and then later conditioned at cold temperatures that are typically used to make lagers. The result is a gently bittered, versatile beer with a slightly fruity flavor, relatively low alcohol content, and superbly drinkable light texture. Serve it ice cold, along with a snack tray of smoked, spiced, and sweet foods. Or use to to cook up a batch of delicious roasted snacks, see the following recipe.

Kölsch Glazed Almonds, Seeds & Fruit Read more Skagit Brew Corner: Cooking with Kölsch …