Skagit Brew Corner: Topaz Copper IPA


Topaz Hop Pellets from Australia

Hops (humulus lupulus) are a major component of beer. They impart flavor and help to preserve the brew. The Topaz hop is grown exclusively in Australia and possesses interesting, original qualities. It’s defined by rich and intense earthy flavors of apricot, tropical fruit, and tangerine spice.

The Topaz hop variety was bred in 1985 at the Rostrevor Breeding Garden, in the town of Myrtleford in Victoria, Australia. Initially designed to be grown and processed to make hop extract, Topaz hops began showing up in brew kettles beginning in 2007, imparting unique flavors and intriguing brewers.

HopCzarTopazTopaz Copper IPA is the next beer in the Bridgeport Hop Czar IPA Series, following Hop Czar Citra. Bridgeport marries Bravo hops in the boil with the unique aroma of Topaz. This combines the intense, fruity, earthy sweet qualities of Topaz hops with Bravo hop variety to create a bold, hop-centric experimental India Pale Ale.

Long story short: there’s a lot going on in this beer. It pours a hazy dark amber color with sweet-tart fruit aromas of passion fruit and citrus. A thin tan head of foam forms and the first sip yields a full, malty backbone with a generous amount of weight from the spicy blend of Topaz and Bravo hops. Successive sips reveal a hint of peppery spice to help to balance the residual sweetness of the hops. The complex flavors marry nicely with a range of different foods, including the sweetness of cream-based desserts such as Crème brûlée or milk chocolate.

Hop Czar Topaz Copper IPA from Bridgeport Brewing in Portland, OR. 6.5% Alcohol by volume / 70 IBU. This copper IPA has a smooth malty body with rich grainy flavors and balance of bittersweetness.

What’s Dipping in the Well? Organic Lavender Returns

Support your local Co-op as we offer delicious organic lavender ice cream! This popular flavor returns to our Deli and is available by the scoop, in hand-packed pints, or as milkshake!

Creative ice cream maker Matt handcrafts this ice cream using organic eggs, milk, and cream from Organic Valley, a Northwest family farms dairy cooperative. The Co-op’s Lavender ice cream is then infused with organic vanilla and organic lavender flowers.

Grown in gardens around the world, lavender has long been used to flavor desserts and teas. It’s also used by naturopathic doctors and herbalists for its naturally antiseptic properties and to promote relaxation.

So stop by the Deli and try a sample today. Our Lavender ice cream must be tasted to be believed. Its delicately floral and slightly minty flavors make a fabulous combination with our vanilla-infused cream and result in a subtle but satisfying cool treat. It pairs well with strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry-based crumbles and pies. Or serve a glass of your favorite bubbly Prosecco or Cava wine with a small scoop of lavender ice cream for an elegant sparkling dessert!

Cheese Whisperer: Snøfrisk-y

Cheese for breakfast is a wonderful thing.ChsWhispSnofrisk

Snøfrisk (means “snow fresh”) cheese for breakfast is even better. This new arrival at the Co-op Cheese Department Specialty Cheese Island is silky smooth and perfect for slathering on your favorite cracker, crispbread, or crunchy bread.

Snøfrisk is a Norweigan fresh cream cheese made from a harmonious balance of 80% pasteurized goat’s milk and 20% pasteurized cow’s milk. The result is a rich, buttery spreadable cultured cheese with a slight hint of tartness. Milder than a chevre, this cheese is more akin to crème fraîche and can be successfully used as a spreadable substitute for cream cheese or sour cream.

This fresh tasting delight was first introduced to the public for the 1994 Winter Olympics at Lillehammer by the Tine company (makers of Jarlesberg and Gjetost). Snøfrisk’s delicate flavor pairs simply with fresh fruit such as organic WA grown Rainier cherries or blueberries. It makes an easy, flavorful sandwich spread and also makes a lovely dip for crisp fresh vegetables. Or just eat it with a spoon…


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!

Cheese Whisperer: Picnic with Old Croc

OldCrocWarm, sunny days with a slight breeze and bright blue skies: it’s picnic weather! And cheese is perfect for picnics!

The Co-op is featuring new, soon-to-be favorite picnic cheeses: Old Croc’s White Sharp and Extra Sharp Cheddar. These sturdy cheddars make excellent companions on a hike or picnic. They have a relatively dry texture with a rich, buttery flavor. Packed with protein, these Old Crocs are ideal for enjoying on-the-go or in the kitchen.

Old Croc aged white cheddars are born out a legacy of Australian dairy. The story of dairy “down under” dates back to 1788 when two bulls and seven female cows were loaded onto British ships headed for the island continent. Legend has it that on arrival, all the cattle escaped into the bush. Colonists continued to arrive and six or seven years later, they discovered the lost cattle had survived and flourished: the original nine cows had now grown into a herd of sixty.

The Australian climate and terroir are special. High rainfall, fertile soil, and lush pasture land all encourage dairy farming. As a result, many Australian cheeses are made from grass-fed milk and the use of steroidal hormones is prohibited across the country. Old Croc Cheddars are made with all natural ingredients and crafted from 100% pure Australian milk from grass-fed cows.

Your picnic awaits: start with some full-flavored, tangy Old Croc cheddar and add a jar of Woodstock Farms Kosher Dill Pickles (on sale this month!). Give yourself a sweet and juicy accompaniment and go for a bag of fresh Rainier cherries from Brooks Family Farm in Royal City, WA or some J4 Ranch organic blueberries. Don’t forget your favorite loaf of crusty Breadfarm bread or a box of crackers! Or try the following recipe (from Old Croc’s website) for making a cheddarific appetizer!

Aussie Stuffed ‘Shrooms’ from Old Croc Website Recipe Page


  • 12 crimini or button mushrooms
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Chopped Chives
  • 1 pkg Old Croc Sharp or Extra Sharp White Cheddar, thinly sliced or shredded

Cook bacon over medium high heat until crispy. Drain, chop and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove mushroom stems and finely chop. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and slowly saute chopped stems and onion until the onion is soft. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, combine the mushroom stem mixture and bacon. Stuff mixture into the mushroom caps. Bake in the preheated oven approx 15 minutes. Top with cheese and heat until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with chives and serve warm.