Mac & Jacks Brewing was the 35th visit on my bucket list of Washington State breweries.
Mac & Jacks Brewing has been a fixture in Washington since 1993. Mostly a draft-only brewery (M&J recently started bottling in limited quantity, their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cascadian Dark Ale in 2014), you can find their beer spread across the Pacific Northwest in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. My first experience with Mac & Jacks beer was their flagship African Amber ale. The African Amber is an unfiltered medium-bodied ale with complex sweet malt flavors and a floral hop profile.
Mac & Jacks has never opened a taproom but does offer free tours and tastings in the retail shop / brewing location. The tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm.
I decided to arrive early for the 1pm Saturday tour expecting to grab a pint and hang out beforehand. Don’t bother. You may purchase beer to go or even sample what’s on tap, but the retail store is just that. The small shop will fill your growlers, manage your keg orders in addition to offering glassware, t-shirt and other Mac & Jacks branded merchandise for sale.
The tour started at 1:05pm. After checking ID, each person received a souvenir pint glass with 4 blue tickets. The tickets were used throughout the tour and redeemed for each beer that was sampled. Our group only had 6 people. Due this small size, we had the privilege of tasting throughout as opposed to large groups that wait until the end of the tour to start sampling.
The tour includes great information and the basics of their beers, brewery operation and distribution. One of the fun facts I learned is that Mac & Jacks produces 200-400 kegs per day. They have been able to reduce the amount of time is takes to produce their beer from 3 weeks down to 1 week. Distributors are under contract not to resell the kegs for 2 weeks, allowing the fermentation process it’s full cycle. This gives Mac & Jacks the room to continue producing such large volumes in their Redmond location.
The tour is well worth an hour out of your Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
I tried the 4 following beers:
- Serengeti Wheat – Crisp unfiltered Hefenweizen. Citrus finish and a little sweet. ABV: 4.7%
- Brown Recluse – (employee test batch that’s not quite a lager or an ale) Hazy with a little spice, subtle chocolate, not nutty at all. This beer was a pleasant surprise.
- Cascadian Dark Ale – Fall seasonal Black IPA. Smooth and malty with all the hop characteristics of an IPA.
- Ibis IPA – June 2014 New Release- A solid IPA with strong aromas and sweet citrus flavors. ABV: 6.9%; IBU: 65
Others beers I did not sample on the tour:
- African Amber
- Black Cat Porter
- Barley Wine Ale
- Two Tun IPA