Image: Sam Hassan
NW by SE, on its way to fermented bliss.

He doesn’t want to sound conceited, but Sam Hassan, owner of Paratii Craft Bar, is quite confident his sour beers are next to none. After his first two collaborations with Big Al Brewing—Jupiter’s Blood and Irish Slut—proved successful, Hassan and brewer Alejandro Brown teamed up once again to create NW by SE. The beer pays homage to the Northwest with blackberries, and Hassan's native Rio de Janeiro with passion fruit, both combined with Alejandro’s Belgium sour base. It's now fermenting in a sangiovese wine barrel from Walla Walla Vintners.

More and more drinkers are developing an appreciation for sour beer, which usually requires significant aging to add that complexity. Paratii's blend will spend a year in that barrel, however tasting along the way is an important part of the process.

“I say it’s a scientific tasting to check the beer’s progress,” says Hassan. And, he confesses, “I also want to just taste it.”

Even just a small sample can help Hassan predict what's working and what might need to be altered. “When you find out [a sour beer] is bad, it’s too late to fix,” says Hassan. That’s why he is hosting tasting parties at 90, 180, and 270 days of fermenting. “If the beer tastes like passion fruit and blackberry wine, I’ll be happy,” he says. Once a year has passed, Hassan will fill three kegs with the fermented ale. 

Monday, November 19 is the three-month mark of that aging process, (you can tell by the numbers rewritten daily on the chalkboard sitting above the barrel) and Hassan is hosting a tasting party from 6 to 7:30 at Paratii.

Four-ounce pours of NW by SE will be available at Monday’s tasting, along with Hassan’s special Brazilian cocido, a meat-and-yam-filled stew for $17. Reserve a spot by calling Paratii at 206-420-7406 or e-mailing Sam at paratiicraftbar@gmail.com.