Cheers to all the brewers and beer lovers that turned out for the first session of the WA Cask Fest. It was a great time, as always. It was a busy turnout, but lines were sill shorter than your average beer fest. There were plenty of great beers, and just a few clunkers.
Water Street “Call Me a Cab” – I don’t have my guide from the festival with accurate descriptions at this point (yeah, I lose things), but this was a mix of several beers, including an IPA and barleywine, that were then aged for five years in a Cabernet wine barrel. This was an outstanding blend of beers that weighed in at 10% and was complex with plenty of character from the fruity oak barrel. My only knock on it was that it was a bit thin, but that will happen after five years. Huge cheers to Water Street for turning out the best in show winner (for at least the first session).
RAM Toasted Coconut Porter – This is one of my favorite styles of beer, and RAM really came through with this version. It had a huge toasted coconut character that reminded me of Mounds candy bars with a solid roasted malt base. They pulled the keg about halfway through the first session to save some for the 2nd session…otherwise, I would have had another sample.
Fish Ten Squared – Is there such a thing as a “hop monster” with balance? This usually hugely bitter beer came across as almost well balanced on cask. Fantastic.
Anacortes IPA – The Anacortes IPA is one of those beers that has seemed to shine on occasion, and on others just be OK when I’ve tried it. On cask today, it was fan-freaking-tastic. Fresh citrus hop flavor with moderate bitterness and a just enough malt backing. If it always tasted like this, it would easily be my favorite IPA in WA. At under 5% ABV, it’s the perfect cask beer to sip on at a festival like this.
Laughing Dog Alpha Dog IPA and DogFather Imperial Stout – Both of these were top-notch. It was nice to see that the DogFather is smoothing out a bit; if you have any bottles of it you are saving they are still getting better.
What about the rest of you…any favorites that I missed here? Thoughts on the festival overall? Beers you didn’t like?
I have one thing to say about the entry for at least the first session: either let people in earlier or set it up with at least 2 or 3 doors to go in. The last of the people in line were finally getting in about 40 minutes after the festival started and it was a bit of a mess for everyone else. It just shouldn’t be that hard. It was very unclear that there was supposed to be a separate WABL line, as well. Whatever, though. Plenty of beer for all….with plenty of time to drink it still. The entry issues were annoying at the time, but were pretty meaningless in the long run. End of rant.
Kudos to Drew Cluley’s ipod for rocking out with some good tunes….especially some sweet Phish to kick things off!
It was great to meet some of my frequent blog visitors today, and cheers to everyone who congratulated Jeanne and I on our engagement; we really get a kick out of that:-)