This Saturday I found the answer to the heated health care debate. Beer. And I think it’s something Seattle has known all along. Kaiser approached me a couple weeks back and asked if I would contribute to SBN occasionally. This is my first post and hope I can add a little something to the already great job he’s doing. Let me start off by saying that the Phinney Winter Taste is very worthy. I’ve been to a lot of beer events and festivals, but they really have this one dialed in and it is definitely something I will look forward to next year.
The Winter Beer Taste is put on by the Phinney Neighborhood Association as an annual event and has reached it’s 22nd year. The event took place in the Phinney Neighborhood Center that was at one time the John B. Allen Elementary School. In addition to the jockey boxes set up by breweries between the two floors of old school rooms, there was art from the recent El Día de los Muertos celebration, tables of food, and a toe-tapping Bluegrass ensemble. Volunteers dressed in scrubs ran between rooms making sure everything was flowing from the 28 breweries that were present. Signs everywhere reminded you to “check your beer pressure” or “take two beers and call me in the morning” or my favorite “HMO–Hops More Often”
This was probably one of the more crowded beer events in Seattle I’ve attended. But, that seemed to be totally ok with everyone; it was a good kind of crowded. There was a definite interest in the beer being poured; I overheard people ask the brewers some great questions. The lines kept flowing, and kegs from neighborhood-centric breweries, such as Naked City Brewing and Fremont Brewing Company, were emptied quickly. It seemed like all the breweries brought out big and unique beers, with some definite one offs.
Big Al rolled out his Phinney Berry Sour, a sour style ale with Strawberries and Blackberries, fermented with Lactobacillus and Brettanomyces, and his defrosting malty Winter Warmer. Love the ceremony of scraping ice and frost off of your windshield in the morning? Look for what may be some of the coolest tap handles I have ever seen in the near future for that beer.
Naked City rolled out some of their first beers: Yankee Drifter Golden Ale, Hoptari 644 fresh hop ale, and The Dude would definitely abide about The Big Lebrewski, a White Russian Imperial Stout with Kahlua soaked oak chips. Keep your eye on this one; this may be the rug that really ties the room together.
Elysian had their Trip IV made with Juniper berries that played well with the estery Belgian yeast they are using, and seeing their Bifrost is always a good indicator that winter is on the way.
Two Beer Brewing’s Jive Espresso Stout was a nice balance of roasty, chocolatey stout with a definite almost smokey coffee kick. The crowd loved this one, as it gathered the most votes and was crowned with the People’s Favorite award.
There were many more excellent beers, and lots of recommendations. Even though I tried hard, I couldn’t get the people at Rogue to pour me a full taster glass of their Dead Guy Whiskey.
This was a great event to kick off the season of strong beers and share a drink with friends and loved ones in a cozy atmosphere. The brewers are present to pour their own beers, and the quality of what was being poured was a definite indicator of the support the Phinney community and local beer lovers have for enjoying great craft beer. The Phinney Neighborhood Associationoffers many different events throughout the year, including the Summer Beer Taste and Wine Taste. Check them out. They’ve been around since 1980 and have helped to build a strong vibrant community in the Phinney/Greenwood area.
Thanks so much to Yann Riche who took some amazing photos of the event that you see here. Check out his website for more great pictures.
Cheers, Prost, and Slainte!
- Colin Lenfesty