This weekend was just another reminder of how freaking great we have it here in Seattle (I know I may say that a lot, but I keep coming up with reasons why it’s true).
Friday: I didn’t make it out for the start of the Beveridge Place Pub Cask-O-Rama on Thursday, so I had to make sure I got in there on Friday. They had 20+ Washington IPAs on cask at once; all of them sitting up on the bar top. Such a beautiful sight. The Black Raven Trickster IPA was crowned the crowd-favorite of the month-long Hoptoberfest, which now means that Trickster will take over as the house IPA for the following year. A huge congrats goes out to the Black Raven team; that’s a pretty big win for such a new brewery. They still had the dregs of the Trickster IPA cask leftover from the night before, and I grabbed one of the last pints of it; truly fantastic and definitely my favorite cask IPA of the night. Another highlight of the evening was a pint of the Northern Lights IPA on cask. We don’t see casks from them very often, if ever, and their IPA tasted as good as ever. Cheers to Gary and the staff at BPP for putting on another great event.
From there, we hopped on the bus down to the junction and stopped for dinner at Elliott Bay Brewing. I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a barrel-aged Trippel with Brettanomyces from Anacortes Brewing on tap for their monthly barrel-aged selection that was truly fantastic. A schooner of the Elliott Bay winter ale on cask (Noel, or something?) was also pretty impressive. I have to say that I’m more impressed with Elliott Bay’s beers every time I visit these days. Other than the awful excuse for guacamole (it was either store-bought, or very poorly-made.) on my burger that I ended up just scraping off, this was a great visit.
Next up was a bus trip back downtown and a night-cap at the Collins Pub. They were still pouring the stellar Ommegang Rouge, which is a Flemish red ale aged for 18 months in oak. It was a perfect end to a great night.
Saturday: Saturday found about 300 Washington Beer Lovers celebrating the 4th anniversary of WABL at Seattle Center. About ten to fifteen Washington breweries brought special beers for the event, and there was quite a bit of schwag given away from local breweries/bars as well. Standouts for me included the Peach Pit Wit from Black Raven, the Watermelon Sour from Big Al, and the Imperial Fresh Hop Rye from Anacortes. But, my favorites of the night were the two big Imperial Stouts (Yes, I am a sucker for good imperial stouts. Sue me.). The first was a 10% ABV Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout brewed by the Powerhouse Brewery out of Tacoma, with the help of homebrewers extraordinaire Rodney Clark and Colin Lenfesty. The second was an oak-aged version of Walking Man Brewery’s Jaywalker Imperial Stout. This one weighed in at almost 13% ABV, but it was insanely smooth and drinkable for something that big; I hope people took WABL’s advice and didn’t drive to this fest.
There were many brewers in attendance, and it was nice to catch up with a few of them. A special welcome goes out to Kevin Davey who was essentially representing on his first job assignment as a new brewer under Will Kemper with Chuckanut in Bellingham. Kevin is a recent graduate of the Siebel Institute and World Brewing Academy in Chicago, and anyone who knows Kevin understands that there couldn’t be a better fit for his first professional brewing job. Congrats to Kevin, and good luck in Bellingham!
Another special welcome to Eric Radovich, the new Executive Director of the Washington Beer Commission, who was the host for the evening. Eric has 15 years of marketing/PR/event-planning experience, and he will be an integral part of helping to continue grow the Washington Beer Industry. Cheers to Eric on his exciting new post!
One of the most memorable moments of the evening was a toast to the Washington Beer Industry’s tragic losses from this year: Jim Quilter, Dick Young, and Brian Sollenberger. There are few Washington brewers who were not influenced by these three in one way or another. Cheers, and R.I.P.
Sunday: I did my best to get rid of my Seahawks tickets for face value, but that wasn’t happening. So, I walked on down to the stadium just before game time and grabbed an Issaquah White Frog on the way in at their craft beer cart. After the previous two nights, I didn’t exactly feel much like drinking. But, it was nice to be able to grab a good beer at Qwest while enduring the Seahawks falling behind 17 – 0 before crawling back to “dominate” the mighty Detroit Lions. I love football, but it is pretty hard to get excited for this team right now (don’t even get me started on my Bears).
After such a great weekend, I’m looking forward to some down time this week…