Cheers to all of the Washington breweries that poured beer at the 2010 Washington Cask Beer Festival this past weekend. For fans of cask beer, this has always been an annual highlight, and this year’s festival was no exception. The winners are listed below, as well as some of my general thoughts from the second session. You can see my full set of photos on Flickr.
People’s Choice Awards:
1st Place: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker Double IPA
2nd Place: Black Raven Jerked Strong Scotch Ale Brown Spiced Porter
3rd Place: Silver City WTF (Wild, Tart, Fat)
1st Place: Fremont Brewing Totonac Bbomb Barrel-Aged Strong Ale
2nd Place: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker Double IPA
3rd Place: Big Al Sourlicious
- The buzz around Black Raven was amazing. While most attendees were still waiting in line to get in, their booth already had a line that stretched to the booths along the wall about 100 feet away from them. Their Wisdom Seeker and Jerked Brown must have been some of the first beers to kick. Thankfully, they rationed what they brought and had plenty left for those attending the second session. Those of us that attended the second session appreciate you planning ahead (some breweries did not…).
- About halfway through the session, the buzz (and long line) seemed to switch over to Fremont, which was actually located at the booth right next to Black Raven. Their 1st place winning Bbomb was very deserving of the award, and their 420.2407 Smoked Mango IPA was one of the most unique beers I’ve ever tasted. It’s the only smoked beer I have ever tried that did not use any smoked malts at all. They used house-smoked mangoes which they then added to their Interurban IPA. I’m not sure it is a beer I would want a full pint of, but it was much better than I would guess a smoked IPA would taste, and I love the experimentation aspect of it. Cheers to Matt and the rest of his team…things are coming along nicely for them. I need to get over and check out their “Urban Beer Garden” sometime soon.
- My favorite beer of the fest was the Big Al Sourlicious. There were not many sour beers being poured at the fest, but this bourbon barrel-aged red ale brewed with Brett and Lacto was more than enough to make me happy. Nice work by Big Al.
- Did anyone notice that all of the winning breweries are relative young? Fremont and Black Raven haven’t even been around for a full year, and Big Al has maybe been around close to two. Nice to see the new guys really showing what they can do.
- I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but there were too many IPAs. Yes, IPAs are my favorite style, and there were a lot of great ones that I really enjoyed (Rock Bottom Hop Bomb with Apricot & Peach was a standout). But, a lot of non-IPA styles seemed to run out by the last 90 minutes of the second session and it felt like the large majority of the beers left were IPAs. I can get by with that, but for those that aren’t huge fans of IPAs (my friend Dean included), this was a major bummer. With so many hop-heads in WA, this is a tough balance.
- The festival was very well run by WABL. Cheers to everyone involved for putting on another great fest!