This was one of those weekends where there were just too many great beer drinking options to choose from (talk about 1st world problems, huh?). Friday kicked off with a sold-out beer dinner at Trellis featuring Hopworks that got rave reviews. Saturday’s major event schedule included breweries across the state participating in the WA Beer Open House, the sold-out-for-months Hops & Props festival at the Museum of Flight, and the kickoff of the week-long Barleywine Bacchanal at Beveridge Place Pub. Throw in some Pliny the Younger madness at Bambino’s and a pig roast at Little Water Cantina featuring Odin beers and you’ve got yourself a hell of a weekend. It’s almost as if Seattle Beer Week started early and someone forgot to tell me.
My activities for the weekend included touring some breweries for the WA Beer Open House on Saturday, and then heading to Beveridge Place Pub for the 2nd day of their barleywine festival on Sunday. I made it to Schooner Exact, Two Beers, Hilliard’s and Northwest Peaks for the open house, and all places were packed with beer-crazed fans. It was a special treat to taste some of the sour beers straight from the barrel at Schooner Exact, and a cask of double dry-hopped Evolution IPA at Two Beers was probably my favorite beer of the day. Reports from breweries across the state confirm that the 2nd year of the WA Beer Open House was indeed another great success.
I made it to Beveridge Place Pub just as the doors opened at noon on Sunday, and the only beer kicked was the popular Black Raven Old Birdbrain. I luckily got the very last ounce of the Firestone Walker Abacus, which was fantastic as expected. Following are some thoughts on the beers I tried (either my own 3oz sample, or a taste of a friend’s). I didn’t take notes, so this will be brief & not very detailed…
Big Al Ol’ No. 1 ’11 – Loved this one. It was balanced but still had a good deal of malt complexity.
Terminal Gravity Bucolic Plague ’11 – Very nice malt-focused BW.
Elysian Cyclops ’08 – This was outstanding with a few years of age on it. Just had the fresh ’11 batch in our last NWBN Tasting Panel and it was a bit rough.
Deschutes Mirror Mirror ’09 – Enjoyable as always. Holding up well, but oxidation is starting to take over.
Wingman Barleywing ’11 – I wasn’t a fan of this Belgian-style barleywine at first, but it grew on me a little. Unique and worth trying.
Fremont Snuggle Bunny ’11 – Something funky was going on with this one…not a fan.
Alaskan ’08,’09 & ’10 – The ’09 was the star of this vertical with a smooth malt profile and no off-flavors. The ’08 was too oxidized for my liking. The ’10 was solid.
Anacortes Old Sebastes ’08, ’09 & ’10 – The ’08 was a beautiful beer, but the ’09 and ’10 both had some infection issues. The ’10 vintage won 1st at Brouwer’s Hard Liver Fest last year, so I was sad this keg had gone downhill.
Diamond Knot Icebreaker ’10 – This one was sadly lifeless with no carbonation and the flavors were pretty dead.
Fish 10 Squared ’11 – This hop bomb is definitely one that toes the border between barleywine and imperial IPA. I love it.
North Sound Vertigo ’11 – Not a fan. This had a sourness that was way out of place.
You can see the rest of my photos from the WA Beer Open House on Flickr.