Good Times at WA Cask Fest

March 28th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Beer Reviews, Events, Washington Breweries

Skip & Water Street Take Top Honors at the first session for their Call a Cab

Skip & Water Street Take Top Honors at the first session for their "Call Me a Cab"

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:-)

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Rick Green

    I agree with the mayhem at the door on the first sesssion. This is the 10th year of the fest and basic logistics like this should be old hat. Have a door for WABL members at one end of the pavilion, another door for the rest at the other end, have signage outside & on the doors indicating this, and have at least one person at either end directing people.

    I also find the policies regarding ID to be verging on the mentally retarded. A friend of mine hadn’t realized his license expired (he doesn’t drive that often) and security refused him entry because of that. Isn’t the point to determine if you are of legal drinking age? Your ID doesn’t have to be current to do this, it just has to be genuine, government-issued identification.

    There seems to be less and less exercise of judgment, even in the face of the patently obvious. Alan Moen related to me how he was at a festival recently and a 99-year-old woman was refused entry because she didn’t have ID with her!!

  • elvis

    great commentary all around.

    didn’t go, bitter (pun unintended until typing). how were the lines for the beer?

    last OBF was so bad, i left upon entry.

  • Kaiser

    the line to get into the fest sucked, but the lines to get a beer were close to non-existent, as always at this festival. You could seriously walk right up to most booths and grab a beer, and others were just a few person wait.

  • ethan.john

    can’t believe i chose this weekend to move — this event sounded fantastic. glad to hear it went ok.

  • Mark

    I agree with the other comment that two separate lines would solve the entry problem. One on the east end for WABL, one on the west end for non WABL.

    I know more than a few people near me were annoyed as heck that they had waited for almost an hour prior to the doors opening only to be told they had to wait until a good number of WABL members went in first.

    Being a WABL member myself, I wasn’t even aware they were going to do this entry first deal (via email newsletter, website, etc).

    Big problems with simple solutions. Hopefully they plan this better next year.

  • Russ

    I guess the second session was a lot smoother line-wise. We showed up right at 6 and there were 2 lines: one for will-call and the other for ticket holders. The lines were about 20 or so deep but they moved swiftly. Once inside, the only real long line was for Diamond Knot. I guess people really wanted to try the apple-cinnamon ESB…..

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