Washington Gems Over the Weekend – Your Favorites?

October 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments · Events, Washington Breweries

Naked City Taphouse Beer List for their one year anniversary party.

Naked City Taphouse beer list for their one year anniversary party.

If you didn’t have a great beer from the state of WA this past weekend, then you just weren’t trying very hard. The kickoff of the first Washington Beer Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe combined with the Naked City Taphouse one year anniversary celebration this past weekend meant there was lots of great, local beer flowing. Both bars switched all of their taps to beers from Washington breweries, which meant Brouwer’s had 60+ WA beers on tap, and Naked City had about 25. Both establishments managed to procur kegs  from breweries that we rarely, if ever, see in this part of the state. Mix those rare beers with seasonals and special releases from other favorite WA breweries, throw in some solid standards, and you’ve got the making of a pretty epic weekend of WA beer drinking.

I tasted quite a few great beers over multiple trips to both bars. What did the rest of you think?

Hits (Bar that had it)
Port Townsend Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter (Naked City)
Port Townsend Oak Aged Scotch Ale (Brouwer’s)
Silver City Fat Woody (Both)
Snipes Fresh Hop Wet Blonde (Naked City)
Chuckanut Rauchbier (Naked City)
Black Raven La Petite Mort (Brouwer’s)
Big Time Jeezum Crow IPA (Brouwer’s)
Walking Man Knuckle Dragger (Naked City)
Skookum Jackass IPA (Naked City)

Port Townsend kicked some serious ass with both of those barrel aged beers. The porter was silky smooth and had lots of intense porter flavors to balance with significant bourbon. The bourbon was not at all over the top; it was just right. Port Townsend’s Scotch Ale is a favorite of mine, and throwing some oak into the equation stepped it up a notch. Significant vanilla/oak flavors were an agreeable addition to the peat base. Both of these could hang with just about any barrel aged beer I’ve ever had (yeah, that’s some high praise).
The Silver City Fat Woody is an oak-aged version of their 9.2% ABV Fat Scotch Ale. That beer by itself is fantastic, but barrel aging it really makes it world-class in my eyes.
The Snipes Wet Blonde was exactly what I look for in a fresh hop beer; lots of green fresh hop flavor carried by a balanced base beer, in this case a light blonde ale. This ranks in my top tier of fresh hop ales sampled this season. I’m still hoping to find the Snipes Harvest Ale (which won the Yakima fest) on tap. Naked City has a keg of it that should be on soon, and I’ll also be out at the brewery this week…so hopefully I find it!
I’ve had the Chuckanut Rauchbier previously, and it’s just close to perfect in my eyes. Light and drinkable with lots of smoke flavor.
The Black Raven La Petite Mort is a “Belgian inspired strong abbey brown ale”. One of the better local attempts at a Belgian-style ale that I’ve sampled.
Big Time is well-known for their hoppy IPAs, and the Jeezum Crow is another one to add to their lineup. Has a stronger malt base than most of their IPAs, but the hops still do most of the work.
We don’t see enough Walking Man beer around Seattle these days, and the Knuckle Dragger Strong Pale Ale is a perfect example of why we should. A well-balanced 6.5% ABV beer with lots of Columbus and Simcoe hops.
The Skookum Jackass IPA was a great example of a hoppy NW IPA. I’m probably way overdue on a visit to their brewpub…

Diamond Knot Shipwreck XXX IPA (Brouwer’s)
Rattlesnake Mountain Hickory Smoked Porter (Naked City)

I might be alone on not liking the Shipwreck, as most seem to like this beer. I love Diamond Knot beers, but this one just didn’t do it for me. It was too big and unbalanced, and too syrupy sweet for my liking.
I was really looking forward to the Rattlesnake Mountain Hickory Smoked Porter, as it sounds right up my alley. But, it turned out to be really thin and we didn’t get much smoke flavor out of it. It reminded us a little more of a soda than a beer. Really disappointing. I’ll actually be stopping by the brewery this week on our trip to Walla Walla, and I’ll give it another chance there.

Cheers to Brouwer’s, WABL, and Naked City, plus all the participating breweries, for bringing us all back home to some great WA beers this weekend!

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Don Webb

    Thanks Geoff, and thanks to all that came out this weekend to help us celebrate our first anniversary. We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful breweries right here in our home state. Here’s to Washington Beer, Cheers!

  • Dean Ruffner

    Hey Don –

    Anytime you want to send your posse back out to Port Townsend to get that bourbon-barrel stout, don’t feel like you can’t.

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