Monday, December 13, 2010
Just before the doors opened for the Friday session of the Washington Winter Beer Festival, Eric Radovich, Executive Director of the Washington Beer Commission, announced the fest was 30 tickets shy of sell-out prior to opening the doors, with more tickets sold in presales than last year. Once the doors opened, the capacity crowd filled the space and made it a little difficult to find your friends, if you happened to lose them. But the longest beer line we waited in was maybe five people deep, nothing like the 15 minute lines we saw at the summer festival.
The 2010 version of Washington Winter Beerfest was outstanding. The brewers really out-did themselves. It was nearly impossible to choose a favorite beer. We attended the Friday evening session and the Saturday evening session. We heard nothing but good things about the Saturday afternoon session.
By mid-session, there was a full house.
The Seven Seas Brewing Santa tells Ken (Port Townsend Brewing) that he's been a naughty boy.
Janelle Pritchard of Trade Route with Richard, her trusty volunteer.
Some of our favorite beers of the festival: Fremont Brewing's Abominable B-Bomb, Flyer's Daybreak Breakfast Stout, Boundary Bay '09 Cabin Fever, Airways Hot Chocolate Ale, Big Al's Peanut Butter Stout, and Naked City's French Dude. The biggest surprise for us was the newcomer, Paradise Creek Brewery from Pullman, WA, and their super malty, super hoppy dark IPA, the Hopocolypse.
Now that Winter Beerfest is over, it's time to start thinking about the upcoming Belgianfest. We'll have more details soon, but for now mark the date - Saturday, January 22, 2011.
Boundary Bay brought a vertical tasting of Cabin Fever. And a cabin.
Elysian's Brewers Nativity.
Best taphandle: Le Dude is ready for the holidays too.
Pooped post-fest in the brewer's lounge: Drew from Pike and Heather from Schooner Exact.
Friday, December 10, 2010
We try to keep up, really we do, but the brewing scene around here is a very dynamic thing. Breweries apply for licenses and then are never heard from again. Other breweries are awarded their microbrewery licenses and then never actually materialize.
By our reckoning—our best attempt to understand the reality of the situation—there are currently 137 licensed breweries in Washington, plus one that is licensed but apparently doesn't even know it.
We base our list of Washington Breweries on the Liquor Control Board's list of Washington Domestic and Micro Breweries.
There is one licensed brewery which we leave off of our list because they don't brew beer, never have brewed beer, and apparently do not intend to brew beer. When I called and asked about it, they had no idea what I was talking about. They seemed quite surprised to learn they had a microbrewery license. Weird.
Conversely, Gilligan's Brewing in Seattle, which is currently not brewing beer, is on the list because they are licensed and we know that they actually want to brew beer and actually intend to brew beer.
It gets confusing, but we try to keep things current.
Added to our list of Washington Breweries:
Barhop Brewing in Port Angeles. Actually, added as Harbinger/Barhop Brewing. This is the place in Port Angeles which is a winery and, as of a few months ago, is a brewery now as well. They have two microbrewery licenses at one location. I imagine things will get straightened out before too long. I'm guessing Harbinger is the wine and Barhop will be the brewery.
Gilligan's Brewing in Seattle. His old license expired and now he's been awarded a new license. Not sure about any new plans to get brewing again. I've asked and will keep you posted.
Parker's Steakhouse in Longview. They have been awarded a license, are building out the brewery and have plans to brew. No word on a launch date, but I'll keep you posted.
Grit City Brewing in Centralia. At one point they were licensed in Tacoma. Then there were rumors about Olympia. Now they are licensed in Centralia. We have no further information.
Removed from the list:
Speedway Brewing in Lacey. We have heard that they plan to open a new location around Olympia somewhere, but do not have any details or any status report for you.
New on the list of applicants this month:
Ashtown Brewing Company, Kelso.
Underground Lighthouse Brewing, Seattle.
Anne Uther Brewing Company, Auburn
Old Mill House Brewing, Tacoma
See all of our previous stories about new breweries popping up in Washington.
If you know anything about any of these breweries (new, old, or planned), please let us know or leave a comment.
Kona is licensed as a Washington brewery. Their beer is brewed at Redhook.
Because of their collaborative relationship with Elysian, New Belgium is licensed as a Washington brewery.
Pyramid is still licensed as a Washington brewery, although the brewhouse in Seattle seems to be in mothballs.
The Washington Winter Beerfest kicks off today. There will be 35 breweries pouring more than 90 different beers.
There will be a lot of great beer poured this weekend at the Washington Winter Beerfest (see the complete list). It's always a challenge to decide where to start, but this year I have my eye on few things in particular.
Don't forget to buy your tickets in advance. This festival often sells out and you don't want to be left out in the cold, so to speak. Click here for details.
Below is the list of beers about which I am most excited.
Cabin Fever Vertical - Boundary Bay Cabin Fever is probably my favorite winter beer year in and year out. I tend to have an annual favorite each year, but I always reach into the bottom drawer and pull out the same old wool sweater when the temperatures drop and the snows start to fall. This year Boundary Bay Brewery will be pouring 2008, 2009, and 2010 Cabin Fever. I seriously cannot wait!
Back by Popular Demand - Two beers that blew everyone's minds at the Washington Brewers Festival last June. Both of these beers are made in smaller batches, so we'll call them rare. I'm sure some of it will be available at each of the three sessions, but it will go fast. First is Big Al Brewing's Peanut Butter Stout, which is made with real peanut butter and presents a real challenge for the brewer as well as the "assistant brewer" (the person who cleans up after the brewer). The other is Black Raven Brewing's La Petite Mort, a barrel-aged Belgian dark ale (bourbon barrel).
Sweet and Sour - Elysian Brewing's Bifrost Winter Ale—the seasonal offering from one of Seattle's most revered breweries—might not qualify as sweet, per se, but it is a beer that we consider a wintertime staple around these parts. This year, they'll be pouring it alongside Bret Frost, which we can reasonably assume is a soured version of the Bifrost.
Coffee Brews - Nobody will be pouring 4 Loko, but artisan brewers are not shy about their love of coffee. There are three coffee-themed beers that we are looking forwards to enjoying at Winter Beerfest: Daybreak Breakfast Stout, an oatmeal coffee stout from Flyer's Brewery in Oak Harbor; Sumatra Coffee Stout from Trade Route Brewing; and Jive Espresso Stout from Two Beers Brewing, an outstanding beer with which we are already familiar in its regular form, but not the cask-conditioned version they'll be pouring at the festival.
A Winter Welcome - Paradise Creek Brewery is located Pullman and is a newcomer to the festival this year. Actually, they're a fairly new brewery overall. They will be pouring three different beers: Hopocolypse Black IPA, Dirty Blonde, and Over the Hop American IPA. We look forward to sampling their beer without driving all the way to Pullman.
We will be at the festival this weekend. Look for us in our "Follow Me to Good Beer" shirts. Be sure to say hello. Tell us about your favorite beer.
Pictures from last year's Winter Beerfest:
We were the first people through the door last year.
Later in the evening the crowd picked up, as expected.
Did you hear us? We were on the radio (KUOW 94.9 FM, to be exact) talking about the Washington Winter Beer Fest, the Washington beer scene, and beer in general. They kindly devoted an entire hour to the topic.
I was contacted a few weeks ago by a KUOW producer who wanted to talk about beer - winter beer, in particular. We chatted via email and then over the phone. I was invited to come into the studio for an hour of beer talk. Drew Cluley from Pike Brewing and Alejandro Brown from Big Al Brewing joined me as we appeared on KUOW's Weekday.
We sampled a few beers, talked about beer and the local brewing industry. We had a great time and were honored to be on air representing the Washington beer industry.
The show's site is here.
You can download the MP3 here.
You can find it in the KUOW archives as well, click here. (The show aired on 12/6 at 10:00 a.m.)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Congratulations to all of the winners.
Best Alehouse/Pub, Washington
Brouwers’ Café, Seattle
Honorable Mention: Beveridge Place Pub, Seattle
Best Brewery, Washington
Black Raven Brewing Company, Redmond
Best Brewpub, Washington
Boundary Bay Brewing Company, Bellingham
Best Bartender, Washington
Tom Dineen, Brouwers’ Café, Seattle
Best Beer Store, Washington
By the Bottle, Vancouver
Best Homebrew Supply, Washington
Bader Beer & Wine Supply, Vancouver
Honorable Mention: Larry’s Homebrew Supply, Renton
Best beers, by style
Redhook ESB, Washington
Boundary Bay Inside Passage Ale, Washington
Best Strong Ale:
Big Time Nemesis, Washington
Best Scotch Ale:
Boundary Bay Scotch Ale, Washington
Chuckanut Pils, Washington
Tie: Chuckanut Bock, Washington
Columbia River Rick-N-Bocker, Oregon
Best Herb or Spice Beer:
Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale, Washington
Wildfire Pirates’ Plank Cider, Washington
Monday, December 6, 2010
The ancient Beer Gods of Airport Way will not be denied.
Last night I learned that Elysian Brewing Company plans to open a new brewery in Georgetown - on the east side of Airport Way very near the intersection with Lucile Street. Sacred beer ground. The new brewery will be a production-only facility and will not even have a tap room. At least that's the plan as of this time.
Elysian has been operating at capacity (perhaps beyond capacity) for some time now. Maybe it was the success of the Men's Room Red Ale that finally broke the camel's back.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Below is the official list of breweries and beers for the 2010 Washington Winter Beerfest. In all, 35 breweries will pour nearly 100 different beers. For complete details and ticket information visit the official event website.
The event takes place on Friday, December 10th and Saturday, December 11th at the Hale's Palladium in Ballard. There are three sessions this year−a Friday evening session, a Saturday afternoon session and a Saturday evening session. Washington Winter Beerfest regularly sells out. Get your tickets early.
7 Seas Brewing-Gig Harbor
1) Port Royal Export Style Stout
3) Ballz Deep Double IPA
1) Hot Chocolate Ale
2) Sky Hag IPA
3) Jet City ESB
1) Noel Winter Ale
2) Broadswood Scottish Ale
Baron & Three Skulls-Seattle
1) Three Skulls Poison Winter Warmer
2) Three Skulls Blackbeard Dark Lager-Schwarzbier
Big Al Brewing-Seattle
2) Belgian Tripel
3) Peanut Butter Imperial Stout
Big Time Brewery-Seattle
1) Yulefest Winter Ale
2) Random Thought Generator Imperial Rye IPA
3) Holy Molé Chocolate-Chile Ale
Black Raven Brewing-Redmond
1) 2010 Old Birdbrain Barley Wine
2) 2010 Bourbon Barrel la Petite Mort Barrel Aged Belgian Dark Ale
3) Festivus IPA Herb and Spice Beer
Boundary Bay Brewery-Bellingham
1) 2010 Cabin Fever Winter Ale
2) 2009 Cabin Fever Winter Ale
3) 2008 Cabin Fever Winter Ale
Diamond Knot Brewing-Mukilteo
1) Industrial HO HO HO
Elliott Bay Brewing - Burien & Seattle
1) IMPERIAL RED ALE (2010)
2) NOALE HOLIDAY ALE (ORGANIC)
1) Bifröst Winter Ale
2) Oak Frost
3) Brett Fröst
4) Valhalla Christmas Ale
1) Winter Fish
2) Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen
Flyers Brewery-Oak Harbor
1) Daybreak Breakfast Stout-Oatmeal Coffee Stout
2) Dry Hop Afterburner IPA-American Strong Pale Ale
1) Bourbon Abominable Ale “BBomb”
2) Le Mystère de l’hiver - Bourbon barrell Oatmeal Stout
Gorden Biersch Brew-Seattle
1) Dopplebock Lager
Hale's Ales Brewery-Seattle
2) Wee Heavy Scotch Ale
3) Quadruppel Belgian Style Strong Dark
1) Olde Bog Breath Scotch Ale
2) Oak Aged Point Defiance IPA
Hood Canal Brewery-Kingston
1) Southpoint Porter
2) Bywater Bay ESB
Iron Horse Brewery-Ellensburg
1) Cozy Sweater
2) Mocha Death
Issaquah Brewhouse/Rogue Ales-Issaquah
1) Jolly Frog
2) Brown Frog Belgian Wit
Naked City Brewery-Seattle
1) French Dude Barrel Aged Beer
2) Bing Spiked Cherry Ale
Northern Lights Brewing-Spokane
1) Winter Ale
2) Stellar Stout
3) Imperial IPA
Paradise Creek Brewery-Pullman
1) Hopocolypse Black IPA
2) Dirty Blonde
3) Over the Hop American IPA
1) Auld Acquaintance Holiday Ale
2) Kilt Lifter Ruby Ale
Port Townsend Brewing-Port Townsend
1) Winter Ale Old Ale
2) Hop Diggidy IPA
Ram Restaurant & Brewery-Seattle
1) Ol’ Mallwalker - Strong old ale
2) Uber Dunkle Weizenbock
3) Dawgsled Winter warmer
Redhook Ale Brewery-Woodinville
1) Winterhook Winter Ale
2) Eisbock 28 Iced Winter Lager
3) Copperhook Copper Ale
Rock Bottom Brewery-Bellevue
1) Frostbite Imperial Red
2) Hollydaze Imperial IPA
3) Black Diamond Oatmeal Stout
Schooner Exact Brewing-Seattle
1) Hoppy the Woodsman
2) Puget Soundian Dark Ale - Black IPA
3) Profanity Hill Porter
4) Black Raspberry Wheat Ale
1) 10 Below Winter Ale
2) Oaked 10 Below Winter Ale
Silver City Brewery-Silverdale
1) Imperial Stout
2) Old Scrooge Christmas Ale English Strong Ale
Snipes Mountain Brewery-Sunnyside
1) Pumpkin Death
2) 2 Fresh IPA
Trade Route Brewing-Pacific
1) Sumatra Coffee Stout
2) Trade Route IPA
Two Beers Brewing-Seattle
1) Cask Conditioned Jive Espresso Stout
2) Double Dry-Hopped Infused Evo
3) 20:20 Blonde