Holiday Ale Fest 2010

Michelle, my dad and I made a quick visit to the Holiday Ale Festival last night to take in some big winter brews. We were a little later than expected, which was entirely my fault. I had to stop at Steinbarts for some grain and traffic was wretched. We got to the event just after 5pm, usually about when I’d be wrapping up. The crowds were out in full force, and it was a bit of a challenge (as usual) to get yourself up to some of the beers. Luckily, there were several that were well worth the wait.

My favorite pour of the evening was the 2007 Baltic Porter from Cascade Brewing. It was rich, thick, smokey, liquory, and just a smidge tart. Maybe it was the 2-ticket cost, but this was no line for this beer. Cascade Brewing’s Sang Noir was tops again this year as well, though I think my next favorite might have been 10 Barrel’s Pray for Snow. Their Sinister is probably one of my favorite beers of 2009, and this was also deliciously dark, rich and robust.

My least favorite was Widmer’s Black Dynamite. Initially I thought there was mint in it, but have learned otherwise. I feel bad mentioning it since I deeply appreciate that Widmer takes consistent risks on beers at festivals. Some have been bad, but some have been the most memorable beers. Tis’ better to try and fail than to Hell or High Watermelon.

Yeah, so, that’s about it. Loved Lost Glove, Ill Tempered Gnome and that pretty much wraps up my festival for the year.

North American Organic Brewers Fest 2008

Joe, Linds and I headed down to this years North American Organic Brewers Festival on Friday night to sip some brews, enjoy the summer, and meet up with some of my coworkers. We tried several beers among the masses until Erin and Jade arrived, and helped locate Alan and his neighbors. Alan had been hanging out by the food at the Brewers festival, and I was a little incredulous until I realized that the reason was for shade.

I’ve probably said it before, but I think this festival is my favorite simply for the atmosphere. OBF is incredible, but size, mood, and venue for the organic festival is more to my taste.

Standout beers? There were a few. Maybe it was the weather, but here’s what I liked best:

  • Elliot Bay – Old Burien 600 Malt Liquor. I love a good malt liquor, and this was nearly as good as Walking Man’s Street Walker.
  • Crannog – Hell’s Kitchen Potato Ale. I’d be scared to brew with messy, messy potato startch, but this was a rather nice ale that seemed like a brown. Maybe not the best for 90F, but good.
  • Laurelwood’s Green Mammoth. Had it before, but really liked it again. The other IPAs I had (most were already gone) didn’t have the right body/bitter ratio. To be honest, the only other IPAs I had were Nelson’s and the Yerba Mate one.

I really didn’t have that many different beers this time around. I think I had 8 tickets, and ended up getting the malt liquor 3 times (It was really good). The only one I didn’t really like was the Yerba Mate IPA. Many of the beers I’d had before (at Sasquatch, etc) or the lines were just absurdly long (Hub, Hair of the Dog). Luckily, Joe and I found Hub’s IPA on cask at Pause afterward.

Linds and Joe at NAOBF 2008