Well, we survived day one and two of the Brewers Fest and let me tell you, Washington Beer Commission knows how to throw one hell of a party! With 110 Washington Breweries and over 500 beers, I honestly got lost in a sea of hops, dreams and an explosion of my taste buds. Luckily this event ran through the weekend, so we had the time to check out all the crazy breweries! To add more awesomeness, there were also a handful of food trucks and some pretty sweet vendors. I’m just saying.. if WA Beer wants to have this every weekend I wouldn’t even object.
I’ve spent the last two days completely reminiscing over all the beers I was able to try and, now, all the places I have to visit! While I could literally go on and on about all the beers that I drank, but here are a few that stood out:
I was really excited to check out Old Schoolhouse Brewery located in Winthrop, WA and have heard so many great things about them. One of our friends grew up in Winthrop and always rants and raves about this spot, so I felt like I just had to snag their IPA, Ruud Awakening. It poured a beautiful copper and had little head. Not a lot on the aroma front, but the taste made up for it. Loved the level of malt with this brew, quite light, with subtle fruitiness with grapefruit and a nice hoppy, bitter aftertaste. Honestly, this brew was 8% ABV and I don’t really understand how… I wouldn’t have pinned this over 7% one bit. So I guess just add this to the list of breweries I have to check out, who’s coming?!
Ashtown Brewing has been around since 2013 and I’ve got to say I’m slightly embarrassed I’m just now figuring them out. After bugging one of the brewers, I was able to try both their Zoja Espresso Stout (pictured left) and their Bridge Bender IPA. Zoja is a local coffee roaster that collaborated with Ashtown to come up with this coffee infused oatmeal stout- and man, was it tasty. Being the coffee lover that I am, this beer was right up my alley with the most perfect espresso balance and a bit chocolate, too. I felt this stout wasn’t as heavy as most, but I was completely in to it! I sometimes find oatmeal stouts to be way too heavy, almost like a full meal, so this was a bit more refreshing. A lot of times I feel like breweries try and get to weird with their IPAs, but this Bridge Bender IPA was more of a classic NW IPA with a great balance of malt and hops, not too bitter and a great level of fruity/citrusy notes.
If there was one beer that really stood out, it has to be this Raspberry Blood-Orange Stout from Twelve Bar Brews. Maybe it has something to do with my sweet tooth, but this brew was sweet, smooth and chocolatey all stuffed inside one simple beer. The beer reminded me more like an ale, comparable to Icicle Brewing’s Dark Persuasion, but I liked it all the same. Both notes of orange and raspberry are very present and can be tasted throughout, leaving notes of raspberry and a bit of chocolate on your pallet towards the end. Unlike a stout, this beer had little to zero head (as you can see), but worth the try! If you’re in to a darker beer, at 5.8% ABV and a more on the sweet side, this might be the beer for you!
Between the breweries, food trucks, keg toss & award winning beers, I’m daydreaming about next summer and slowly coming up with a list of places to go!
Now that the weekend if over, I cannot wait for next Summer! I was almost surprised at how great all the breweries were, and how expansive the Washington Beer Commission got with choosing who would be there. Out of the 110 breweries, I found a lot of familiar flavors and faces, but also found so much more that I want to explore to! Washington has so many microbreweries (about 320) and so many unique styles, tastes and interpretations. Stay tuned as I write about some more of the brews I was able to try. Cheers Xx