Beer Blotter’s Guide to Brouwer’s HopFest 2010
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Brouwer’s is the best beer bar that I have ever been to in America, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few good ones. There is a lot of reasons for my confidence in that stance, but one of the larger ones is the fests that they host. Yes, there is a decent number of bars in the country that host barleywine fests, and probably even more that organize IPA fests. It seems pretty doubtful that there would be many that put on sour beer festivals or stout festivals, but I’m sure there are a hand full out there. But, the question is, how many bars in America do all of those, and do them so well that beer nerds like myself take off of work to attend them? I’d say that the answer is probably very, very few. I love pretty much everything about Brouwer’s and HopFest is surely no exception.
So you know that I love Brouwer’s, you know that I love HopFest, you know that I will be there at the moment the doors open, and you know that I will imbibe many an IBU packed brew, but one more question need be answered: what will I be drinking? That’s where the guide comes in.
First, check out the full list that we posted on the 1st. After much consideration, I have developed a game plan. Granted, there is going to be a few additions and most likely, a few exciting surprises come Friday. If these surprises include Russian River Pliny the Younger or Firestone Walker Double Jack, you are going to want to forget the entire remainder of this article and just drink those until the kegs kick.
Top 10 beers to try:
10.) Russian River Blind Pig – I hear more and more people say “Pliny isn’t even their best IPA” in reference to Blind Pig. I personally don’t agree, but everything that Russian River makes is good…damn good. Blind Pig shows up in Seattle from time to time but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a decent contingent of folks out there that haven’t gotten a hold of it yet. Here is your chance.
9.) Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster – My boss at Lazy Boy always gives me shit for my blog claiming that Black Raven is the best brewery in WA. I’m sure he will also give me shit for not putting our Imperial IPA on this list (sorry boss, I feel a little weird self promoting. It is a damn good beer though.) Well, we stand by our claim about BRB. The people spoke over at The Bev when they voted it in as the house IPA. This brew is super solid in it’s regular form, I can only guess that the dry hopped version will be even better. If you have cheated and looked down at number 1 already, you have seen another reason why we are confident in our claim.
8.) Elysian Idiot Sauvin – I honestly don’t know what this beer is. That is precisely why I want to try it. Elysian and experimentation go hand in hand, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one had some peculiar adjuncts added. No matter what, Elysian makes great beer and this will likely be worth your money.
7.) Midnight Sun XXX Black Double – When Cascadian Dark Ales, or CDAs took over the craft beer world a little while back, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before the Imperial black IPAs would show up. Well here it is, and I must say, I’m intrigued. I’m even more intrigued knowing that Midnight Sun is behind it.
6.) Boundary Bay Imperial – There are two Imperial IPAs produced in WA that are head and shoulders above all the rest. This is one of them. This is a beer that, if it were distributed with greater reach, would bring some much needed respect to Washington state in the beer war for state supremacy. This is one of the very few beers that, if I hear that it is on tap somewhere close by, I will do all in my power to make it there immediately to get a pint.
5.)Hub Ace of Spades – I have only had this beer once before and it was at last year’s HopFest. I can’t believe that that was a year ago, I remember it so well. It was probably my favorite “new” beer (new to me) of the event. As it turns out, it was voted the second best beer of the fest behind Pliny the Younger. Now that Hub is distributing bottles in WA it may be easier to acquire this one, but I will still be ordering one and bathing in it’s brilliance.
4.) Mikkeller Single Hop – This is actually three beers in one (Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook), sorry to cheat. You probably don’t have to try all three, but it sure would make a fun experiment. I absolutely love the concept of single hop beers and I love Mikkeller for making this series happen. As a fledgling brewer I feel that spending time with these brews will help me gain a better understanding and appreciation for various hop varietals and their impact on scent and flavor. You can sometimes find these brews in 12oz bottles around town , but they are often over $6 a piece. I don’t think I have ever seen them on draft – this is pretty special and definitely a good opportunity to taste them for, potential, a little bit less dough.
3.) Moylans Wet Hopsickle – Hopsickle is a triple IPA and it’s huge. When you add the word “wet” before it, it means that fresh hops were used. I’m getting emotional just thinking about the potential that this beer has to be mind-blowing. God damn, I can’t believe it’s fresh hop season already! Yet another reason why living in the Northwest is spectacular.
2.) Green Flash Palate Wrecker – Green Flash is masterful when it comes to hops. Their West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA are both among the best made in America. Like the Elysian above, I don’t really know what this beer is, but I know I need to have it.
1.) Black Raven Wisdom Seeker – This beer walks around town with a hype attached to it that is so massive and heavy that I’m amazed it can even stand on it’s own two feet, but boy does it ever. When this beer hits a handle in the Seattle area, there is an instant buzz, and 20 minutes later (or less) she is out the door…gone…kicked. Black Raven has clearly taken cues from other perennial buzz junkies (like Pliny the Younger) in seemingly stunting production and causing such a skewed supply and demand curve that on the rare occasion that is it available, people freak out to get a taste. It would be silly of me to suggest that anything different will happen at HopFest. This should go very fast so get there early and order 2 at once.