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Notes of a Beer Nerd: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse Old Sol Wheatwine Ale

The old sun breathes life anew.

***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at beerblotter@gmail.com with any questions, concerns or comments***

Enjoyed on 7/19/2010

Brewery: Big Time Brewery & Alehouse

Location: Seattle, WA

Beer: Old Sol Wheatwine Ale

Web: http://www.bigtimebrewery.com/

Presentation: 22 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: Wheatwine

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 9.75%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Oversized Wine Glass

Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees

Notes From the Bottle: The labels on Big Time bottles have a very DIY feel to them.  This isn’t surprising considering that they only sell the bottle in-house.  The website offers the following information:

Old Sol Wheatwine Ale, our summertime barleywine style ale, introduced in 2002, Old Sol is available on tap and in bottles to go.

The 2003 Old Sol won a GOLD MEDAL at the Great American Beer Festival. This summertime version of Barleywine made with 46% wheat and Warrior, Simcoe & Amarillo hops will be a sure winner.

OG 23.6 Plato 1.100 SG 9.75% by vol. 7.75% by wt. Brewed on the Lunar New Year, tapped on the Summer Solstice.

Food Pairings: Shellfish, chicken, salad

Cheese Pairings: Gorgonzola, Limburger, Feta

Beer Advocate: A

Rate Beer: 89 (3.52)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Wheatwine is a strange animal.  The style is still very new, and no one seems to know quite what to make of it.  The specs, more often than not, require a malt bill that is nearly 50% wheat and an abv ranging from 9% to 14%.  When it comes to competitions or indexing within beer rating websites, wheatwine is often lumped into the barleywine or strong ale category.  Even though it seems that large beer festivals like GABF are permanently expanding the number of categories up for vote, wheatwine has yet to be added.  Something tells me that it won’t be long until this exciting style has its day in the spotlight.

That something is the fact that wheatwines seem to be gaining trendiness by the day.  More and more breweries have been making them, and if you were to take a look at some of the community run sites like beeradvocate.com or ratebeer.com, you’d probably be surprised that it didn’t catch on much earlier.  Unlike ratebeer.com, beeradvocate.com actually has wheatwine as a category, and lists 70 beers.  That may seem like a lot, but it really isn’t when you take into consideration that other not-so-popular styles like rye beer, old ale, and rauchbier have 322, 248, and 125 entries respectively.  Also, a large percentage of the beers listed under wheatwine are variations on the same beer, one-offs, or brewery only draft specialties.  But, my point that this style should have caught on earlier isn’t solely based on the fact that it’s an untapped resource.  Even more so, it’s the ratings that have been acquired by the wheatwines that do exist.

There are very, very few wheatwines on beeradvocate.com that are rated lower than a B.  ratebeer.com’s number system may offer a bit better of a perspective, but like I said earlier, they don’t recognize the style on its own, so it takes a bit of digging.

Smuttynose Brewing out of Portsmouth, NH makes, most likely, the longest standing, most widely known wheatwine in the States.  In fact, other than the beer reviewed here tonight (and one mentioned later in this article), the entire Beer Blotter collective has only ever had one wheatwine…that of Smutty.  Smuttynose Wheat Wine is a 95 on ratebeer.com.  The much talked about collaboration Oatgoop, between Three Floyds Brewing of Munster, IN and Mikkeller of Denmark, recieved a 98 on ratebeer.com.  General stalwarts of the style, New Holland Pilgrim’s Dole and Terrapin Gamma Ray are rated 91 and 90 respectively.  Point being, the people like the wheatwine.

Just a year ago, it seems to me that it would have been very safe to say that there was only a handful of breweries in America making the style.  Most likely, a good percentage of the craft beer lovers out there are not all that different from us,  and have only tried one or two different wheatwines in total.  In the last few months, more and more brews have been popping up in the style.  Boulevard Brewing out of Kansas City, MO just recently added a wheatwine to the Smokestack Series called Harvest Dance.  It received a 97 on ratebeer.com.  Locally, Black Raven Brewing of Redmond, WA just made a wheatwine for Malt and Vine‘s (a Redmond based bottle shop) third anniversary.  Only three ratings exist so far on ratebeer.com. – not enough for a score, but I can tell you first hand, it’s delicious.  I was lucky enough to taste this little gem the day it was released.  The 9% brew was enhanced with the addition of California orange peel, black pepper corns, local nettles, and a distinct sour quality.  Quite possibly, Black Raven is so far ahead of the game that they are already throwing curve balls at the competition.

Just today (yesterday as you read this), there was a report on the front page of beernews.org that Duclaw Brewing out of Baltimore, MD will be releasing a wheatwine called Misery.  They just keep coming and coming.  You won’t get any complaints from me.

Enough about the rest, lets talk about the best…well, for tonight at least.  The beer on the menu this evening is brought to you by Bill Jenkins of Big Time Brewery.  ***Attention all, this is a name that you need to memorize.***  This guy can brew a beer!  Yes, Bill is a celebrity in my eyes.  I dare you to make a list of the best breweries in WA that doesn’t include Big Time.  Yes I know, it is nearly impossible to get their beer outside of the University District brewpub, but that’s the charm of it, right?

Lets gather in the experience of Old Sol.

Old Sol fills the glass with a beautiful, clearly filtered, orange-tinged amber that looks ever so inviting.  The carbonation is clearly minimal here, and the head, or lack there of, is right inline.  What foam does develop on the pour is stark white and leaves a faint bit of lacing on the inside of the glass after each sip.  A ring of white persists, in conjunction with the slightest cirrus cloud of a wisp.

The odor is very fruity, sweet, and boozy.  Belgian style ales come to mind immediately.  Notes of mango, nectarine, peach, banana… where it not for the malty scents at the core I’d sense this was a fruit juice before me.  The malts are light and biscuity with a dash of caramel and vanilla.  The wheat is doing things that I’m not entirely used to it doing, and I like it.  So many of my experiences with wheat beers have been with unfiltered beers.  Most often these brews are jammed up with suspended yeast that, inevitably, steals a lot of the subtle fragrances of the wheat itself.  I finally feel like I am spinning, arms outstretched, through the great wheat fields that dominate the Mid-Western states of this great country, and it’s a good feeling.  This thought may be just what sparks thoughts of a barnyard scent lingering deep within the nose.

The most elegant characteristic of this beer, and for that matter – this style, is the mouthfeel.  “Velvety” seems to be the word of choice in the style guidelines, and I’d have to agree.  The carbonation and alcohol seem to hibernate all the way until the swallow, which leaves only the viscous, sugary, syrupy, mouth-coating, wheaty goodness at the forefront for ultimate enjoyment.  I’d be lying if I said it was hard to swallow, but sometimes I just want to revel in the moment and let the fluid glide around my mouth for ages.

Honestly, as odd as it sounds, the taste of this beer is the least exciting.  I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it by no means takes away from the marvelous and unique experience that this beer provides..  What can I say, wheat is subtle.  I’m also a tea drinker, so I know and respect subtle.  The Belgian thoughts creep back, but then quickly subside when the wheat strikes.  Infused sugars dominate, with a bit of spice and banana essence that seems to be a constant extract of the malt in question, or possibly the yeast.  With great warmth, some bubblegum flavors make their presence known.  There is another bizarre attribute found post-swallow – the flavors remain but the sweetness if so dominant that a dryness competes.  I want more but I don’t need more.  Confused, I’m fearful of a hangover, but I’ll take it in stride.  All for the joy of sipping down the next big thing in craft brewing.

If you like Big Time Brewery & Alehouse Old Sol Wheatwine Ale, you should try…

Smuttynose Brewing Co.‘s Wheat Wine; New Holland Brewing Co.‘s Pilgrim’s Dole; Boulevard Brewing Co.‘s Harvest Dance

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard-earned money at a local bottle shop, and aged to perfection by yours truly.

Beer Law & Legis: Black Raven Brewing Loses Trademark Battle with Wine Producer

Black Raven might not have a trademark, but they don't intend to ditch the name

***This post was originally posted on BreweryLaw.com, the nation’s first, and maybe the only, blog devoted to beer law! The blog is published by Reiser Legal, LLC, a Seattle, Washington law office. Reiser Legal’s Douglas Reiser is our regular legal columnist.***

This is somewhat of a travesty – but truly the way that trademark law works. Yesterday, June 21, 2010, Black Raven Brewing Co. lost a trademark battle over its “Black Raven Brewing Company” name and mark design. The story was first reported over at Seattle Beer News.

The challenge was brought by Franciscan Vineyards, who holds trademarks for wine and related products identified by the names “Ravenswood” “Ravens” and “Ragin’ Raven.” These names are associated with its Ravenswood Winery label that produces a large volume of wine in the United States.

There are a few things that really struck me about this case. The first is that this ruling comes at a time when Black Raven Brewing Co. is flying high, gaining every recognition in the brewing world, and putting a major dent in the Seattle craft brewing market. This is the same brewery who recently took home 3 medals at each the North American Beer Awards and the World Cup of Beer. They are on a roll.

But, after taking a look at the pleadings filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board, I noticed that the challenge came up way back in January 2008.

Secondly, this was no easy challenge for Franciscan. They moved for summary judgment back in December 2008 and claimed that wine and beer were almost interchangeable, that the channels for sale were similar, and that the mark was confusingly similar. The court rejected this analysis, stating that Franciscan had failed to meet their burden of proof.

The Court proceeded to set the matter for trial. Several motions to strike were filed in 2009 that prompted a delay in the trial of the matter. But, the matter proceeded with briefing early this year; trial was held on the briefs and the decision issued this month.

Third, the Court refuses to sever the beer and wine industry. At times in its decision, its clear that the Court believes that they are virtually interchangeable. The Court provides:

Indeed, when the proper evidence has been made of record, the Board’s precedential authority specifically holds beer and wine are related products….

In sum, the factors relating to the goods, namely the similarities between wine and beer, the identity in trade channels and prospective purchasers, and the conditions of sale weigh in favor of a finding of likelihood of confusion.

This appears to be the first time that the trademark court has had to decide on a similar mark between beer and wine. They did cite the findings of a case between beer and tequila and one pertaining to malt liquor and tequila. But, the Court did not appear to draw any inferences from a similar beer and wine showdown.

This is an important distinction. This country has a glut of wine and beer producers. Many have extremely similar names (i.e. Stone Cellars v. Stone Brewing; Fat Cat Beer v. Red Cat Wine; Sea Dog, Laughing Dog, Lazy Dog, Spotted Dog and whole mess of other dog breweries and wineries). This could open the floodgates for more challenges in between these two industries.

Fourth, the Court used a strip down technique to tear away what it perceived to be generic terms. The Court stripped off “brewing company” and focused its attention on “black raven” v. “ravens”:

In the case of applicant’s mark, BLACK RAVEN clearly dominates the BREWING COMPANY portion. The generic words BREWING COMPANY are disclaimed, and, although we have compared the marks in their entireties, these words play a subordinate role in the mark.

The most important discussion of the word “raven” was in looking to the dictionary definition, which provided that the addition of the word “black” was essentially superfluous, not differentiating the two terms:

The marks share the word RAVEN (the plural form in opposer’s mark) and, thus, look and sound similar.

As for meaning, the term “raven” is defined, in pertinent part, as “a large, black, omnivorous and occasionally predatory bird; glossy black.” The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (1987).

Applicant’s promotional materials show that its logo depicts a black bird, as does opposer’s advertising materials. We find that RAVENS and BLACK RAVEN convey substantially similar, if not virtually identical meanings. Although the addition of BREWING COMPANY in applicant’s mark informs prospective consumers that the entity is a brewery, the evidence indicates, as discussed above, that beer and wine may emanate from the same entity.

So, its a crushing blow for Black Raven Brewing Co., but they are not out of options. They are entitled to appeal this decision in the future.

Initial accounts from Beux Bowman, the owner of the brewery, are that the brewery is not going to relinquish use of the name. Who can blame them? The young brewery has sunk an incredible amount of time, money and effort into building up a successful and well-known business icon.

It is very possible that Franciscan will approach the brewery about a licensing arrangement, which would permit them to use the mark, for a price. This is a typical goal of the trademark opposition procedure.

Whatever, Black Raven decides to do, we hope they continue building an incredibly successful brewing operation here in Washington state. Hopefully, the mere fact that they were a part of this dispute only provides additional marketing opportunities.

Beer Blotter’s Guide to WA Brewers Fest 2010

June 17, 2010 1 comment

A major highlight at this year's WA Brewers Fest

This coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday is the WA Brewers Fest.  You should go.  Support our great state’s breweries, both new and old.

Very few states in this great US of A have so many exciting breweries.  Unless you are some sort of professional brewery visitor and all you do from Monday through Friday is travel from brewery to brewery, trying everything available, there is no way you have tried all of the beers available at this fest.  Get out, educate yourself, have fun, challenge your palate, and be responsible.

The following is the complete list of beers available for taste throughout the weekend.  Well, I guess they won’t all be available throughout the weekend, some are Friday only (indicated with **).  I’ve chosen to steer clear of these, for the most part, for several reasons.   The biggest reason being that most of these beers have rarely been seen before, if at all, and thus I have very little information about them.  If they sound good, and most do, and you are able to get a pour, sip it down and let us know what you think.

Of the remainder, I’ve highlighted the ones that I feel are most worth checking out.  If you know about something special that I glossed over, please feel free to contact us.

Washington
192 Brewing*- Kenmore, WA
Granny’s Apple Ale (Fruit Ale)
Shticky Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Bier de Garde (Farmhouse Ale) – Timperial Stout loves saisons and is in a constant search for the world’s fairest.  A recent visit to The Dray allowed for our taste buds to experience the exquisite nature of Double Mountain Bonne Idee.  FL’s St. Somewhere probably makes one that’s even better.  How will this new brewery’s offering compare?
Shed Light (Light Ale)

Vanilla Stout** (Stout)

7 Seas Brewing*- Gig Harbor, WA
British Pale Ale (British Pale Ale)
Rude Parrot IPA (Spring/Summer Seasonal IPA)
Ballz Deep Double IPA (Double IPA)

Airways Brewing– Kent, WA
First Class IPA (IPA)
Jet City ESB (ESB)
Triple Chocolate Stout (Stout)Airways keeps eluding me.   The name of this brew alone makes my mouth water.  A must try for me.

Alpine Brewing– Oroville, WA
Alpine Pilsner (Pilsner)
Alpine HefeWeizen (HefeWeizen)Alpine and Chuckanut are always battling it out for German style superiority.  A hefe is one of the very best styles for outdoor summer drinking.

Anacortes Brewery*- Anacortes, WA
Belgian Dubbel (Belgian Dubbel)
Mai Oh Maibock (Maibock)
IPA (IPA)
Hefeweizen (Hefeweizen)
Cask IPA** (Cask IPA)

Baron Brewing/Three Skulls Ales*- Seattle, WA
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit (Witbier)
Three Skulls Amber (American Amber Ale)
Baron Pilsner (German Pilsner)
Baron Schwarzbier (Schwarzbier)
Hop the Plank IPA (IPA)

Big Al Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Summer Lager (Helles)
Big Al Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Belgian Tripel (Tripel)
Brougham Bitter (ESB)
5 Star Chile IPA** (Chile IPA)

Big Time Brewery– Seattle, WA
Wheat beer (American Wheat)
Trombipulator (Belgian Tripel) – In case you didn’t know, bb.com has a strong affinity for Belgian ales.  Big Time is quite possibly Seattle’s best brewery, but it often slips under the radar with its U-District hideout and lack of bottle distribution.  I’ll take a little slice of Europe in the Emerald City any chance I get.
Ave Rat Malt Liquor (Malt Liquor)

Black Raven Brewing*- Redmond, WA – Ummm… I’d say it’s pretty safe to say that Black Raven isn’t messing around.  Every one of these is worth a try.  Wisdom Seeker is WA’s greatest effort to date for world hop supremacy.  Not to be missed.  Coco Jones won gold at the most recent World Beer Cup for “Herb and Spice Beer”.  A true rarity.
Wisdom Seeker (Double IPA)
Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary (Sour Mash Rye)
Jerked Brown Porter (Herb & Spiced Ale)
Splinters (Bourbon Barrel Aged Scotch)
Coco Jones** (Coconut Brown Porter)

Boundary Bay Brewery– Bellingham, WA
German Tradition Single Hop Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
IPA (IPA)
Peach Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale)
Dunkles Bock (Dopple Bock)Silver medal winner at this year’s World Beer Cup.  Drink some suds from the nation’s largest brewpub.

Chuckanut Brewery & Kitchen– Bellingham, WA
Kolsch (German Ale)
Pilsner (German Pilsner) – It is extremely rare that I recommend a lager of any kind, especially a pilsner, but chances are good that you will find no better brew in the style than that of Chuckanut.

Diamond Knot Brewing*- Mukilteo, WA
Industrial IPA (Imperial IPA)
Scottish Ale (Scottish Ale)
Whip Ale (American Pale Ale) – This is Michael “Whip” Wilton of Queensryche’s beer.  Lazy Boy Brewing made it first, now it’s DK’s turn.  Let’s see if it has been improved.
Mystery Cask (changes daily)

Elliott Bay Brewing– Seattle & Burien, WA
Demolition Ale (Strong Pale Ale)
Wit von Boorian (Belgian Wheat Beer)

Elysian Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Loser Pale (Pale Ale)
Avatar Jasmine IPA (IPA)
Mens Room Original Red
Valhalla

Fish Brewing*- Olympia, WA
Fish Tale Organic IPA (IPA)
Fish Tale Organic Blonde Ale (Blonde)
Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hefeweizen (Alpine Style Hefeweizen)
Spire Mountain Pear Cider (Pear Cider)
Starfish Imperial Red Ale** (Imperial Red Ale)

Flyers Restaurant & Brewery*- Oak Harbor, WA
Pacemaker Porter (Robust Porter) – I’ve never had this one before, but a very reputable source once told me that this is the best porter in WA.
Afterburner IPA (Northwest IPA)
Humbles Blonde Ale (Blonde Ale)
Barnstormer Brown Ale (English Dark Mild)
Afterburner Mach II IPA** (IPA)

Foggy Noggin Brewing*- Bothell, WA
Bit O’ Beaver (English Bitter)
Christmas Duck (Porter) – Here is a good chance to check out one of our newest breweries.  At the very least, these guys seem to know how to name a beer.  I’m simultaneously hungry and thirsty right now.
Kastrated Dawg** (Strong Ale)

Fremont Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Universale Pale (Pale Ale)
Interurban IPA (IPA)
Solstice (Summer Ale)
Mystere de l’ete (Mystery beer) – We really like Fremont Brewing.  Whatever this ends up being, it should be tasty.
Scary Monster Double IPA** (Ridiculous IPA)

Gallagher’s Where U Brew– Edmonds, WA
Magnum PI…A (IPA)
Citra Blond (Blond Ale)
Eric the Red (Red IPA)

Georgetown Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Manny’s Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Lucille (IPA) – Those of you who read our work with any regularity know that we have done some gushing about this one.  Timperial has yet to try it.  It will be sampled.
Roger’s Pilsner (Pilsner)
Cask Porter** (Porter)

Hale’s Ales Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Supergoose (IPA) – Chances are good that you have had this one before.  Its presence on the market is very strong.  If by chance you haven’t, please do yourself a favor.  This beer is really good.
IX Gold on Sour Cherries (Belgian Strong Golden)
Kolsch (Kolsch)
SBW (Double IPA)
Saizon** (Saison) – Another saison for us to try.  Let’s see how a Fremont brewery interprets the farmhouse style.

Harmon Brewing*- Tacoma, WA
Pt. Defiance IPA (American IPA)
Scott’s Puget Creek Vanilla Porter (Flavored Brown Porter)
Rajah’s Royal IPA** (IPA)

Hood Canal Brewery*- Kingston, WA
Dabob Bay (IPA)
Big Beef (Oatmeal Stout)

Iron Horse Brewery*- Ellensburg, WA
Quilter’s Irish Death (Dark Smooth Ale)
High Five Hefe (Ginger Honey Wheat) – A recent bb.com trip to Ellensburg solidified our opinion that all things Iron Horse are worth drinking.  This hefe packs a punch, but should fit in very well at this outdoor festival.
Loco Imperial Red Ale (Big Hoppy Red)
Biere de Garde (French Ale)

Issaquah Brewhouse– Issaquah, WA
White Frog (Wit Bier)
Brutal IPA (IPA)

Chili

Beer

Plus

Lazy Boy Brewing*- Everett, WA – This is what they call “shameless self promotion”.  But seriously, all of these beers are delicious.  If for no other reason, get the chili beers so that all of the pain Shawn and I go through manually chopping those peppers is worth it.  Dry, cracked brewer hands + Scoville units = burning for days!

Nacho Pilsner (Dry Hopped Chiles/Pilsner)
Lazy Boy Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Oscuro Con Chiles** (Infused/Porter)

Mac & Jack’s Brewing– Redmond, WA
African Amber (Amber)
IPA (IPA)
Black Cat Porter (Porter)

Maritime Pacific Brewing– Seattle, WA
Double Dry Hopped Imperial IPA (Imperial IPA) – Just read the name.  ‘Nuff said.
Maybock Lager (Helles Style Lager)
Nightwatch Dark Amber Ale (Amber)
Special Aged Portage Bay Pilsener (Northern European Style Lager)

McMenamin’s Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Terminator Stout (Stout)
Herd of Eagles IPA (IPA) – OK, this beer is called Herd of Eagles.  I need it.
Whiskey Barrel Aged Terminator Stout** (Cask Stout)

Naked City Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Yankee Drifter (Pilsner)
Fleur d’ Elise (Saison) – Oh look, another saison.
Hopacalypse Now** (Double IPA) – Yes, this is a **, but bb.com had an extensive discussion with Don Webb about this brew a few weeks back and let me tell you…it’s a labor of hop love.  Strongest possible recommendation.

Northern Lights Brewing*- Spokane, WA
IPA (IPA)
Solar Winds (Strong Pale Ale)
Blueberry (Fruit Ale)
Chocolate Dunkel (German Style Dark Ale)
Cask IPA** (Cask IPA)

Odin Brewing– Seattle, WA
Odin’s Gift (Ruby Red)
Freya’s Gold (Kolsch)

Old Schoolhouse Brewery*- Winthrop, WA
Ruud Awakening (IPA)
Blazing Amber (American Amber)
Epiphany Pale (American Pale)

Pike Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Dry Wit (Belgian White Beer)
Naughty Nellie (Golden Ale)
IPA (IPA)
Kilt Lifter (Scotch Style Ale)

Port Townsend Brewing*- Port Townsend, WA
Hop Diggidy (IPA)
Brewer’s Surprise 1 – Ohhh I like surprises.
Brewer’s Surprise 2 – See above, number 2.

Pyramid Breweries*- Seattle, WA
Haywire (Hefeweizen)
Outburst (Double IPA)
Curveball (Blonde Ale)
Thunderhead (IPA)

Ram Restaurant & Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Barefoot Wit (Belgian Style White Ale)
Black Sheep IPA (IPA)
Cat Tread Red (Red Ale)
Cloudburst Cream Ale (Cream Ale)

Redhook Ale Brewery*- Woodinville, WA
Copperhook (Copper Ale)
Rope Swing (Summer Pilsner)
Big Ballard Imperial IPA (Imperial IPA) – Much respect for acknowledging those Ballard roots.  Plus, “imperial” is in the name.

Rock Bottom Brewery*- Seattle, WA
Raw City Red Ale (Irish Red Ale)
Saison au Printomps (Farmhouse Ale) – Ok, I think you get the point.  Looks like you could make a day of the saisons alone.  We likie.

Rock Bottom Brewery*- Bellevue, WA
Hop Bomb IPA (IPA)
Pretty N Pink (Raspberry Wheat)
Uberwit (Belgian Wit)
Milk Stout (Milk Stout) – I’m hoping to make a milk stout in the near future at Lazy Boy.  Every brewery should make one.  Sweet, creamy, delicious.

Roslyn Brewing– Roslyn, WA
Roslyn (German Style Dark Lager)
Brookside (German Style Pale Lager)

Schooner Exact Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Seamstress Union (Raspberry Wheat)
Gateway Golden (Golden Ale)
Gallant Maiden (Hefeweizen)
3 Grid IPA (IPA)
Imperial Project #2: Virgil Gamachinator** (IPA)

Scuttlebutt Brewing*- Everett, WA
Tripel 7 (Belgian Tripel)
Mateo Loco (Imperial Red Ale)
Homeport Blonde (Blonde Ale)
Cask Oaked Porter** (Cask Porter)

Seattle Beer News/Big Al Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Passive Aggressive Wheat (Hoppy American Wheat Ale) – Props to our buddy Geoff Kaiser over at Seattle Beer News for making this happen.  “Hoppy” and “wheat” rarely tangle together.

Silver City Brewery*- Silverdale, WA
Ridgetop Red (Irish Red Ale)
Fat Scotch Ale (Scotch Ale)
Whoop Pass IPA (Double IPA)

Skookum Brewery*- Arlington, WA
Off Kilter (Scottish Style Wee Heavy)
Olde Tom (American IPA)
Katspaw (Blonde Ale)
Mammoth Jack** (American Double IPA)

Snipes Mountain Brewing– Sunnyside, WA
Dos Borracho’s (Pilsner Lager)
IPA (IPA)
Cask IPA (Cask IPA)
Cask Twangzister Sour Cherry Stout** (Barrel Aged Sour)

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing*- Snoqualmie, WA
Summer Beer (Alt Style Pilsner)
Wildcat (IPA)
Haystack (Hefeweizen)
Black Frog (Nitro Stout)
Sunstroke** (Imperial Pilsner)

Trade Route Brewing– Pacific, WA
Midnight Ale (Brown Ale)
Chieftan Amber (Amber Ale)
Jetstream Lager (Lager)

Two Beers Brewing*- Seattle, WA
Crooked Belgian Wit (Belgian Wit)
Immerson Amber (Amber)
Evo IPA (IPA)

Alaska
Alaskan Brewing– Juneau, AK
Alaskan Amber (Alt Style Amber)
Alaskan Summer Ale (Kolsch Style)
Alaskan IPA (IPA)
Smoked Porter (Rauchbier) – This is a perennial favorite.  If you like liquid smoke, join in on the fun.

California
Firestone Walker Brewing– Paso Robles, CA
Double Barrel Ale (English Style Pale Ale)
Pale 31 (California Style Pale Ale)

Sierra Nevada Brewing– Chico, CA
Summerfest (Lager)
Southern Hemisphere Harvest (IPA)

Stone Brewing– Escondido, CA
Stone Lieviation Ale (Amber)
Stone IPA (IPA)

Colorado
New Belgium Brewing– Fort Collins, CO
Ranger IPA (IPA)
Trip VI (Spring Citrus Pale Ale) – In case you have been living under a rock for the past few years, the Trip series is a collaboration with Seattle’s own Elysian Brewing.  These rarely strike out.  Spring Citrus sounds really refreshing.

Oskar Blues Brewery– Lyons, CO
Dales Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Old Chub (Scotch Ale)

Delaware
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery – Milton, DE
Festina Peche (Berliner Weisse) – I don’t think that we could possibly talk up DFH any more.  These guys poop gold.  A low abv, peach flavored sour beer…are you kidding me!  The pinnacle of spring/summer drinking.
Indian Brown Ale (Brown Ale)

Hawaii
Kona Brewing– Kailua Kona, HI
Longboard Lager (Island Style Lager)
Wailua Wheat (Wheat Ale)

Illinois
Goose Island Beer Co. – Chicago, IL
Matilda (Belgian Style Ale) – I’m kind of amazed that these guys are going to be at the fest.  They are clearly quite serious about pushing into the WA market.  That’s very fortunate for us.  Goose Island makes killer brews and Matilda is no exception.

Missouri
Boulevard Brewing – Kansas City, MO
Unfiltered Wheat (American Wheat Beer)
Single Wide IPA (IPA)
Zon (Belgian Style Witbier)

Oregon
BridgePort Brewing– Portland, OR
BridgePort IPA (IPA)
BridgePort Hop Czar (Imperial IPA)

Deschutes Brewery– Bend, OR
Twilight Sumemer Ale (Light Ale)
Hop in the Dark (Cascadian Dark Ale) – CDA is another way of saying black IPA, or balanced to the extreme.  You can never go wrong with Deschutes.

Double Mountain Brewery– Hood River, OR
Kolsch (Kolsch)
India Red Ale (Hoppy Red Ale)
Hop Lava (Northwest IPA)
The Vaporizer (Pale Ale)

Ninkasi Brewing – Eugene, OR
Total Domination IPA (IPA)
Rudiant Seasonal Ale (Pale Ale)

Widmer Brothers Brewing– Portland, OR
Drifter Pale Ale (Pale Ale)
Widmer Hefeweizen (Hefeweizen)
Sun Burn (Blonde Ale)

2010 Washington Brewers Fest WABL Beer
Three Tree Imperial Porter by Elliott Bay Brewing
Available exclusively to WABL members at the WABL/Merchandise Booth

So that’s the list.  Very impressive if you ask me.

If you happen to be at the fest early on Saturday or late on Sunday, swing by the Lazy Boy Brewing booth and say hi.

Washington Brewers Festival 2010: GET READY

Our great state, full of great beers...

Just a quick blurb about this year’s Washington Brewers Festival hosted and organized by the Washington Beer Commission. I can’t believe it has been a year. It feels like just yesterday I was sitting in the in the sun drinking Georgetown Brewing Co.’s stout, Lisa.

I love the feeling, the moment right after you pay and receive your tokens. You cross the threshold into an adult playground and all you can see is tent after tent full of delicious micro- beverages. You grab the map, engaged in a lengthy discussion about your top choices. Its thrilling and always a damn good time.

This year has just as much potential as last. The Washington Brewers Fest is held Friday, June 18 through Sunday, June 20 about 20 minutes outside of Seattle in Kenmore, WA. Check out all of the details here….no here.

This festival not only celebrates Washington brewers and their passion and innovation, but features several stellar breweries from around the country. Check back with beerblotter.com for Timperial Stout’s preview for the 2010 Washington Brewers Festival. But in the meantime, to wet your pallet, Black Raven Brewing (coconut porter, what?!?!?!?), Lazy Boy Brewing (Oscuro Con Chiles- chile infused porter- who?!?!?!?), New Belgium Brewing Co (Trip VI, a collaboration with local brewery, Elysian Brewing Co.), Goose Island (Matilda, a Belgium style ale and I can’t believe it is being poured- GET THIS!).

See you there! And look forward to a full preview from bb.com this week!

Rookie of the Year: Black Raven Brewing Turns One Year Old This Week!

The bar at Black Raven's brewery in Redmond, WA. Check out the anniversary party this Saturday.

If you know anything about the year that Black Raven Brewing (Redmond, WA) had, you are probably shocked to hear that they were in their rookie season. Undoubtedly, they are the brewing industry’s rookie of year for 2009.

Seattle Beer News posted a great little blurp on the brewery’s first anniversary party which is going down this Saturday. Blogger Geoff Kaiser, also a writer for Northwest Brewing News, knows a thing or two about Black Raven, having gushed over their earth-shattering Wisdom Seeker.

Here is some news on the event, from Seattle Beer News:

Head over to Redmond and join Black Raven at their brewery for their anniversary party this Saturday, May 1, from Noon to 10pm. There will be 2 beer gardens pouring their lineup, including some rare releases that they have saved up from throughout the first year. There will be live music starting at 1pm, including Essie Blue (bluegrass/americana) from 1pm to 3pm, TBD from 3:30pm to 5:30pm, and Seattle reggae band Dub Lounge International will headline from 6pm to 9pm. Pizza and grilled food will be available. And, don’t forget the live goats…

Hope to see you all there early!

Guest Tales: Washington Cask Festival 2010 Brings Out Best in Local Beer

Schooner Exact's pirate wrapped keg

Today’s post comes to you from guest writer and friend to the Blotter, Dan Frueh. We first met Dan over a pint of Pliny the Younger. This guy knows his beer. We asked him to fill us in on the competition at Washington Cask Festival. Thanks Dan for the great post!

By: Dan Frueh

The Washington Cask Festival brings out the best in Washington beer lovers. Itʼs a room full of people, most of whom are here to dissect, explore, and be challenged by some new concoction that these Northwest breweries have brought to share. More than that however, the beer lovers are there for the intense community that happens only at these festivals, tastings, and club meetings.

Briefly, cask beer is a beer that has been conditioned in a small wooden or metal barrel instead of the huge vats used to brew the normally bottle beers. In essence, cask beer is an experiment. It enables brewers to cook beer using wild ingredients and the 2010 cask festival did not disappoint in that regard. Just as wine takes on the flavor of the container it ages in, so does beer.

Rock Bottom showed up strongly - Hop Bomb certainly is a must try

The primary experimental ingredient at cask festival was oak. Seems harmless. Brew some beer in an oak cask. Easy. Tasty. Brew some beer in a barrel that used to hold some Jack Danielʼs or bourbon. Ok now were experimenting. However those beers were still accessible such as Issaquah Brewingʼs Frosty Frog that had been aged three months in Jack Danielʼs barrels.

Now to step it up to the next level, brewers start using ingredients in the brewing process itself such as orange peel and oak chips, both of which are tasty and understandable. However, brewers often choose to go a little overboard with their ideas but  thankfully allow those of us brave enough to go to cask festival to try them.

These daring brews would include the following:

Silver Cityʼs “fat woody” (scotch ale aged in white oak)

Big Alʼs Sourlicious Sour Beer (bourbon barrel aged red with brettanomyces and lactobacillus bacterias from Belgium)

Ramʼs Groovy toasted coconut porter (infused w/ toasted coconut obviously)

Diamond Knotʼs Apple Cinnamon ESB (apple cider and cinnamon sticks, with apple chunks)

Diamond Knotʼs Scottish (peat-smoked moss, heather tips, and oak chips)

Rock Bottomʼs Hop Bomb IPA (apricot, grapefruit, and peach)

Elliot Bayʼs Tabasco Stout (tabasco barrel aged stout)

So everyone comes and is challenged by new beers and to savor old favorites. Cask festival appeared to raise the nerd level a little more than just a craft beer festival might. Long discussions could be overheard about why chinook hops were a better bittering hop, or why this yearʼs version of the trickster IPA didnʼt compare with past years, or the oft-heard complaint that these wasnʼt enough water to cleanse the palate after each beer.

The champion - Black Raven's Wisdom Seeker

Despite these more esoteric conversations, I had a few conversations with strangers about how great Northwest beer is, how tight the craftbeer community is, how everyone looks out for each other because we all have the same enemy in the Bud/Miller/Coors giant. This was the best part of cask festival – sharing a love of beer with people and then moving beyond just that point of connection into making new friends.

Beer is a social lubrication tool and what better way to do that then to actively set up a venue where everyone can come together to share in that. Thanks Washington Beer Lovers.