Lurking in the shadows of summer beer festivals is the Seattle International BEERFEST. Mark your calendars for July 2-4th for this epic, yes, epic outdoor beer loving, beer gazing, beer drinking event.
We are talking beers from all over our fine country plus the rarest of the rare, beers from all over the globe. Over 150 beers from 15 different countries to be exact. Now you know why I’m saying “epic.”
Let the world unite under the pretense of good craft beers at Seattle Center next weekend. Its going to be magical and not to be missed. With over 150 beers, I am unable to review them all. However, I present you with four top five lists since that seems to be an easy way to organize the blog these days.
1. Top 5 breweries to try from the USA
2. Top 5 breweries to try from outside of the USA
3. Top 5 beers you should try
4. The 5 rarest of the rare
Hopefully that will cover the basics, but for the full list and all of the details visit the 2010 Seattle International BEERFEST’s website. And just a note, there is no particular order to the “Top 5s.”
1. Top 5: US Breweries To Try
Although this is your chance to try some rare, undeniably authentically amazing beers from other countries, I have to represent. After all, the USA did make it to the second round of the World Cup! So my reasoning behind choosing these 5: Festivals are a place where you want to capitalize on those beers you normally cannot obtain and those that have several options. Therefore, the breweries are on this list for mainly those two reasons, plus of course, they are awesome.
- Cascade Brewing Co., Portland, Oregon- amazing sours beers and once in awhile Uber Tavern will get a few kegs, ONCE IN AWHILE. They are showcasing two mystery beers, which are almost certain to be some wild yeast infected, wood-aged masterpiece. Save your tickets for those.
- Great Divide Brewing Co., Denver, Colorado- The beers that are pouring, you can buy in bottles, but rarely do you get to enjoy a Oak Aged Chocolate Yeti (read our review) on tap. Also, try their IPA!
- Deshutes Brewing Co., Bend, Oregon- Black Butte XXII- its new and its here!
- Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Rehoboth Beach, Delaware- although this brewery is getting more popular by the minute, this weekend 90 min IPA, the 120 min IPA (take it easy on this one, its 21%!!!!) and World Wide Stout will be pouring, so if you missed WWS at Brouwer’s Back to Black during Seattle Beer Week, now is your chance for redemption.
- New Old Lompoc Brewing Co., Portland, Oregon: This is another brewery that although located 2 hours south of Seattle, rarely shows up on tap. Try their barleywine and save on the gas!
2. Top 5: The Foreign Brewers To Try
Now onto more worldly things….the following breweries produce high quality beverages. I will write a little snippet, if you will, on each brewery just for your enjoyment.
- Mikkeller, Denmark: Mikkeller makes beers of all styles and they are all amazing. A line of single hop IPAs, an IPA that combines 10 hops, a-m-a-z-i-n-g-l-y flavorful and thick stouts as well as your finest Belgium styled beers. And, no big deal, but they are pouring 6 beers, one of which is Big Worse (their incredible barleywine).
- Dieu du Ciel, Canada: Amazed that the two beers they are pouring are on tap – Peche Mortel Imperial Stout and Rigor Mortis, a Quad.
- Nogne-O, Norway: If their amazing trademark brand doesn’t entice you, then their innovative beers will. Cant go wrong with a beer from Nogne-O, especially the Batch 100 IPA.
- Cantillion, Belgium: If you are a frequent reader, then you know our love for this brewery, especially after experiencing it first hand. Authentic Lambics are brewed here. When you drink these lambics, you can taste the authenticity…it just tastes…pure. Iris is the only beer pouring, but my God, its on draft.
- Caracole, Belgium: This is a Belgium brewery through and through producing a White Ale, a Blonde, Amber Ale and Brown Ale. Of course, these beers are named for their color…their taste goes much much deeper.
3. Top 5: Beers You Cannot Miss
Now this is challenging- the top 5 beers you should try.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast on draft! Had this a couple weeks ago in San Diego. Fixated.
- Mikkeller Big Worse on draft! And I am back to this brewery. That is what you get for being awesome and also pouring 6 beers. Big Worse is a barleywine and is on tap. A Beer Blotter favorite.We had Beer Geek in San Diego last month and Big Worse on the tap in Amsterdam – best on draft.
- Oud Beersel Oude Kreik: a cherry lambic pouring from the bottle.
- Both of Cascades’ Mystery Beers: take your pick, cannot go wrong. I know that’s two beers – but whatever.
- Nogne- O #100: a Double Imperial IPA on draft.
4. Top 5: Rare Ones Not To Miss
Now, on to the rarest of a the rare.
- Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Bacon: WHAT? BACON? Its out of the bottle but this is going to be unreal.
- De Molen Dispution Stout: We had the pleasure of visiting this brewery in the Netherlands. Every beer they crank out is top notch, this being no exception.
- De Proef K-O: Straight from Belgium, this “Knock Out” is a Triple weighing in at 10% (ok no more boxing puns).
- De Ranke Cuvee: Old sour beer from De Ranke blended with Girardin (another brewery in Belgium) lambic. This is being poured from the bottle. However, if you are in the mood for draft, De Ranke is pouring the XX Bitter which has a hop component with that sour funk you get from good ol’ wild yeast. Both beers are sure to impress!
- De La Senne Equinox: I’ve selected this beer because they are the perfect representation of the “new Belgian” movement across the Atlantic. This young brewer is situated in French Belgium, south of Brussels. They make remarkably progressive beers, while holding on to the classic Belgian styling. Try this beer, one of their best.
There are so many amazing beers and amazing breweries at this event. It truly is unfortunate that my liver and my bank account can’t support my trying every last one. Take notes, report back and let us know which beers you are excited to try. Leave a comment or email us at email@example.com!
The time has arrived for another dip into the mighty archive. We pick up, oddly enough, on the same day that we left off last time, the 4th of October, 2007. It was a hell of a day for beer drinking. Let’s see what was had and how they tasted shall we…
Stone Brewing Co. (Escondido, CA) – 11th Anniversary
Stone is king. Anniversary beers are prince. Black as death, hoppy as heaven. Boggled? Yes! When comparing the smell with the color, well…it’s confusing. The hop flavor is perfect throughout the sip. Maltiness is present, but quite. Drinks hearty but doesn’t feel overpowering. I really don’t understand this beer. Genius!
The above paragraph is the complete original review. I feel inclined to offer further commentary, in retrospect…so I will. 11th Anniversary may or may not be the original black IPA, I can’t say with much certainty, but I do know that it was one of the first on the market in the U.S. with any prominence. I can still recall how perplexed I was when I tried it. Jumping back a little further, of course, I had to purchase the sequel to 10th Anniversary, which was the first Stone Anniversary beer I ever had, and still the best to date (it was a double IPA and it was increadable). This beer (11th) was so good and unique that it not only spawned a permanent member of the Stone lineup (Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale), but has inspired countless craft breweries around the country to make their own version. Call it what you will, black ale of various names and prefixes, it was based on this one. Stone, like always, proves the game changer.
Brasserie Caracole (Falmignoul, Belgium) – Ambree
8%. Gorgeous amber, maybe a bit richer color, and lively carbonated head. Smell and taste coincide, kind of nutty. Coats the mouth in sugary goodness, taste lasts so long after the sip. I just want to bow respectful to the yeast. Many tastes, most hard to explain.
More commentary: I’ve now had this beer about 5 times, though the above review was written during my initial sampling. This beer is amazing. The brewery as a whole is amazing. Saxo, Nostradamus, Troublette, all great beers. The self-titled (if you will) amber ale, reviewed above, is my favorite. It’s not “kind of nutty”, it’s really nutty, in the best way possible. Like in almost all Belgian ales of any quality, the yeast really is the work horse, and this strain is best in class. Best enjoyed in the colder weather, bring this one as a gift to your next Thanksgiving party. You will impress.
De Proef Brouwerij (Lochristi, Belgium) – Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale
Triple fermented using 2 yeast strains (saccharomyces and brettanomyces). 9% abv. Golden color, nice crisp head, moderate carbonation. Nose of, you guessed it, wild yeast. Much different from all other wild yeast beers I’ve had, much lighter, no fruitiness at all. It’s a true homage to the yeast. I like this beer almost solely out of respect for the yeast. Needs something else to really make it sing.