This Friday, October 1st and Saturday, October 2nd will mark the second annual Tacoma Craft Beer Fest. There’s a few really great reasons to take a short venture south on I-5 to check it out. The first three are location, location, and location. Though I have never actually been to the Foss Waterway Seaport, from what I have heard from friends and from the pictures I have seen online, it seems like a pretty fantastic locale for beer drinking. We’re talking real deal waterfront here. You can get a beer, served by a sea-lion, poured into a hallowed-out buoy, all while romping with rock stars and CEOs on million dollar yachts! Now that’s a party!
Ok, that probably won’t happen, but only because there is no possible way that a sea-lion could properly pour a beer with those weird flipper things they call hands. The TCBF will not stand for allowing any of that precious liquid to go to waste. Speaking of precious liquid, that brings me to my fourth and final “great reason” to check out TCBF this year, the beer (and really, that’s the only reason you should ever need)!
Though the website is in severe lack of detail when it comes to what will be offered, we can look at the breweries that will be in attendance and make certain assumptions about the overall quality of the event. Below you will find the complete list of breweries that will be pouring. Overall, it looks pretty impressive to me. One gripe that a die-hard beer fest goer like myself may have, about beer fest in general, is that there is a lot of brewery participant crossover from one fest to the next. In a state with such an impressive and diverse brewing pedigree, you’d think that festival curators would make more of an effort to attract some of the Northwest breweries that you don’t see at every beer fest. Because of this, I have chosen to highlight some of the new and some of the uncommon festival participants.
192 Brewing – These Kenmore, WA guys are still relatively new. If you haven’t found their product on tap at the bars and you missed them at the Fremont Oktoberfest, here is another chance. I’ll be hoping to see the Bier de Garde.
21st Amendment Brewing
7 Seas Brewing
Airways Brewing – Haven’t had a chance to try this newish Kent, WA brewery yet? Here is your chance. Check out the ESB if it’s available. I think you will find it to be a supreme example of the style.
Anderson Valley Brewing Company
Big Al’s Brewing
Burris Brewing – Rhett Burris makes his beer up in Everett, but he is a Tacoma guy through and through. It is very rare to see his Jackrabbit Pale Ale on tap anywhere other than in Tacoma, but it’s growing rapidly and expansion could be right around the corner. If I’m not mistaken, he will be pouring his brand new Oktoberfest at the festival as well. Swing by his booth and be one of the first in the world to try it.
Diamond Knot Brewing
Double Mountain Brewing – This is one of my favorite newish OR breweries. I absolutely swoon over their saisons, and their IPAs are killer as well. Pretty much everything of theirs that I’ve tried has been solid. I know I’ll be stopping by their booth, no matter what is pouring.
Emerald City Beer – Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you know all about Dottie, the brand new dark lager coming out of The Old Rainier Brewery space. But, just because you’ve heard all about it doesn’t mean that you’ve tried it. I know I haven’t.
Engine House #9 – If you’re not a Tacoma resident, chances are good that you are completely unaware of this brewpub. Why not check it out and see if it’s worth adding to your next Tacoma bar crawl?
Everybody’s Brewing – I always get a little chuckle out of reading this White Salmon, WA brewery’s beers off of local bar’s taplists. “Everyboby’s Brewing Daily Bread Common Ale” it would read, and I would say to myself, “…really? Why is everyone brewing a common ale? What exactly is a common ale and how is it that I seem to be the only one not brewing it? Oh, Everybody’s Brewing is the name of a brewery. Dumbass.” I see these brews on at Naked City pretty often, but in general, they are still a bit rare in these parts. Check them out if you haven’t already.
Firestone Walker Brewing – Yeah, I know, I kiss the feet of Firestone on the daily. I only highlight these guys because, for me, the willpower does not exist within to allow me to walk past their booth and not fill up my glass.
Fish Tale Ales
Full Sail Brewing
Green Flash Brewing – I’d imagine that you know about Green Flash and their near unparalleled mastery of the hop. It’s not everyday that you see these guys pouring at a Washington beer fest. One might as well take advantage, right?
Great Divide Brewing
Iron Horse Brewing
Lazy Boy Brewing
Lost Coast Brewing
Mac and Jacks
Merchant Du Vin
MT Head Brewing – These guys are from Graham, WA and have been doing the brewing thing for a little over a year now according to the website. I have never actually seen their product before, so I would be excited to get a taste. It looks like they make a brown, a pale and a red. Let’s hope the flavors aren’t as MT as their heads.
New Belgium Brewing
North Coast Brewing
Odin Brewing – A good friend and periodic columnist of Beer Blotter, Mark Leavens, recently took a job with Odin as a sales rep. He is so damn smooth that our group of friends call him “Legend”. He could be peddling the worst beer on the face of the Earth and I would still mention it here, but luckily, Odin is decidedly not making the worst beer on Earth. In fact, it’s pretty great. If they have the sour stout, don’t pussyfoot.
Ommegang Brewing – Any time this Coopertown, NY brewery with Belgian ties has a new release, I freak out. You should have seen me a few months back, asking everyone I know to keep a look out for Zuur (Flemish brown sour) bottles. “Call me if you see them,” I would say. Now the search is on for Cup o Kyndnes (Scotch ale). If they happen to be pouring either, I’ll be getting more than one.
Oskar Blues Brewing
Port Angeles Brewing – I’m not sure if this is a mistake or what, but to my knowledge PAB is no longer. If I’m wrong, I can’t wait to see how good their resurrected beers are.
RAM Tacoma (Bighorn)
Schooner Exact Brewing
Silver City Brewing
Snoqualmie Falls Brewing
Trade Route Brewing
Two Beers Brewing
Walking Man Brewing – The Columbia River Gorge breweries are really coming out in numbers for this one. We love to see it! WMB is just one of those WA breweries that we can’t get enough of. Their Black Cherry Stout and Homo Erectus IPA can be found in the Seattle market with a reasonable regularity, but that’s about it. I’ll be hoping to see some of their other fantastic brews. Give me that Jaywalker!
If anyone has any information about specific beers that will be available at the fest, please let us know. Also, if you feel like me glossed over something special, drop us a line.
Here, in the third installment of the collaborative brewing article, we present a bit of a list of some of the most notable collaboration projects of the past, present and future.
This write up would be remiss to not mention the prolific Danish brewer with no brewery, Mikkel Borg Bjergso of Mikkeller. If brewing beer at someone else’s brewery were criteria enough to evoke the collaboration moniker, every Mikkeller beer to hit the shelves would be just that. Even still, Mikkel has, over the years, joined forces with Stone, Brew Dog, Three Floyds, Struise, Alesmith, Nogne O, and others to make some really exciting beers.
A collaboration that us Seattleites are very familiar with is that of Elysian Brewing Co. and New Belgium Brewing Co. The ‘Trip’ series allows Elysian to brew with more volume on the New Belgium system and New Belgium to brew more experimental, small batches on the Elysian system. Lucky for us, these beers are only available on draft in the Northwest.
The first brew was Trippel (not triple) IPA, a Belgian-inspired Indian Pale Ale. Trip II was a unique hoppy Belgian Golden Ale spiced with lemongrass and grains of paradise. Trip III was a sour brown ale and Trip IV, a Finnish style sahti brewed with juniper. Beer Blotter will be on the edge of their seats in anticipation of each subsequent release.
The darlings of the Florida scene, Cigar City Brewing, just may be sending a bit of their art in Seattle’s direction when they collaborate with The Bruery in what will be the most anticipated collaboration release for yours truly. Keep your eyes peeled in July or August of this year.
Terrapin Beer Co. of Athens, GA and Left Hand Brewing of Longmont, CO have actually decided to make a somewhat regular go at collaborating together with the ‘Midnight Project’ series. Brew One in 2008 produced Terra-Rye’zd, a black rye lager. Last year’s Brew Two saw Depth Charge, an espresso milk stout. Sadly, WA is not amongst the 6 states that receive these beers, but if you are in TN, NC, SC, GA, FL or CO, we will gladly offer you our address and some packaging materials.
Quite possibly the biggest (in terms of brewery size) collaboration yet sees Boston Beer Co. and Weihenstephan join forces. The largest American craft brewery and the oldest brewery in the world, that’s pretty monumental! The uncharacterized style will come at the intersection of brewing innovation and the old German purity law, the Reinheitsgebot. According to Realbeer.com, “their yet-to-be-named beer will be released in both the United States and Germany next spring in cork-finished bottles. Effervescent and Champagne-like beer it will weigh in at more than 10 percent alcohol by volume.”
Another fairly sizeable collaborative effort came at the hands of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. These two have been quite active lately, in fact, on the collaborative front. Life and Limb came when Sam Calagione and Ken Grossman, two monumental names in American craft brewing, decided to cook up a beer together after sharing a pint or two at the Craft Brewer’s Conference. Their concoction ended up being a 10% strong ale brewed with maple syrup, fermented with a combination of both breweries house yeast strains and naturally carbonated with birch syrup. Limb and Life was also created in this session, a small beer made from the second runnings of Life and Limb.
Boulevard Brewing Co. of Kansas City, MO just recently made its first mark on the collaboration scene with a very unlikely cohort, the Belgian Trappist brewery Orval. Using an old recipe that Orval brewmaster Jean-Marie Rock had, an Imperial Pilsner was made using only one kind of malt, Saaz hops, water, and a lager yeast. Beer Blotter has never wanted to try a pilsner so bad. This beer is available in Seattle so look for it, we will be.
The final collaboration to be discussed in this round will be another America-meets-Belgium pairing that, well…I’m sure you can all imagine just how much that concept gets our blood pumping. Green Flash Brewing Co. of San Diego County and Brasserie St. Feuillien of Le Roeulx, Belgium have teamed up to make Bière De L’Amitié, or “Beer of Friendship”. Beernews.org reports that this 9.5% blonde Belgian strong ale will be released in June of 2010. Rye and wheat malts were used, along with Amarillo hops, St. Feuillien’s yeast strain, “secret” spices, and the whole mess was dry hopped with Amarillo. Sounds stupid good.
Any thoughts on collaborations? Know any good ones we missed? Join the conversation with a comment.