Editor Note: Timperial is apparently moving to Asheville after writing this slander. Stone him at will, Seattle.
When I was in Asheville, NC last week I had the great fortune to attend the Winter Warmer Beer Fest. It was held in the Civic Center right downtown and it was a blast!
Lately, I’ve been a bit disillusioned with Washington beers fests. I feel that they are overpriced and mostly underwhelming in most cases. I feel like there is rarely a lot of new and/or exciting beers to try. Most local breweries that attend these festivals seem to be inconvenienced and just show up to show up. Most times, I feel that our breweries only provide one or two options and in many cases, those options are standard offerings that we have all had many times before or that we could acquire, outside of the event, with little effort.
Even at some of WA’s finest beer fests like Washington Brewers Festival, the only way that you can get the extreme beers that are available is by being a WABL member or by paying extra and seeking out the ever elusive Buzz Cart. Does this not seem ridiculous to you? Why are we hiding the best beers of our state? If I owned a brewery I would want to knock the socks off of everyone in the crowd and gather up some hype about my product. I’d want people to have access to my best and most exciting products at these festivals. That’s what the festivals are really about anyway – creating new customers.
Washington can learn a lot about how it should be done by checking out how the South does it. The Winter Warmer Beer Fest cost $35 to get in. Yes, I’ll admit, initially, that is pretty expensive. There is a huge “but” though. Once you get in the door, you will only have to spend more money if you choose to purchase merchandise from the vendors or breweries. You get 2, yes 2, meal tickets with entrance. There was 2 separate lines for food that you could get in to use your meal tickets. The first offered an entire plate of h’orderves and antipasto. The second was more of a “meal” and offered salad and meat and pasta. I’m not sure if I mentioned this but the 2 (!) meals are included in the $35 entrance fee. Wow!
Some breweries in the room only had 3 offerings, but most had 4 and several had up to 7 options. Nearly every brewery had at least 1 special brew. Many had rotating specialties, where they would post a schedule at their booth of when what brews would be tapped. There were probably around 6 Belgian sours, 10+ barrel aged beers, many imperials and specialty beers… it was insane. I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Oh, speaking of, did I not mention that the tasting glass that we received upon entrance could hold 8oz and that you could drink as much beer as you wanted? Yeah, that’s right. There’s no such thing as tasting tickets or tokens at this fest. You drink as many samples as you want. You determine how much they fill your glass. I’ll stop now and allow you to ponder this further on your own.
Washington, get your shit together!
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!
Out with the old and in with the new. Located in the industrial neighborhood of SoDo, Rainier Brewing Co. is Seattle’s oldest brewery. Its true, Rainier is no longer a local microbrew (Pabst bought the brewery and closed its location in 1999). Instead Tully’s Coffee calls the building home and currently shares the space. But who wants to drink coffee when you can drink beer?
With a Willy Wonka essence of magic, flair and mystic, the multi-colored building is a staple of the Seattle beer scene. We couldn’t have been happier to hear that beer is being brewed under this roof by Emerald City Brewing Co. as we write. Washingtonbeerblog.com wrote a sweet article about the opening of this new brewery in Seattle’s temple of beer. Here is an excerpt, but check out the entire article by clicking here:
You might expect Emerald City Beer Company to pump out the typical lineup of IPAs, Pale Ales, Porters, Stouts and other ales commonly produced by our local, Washington breweries; however, Rick is taking a different tack and will not focus on any of those styles of beer. Instead, they’ll focus on lager. In particular, they’ll focus initially on their flagship beer – Dottie’s Seattle Lager. In time, they will introduce other styles and brewing ales is not at all out of the realm of possibilities.
Emerald City Brewing Co. will have a batch ready just in time for the Washington Brewers Festival (June 18-20). Happy Brewing!