After a great run at the Birch Bay Road Race on Saturday we thought we would challenge ourselves to a different type of competition - sampling our way through the list of 89 cask beers created by 37 breweries at the Washington Cask Beer Festival.
Presented by the Washington Brewers Guild and Brouwer’s Cafe, this is a BIG beer festival with IPAs dominating the floor, along with reds, stouts, CDAs, barleywines and over the top strong beer. There were plenty of experiments such as American Brewing High Stick Imperial Red which was double dry hopped with a huge citrus punch using several crystal malts adding to the effect of a caramel sock in your mouth. Snipes Mountain Brewery offered Experimental Special Bitter (ESB) and was cask-packed full of experimental hop varieties it did indeed blow your nose off. North Sound Brewing Hop Chops IPA was so funky it sweated out its Galaxy hops.
There were also plenty of solid beers such as Port Townsend Brewing Dead See Imperial IPA with rye malt, Boundary Bay Dry Hopped ESB, Diamond Knot Brewing Apple Cinnamon ESB and one which garnered the quote of the evening as “an IPA you can set your watch to” (nice one Ross!), Elliott Bay Brewing Lake City Way IPA.
Highlights included Big Al Brewing Flanders Red (a huge tangy tart sour), Issaquah Brewhouse Wik Ed Porter (smokey with hints of vanilla), Redhook Brewery Svidaniya Russian Imperial Stout (Woodinville whiskey barrel aged and troubly delicious), and Sound Brewery Humulo Nimbus Double IPA, (a perfect storm of hops and malt). One final beer that stood out was Schooner Exact Brewing Spanish Cedar IPA - the cedar aroma and flavour combined with Amarillo, Simcoe and Falconers Flight hops was quite extraordinary. Cedar IPA - a new favourite!
This is a great festival and one that is well-organized and supports the talented members of Washington Brewers Guild. With a ticket price of $35 and a 26-sample punch card to taste from 89 beers, you cannot go wrong.