Monday, October 16, 2006

... And the Cask Beer Festival You Rode In On!

10/14: Washington Brewers Guild Cask Beer Festival. Shitty. We're an hour late, walk in with our tickets and they're out of festival cups. We'll have to make do with these creepy little hard plastic drinking cups (I'll end up going through three of them as they like to simply split in two). And they're out of the programs that list the breweries and the beers they're pouring. So much for tasting notes.

NOTE TO WBG: Procure a laptop. Format festival documents on laptop. Procure a suitable, portable laserprinter. Bring laptop and suitable, portable laserprinter to festival. Setup laptop and laserprinter at the check-in table of the festival. Print out programs for handout on demand. Festival program documents are available for last minute editing if necessary. Your paying customers have up to the minute information at hand, you're not running out of any handouts, and you're saving paper. About the cups, X number of tickets sold requires X number of festival cups (maybe 10% over for good measure) to be available. The festival cups may not be pretty but they are flavor neutral and sturdy. If you're selling us out to save a few bucks, how 'bout getting a shitload of generic Washington Brewers Guild cups all at once. Long production runs are cheaper than short production runs. I think we can get by without festival specific glassware. Better yet, offer festival goers a premium to encourage reusing last years festival cup. Check it out, I've just saved you worlds of paper, plastic fucking cups, time and money. Asshole.

Anyway...

More fresh-hop beers this year, which is kinda cool and a more judicious use of wood in others, which is even cooler. Rogue Issaquahs' fresh hop beer was good and Anacortes' was really good. I think their standard IPAs with the fresh hop twist. I was eagerly anticipating the Maritime XPA. Total bongwater, I loved it. I think the Double Whoop Pass from Silver City might have been fresh hopped too. Their "X Anniversary Ale" was nice. Right between a pitchy, full bodied Foreign Style Stout and a firm, oaky Stock Ale with chocolate toffee flavors and some ash in the finish. Diamond Knot XXX IPA, fresh hops and "Ported Oak". Real nice, tons of hops all across the palate with a firm, elegant finish from the Port and oak. Bourbon Barrel Stout with dried cherries from the Rock Bottom in Bellevue. Fine stout with the bourbon more mild and warming than some more "bourbon forward" beers I've had. The dried cherries came in with some tartness. Reminded me of those cherry cordials. The Waterstreet sent down a monster! A mixture of their Coffee Stout, Imperial Red and India Pale ales aged in a Chardonnay barrell. Tons of wine and barrel. Heads Up Brewings' "Bipolar" a butterscotchy strong ale was nice, just like a Butterscotch Nip. Fish Brewings' "Winterfish" was real nice, liquor filled hard candy (think rum and Sugar Daddy) with hops. Great stuff.

I was particularly curious about the Saison from Ram Brewery Puyallup. Dave brewed a straightforward Saison but primed a couple kegs with Brettanomyces. Brett is a wild yeast that creates all sorts of funky and wonderful flavors and aromas. Sweat, musty earth, horse blanket, cheese, feet and lactic acid for starters. Neat stuff. The Saison at the festival was just too young for the Brett to have developed its full flavor potential. A fine beer but just a manner of time before it's mind blowing.

We went down to Brouwers for "Afters". Real busy but we managed to get a table pretty quickly. I was in the mood for sour beer, especially after all the hoppy beer at the festival. Had both the Hanssens and Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze. Hanssens was excellent, firm and elegant. Drie Fonteinen was just a powerhouse of sour. Sweat, sour cream, some green apple and spritzy as hell. Definitely what I was in the mood for. Others at the table had; Scaldis, a Belgian Strong Pale ale with flavors similar to the two toffee-ish strong ales at the festival. North Coast Old Rasputin Imperial Stout; bitter chocolate, resinous hops served on nitro and incredible as always. And a wee dram of Laphroig. Yummy!

At this point the evening or rather early morning devolved into madness. Grown men and women behaving like animals, howling and beating their chests. That was my cue to head home.

1 comment:

Marc Menninger said...

Jerome, great write-up of the cask beer festival! Yeah, it sounds like they missed some fundamentals of festival planning. I couldn't make it this year, but I'll probably go next year. Hopefully they get their act together...

-Marc