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2007 Washington Brewers Festival
This year marked the return of the great Father's Day weekend brewfest to its rightful home...St. Edwards Park and it was certainly great to be home again! We attended on Saturday and after reports of morning rain the beer gods smiled on us again and we were spared any rain. This year was also an amazing year to be a hophead with many new breweries, the return of some old friends, and some great new brews from the established breweries. We weren't able to try them all and skipped the ones that we have had before for the most part but here are some reviews fresh from the field. Here they are ranked on a five star system with whatever the hell criterea we feel like
Skookum Brewery - Arlington, WA.
I was looking forward to sampling this new entry to the brewfest but was a little disappointed. It may have just been that we were literally the first ones there and they hadn't got the kegs flowing well but maybe not...we will have to give them another chance at a later time.
Amber's Hot Friend - first off...bad pour...mostly foam from the volunteer and tasted way too much like an Alaskan Amber to be original. Very sweet...not in a good taster said "more like Amber's fat friend!" **
Jackass IPA - not too hoppy...nothing special to make this IPA very memorable. **
Schooner Exact Brewing Co. - Seattle, WA
Another new entry I was really looking forward to tasting but this one did not disappoint.
3 Grid IPA and 3 Grid IPA Cask
both were smooth, not overly hoppy but great flavor with seemingly high alc content. As with most casks, the cask was flatter but still very enjoyable. ***
Flyers Restaurant & Brewery - Oak Harbor, WA.
Another first timer at the brewfest that I was looking forward to tasting. The Afterburner IPA was a hit, smooth and crisp with a lingering hop finish. ***1/2
Flyers ESB was not as big of a hit. Tasted too much like a RedHook ESB, nothing to really set this apart and not hoppy enough for my hophead taste buds.
Big Time Brewery has always been a favorite of mine and their amazingly creative brewer had another hit in something I usually don't try. The Big Dance Oaked Imperial Amber was a dance in my mouth of sugary excitement. No hop flavor to be spoken of but still an amazing unique flavor. ***1/2
Big Time Firecracker Pale was an awesome pale that is crisp, hoppy, and amazingly well balanced. Best pale I have had in a very long time! ****1/2
Gallaghers was next on the agenda and they were serving up a fresh brew called Gallaghers Dark Dawn. Hard to categorize this brew but it was hoppy with hints of coffee. My compadre called it "Seattle in a Glass". ****
Gallagher's Joe's Madness IPA was one of the top IPA's we experienced. Pure hopcandy with a nice long finish. *****
Elliott Bay Belgian IPA. Wow, gutsy cross of two very different styles. The Belgian sweetness was cancelled by the strong hop bite. Very interesting and unique brew. ***1/2
Red Hook Dryhop ESB. Mix the ESB and IPA together at 50% and you have this. ***
Port Townsend Hop Digigty IPA was another of my favorites of the day! Excellent hop flavor and a great lingering aftertaste/finish. This is one you should seek out if you are a hophead! ****1/2
Harmon Vanilla Porter. Yeah, I know, not usually a top choice of hopheads but this combo intrigued me. Very smooth and creamy. Kind of like mixing international delight coffee creamer with a porter! ***1/2
Diamond Knot was serving up their Cask XXX Oaked Imperial IPA. I go to DK's frequently as many of you know and they always seem to be out of this. I am pretty sure it is a conspiracy to keep me from trying this but finally I caught up to it at the Fest! This high octaine monster was hoptopia with hints of liquorish! Great beer that you couldn't drink too many of and still be coherent. ****1/2
Rogue was serving up another unique beer that I believe was new to their lineup, Rogue Dry-Hopped Saint Rogue Red. Now I have really become fond of reds recently, especially hoppy ones like Ellersick's Hoppy Redhead and Water Street's Big Phatty but this one took the cake! This red was so over the top with hop flavor that I would almost call it a Red IPA. I will definitely seek this one out again! *****
Well, that was about it for new brews I tried at the '07 Brewfest. Thanks to all those that helped get it put back at its rightful home at St.Edwards Park. It was a great time and so great to see the brewers stretching the limits and brewing new beers. I can't wait for next year!