Saturday, June 18th, 2016

2016 Washington Brewers Festival recap

Ron Swarner

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They called out to ye faithful, and all ye faithful answered. Last night, at the first session of this weekend’s Washington Beer Commission Washington Brewers Festival, we watched the huge Marymoor Park slowly but surely fill up with the most faithful of beer-goers, with only a few raindrops. Let us assure you, shelling out $25 for a five-and-a-half-hour session of limitless Washington state breweries beer sampling is absolutely worth it, especially when some of the 500-plus beers aren’t even out yet, or are limited-edition, or are one of 10,000 sours.

More than 110 breweries and cideries made an appearance last night, manning tables in giant tents scattered about the Redmond park. Being darn near summer, low ABVs ruled the roost, from Anacortes Brewery’s 3.5 percent ABV Solstice Sour to Wingman Brewers’ delicious 4 percent Lime Gose.

The Washington Brewers Festival continues today and tomorrow, opening at 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively, with all the food trucks, miniature golf, cornhole games, live music cider and wine tent (in the corner!), and, of course, craft beer that Friday night offered. For a list of participating breweries, visit the Washington Beer Commission’s website.

Summer tastes ranged from Aslan Brewing’s Disco Lemonade Berliner Weisse, the Bellingham brewery’s first sour that was originally brewed in collaboration with the Bellingham Homebrewers Guild, to the Black Raven Brewing “secret” sour, a cheek buster poured from a hidden keg underneath their table. Don’t miss the graft with Whitewood Cider at the Three Magnet Brewing’s tent. Dave Whitewood manned the Three Mag booth Friday night and he mixed his cider with the brewery’s Experimental IPA for a delicious concoction.

There were also things like the Counterbalance Brewing’s Friday only Red Wine Barrel-Aged IPA that went fast, and Iron Goat Brewing’s delicious Goat Breaker Tart IPA, which was like biting into a green apple.

No-Li Brewhouse poured an all-specialty lineup including three variations on the recently released Big Juicy IPA — raspberry/blackberry Berry Merry BJ (Friday only), vanilla/orange BJ Cream Dream (Saturday) and passion fruit Passionate BJ (Sunday) — along with Summertime McLovin’ strawberry/lemon kettle sour (Saturday/Sunday), sour-dosed Winter Rewind winter warmer aged in Malbec barrels (Saturday) and whiskey barrel-aged, coffee-infused Wrecking Ball imperial stout (Sunday).

Thanksgiving arrived early with Flying Lion Brewing’s Sweet Potato Porter aged on hickory and white ash, and Schooner Exact’s barrel-aged Whiskey Dick Cantwell imperial pumpkin. Those arriving today can grab a Thanksgiving fix at the Foggy Noggin booth with a Cranberry Frost English Golden Strong. Pacific Brewing & Malting busted out an amazing Tacomatose Barleywine!

Warning: Top Rung Brewing only has a little bit of Bourbon Barrel Aged Pyrolysis Imperial Stout left. Co-owner Casey Sobol says he’ll tap the red wine version of the stout at around 3 p.m. today.

In addition to the Saturday only craft beers previously mentioned, be sure to seek out the other today-only pours: Dru Bru’s Summer Belgian Session Ale; Fremont Brewing’s Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb, The Lamb, Rusty Nail and Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star; Geaux Brewing’s Vanilla Mint Chai Poydras Porter; North Sound Brewing’s Tropical Trenchfoot Sour Wheat; Peddler Brewing’s Oak Barrel Aged Belgian Sour; Postdoc Brewing’s Blackberry Going, Going Gose and Hazelnut Cram Session Coffee Porter; Reuben’s Brews’ Bourbon Barrel Breakfast Stout and Oak Aged Chocolate Orange Porter; Silver City Brewery’s just released Chardonnay Barrel Aged Liquid Sunshine; and a bunch from Triplehorn Brewing, including Stupid Monk Belgian Tripel.

Warning, Marymoor Park’s field is full of dips and mounds. It’s a good excuse.

Day Two of the Washington Brewers Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. today at King County’s Marymoor Park in Redmond. It’s an all-ages affair the next two days. At noon today, the Washington Beer Awards will be doled out, followed by live music and the Brewers Keg Toss. Oh, and approximately 500 different beers will be on tap. Enjoy.