Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Washington Beer Belgian Fest recap

Ron Swarner

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We tried to follow our own plan for Washington Beer Association’s Belgian Fest, starting on the right side of Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion, then working our way around counterclockwise starting from Skookum Brewery then pushing our way through the packed crowd to American Brewing, checking off the dubbels, tripels, saisons, abbeys, lambics, krieks, golden ales and witbiers as we go. Unfortunately, there were so many good Washington state brewed Belgian beers to sample, many of which we had not tried or had not tried in a long time, that we didn’t come to drinking from all 44 breweries.

We did enjoy many amazing brews in the provided 4-ounce tulip glass, from Skookum’s fruity, peppery, dry and tart Wudewasa Saison to American’s biere de garde tart Fall Harvest Sour.

Best of the Fest: Perhaps it was the fatigue from all the high ABVs beers Friday night at Strange Brewfest, but low alcohol percentage beers dominated our picks:

Boundary Bay Brewery Not Shawn’s Saison: A balanced, dry, crisp, and sessionable saison. Get it.

Dru Bru Summit Belgian Pale Ale: A light bodied, bronze colored, session ale with flavors of pear, apple and mild pepper. Bring on summer!

Engine House No. 9 Wild Tacoma Black Currant Sour Ale: The black currant flavor is subtle on the finish, but compliments the tartness of this excellent ale. A treat to sip during the festival or on the Tacoma brewery’s patio.

Elliot Bay Brewing Nordic Saison: Brewed with sea buckhorn berry juice and elderflower syrup, earthy farmhouse style saison notes pop with a rich, berry finish.

Fremont Brewing Sour Weisse: We got lemon zest, spice and pale bready wheat malt. Very drinkable.

Hilliard’s Jameson Whiskey Barrel Sour: This kettle sour has lovely sourness and prominent whiskey notes. Light bodied and enjoyable.

Holy Mountain Misere Au Borinage: Stood in a long line for this oak aged grisette. Worth it. Heavy yeast and bread on the nose; crisp and clean with the perfect level of tartness. Bravo!

Odin Brewing Brett IPA: A smooth brew with a slightly bitter finish. It’s a 100 percent Brett IPA, meaning it’s fermented with Brettanomyces, a wild, non-spore forming yeast. This yeast makes beer funky — thus the name and the resulting fruit flavors of pineapple, grapefruit and orange.

Paradise Creek Brewery Belgian Patersbier: The Pullman brewery just released this traditional table beer of the Belgian Monks, with peppery rye and Tradition hops compliment the spicy and fruity Belgian flavor.

Postdoc Brewing Barrel aged Gose with Brett and Pineapple: The kettle sour Going Going Gose went into oak barrels with Brett and pineapple for a few months. Lots of pineapple on the nose with light refreshing tart flavors. Yum.

Schooner Exact Amarillo Saison: This dry saison greets you with passion fruit aroma on the nose and fruit and spice on the tongue with a pronounced lingering bitterness on the end. We could taste the Amarillo hops.

Stoup Brewing Hoppy Farmhouse: Brewed with a Saison yeast and dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin, this beer has a nice balance between the hops and the Belgian fruit and spice flavors.

Three Magnets Brewing: Drat. Somehow we missed them.

Wander Brewing Plum Millie Sour: Plum comes through but isn’t overly sweet. Nice and tart. We will meet again.

Wingman Brewers Peche Noel: Yeah, it’s a 10 percent ABV Belgian strong dark ale. Like we were going to skip it. Peaches and cream, baby. So good.