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Winter Beer Fest – 2009

December 6, 2009

It was a cold Friday night in December, and we were off to the Washington Beer Commission Winter Beer Festival at Hales Brewery in Seattle, Wa. For me, it was like returning to the scene of crime. Last year, I did not do a very good job of pacing myself, and ended up over indulging. I had forgotten to calculate the higher alcohol content of Winter Beers and based my token limit as if it were a Summer Beer Fest. What a mistake. I was in sorry shape by the time I made it home, got sick (on the dog), and blamed it on the food (There is some good drunken logic).  The goal this year was to simply enjoy myself, but be careful, and not go to far.

Lush C and I took our friend Carl, for his first time, and met up with Toni and a Nate who were at last years shindig. Thanks to our encouragement all of them left as WABL members. I came armed with a bunch of business cards that I printed up an hour before. I was ready to hand them out to potential new readers. I ran into Kendall from WashingtonBeerBlog and had a nice conversation on their recent trip to Hood River, and got a few tips on starting up a new blog.

This year’s festival brought together 34 Washington Breweries and 86 beers. With so many different beers it was hard to decide what to drink. I wish I could have tried them all, but that would not have been feasible nor a good idea. The hands down favorite was the WABL special Mocha Stout by the Northgate Ram, featuring Café Vita coffee and Theo’s Chocolate. Oh my, this beer was incredible. It was dark, rich, malty and creamy smooth. The coffee and chocolate was perfectly balanced. For Lush C and I it wasn’t a surprise that we loved this beer, but for Toni it was. She had admitted early in the evening that she really wasn’t a fan of stouts, and that she only really liked Guinness, but that has now changed. She loved it, stating “it’s better than Guinness” and “(the flavors) dance on my tongue”. It’s so cool when you can convert someone, with one beer!

Snipes Mountain’s Cask 08 Bourbon Pumpkin Death was probably my second favorite of the evening. It was another big dark winter beer with a sweet aroma. It was very rich and malty sweet. It was very well balanced and the bourbon didn’t overpower the beer. Can’t say I could taste the pumpkin (or the spice) though.

A new kid on the block, 7 Seas Brewery, brought Port Royal Export Style Stout. Excellent! It was nicely balanced with dark malts, enough hops to keep it from being too sweet, and finished very smooth. When I got caught taking notes, the server (darn, didn’t get her name) told me to right down “prettiest girl here”, of course I wrote down “2nd prettiest girl here”. After I gave her my newly printed GoodBeerTrips business card, she introduced me to Mike Runion, Owner and Chief Executive Everything. They encouraged me to come visit their brewery. It looks like I’ll be taking a trip to Gig Harbor sometime soon.

Here are some of my notes:
Fremont Brewing Abominable Winter Ale – Dark brown with a malty aroma. Sweet, rich and malty. Very good.
Water Street Brewing Burr’s Frosty Winter – Dark orange, and a bunch of scribble (funny thing is, this was my first beer). Good.
Chuckanut Brewery Dunkel Lager – Nice, crisp dark lager.
Three Skulls Ales Winter Poison – Dark brown , sweet malt aroma, and a smooth malty finish. Liked it.
Big Tine Yukefest. Sorry, no notes. I was feeling pretty good by this point and was in a very social mood and got into a good conversation about our beer trip to Austin.

Right before it closed we decided we were ready for some food. We went around to the other side of the building to the Hales Restaurant. I finished the evening off with Chicken Parmesan and Red Menace Amber. Thanks to Lush C, who was an excellent designated driver, we arrived safely home. I’m happy to say that the dog was safe too.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2009 6:15 pm

    I dig your site. Sorry that I missed you — it would have been good to meet you and share some insights.

    I did find one of your cards on the floor. I was pouring for Snoqualmie on Saturday afternoon before getting into the action myself.

    Keep up the good work!

    • goodbeertrips permalink*
      December 7, 2009 8:17 pm

      Hey Dave,
      Thanks for the visit. I enjoyed your site too, and added you to my links. Thanks for doing the same. Now that I have a blog, i have to go relive some of my past trips/Urban Beer Hikes. We’ve had some good ones. Keep up the good work.



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