OMG, did I actually taste twenty-nine beers? Apparently I was busier Sunday than I thought.
I fear that the beer festival as we know it is on the verge of collapsing under the weight of its own success. We arrived at 1pm on Saturday, just one hour after opening, and it was already crowded, with long lines for the popular beers.
Sunday was more mellow, thankfully, and turned out to be my big consumption day. Lucky me, I have a dentist appointment tomorrow am. Well, if you’re going to be hung over, you might as well have dental work done.
My original concept was to focus this year on stouts and porters. But there weren’t so many offerings in these categories. Surprisingly, there were six witbiers, a category that typically has had no more than two or three. One was even sold out before I got a chance to try it.
Boulevard Brewing Co
Kansas City MO
Spicy and citrusy, all the flavor expected in a traditional Belgian witbier. Not over-carbonated, a pleasant summer libation. A good first taste to start the Brewer’s Fest.
Surly Brewing Co
Brooklyn Center MN
Big surprise, it smells like coffee and tastes like coffee. Two NW treats in one. Almost chocolatey in richness. The initial hit of coffee transitions quickly to strong maltiness, counter-balanced by equally strong hops, then returns for a final bow.
American Pale Ale
Pretty hoppy, with a nice, rounded mouth-feel. Mostly plays on the back of the palette. Strong hops linger for a long tlme.
Amnesia Brewing Co
Drink one of these and you’ll agree, everything’s copacetic. Good head, good color. Plenty of hoppy flavor without being overly bitter like some IPAs. Aftertaste doesn’t cling strongly to the tongue.
Sacramento Brewing Co
Red Horse Ale
Rich red color, hops to grab hold of the tongue, and enough malt to balance it all. The aftertaste persists on the top of the tongue, long after the glass is drained.
Fifty Fifty Brewing
Foggy Goggle White
Initially fizzy, slightly bitter, not as full-flavored as some witbiers. On second tasting, the orange and lemon flavors really stand out.
Caldera Brewing Co
Caldera Ginger Ale
Not a soft drink, a true alcoholic ale. I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the ginger just seemed to make this otherwise refreshing quaff bitter. Better on second tasting as a little more hoppiness came to the forefront.
Russian River Brewing Co
Santa Rosa CA
Pliny the Elder
A perennial favorite that does not disappoint. Plenty of flowery hops with the lightest touch of malt for balance. Big hops fill the mouth, tapering off evenly to a long slow finish.
Golden Valley Brewery
Belgian Style Golden Ale
Sweet and malty, a tad cloying. Underlying hops cling underneath the sides of the tongue, while malt remalns on the top of the tongue. You would have to appreciate Belgian styles to truly enjoy this.
Iron Horse Brewery
Quilter’s Irish Death
The hot property of this year’s brewfest. At least the long line gave me the chance to sober up. Sweet as sin, black as death, so thick it’s downright chewy. It’s not just for breakfast.
Michigan Brewing Co
A big, mouth-filling witbier, lots of cardoman and orange flavor. Light in presentation, more powerful than some of the other witbier offerings this year. The aftertaste is a bit cloying.
Allagash Brewing Co
Good head, light carbonation and a subtle blend of flavors characteristic of Belglan witbiers. A good overall balance, very refreshing.
Lagunitas Brewing Co
Lagunitas Hop Stoopid
It’s not the hops that make you stoopid – the aroma itself is heady. A surprising sweetness in this big-hopped beer to balance lots of flowery hoppy flavor that avoids being too bitter. The taste lingers long the whole length of the top of the tongue and the back of the palette.
Boundary Bay Brewery
Dry Hopped Crystale Pale Ale
American Pale Ale
Refreshing and hoppy, followed quickly by the sweetness of malt. Drops off to a long lingering finlsh. Ultimately a little sweet for my taste.
Widmer Bros. Brewing Co
Full Nelson IPA
Hoppy at the start, drops off quickly to a cloyingly sweet finish. I’ve had IPAs I’ve liked better. The high alcohol level is enough to make me very cautious.
Fearless Brewing Co
Clackamas Cream Ale
Nice velvety mouth-feel for a pleasant, balanced beer. Very mild, a tad malty but not overly sweet. Nothing outstanding, E found it flat.
Standing Stone Brewing
Standing Stone Almond Brown Ale
English nut brown ale
Tasty, not too sweet, a well-balanced beer. Not heavy like a stout. You actually get the real flavor of the malt, not just sweetness.
New Holland Brewing Co
Malty without being overly sweet. Coffee overtones emerge as it warms up. A good breakfast beer. Tastes like it’s full of vitamins and minerals. Builds healthy bodies 12 ways.
Mostly malty with a little hops for balance. Not as dense as an equally dark stout, more re-invigorating than nourishing.
Steelhead Brewing Co
Bulldog Pale Ale
Citrus aroma, immediately followed by flowery hops. Different from other pale ales I’ve tasted. It has an initial hint of bitterness I associate with lemon zest, underlying the upfront hops.
Hale’s Ale’s Brewery and Pub
Light, lemony, refreshing, with good carbonation. Enough hops for flavor without overwhelming the palette.
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Czech style Pilsner
My first impression is of roundness. Gently bitter citrus notes play in the nostrils and the top of the palette.
Four + Brewing
Salt Lake City UT
Orange wheat beer
Highly carbonated, not so thick as some Belgian beers, not as light as a witbier. Signature flavors of orange and coriander drop off quickly.
Very hoppy on initial tasting, malt steps forward, then gives way to lingering hops with sweet undertones. It’s got a lot of everything.
Lost Coast Brewery
Great White Beer
Good carbonation witn subtle spicing. Refreshing, balanced, not outstanding. A little darker in color than expected from a witbier.
MacTarnahan’s Brewing Co
MacTarnahan’s Sling Shot Extra Pale Ale
Extra Pale Ale
Good head, lightly carbonated, leans more toward the malty side. Overall all right, would be fine on a hot day. Drops off fairly quickly.
Green Flash Brewing
America Red Ale
A very attractive aroma of hops. Very hoppy for a red ale. Deep in color, deep in flavor. Lives up to its name.
Laughing Dog Brewing
Plenty hoppy, well balanced, everything you expect from an IPA. A little extra something from the rye.
Laurelwood Brewing Co
Very hoppy, of course, like any good IPA, but it drops off rather quickly. The aftertaste is very subtle. It’s there, it’s just not as prominent as many other IPAs.