Gird Your Liver For A River Of Barleywine At Beveridge Place & Brouwer’s Cafe – UPDATED 2/21/2013


According to Punxsutawney Phil, Spring is coming early this year and it sure does seem like it around Seattle lately.  That means it’s time to start thinking about leaving all those wonderful Winter beers behind and looking ahead to Barleywines.  Lucky for us, two of Seattle’s most well known and popular Barleywine festivals are approaching fast. 

One Of My Taster Trays From The 2012 Barleywine Bacchanal

One Of My Taster Trays From The 2012 Barleywine Bacchanal

First up, kicking off on Saturday, February 23rd is the 11th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal at Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle.  Last year’s event featured more than 40+ different barleywines to enjoy, including vertical tastings of some selections.  You can get a taster tray of 6, which is a popular way to go, or just order one-by-one as you go.  Beveridge Place is a popular craft beer destination in Seattle and has been featured on many ‘best of’ lists, including Draft Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Beer Bars In America 2013.  So what is a ‘Bacchanal’, you ask?  A Bacchanal or Bacchanalia were “wild and mystic festivals of the Greco-Roman god Bacchus (or Dionysus), the wine God. The term has since come to describe any form of drunken revelry.”  Sounds good to me.  I’ll be there. 

UPDATE 2/19/2013:

Beveridge Place Pub has posted up a partial list of what barleywines you can expect to see at this year’s Bacchanal:

  • 21st Amendment Lower DeBoom
  • Alaskan
  • Anacortes Old Sebastes
  • Anchor Old Foghorn
  • Anderson Valley Horn of the Beer
  • Beer Valley Highway to Ale
  • Big Al
  • Big Sky Old Bluehair
  • Black Diamond Old Geezer
  • Boulder Killer Penguin
  • Boulevard Harvest Dance
  • Boundary Bay Old Bounder
  • Bridgeport Oaked Old Knucklehead
  • Diamond Knot Icebreaker
  • Diamond Knot Real Old Ale
  • Dicks
  • Elliot Bay Portside
  • Elysian Cyclops
  • Emillisse Jack Daniels
  • Evil Twin Freudian Slip
  • Firestone Walker §ucaba
  • Fish 10 Squared
  • Fremont Cuddle Bunny
  • Full Sail Boardhead
  • Full Sail Boilermaker
  • Glacier Jim Beam
  • Great Divide Old Ruffian
  • Hale’s Rudyards Rare
  • Hood Canal Ablik
  • Hub Noggin Floggin
  • Laurelwood Old Reliable
  • Mad River John Barleycorn
  • Moylans Old Blarney
  • North Coast Old Stock
  • North Sound Vertigo
  • Pike Old Bawdy
  • Port Townsend
  • Rogue Old Crustacean
  • Scuttlebutt Old #1
  • Seven Seas Old Wheelchair
  • Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
  • Sierra Nevada Black Barleywine
  • Silver City Old Scrooge
  • Southern Tier Backburner
  • Speakeasy Old Godfather
  • Stone Old Guardian

UPDATE 2/20/2013:

More details have been released:

Sat, Feb 23 – Washington!
We’ll have 20 barleywines from in-state,
plus another 10 rare “foreign” ones

Sun, Feb 24 – Vertical I
Three years worth of brew from Alaskan & Anacortes

Mon, Feb 25 – Vertical II
Three years worth of brew from Pike & Hopworks

Tue, Feb 26 – Vertical III
Three years worth of brew from Elliott Bay & Great Divide

Wed, Feb 27 – Barrels
A flight of barrel-aged barleywines:
Bainbridge, Bridgeport, Emelisse, Firestone Walker, Glacier, Laurelwood, Naked City, & Southern Tier!

Thu, Feb 28 – Full Sail Feature!
Full Sail Bourbon Barrel-aged Boilermaker from 2009,
Full Sail Old Boardhead vertical – ’09, ’10, & ‘11!
(& give-aways, too!)

UPDATE 2/21/2013 – Beveridge Place has released a preliminary tap list for Saturday the 23rd:

Probably line-up for Day One (vintages will vary):
… Alaskan
Anacortes Old Sebastes
Bainbridge Old Toe Jam
Big Al Old No. 1
… Big Sky Old Bluehair
Big Time Miss Figgy
Black Diamond Old Geezer
Black Raven Old Birdbrain
Boundary Bay Old Bounder
Diamond Knot Icebreaker
Elliot Bay Portside
Elysian Cyclops
Firestone Walker Sucaba
Fish 10-Squared
Fremont Cuddle Bunny
Hale’s Rudyards Rare
Hood Canal Ablik
Mad River John Barleycorn
Moylans Old Blarney
Naked City Cluster Cuss
North Sound Vertigo
Pike Old Bawdy
Port Townsend
Rogue Old Crustacean
Scuttlebutt Old #1
Seven Seas Wheelchair
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot
Silver City Old Scrooge
Stone Old Guardian
~PLAN YOUR ATTACK!~ (that’s a suggestion, not a barleywine)


Then, exactly one month later beginning on March 23rd is the 11th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival at Brouwer’s Cafe.  This is one festival I never miss.  All of the taps at Brouwer’s are taken over by some of most delicious barleywines available from across the nation and the World (there are usually at least a few import selections).  You can order your barleywines at this festival in 3oz, 6oz or 12oz pours.  I usually order all 3oz pours, so I can try as many as possible, but I sometimes order a 6oz or even a 12oz if I find one that really blows me away.   Last year there were at least 57 different barleywines to sample and I did my best to try as many as possible.  Also, as with all of their festivals, Brouwer’s adds a few special menu items to accompany the beers being poured. 

My Firestone Walker §ucaba From The 2012 Hard Liver Festival

My Firestone Walker Abacus ’11 From The 2012 Hard Liver Festival

Speaking of food.  Make sure you eat up before attending – or while at these festivals.  Barleywines have a high alcohol content, and starting on an empty stomach is usually a recipe for disaster.  Brouwer’s will have plenty of food choices for you, but be aware that Beveridge Place Pub has no kitchen.  They welcome any/all outside food, however, so be sure to eat before you arrive or bring something with you. 

Last year, I was fortunate to be selected as a judge for the Hard Liver festival, and I hope to have that same privilege this year.  The winners from last year’s Hard Liver festival were:

#1 – Lost Abbey Brandy Angel’s Share ’11
#2 – Firestone Walker Abacus ’11
#3 – Black Raven – Old Birdbrain ’10
Honorable Mention – Lost Abbey Bourbon Angel’s Share ’11

All excellent choices.  Who will the winners be this year?  You’ll have to show up to the festival or check back here afterwards to find out.  Hard Liver 11 kicks off at 11:00AM, but you’ll want to arrive early, as there is always a line for this festival. 

Want to ‘warm up’ before these festivals arrive?  No problem.  Head to Bottleworks, Full Throttle Bottles, 99 Bottles, Super Deli Mart or any other local bottle shops, as this year’s barleywines are starting to arrive.  It can also be fun to try and discern the differences between some barleywines in the bottle vs. on tap.  So, is your liver ready? 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.

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