The Washington Beer Commission puts on several different festivals each year. They include the Washington Brewer’s Festival, Bremerton Summer Brewfest, Everett Craft Beer Festival, Inland Northwest Craft Beer Festival, South Soud Craft Beer Festival and Belgianfest (which took place just last month down at Pier 66). They used to also host the Washington Cask Beer Festival but this year, the reins have been handed over to the Washington Brewer’s Guild.
Cask beers have a different character than beers you’ll find on tap, including the fact that they may be both served at warmer temperatures as well as being generally less carbonated. I think this allows you to explore other flavors and aromas you wouldn’t necessarily find in the very same beer if it was being served from a traditional keg rather than on cask.
Set to take place this year on Saturday, March 28th, the Washington Cask Beer Festival will feature cask-conditioned, unfiltered and unpasteurized beer from over 40 different Washington breweries. Also set to be on tap for this year’s festival is ‘Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale’, a special cask beer brewed collectively by the Washington brewers in memory of Bert Grant. Further details are below.
Here is the full press release from the Washington Brewer’s Guild:
(Seattle, WA) February 17, 2015- The Washington Brewers Guild will present its annual Washington Cask Beer Festival on Saturday, March 28 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall. Every year it is a highly anticipated event among cask beer aficionados because of its extensive lineup that consists exclusively of cask-conditioned beers, mostly one-off and limited releases, and also the fact that the event is revered by many beer drinkers and brewers alike.
The event was originally started by Hale’s Ales Brewery in partnership with the Guild 15 years ago. Mike Hale, who learned brewing in England wanted to introduce cask-conditioned beer to Seattle area consumers and give Washington brewers an opportunity to try their hand at this old English beer tradition, also known as “real ale”. Cask-conditioning has been around in England for centuries and there are international efforts to keep the tradition alive lead most notably by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale).
Cask-conditioned beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized and still contains live yeast. It finishes secondary fermentation once the beer is transferred to a “cask” where it is naturally conditioned and carbonated without artificially introducing CO2. Beer is then served straight from the cask by gravity or a hand pump at cellar temperature (50-55F). Cask fans are partial to its smooth mouth feel and fuller flavors thanks to lower carbonation and warmer temperatures. “It’s a pinnacle of fresh, local beer and a great way to drink and taste beer. I wanted people here to experience it,” says Mike Hale who’s been serving cask-conditioned beer at his brewpub since 1983.
The event also has been a valuable learning vehicle for many Washington brewers. In the early days it gave those who might not have made cask-conditioned beer an opportunity to try it out with the guidance of some veteran brewers. This learning experience and collaborative efforts were further reinforced with the addition of the Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale, a collaborative beer brewed at a different Guild member brewery each year in honor of Bert Grant, a Northwest craft beer icon. This year Postdoc Brewing will carry on that tradition and brew the Herbert’s at their newly opened brewery with several fellow Guild members.
The Cask Festival will host two sessions; from noon to 4pm and 6pm to 10pm on Saturday, March 28. Admission is $40 in advance or $45 at the door if tickets are still available. Separate tickets are required for each session. Admission includes a commemorative tasting glass and up to 25 sample tastes. Tickets are available online at www.washingtonbrewersguild.org and at select ticket outlets. This is a 21-and-over-only event.
WASHINGTON CASK BEER FESTIVAL
Saturday, March 28, 2015 12-4pm & 6-10pm Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
Saturday, March 28, 2015
Session 1: Noon-4 pm
Session 2: 6-10 pm
Doors open 15 minutes before each session begins. Taps close 30 minutes before closing each session.
Separate tickets required for each session
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall
305 Harrison St., Seattle, WA 98109
$40 advance tickets or $45 at the door, if still available.
Admission includes a commemorative tasting glass and up to 25 sample tastes. Designated driver admission is $5 and available at the door only. Must be 21 years old or older and have a valid ID to be admitted. This event may sell out so advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended.
Tickets are on sale online at www.washingtonbrewersguild.org at ticket outlets: 99 Bottles, Bottleworks, Full Throttle Bottles and Malt& Vine.
Washington Cask Beer Festival is a major highlight of the Pacific Northwest beer festival scene. It’s a rare opportunity to be able to sample from over 100 mostly exclusive or limited release cask-conditioned beers from 40+ Washington breweries. To stay true to the tradition of cask-conditioned beer the Festival requires brewers to naturally condition the beer in a firkin or other vessels without artificially introducing CO2. All beers will be poured by gravity or via a beer engine and the result is smooth ale with a thick creamy head that brings out subtle, nuanced flavors.
HERBERT’S LEGENDARY CASK FEST ALE
Also serving is Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale, a special cask beer brewed collectively by the Washington brewers in memory of Bert Grant, a legendary Washington beer icon. This year’s Herbert’s will be brewed at Postdoc Brewing, a brand new brewery in Redmond in collaboration with other Guild member breweries. Herbert’s will be available at the Cask Festival as well as select pubs prior to the event. Herbert’s release party is scheduled for Monday, March 23 at Latona Pub.
There will be a few snack options available for purchase that are perfect accompaniments to a wide array of cask-conditioned beers; Dante’s Inferno Dogs (assortment of hot dogs), Brave Horse Tavern (house-made pretzels and accompanying sauces), and Mt. Townsend Creamery (assortment of artisan cheeses).
Washington Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build a community of Washington State brewers, advance their common interests through the legislative process and promote the quality and value of their beers.
Tickets have been on sale for a while now, but there are still plenty of tickets available for both sessions. As noted above, tickets are $40 in advance ($42.39 including Brown Paper Tickets‘ service fee) or $45 at the gate on the day of the festival. Just bring your appetite and a thirst for some real Cask Ale.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.