Craft Beer Monger’s Top Picks For Seattle Beer Week #9

Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like the past year has flown by so quickly.  Seattle Beer Week #8 almost feels like it was just a few weeks ago.  Yet here we are, with Seattle Beer Week #9 kicking off in just two days.  Have you had an opportunity to look over the ever-growing list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website?  With so many events to choose from, many of which happen on the same day or even at the same time, you may have to make some difficult choices regarding which events to attend.  Here are my top picks for Seattle Beer Week #9.

Things get under way with the Official Seattle Beer Week Kickoff this Thursday, May 4th.  There are  5 stops on the Seattle Beer Week (SBW) kickoff tour.  Things start off at 4:30 pm at the new Flatstick Pub location in Pioneer Square.  The other stops on this year’s kickoff tour include: Beveridge Place Pub (6:30 pm and Cask-O-Rama will be going on), Brouwer’s Cafe (7:45 pm), Naked City Brewery & Taphouse (9:00 pm), with the evening closing out at The Pine Box (10:30 pm).

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The Vera Project Hosts Elysian’s Search Party This Summer

We’re fortunate in the Seattle area to have such a plethora of craft beer festivals to attend, pretty much year-round.  In addition to being a great way to enjoy and share our love of craft beer, many of these festivals also serve to benefit various non-profit organizations and other worthy causes.  Well, get ready for one more festival in town as Elysian Brewing Company prepares to host the first ever Search Party this July at the Seattle Center.

This one-day festival will be a celebration of beer, food, music and the arts, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting The Vera Project.  With music and the arts no longer part of the core curriculum at many schools, it’s more important than ever to find other ways to cultivate a love of music and the arts in young people and to provide the necessary skills to pursue careers in those fields. That’s what The Vera Project does.  According to their Mission Statement: “The Vera Project fuels personal and community transformation through collaborative, youth-driven engagement in music and art.

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Belgian Fest 2017 Happens Next Month

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Each year, the Washington Beer Commission puts on several different festivals to celebrate the diversity and excellence of Washington craft beer.  These festivals are a great way to discover new Washington breweries and to explore different craft styles that you may not be as familiar with.

It may still be a full month away, but tickets are already on sale for one of my favorite Washington Beer Commission hosted festivals: Belgian Fest 2017.  Set for 2 sessions on Saturday, January 28th, Belgian Fest 2017 will feature well over 100 different Belgian style beers from over 40 different Washington State breweries.  Featured beer styles include Tripels, Dubbels, Saisons, Wits, Abbeys and Lambics. In keeping with this unique style, all of the beers are brewed with Belgian yeast.

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Lineup Announced For 2016 Cask Beer Festival

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The 2016 Cask Fest, which I first told you about back in January (with an update in early February), is coming up in about two weeks.  This annual celebration of Cask Ale, presented by the Washington Brewer’s Guild, is a mecca for Cask Ale fans, with one-of-a-kind handcrafted cask-conditioned beers from over 40 different Washington State breweries.

Now, with the festival almost here, the Washington Brewer’s Guild has announced the lineup for this year’s event.  With 40+ different breweries in attendance, most serving at least two cask ales (and even more from most), you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy.  There will even be a special version of Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale, which was brewed at newly re-branded Mollusk Brewery (exclusive for WABL members).  

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Get Your Tickets Now For The 2016 Cask Beer Festival – UPDATED

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We may still be in the middle of Winter (damn, it was cold at my house this morning!), but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream ahead.  Spring is a mere 2 months away and with the return of Spring comes the Cask Beer Festival, presented by the Washington Brewer’s Guild.

Not familiar with Cask Ale?  Traditionally, Cask Ales are matured after fermentation in the container (the Cask) they are to be dispensed from, and are served without any additional carbonation beyond what carbonation they obtained from the Cask conditioning.  This is why Cask Ales tend to be less carbonated and, often, served a bit warmer than their kegged counterparts.

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Get Your Tickets Now For The 7th Annual Belgian Fest – UPDATED

 

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Craft beer has been growing in popularity for years.  Bit by bit, many beer drinkers across the nation and the World are slowly abandoning bland, tasteless, corporate-controlled, mass-produced lagers like Bud and Miller and are welcoming all the varying styles of craft beer to their palates instead.  It’s helped the number of craft breweries in the U.S. reach an all time high (as of December 2015, there are 4144 breweries in the U.S. according to the Brewer’s Association), while sales of mass-produced lagers continue to decline.

While this is a great thing, to be sure, it seems that a number of the newer craft beer ‘converts’ out there don’t stray too far away from IPAs, Pale Ales and a few other styles like Red/Amber Ale, and a few Stouts or Porters.  If you fall into this category, it may be time for you to expand your horizons even further and start looking at the wonderful and varied Belgian styles of beer available from local breweries.

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The Washington Cask Beer Festival Is Coming On March 28th

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Cask conditioned ale is beer that is brewed from traditional ingredients (malt, hops, water & yeast) and is matured in the cask from which it is served. This means that it is fresh and unfiltered, imparting a unique flavor.  Cask ale is naturally ‘conditioned’ by the secondary fermentation that takes place in the cask.  It is then served directly from the cask, without use of carbon dioxide or chemical treatments of any sort.

If you’re a cask ale veteran, then you know what to expect.  If you’re new to the concept of cask ales and this sounds like something you’d enjoy, then read on for details about the 2015 Cask Ale Festival hosted by the Washington Brewer’s Guild.

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Cask Fest Is Just Over A Month Away

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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.

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Get Your Tickets Now For The 2015 Washington Cask Beer Festival

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Are you a fan of cask beers?  Do you know what makes a beer a cask beer?  Cask ale or cask-conditioned beer is beer that is usually unfiltered and unpasteurized and is conditioned in (including secondary fermentation) and served from a cask with no additional CO2 or nitrogen pressure added.  This means that 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.

Not everyone I know is a fan of cask beers.  The low (in some cases nearly flat) level of carbonation can be a turn off for some, but I think it 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.  If you’re curious about cask beers and want to try more, the 2015 Cask Fest, hosted by the Washington Brewer’s Guild, is a great way to explore the world of cask beers.

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Craft Beer And Cider Events To Round Out Your Summer

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It’s been a warm Seattle Summer.  With temperatures reaching into the high 90’s the other day, however, I know a lot of people who are glad that the rain is back, at least briefly, and the temperatures are dropping a bit.  Personally, I don’t mind the warmer temperatures we’ve been having.  Our Summers are traditionally pretty short here in the Northwest, so I say enjoy the heat while it’s here.  Soon enough the clouds and rain will be back for months on end (*muffled cheers from the back of the room*).

The warm Summer weather is also a great excuse to drink some beer styles I don’t always seem to get enough of: Saisons, Pilseners, German Lagers and, of course, the first Fresh Hops beers of the season are starting to appear.  Two Beers Brewing (CBM Sponsor) was first out of the gate again this year, releasing their 2014 Fresh Hop ale just this past weekend.

Summer also means lots of craft beer and craft cider events.  We’ve already had several this Summer, including: The Pacific Northwest Cider Awards at Seattle Cider Company, The 3rd Annual IPA Invitational at The Sixgill, Big Al Brewing‘s 6th Anniversary Celebration, Parkway Tavern‘s 79th Anniversary Celebration and many, many more.

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