As I get a bit older (Nooo!), I’m not as much of a fan of Winter as I used to be, but I am indeed a fan of several of the craft beer festivals that come around in the Winter months. Just last month was the Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe and, of course, the IPA Cask-O-Rama at Beveridge Place Pub. Also coming up next month is the 16th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival at Brouwer’s and the Hop Mob Triple IPA Roadshow – coming to multiple locations. I’ll provide more info on those events as they draw closer.
Before indulging in all those barleywines and triple IPAs, however, how about a quick trip to Belgium? I’d love to take a real trip to Belgium but, for now, I’ll settle for attending the 9th Annual Belgian Fest, which is coming to Seattle Center’s Fisher Pavilion on Saturday, January 27th. Presented by the Washington Beer Commission.
Pike Brewing Company is more than just a brewery. They also care deeply about beer heritage and about bringing as many different styles of beers as possible to market. Long before Pike Brewing existed, owners Charles and Rose Ann Finkel were the founders of Merchant Du Vin back in 1978 and today they are the World’s largest craft beer importer.
Today, Pike is still focused on making different styles of craft beer more accessible to everyone and, to that end, they have announced that their extremely popular, multi award-winning Belgian Tripel, Monk’s Uncle, is now available in 12 oz cans.
I’m guessing that most of you don’t get down to Seattle’s South Park neighborhood very often. Then again, maybe you do. After all, back in May Loretta’s Northwesterner (quite possibly the best dive bar in all of Seattle) was honored with the title of 4th Best Burger In America from Thrillist. There are only a few breweries in the South Park area: Burdick, Lowercase and Tin Dog. Back when they all first opened the South Park bridge was still closed, making launching a brewery there a somewhat risky endeavor. Despite the challenges though, all 3 South Park breweries still exist and are doing well. You’ll even find their beers on tap at Loretta’s from time to time.
Tin Dog Brewing is situated in the Cloverdale business park, between Highway 509 and Highway 99 (W Marginal Way South). They specialize in Belgian styles so you’ll often find a Saison or two on tap, along with a Belgian Dubbel or Tripel and perhaps a Wit or White IPA.
Whenever I’m asked what my favorite beer is, I don’t really have a good answer. Sure, I’m a Hophead (and s Stouthead, and a Sourhead) but I really enjoy all styles of beer. So selecting just one favorite from the vast ocean of choices out there is a rather daunting, if not impossible task. My ‘favorite’ beer is the freshly poured one in front of me, which I’m enjoying at this very moment. Beyond that, I really don’t think declaring a favorite matters much.
That doesn’t mean I don’t prefer certain styles over others. In general, I’m much more of an Ale drinker than a Lager drinker. That can probably be said for most craft beer fans too, since the vast majority of craft beers out there are Ales (though there are some very fine craft Lagers out there too). I’m starting to wonder if that attitude isn’t becoming more prevalent across the nation as well, as evidence by Budweiser’s falling sales and craft beer, for the first time ever, reaching double digits in market share.
There’s never a shortage of craft beer festivals here in great Northwest. The Washington Beer Commission hosts several different craft beer festivals throughout the year in various locations around the Sound and one of my favorites, Belgianfest, is right around the corner. I love a good Belgian beer, but often don’t seem to get enough of them. Dubbles, Triples, Abbey Style, Saisons, Lambics, etc., I love them all and Belgianfest is a great way to sample a wide variety of locally-brewed Belgian style beers all in one place.
Set for next Saturday, January 31st at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center (Pier 66), Belgianfest will be held in two sessions: noon – 4 PM and 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM. Tickets will run you $35 in advance or $40 at the door – separate tickets are required for each session. I don’t suggest taking your chances with buying your tickets at the door, however, since Belgianfest usually sells out before the doors open. Tickets have been on sale since mid November, but the festival isn’t sold out quite yet. Don’t delay.