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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.