Here we are, smack in the middle of the Winter beer season. That means Stouts – big, bold, rich Stouts. I can enjoy a good Stout any time of year but, each February, Fort George Brewing Company out of Astoria, Oregon really brings the hits. Are you ready for this year’s Festival of Dark Arts and Stout Month?
As an added bonus, with this being a leap year, Stout month is a day longer this year. Fort George is taking advantage of that extra day and releasing more Stouts during Stout Month this year than ever before. Festival of Dark Arts tickets sold out in record time this year, so if you were fortunate enough to get one, I’m a bit envious. I’ll have to settle for drinking the Fort George Stouts that will make their way up to Seattle.
As my regular readers know, I’m a big fan of Firestone Walker Brewing Company. The quality and consistency of their beers is truly outstanding and they’re one of the few breweries for which I can say, they don’t make a single beer I don’t really like.
Well, one of my favorite Firestone Walker Beers: Parabola, is just about ready for its 2013 release. This is very popular beer for Firestone, and I look forward to its arrival each year. The 2013 version will even be a little extra special. According to Firestone Walker:
“The recipe is unchanged, but the 2013 vintage comes with a fresh twist on the barrel-aging front, specifically the incorporation of retired bourbon barrels from Four Roses Distillery in Kentucky.”
Pour, Pour, Pour – The Beers
(Sung to the tune of Turn, Turn, Turn by The Byrds)
♫ To everything – pour, pour, pour
There is a season – pour, pour, pour
And a time for every craft beer under heaven ♫
Right now it’s Winter beer season. And I couldn’t be happier with this year’s lineup of great Winter beers. There is just so much wonderfully dark, rich, woody, bourbony, delicious goodness out there with the likes of Hoppy Holidays & Hoppy The Woodsman (Schooner Exact Brewing), Winter Bock (Silver City Brewing), Creepy Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged Brown (North Sound Brewing), The Abyss (Deschutes Brewing), Bindlestiff (Naked City Brewing), Jolly Roger Christmas Ale (Maritime Pacific Brewing), Bifrost Ale (Elysian Brewing), Bourbon Barrel Abominable Ale (Fremont Brewing) and many, many more. For anyone who is a fan of these darker, often barrel-aged, complex and delicious Winter delights, this is a great time of year to be a beer drinker.
Yesterday, I attended the kickoff of the 2012 Big Wood – Wood Aged Beer Festival at Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle. This annual festival celebrates the complexity and diversity of wood-aged beers (and a few ciders too). Die-hard wood-aged craft beer lovers, myself included, lined up early, in the rain, eagerly awaiting the start of the festival. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits though, as most were discussing their favorite wood-aged beers, or ones they were looking forward to trying at the festival.
Great beer can’t be rushed. That is especially true for wood-aged beers. It takes time for beers to glean the appropriate flavor and aroma qualities they can obtain by being stored for a time in wood barrels. The subtelties and complexities of wood-aged beers have always appealed to me, which is why I’m really looking forward to one of my favorite events of the year, the 6th Annual Big Wood Fest coming up on Thursday, December 6th.