Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back from Vacation - Seattle Beerfest!

 Hi to our devoted reader(s). I know it's been a while since both of us have posted up anything. Mark has a legit excuse but not so much for me. I've been enjoying the summer and just haven't taken the time to post up many of my escapades. For that I truly am sorry and hope you can forgive me. To make amends I offer up my review of Seattle Beerfest 2010!

Lucky for me this isn't a secret society with a special yodel to get in.

Beerfest in Seattle is always a great time and a great way to experience a wide variety of beers from all over the world, provided we can get distribution (*cough* vote yes on 1100 *cough*). The festival is set up really well to help you pace yourself and keep coming back. I only attended one day of the three but you can attend all 3 days with one admission fee as long as you keep your wristband. Also brewers were bringing specials each day to keep the selection fresh and give us incentive to keep coming back. It also meant there was still cool stuff to try by Sunday morning.

Oh and in true Seattle fashion, dogs are welcome:

Now on to what you really are interested in: The beer!

Firestone Walker Parabola
I tried this side by side with the Mikkeller Black Hole and this is my winner of the two. 

It has a thick black color with a thin tan head. A sweet Carmel smell with some alcohol undertones to let you know it's not messing around.

It's effervescent with a bitter chocolate start. Sweetness follows. Then alcohol warmth provides a surprisingly clean finish that warms your chest. This is a lovely imperial stout that layers on flavors one at a time presenting them to you for your pleasure. this is definitely a great after dinner beer to share with friends in the study with a cigar. Well played Firestone Walker!

Mikkeller black hole
This is black but not as thick as the FW. It has a light coffee cream head kind of like the fine bubbles on a cup of french press coffee. Mmmm. It has a surprising fruit and spice nose. It smells like...Christmas! It leaves a thick sheen on the glass that defies gravity.

Another surprise is it has a thin mouth-feel. But that's the only thing that's thin about this stout from The dynamic duo of Scandinavia. It hits the tip and sides of the tongue with force. Bitter coffee with a sweet middle. Then beats you with another bitter sucker punch of hops and crystal malt. They aren't messing around and those Danes are angry. Just like Hamlet this beer is bitter and angry.

Cascade Sang Noir
I had to take a break from the Imperials to pace myself a bit in order to maintain some sense of direction. What better way then a sour from Cascade. Their Sang Noir was one of the daily specials only available on Saturday.

It pours cloudy light red with a ring of bubbles.

It smells like, get this, a jolly rancher. Sweet and sour and strong. Like cherry sour apple.

It lights up the front of your tongue and puckers you. But it's pleasing and damn good. Like all Cascade's offerings it's sophisticated, well balanced, and never goes too far as to make it sour to the point of reminding you of the perils of overindulgence. This was one of my favorites as well and the best sour I had at the festival. Cascade you never disappoint!

Ninkasi Wood Aged Strong Ale
From Cascade I was refreshed and ready to take on something new and exciting. I was also starting to get acutely aware that I may not have many pours left before my notes became illegible. So I moved on to the short list and got serious. Ninkasi has been my summer beer crush and I think Barrel aging a beer is a step towards godliness. Ninkasi brought a couple of offerings with them and the Wood Aged Strong Ale immediately caught my attention.

It's cloudy amber with a light fine head.

It has a brown color with an ambrosia hue to it. It kind of glows with an otherworldly rightness. As if to say "your great grandpa had it right and all these corporate brewers with their stainless steel tanks don't know what the hell they're talking about."

It has a light smell of malt and hops together as if to say: "beer is about harmony between hops water yeast malt and air and they all deserve to be represented." (Yes I know I'm starting to feel it about this point in the afternoon)

It's Light by strong ale standards and amazingly drinkable for the style. Feels like what Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson would brew. A true 'merican beer that our fore fathers would have been proud of.

Three Musketeers Imperial Wizen
I've never had anything from Three Musketeers so I thought I would give them a try.
As you'd expect it's cloudy tan. It has a thin white head with a sweet banana fruity nose.

It's more of a double than imperial. It's super sweet with some slight hops if you look for it. The drinking girls chick beer. Don't shut her down for drinking it as it's a decent intentionally put together beer, but it's definitely on the sweet side for the sweeter sex.

Cantillon Lambic
I have to post a disclaimer: Cantillion tends to be more sour than I can handle. I respect that they push the envelope but for me, it tends to be more than I enjoy.

This beer is sour like your mom reads about. Two words: causes heart burn.

This beer is about showing off how far you can take a sour. Like eating sea urchin it is about pushing it. It rewards people who have too many sour receptors on their tongue. Kinda like those people that seek out the worlds hottest wings or just love habenaro sauce. If you are an under appreciated sour lover this is your beer. This will convince your friends that you have a pair even though you can't stand hot food.

Jendrneullie Saison
This was the last beer I remember drinking that day. I'm sure there were others. In fact looking at my notes I know their were others, I just can't make out anything about what they were, so let's just pretend I left early, helped an old lady cross the street on the way home, and got 8 hours of sleep.

I'm a fan of Saison's as the "other summer beer." This one is a great example. It's tart and effervescent up front like lemonade.

It has a funky end with a nice hop finish. Citrisy sweet without the heavy sweetness that a Heffewizen can have. This is what todrink after mowing the lawn!

Well I hope this makes up, somewhat, for the lack of posts in the past couple of months. I have a couple more in the hopper that I'll put up soon, and Mark should have something arriving soon...

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