First stop, food: We enjoyed a nice lunch at the Belmont Hotel and my meal was noteworthy. Although lacking in presentation, the Black Angus Burger was amazing. It's all about the meat and how it is prepared, and the Belmont Hotel Kitchen did not dissapoint. Hand-made out of very high quality meat, this is one of the best burgers I have had in years.
And then on to the Brewfest! Pre-paying seems to be the safest way to go, but I end up waiting much longer to get in. This time I was 3rd in line and it took about 20 minutes to get my armband. Why? Because the guy in front of me was a volunteer and not on any of their lists. No matter, I knew it was worth the wait, but that 20 minutes let me into a fully packed room. I heard some grumbling, but we're really not their to be by ourselves. We are there to share the experience that is Strange Brewfest.
Beers I Tried: (not in order)
Pike Brewing Wood Aged Sour Cherry Stout: Recommended by friends and after their awesome 2011 Old Bawdy Barleywine I had to try this. Lots of fruit, sour, and roasted malts. This was very sour and yet quite drinkable. I think this brew would age well too.
Elk Head Chantrelle: I was dissappointed by this year's batch compared to last year, in which I could really distinguish the chantrelle flavor. This year I just didn't get that same high quality mushroom note. Still drinkable.
Silver City Basil Deluxe: I heard a LOT of opinions about this beer being to light or too strong in basil flavor, none of which I agree with. Knowing what basil does in a variety of environments, I knew it would certainly be more subtle than the Rosemary IPA. BUT, it was very well executed, very balanced, and delicious. I would buy that in a store to go with so many foods like fettuccini alfredo, lasagna, well... you get the point.
Silver City Pepper: Wow! There were other pepper beers at the fest that I just didn't want to try because they smelled like stomach surgery, but the Silver City's was very impressive. You can taste all 3 kinds of peppers with just enough roasted pepper to give an underlying sweetness. A delicious take on a fresh pepper beer, very well balanced and very drinkable.
Hale's Cherry Troll Porter: Awesome. Very well balanced, dark fruits, candi sugar, dark malts, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The Hale's staff was especially effective at working the room and their booth and all their beers were quite good.
Hale's Bacon Pale Ale: Another interesting brew. Very bacon yet no floaties! Apparently not made with a bacon extract, but by smoking the grain with bacon. Very clean and drinkable.
Hale's Coconut Troll Porter: Excellent. Not as strange as some, but in my opinion, very marketable. I would can it and put it up against Maui Coconut Porter. The thing about this beer is that coconut and porter just go so well together. You can taste all the key elements, but hey blend together to develop into a very well balanced moderate dark beer.
New Belgium Lips Of Faith Cocoa Mole: Fantastic. Really well executed and VERY drinkable. Just the right amont of chocolate and Spanish mole. At 9% ABV, this beer should age well too. This beer will be hitting the shelves this week, and we will get as many as we can in the Marina Market. You have to try this brew!
Redhook Almond Joy: Loved it! Great mouth feel, malty, nutty, and delicous. Reminded me of Southern Tier Creme Brulee. Very drinkable.
Flyers Jameson Irish Stout: Really nice whiskey stout. Well made, well balanced, and very tasty. This would sell at retail by the pallet.
Cabernet Lager: Unbelievable Cabernet flavor. Amazing. Really this brew is on a very fine line between a wine and beer flavor profile. It would pair with meat dishes extremely well and I would hope it could be sold to restaurants as such.
ENTERTAINMENT: As always, Strange Brewfest brings the best. I loved Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme. Incredibly talented and entertaining, I could enjoy them all night. fb
Big Al Brewing - website
Big Time Brewery - website
Elkhead Brewing Co. - facebook
Fish Brewing Co. - website
Georgetown Brewing Co. - website
Ninkasi Brewing Co. - website
Pike Brewing Co. - website
Port Townsend Brewing Co. - website
Slippery Pig Brewery
Valholl Brewing - website
Wingman Brewers, Inc. - website
Alpenfire Cidery - website
Finnriver Farm & Cidery - website
Hale's Brewery - website
Crispin Cider - website
Elysian Brewing Co. - website
New Belgium Brewery - website
Silver City Brewing Co. - website
North Sound Brewing Co. - website
Flyers Restaurant and Brewery - website
Anacortes Brewery - website
Ram Brewing - website
7 Seas Brewing - website
Fremont Brewing Co. - website
Eaglemount Wine & Cider - website
192 Brewing Co. - website
Emerald City Beer Co. - website
Big Al Brewing - website
Red Hook Brewing Co. - website