Thursday, February 7, 2013

Belgianfest faves

     I took in the state Beer Commission's Belgian festival down in Seattle last weekend; glad I got my ticket in advance as it was a sellout.  The Belltown conference center at Pier 66 was pretty well packed.
Something like 30 breweries came, some who make one or more Belgian styles year-around and some who just made something for this bash.  About a dozen brought Tripel ales, which I decided to survey.  (These ran around 8-9% alcohol, so with foresight I had booked a room in the Moore Hotel, a couple blocks away.)
      Boundary Bay and Anacortes Brewing, up our way, brought some nice tripels, as did Dick's from Centralia and McMenamin's, from somewhere in their empire (Six Arms on Capitol Hill did their brewing, I understood). Elysian came in with ten different Belgians, including two tripels.  I had to go with their Bete Blanche (you have to imagine the little tent symbol over the first E in Bete, and give it your best French pronunciation shot).  Sound Brewing from Poulsbo had a nice Tripel Entendre, which of course came after their Dubbel Entendre.  I would have gone with Tripel Entente, but that's the history buff in me.
     A new brewery came all the way over from Spokane, Ramblin' Road, and their entries included Lavender Tripel.  I remembered not liking a lavender infused pale ale I encountered in Omaha, but I tasted this one with an open mind and liked it.  Told the brewer, Danielle Guthrie, she done good.  They weren't yet open during the last Octoberfest in Spokane but should be going strong ere the next one.
     And then there was Pike Brewing.  Their Monk's Uncle is one of the best tripels around that's available in bottles all year.  They made a batch of Uncle and threw in 60 lbs of Bing cherries to make it even sweeter and stronger. They called it Tripel Kriek, which of course put The Band's Up on Cripple Creek in my ear all weekend.
     I also had a chance to chat with Lazy Boy's Shawn Loring (recently featured at Archer Ale House here) and Snipes Mountain's Chad Roberts (who came all the way from Sunnyside to do a brewer's night at the Green Frog in November).  The Belgian Golden Shawn made in Everett was very fine.
(Visited 2/02/13)

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