Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Brewers Festival in Redmond: a few notes

   Redmond, Wash, home of Microsoft, has a good-sized park, Marymoor Park, which hosted the state Beer Commission's biggest party of the year again.  I bicycled there (Redmond, cris-crossed by parkways that mess up the King County street grid pattern, is easy enough to get lost in, sober.  Buzzed, it would be hopeless.)
   A few impressions and notes.  It was good to see so many of the new brewers in Spokane making the 300-mile trip: No-Li, Iron Goat, 12 String, Golden Hills (in the process of changing its name to Orison Brewing).  Some of the smaller breweries could not spare enough people to cover three days of festival and left their spaces empty the first day--my local fave Chuckanut, Alpine from Oroville, a few others,
   Black Raven, the Redmond cult brewer that had to travel only a few blocks to the festival, drew crowds like it always does.  They popped a keg of something called Spinters that drew a humongous line.
  My favorite chat was with Derek Wycoff, who runs 192 Brewing in Kenmore (it really is in a 192 sq. ft. plywood shed in his back yard).  I told Derek how I remembered his Shticky Blonde standing out at a festival in Seattle's Fremont district a few years back--it was the seventh ale I had tasted and to make an impression at that stage signified something special.  Derek smiled and said "try the Strong Shticky Blonde I just made for this Friday session."  Wow!  I checked to be sure my socks were still on my feet.  He said he used lavender in place of hops for some of the bittering,  Then he balanced the bitter with some wild honey.  Wild honey, he explained, came from an apiary in the foothills of Mt. Rainier; the beekeeper doesn't know where his bees have been each day as they fly around checking the wildflowers.  He had tried clover honey and other tame honeys but wild was the only one that worked just right.  192 should have been drawing Black Raven-type crowds.
  192 is entrepreneurial as any brewer.  Derek has just opened a taproom on the popular Burke-Gilman Trail, north Seattle's most popular biking/walking.running trial. It's called the Lake Trail Taproom and one can get there by car to 7324 NE 175th St. Strong Shticky may have been a one-off but regular Shticky Blonde will still be well worth a stop.
(Visited 6/14/13)

Triplehorn: viking sitings in Woodinville

 Another pre-festival stop in Woodinville was at  Triplehorn Brewing, in another business park.  These guys, two brothers named Rich and Ray Nesheim, have some Norwegian heritage and it shows in their brewpub.  The triple horns? Right out of a Norse saga, the Gylfaginning, a tale of how Odin disguised himself as a plowhand for three days to get three drinks of the magical brew Odhroerir. Their selections include nice guttural sounding names like Landwink IPA, Midgard Pale, and Folkvang Red.  Someday they may grow into a Scandinavian A-frame, but for now the look is startup industrial.
   At the festival later, Triplehorn guys were easy to spot with their horned helmets. Percy Harvin, the wide receiver the Seahawks just picked up from the Minnesota Vikings, would probably feel at home here.
Fun place. Midgard Pale goes down nicely, too.
(Visited 6/14/13)

Brickyard Brewing: Woodinville's not just about wine anymore

  En route to the Washington Brewers Festival last weekend, I stopped off in Woodinville, the town a few miles northeast of Seattle, home of dozens of wineries.   They've had one brewery for some years, and a big one, Redhook, across the road from Chateau St. Michelle.  But now little bitty breweries are popping up all over this wine-soaked town.
   First I called on Brickyard Brewing, located in a little business park on the north end of town.
These guys have been open since last October.  The site was never a brickyard; the name derives from what was to have been the site of the operation, on Brickyard Road somewhere else in the town.  They pour four basic ales: an IPA, an oatmeal stout, a pale ale, and a blonde.  These are all contract-brewed at another new craft brewery in Woodinville, 12 Bar Brewing.  Brickyard has a very small system in which they create some one-time specialty brews; it sits in front of a wall used to project TV images.
There's a bar with stools and a half dozen tables in the area.  It's a friendly spot; someone did find an old photograph of a man operating a brick-making machine.  I had a short glass of the Stone's Throw Pale, 5.2%, remembering I had to save a lot of digestive space for the festival later that afternoon.
(Visited 6/14/13)