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)

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