Sunday, September 22, 2013

12 Bar Brewing & Tacoma craft festival

   En route to the Tacoma craft beer festival earlier this month, I stopped off in Woodinville to call on one of the new breweries I missed in June: Twelve Bar Brews.  It is located at the back end of a dead-end, pothole-laced road that serves a small business park.
The name has nothing to do with the number of retail accounts and everything to do with music.  Kirk Hilse, who founded the business last year, is in equal parts a brewer and a blues musician.  He was already down in Tacoma, setting up a booth for the festival, but Laura was there to pour pints and fill growlers.
    The fifteen-barrel system behind the tasting room stays busy, keeping up with demand for Kirk's music-themed ales (Wicked Riff IPA, Pentatonic Pale, etc.) and also serving for neighbor Brickyard Brewing's beers until they get their own system in.  I tried a taste of Turnaround Red and the IPA, but liked the Pentatonic best and sipped a pint of that (4.5% abv, 40 IBU, nice balance).
   Just one pint: the traffic of I-405 had to be navigated, then a few miles of I-5 before the Tacoma exits appeared.  This year the festival organizers moved the event into Cheney Stadium, where the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners' AAA farm club, play through Labor Day.  Seventy-some breweries set up their stands all along the outfield fences while bands rocked a stage set up over second base.  Down the left field line (a spot that afforded a fine view of Mt. Rainier over the right field stands), Chuckanut was flying the Bellingham flag and staying busy.  Next to Chuckanut, a Colorado brewer called Base Camp was showing the new 22-oz aluminum containers they had developed with canmaker Ball Container.  An interesting alternative to the 22-oz glass bomber for brewers big enough to order that can stock in carload lots.
 (Visited 9/07/13)

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