Friday, May 16, 2014

Untapped festival: rockin' the brews in Kennewick

     It was not a sure thing throughout the winter, whether the Untapped Blues and Brews Festival would go on again this year in the Tri-Cities.  But with new management stepping in, the blues bands came from near and far and so did the brewers.  Not as many brewers as last year, and no new faces.  The sun came out, the barbecues stoked up, the bands belted out their tunes, and the taps did flow.
     The big stage at the Benton County Fairgrounds showcased the better-known bands, while a couple of local bands played in a corner of one of the barns, where the better part of the twenty-some brewers set up.
Snipes Mountain Brewing had the booth closest to these bands.
This band opened the barn session and really got the house jiving. Blues songs run about
five minutes, too long for radio play, and they appeal to an older crowd.  I would guess the moshers who danced in front of the bands averaged over 45 and weighed--well, lets just say over average.
But the beats were irresistible foot-tapping stuff.  I snapped a photo of a couple of trim ladies staffing the Sierra Nevada booth, swaying to the beat when they had no customers lining up for a taster of SN Pale.
  Like Sierra Nevada, the festival drew some breweries from a distance:  Ninkasi and Rogue from Oregon, Fremont, Elysian, and Pyramid from Seattle. But most were Eastern Wash. brewers, some we seldom see on the wet side of the state: Rocky Coulee from Odessa, Orlison from Airway Heights near Spokane, Atomic Ales, Rattlesnake Brewing, Shrub Steppe, and White Bluffs, all from Richland, the third of the Tri Cities after Pasco. Wine-soaked Prosser, a few miles away, had its two brewers, Whitstran and Horse Heaven Hills, on hand.  No-Li showed up to represent the booming Spokane craft brewing scene.
   While most brewers brought kegs from their regular rotation, the pride of Pullman, Paradise Creek, put on quite a show, with two sours, among other treats.  Owner Tom Handy and his crew were happy to extol the
Rosemary-Lemon Wheat Sour and the Huckleberry Pucker, a Berliner Weisse built on a sour mash, with, yes, huckleberries for tart sweetness.  The huckleberry concoction clocked in at 5.5% abv and a very light 4 IBUs. No numbers for the rosemary-lemon number, but it was liquid lemon meringue pie, very easy drinking.
Kennewick: a long drive for a good time!  On May 10. 2014

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