The state beer commission's north sound component of its regional beer festivals took over Hoyt Street in downtown Everett last Saturday (August 15) and I definitely learned one new thing. "To randal" is now a verb, meaning to pass draft beer through a cylinder filled with small bits of some flavoring substance, e.g., hops, pineapple chunks, crushed Jolly Rancher candies. Many of the participating breweries offered randalized styles or randalizing your sample while you watched.
The longest lines stretched out in front of Fremont Brewing and the new face in Marysville, At Large Brewing. About thirty breweries were there. most of them were from Everett south along I-5. Only two Whatcom County brewers attended and none from Skagit. This is the time of year Festival Fatigue starts to afflict smaller firms. Inventory is stressed, staff is stressed, the Mount Vernon festival was just a week ago, etc.
To update some recent posts, Cole Rinehart said he is in the process of relocating his little backyard shed brewhouse for his #InTheShadows beers to a commercial building along SR 530 between Arlington and Darrington. That;s a sign of growing demand, When I got a sandwich, I shared a table with Jeff Howard and Frank Lawrence, co-founders of the new Counterbalance Brewing in Seattle's Georgetown district. Jeff told me they had just produced a collaboration beer with the new #Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery up in the Greenwood district, near Naked City. Flying Bike was having its grand opening the same day.
One of the most unusual beers was Nocino Walnut Porter, created at Scuttlebutt in Everett just for WABL members. Nocino was described as a sticky brown liquer made in Northern Italy from unripe green walnuts. After steeping in spirit, the walnuts are removed and the now black alcohol is blended into a simple syrup. "We get the boozy walnuts from Skiprock Brewing," said Matt Stromberg, head brewer at Scuttlebutt, "and when we dry hop our porter, we add a couple of pounds of the walnuts." Matt was hopeful this unusual take on porter can have an encore later this year.