I apologize for the lengthy delay since my last post, but the good news is I've been drinking some great beer in the Pacific Northwest on a visit to family.
I ended up attending the Tacoma Craft Beer Festival last weekend. It was held on a pier on the Tacoma waterfront (just south of Seattle).
I was most impressed by two beers from Walking Man Brewery in Stevenson, Wash. The first was a burly cherry oatmeal stout that exhibited a wonderful natural cherry flavor in a full-bodied stout.
Next was Walking Man's excellent fresh-hop IPA, using freshly harvested hops from a nearby farm. The ale had everything you want in a fresh-hop beer: a rounded, oily, interesting hop flavor.
Lost Coast Tangerine Wheat carried its sweetish, citrus fruit note exceptionally well. I was impressed by the Northern California brewers.
Elysian Avatar IPA was disappointing compared to the hype that the Seattle beer receives. Another Washington IPA, Port Townsend IPA, was triple dry-hopped and tasted like it. The aggressive hop flavor was nicely balanced.
Big Al's Brougham Bitter had a slightly mineral hop taste, very much to style and very tasty. Finally, Lazy Boy Hefe, made with Munich and wheat malts and Vanguard hops, was a nice example of the style.
It was a good time, but I have somewhat mixed feelings about beer festivals. You get to try a great variety of beers at one time, but the bottom line is you're often in a warehouse full of dudes drinking beer. That begins to lack appeal after a while.
Nevertheless, the Tacoma fest, in only its second year, had a lot to offer. I greatly appreciated being able to try so many beers unavailable in Colorado.