The temperature keeps falling and the alcohol keeps rising so why not make a visit to Hales Ales’ backside for some holiday beers. Tonight and tomorrow over 34 Washington breweries will be featuring the dark, the light, and in the between for the WABC’s Winterfest.
Look for me to be at the event pouring you a cold warm as you warm up in the Palladium.
Winter Warmers/Scotch Ales—it’s no wonder when the temperature outside drops we all long for something a bit stronger and more robust. That’s why there are many winter warmers to help us get through the cold rainy season. They are typically dark, rich and high in alcohol. Some of the classic winter warmers available at the Winter Fest are Pyramid Snow Cap and Super Snow Cap, Diamond Knot Industrial Ho!Ho!, Snoqualmie Falls Avalanche and Hale’s Wee Heavy.
Realm of the Darkness—many winter beers are best characterized by their deep, dark color with assertive maltiness. The types and amount of malt used during the brewing process are primarily responsible for the dark hues and contribute to the pronounced malty flavors often found in winter seasonals. Try Rock Bottom Black Diamond Stout, 7 Seas Port Royal Export Style Stout, and Chuckanut Brewery’s Dunkel Lager which recently won a gold medal at the prestigious Great American Beer Fest.
Chocolate & coffee beers—this year’s festival features Chocolate Box and Caffe Vita sampling their fine chocolates and espresso drinks that are perfect accompaniments to winter beer. Obviously the brewers agree because there will be quite many beers with chocolate or coffee flavors. For chocolate lovers there will be Lisa’s Chocolate Stout (Georgetown), Chocolate Dunkel (Northern Lights) and Chocolate Oatmeal Stout (Water Street), as well as Mocha Death (Iron Horse), Mocha Stout (Northgate Ram- WABL Beer) and Jive Espresso (Two Beers) for those who prefer coffee in their beer.
Graceful aging— Thanks to the high alcohol content many winter beers age very nicely. They are often put in oak, bourbon, whiskey or other types of barrels and take on the flavors during the long aging process. Several breweries will bring their vintage gems including Diamond Knot Industrial Ho!Ho! (07 & 09), Elysian Bye Bye Frost (08), Northgate Ram Mall Walker and Dawgsled (08 & 09), Snipes Mountain Pumpkin Death (cask bourbon 08 & 09) and Boundary Bay who will showcase three versions of their Cabin Fever (09, 08 and oak-aged 08). For barrel aged beers try Schooner Exact Hoppy the Woodsman, Pike Entire and Black Raven’s mystery beer appropriately called “Surprise from the Barrels.”
Holiday feast—looking at the Winter Beer Festival beer list is like looking at a holiday dinner menu, with lots of spices and seasonal ingredients. There are many beers with holiday twists that show the brewers’ true creativity. Try Diamond Knot Pumpkin Ale, Trade Route Ginger Pale Ale, Pike Auld Acquaintance and Lazy Boy Mistletoe Bliss, both with orange peel and cinnamon. For dessert Naked City will be serving Bing, a Belgian Dubbel with cherries and cinnamon.
WABL Beers & Hour—For the first time this year there will be two WABL Beers, available exclusively to WABL (WAshington Beer Lovers Club) members. Northgate Ram will bring a special keg of its Mocha Stout brewed with Café Vita's Theo blend and Theo's Cocoa nibs while the other WABL Beer was brewed by a homebrewer. In addition the festival will open one hour early each day for “WABL Hour” (4-5pm on Friday and 12-1pm on Saturday).
After two days of great beers and festivities the festival will conclude by announcing the People’s Choice Awards winners. Last year Hoppy the Woodsman by Schooner Eaxt (1st place), Pike Entire by Pike Brewing and Imperial Chamomile Ale by Gilligan’s Brewing (2nd place tie) took home the honor.
The Winter Beer Festival will take place on Friday, December 4th and Saturday, December 5th at the Hale’s Palladium. The event will feature a variety of winter seasonal beers, chocolate pairings by Chocolate Box and a Holiday Gift Shop with various brewery merchandise. Admission is $23 advance or $25 at the door and includes a tasting cup and six beer tastes. This is a 21+ only event. Tickets are available at www.washingtonbeer.com/wbf.htm.
Hales Ales Palladium
4301 Leary Way Northwest Seattle, WA 98107-4538 (206) 706-1544