Festival Preview: WA: Cask Fest is this Saturday. Cab rides, car pooling, and our thoughts.

image of Red Hook's cask handle from Cask Fest 2010 Ok. Who here hasn’t got their ticket (or tickets) to Cask Fest this weekend? You? You? Ok. So more than likely you are sitting in your semi-warm apartment, condo, or house, pondering how best to get down to the event and get home in one piece.

About Cask Festival

Washington brewers are known for its tight-knit community and the Guild’s return as the presenter of the Cask Festival is a fitting homecoming for many brewers. While the Washington Beer Commission, the Guild’s sister organization, is in charge of consumer marketing the Guild focuses on education and community building among the brewing community in addition to lobbying. The Cask Festival was originally founded by several Guild member breweries back in 2000, one year after the organization was formed in an attempt to create a platform to showcase what the Washington brewers had to offer. The event mostly features unique, one-off cask-conditioned beers that require the brewers to flex their creative muscles and technical skills, and for this reason it is a favorite beer festival of many beer connoisseurs and brewers alike. Washington brewers often freely exchange ideas, seek technical advices, and trade equipment and ingredients with each other, and such supportive and collaborative culture helped made the Washington Cask Beer Festival one of the best beer festivals of its kind in the nation.

The Cask Festival will host two sessions, one from noon to 4pm and a second session from 5:30pm to 9:30pm on Saturday, March 31st. Admission is $35 in advance or $40 at the door if tickets are still available. The event will feature over 70 cask-conditioned beers including the Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale, a collaborative beer brewed every year in honor of late Bert Gran, a legendary Washington beer icon. Separate tickets are required for each session. Admission includes a commemorative tasting cup and up to 25 sample tastes. Tickets are available online atwww.washingtonbrewersguild.org and at select ticket outlets. The event is expected to sell out so advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. This is a 21 and over only event.

Options range from Carpooling with a Designated Drinker (I mean driver), Bussing, someone dropping you off and picking you up later (or I like to call it, the ‘on call cab’), hail a cab, or finally just risk it all and drive down & pray you don’t over-imbibe.

Let’s analyze each option.

First there is the Designated Driver, so far a wise choice. But what about getting them in the door? Details associated with getting tickets were reported by the likes of Seattle Beer News & Washington Beer Blog. Meaning, there are no tickets available at the door (or online for that matter). Which means regrettably the DD option might be out the door.

Option #2 sounds a bit easier when you consider that there are Park & Rides littered throughout the city. For your convenience we have included this helpful link. For those in Seattle the Northgate & Greenlake Park locations host over 400 stalls each. And if you are downtown (near the bus tunnel) you can take the 4, 18, or the 2; all with a slight walk required. At roughly $5-$10, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than that DUI or Cab Fare you might spend.

Third Mode of Transpiration. We won’t elaborate on this one, only to say that we pity the person (or persons) that pick you up after you have attempted to consume all 25 (maximum amount allowed) tastes from either Session One or Session Two. Note, if you happen to survive Session One and purchased Session Two, it’s a safe bet you will be denied ‘tastes’ the second session.

Taxi. Here is your current suggested options for Seattle taxis.

Final Option. Let’s cut through the B.S. on this one. Do you really want to risk your own life and someone else's; let alone face the wrath of the justice system, just to get home in your vehicle? Be smart and leave your car at a Park & Ride or better yet, go with Options 2, Three, or Four.

image of former Big Time brewer now Elliott Bay Brewery on Lake City Way brewer Bill JenkinsSo now that we’ve established the ground rules for getting there, what about the beer? For this writer I am ok with cutting through the minutia to suggest the following breweries / beers.

7 Seas Brewing

  • Ballz Deep Double India Pale Ale

  • Hop Prophet 100% Wet Hop Ale

Airways Brewing

  • Chocolate Rye Stout

  • Hawaii Shive –0 Stout

American Brewing

  • Double Dry Hopped Breakaway India Pale Ale

Anacortes Brewery

  • Broadsword Scotch Ale

  • Bourbon Barrel Porter

Big Al Brewing

  • Flanders Red (Sour)

  • Dry-Hopped Hop Villain Black India Pale Ale

Big Time Brewing

  • Buck Mulligan’s Dublin Stout

  • Wheatapaug Groove American Wheat Ale

Black Raven Brewing

  • Wisdom Tweaker Double Citrus India Pale Ale

  • Snickerdoodle Stout

  • Bizarleywine Barleywine

Boundary Bay Brewery

  • Irish Red Ale

  • Boundary Bay India Pale Ale

Diamond Knot Brewing

  • Apple Cinnamon ESB

  • “Bungslayer” India Pale Ale

  • Herbert’s Legendary Cask Festival Ale

Dick’s Brewing

  • Imperial India Pale Ale

Elliott Bay Brewing *Lake City Way

  • Lake City Way India Pale Ale

Elysian Brewing

  • Great Pumpkin Ale Imperial Pumpkin Ale

  • Hubris Imperial India Pale Ale

  • The Dread Imperial Stout

Epic Ales

  • Smoked Brine Oyster Stout

Fremont Brewing

  • Kentucky Dark Star Imperial Oatmeal Stout

  • Winey Brother Imperial IPA

Georgetown Brewing

  • Lucille IPA (IPA)

  • Lisa’s Chocolate Stout Stout *Second Session-only

Hale’s Ales Brewery

  • Bourbon Barrel-aged Supergoose India Pale Ale

  • Bourbon Barrel-aged Porter

Harmon Brewing

  • Oak Hop Mad India Pale Ale

Iron Horse Brewery

  • Double Rainbow Red Ale

Issaquah Brewhouse

  • Wik Ed Porter

Mac & Jack’s Brewing

  • Two Tun Double Dry -Hopped India Pale Ale

  • Bourbon -Oak Infused Cascadian Dark Ale

Maritime Pacific Brewing

  • Shipwreck’d CDA

  • Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Pale

Naked City Brewery

  • Podunk India Pale Ale

  • Betsy’s Big Mountain Amber

  • A Dude in Every Port Russian Imperial Stout

New Belgium Brewing

  • “Dig” Spring Seasonal Double Dry -Hopped Pale Ale

  • Cocoa Mole Spiced Ale

North Sound Brewing

  • Goosetown Brown

Pike Brewing

  • Space Needle India Pale Ale

  • Post Alley Porter

Port Townsend Brewing

  • Dead Sea Imperial India Pale Ale

Ram Restaurant & Brewery *Seattle

  • Peachy Keen Pale Ale

  • ‘Junior’ Peppermint Porter

Redhook Brewery

  • Dos Svidaniya Russian Imperial Stout

Rock Bottom Brewery *Bellevue

  • Hop Bomb India Pale Ale

  • Coconut Stout

  • Kolsch

Rock Bottom Brewery *Seattle

  • Madagascar Vanilla Porter

Schooner Exact Brewing

  • Spanish Cedar India Pale Ale

  • Apricot Sour Brown (Oud Bruin)

Silver City Brewery

  • Fat Woody Oak Barrel Aged Scotch Ale

Snipes Mountain Brewing

  • Experimental Special Bitter

  • Little Chief (S(ession)IPA)

Snoqualmie Falls Brewing

  • Steam Train Porter (Porter)

Sound Brewery

  • Wheat Whiskey Belgian-style Dubbel

  • Humulo Nimbus Double India Pale Ale

Two Beers Brewing

  • Crooked Belgian Wit


  • Solo IPA by Big Time Brewery, Available to WABL members only.

We can only say this about the list, don’t drive in. And for god’s sake if you have to ask a friend to pick you up afterwards, apologize now, because you might not get the chance after they take your intoxicated, carcass, home.

Side note, I would like to thank and welcome Lisa back to the Washington Brewers Guild. My apologies for not having shared my thoughts on Cask Fest sooner.


About Washington Brewers Guild

Washington Brewers Guild is a non-profit organization whose mission is to build a community of Washington State brewers, protect and advance their common interests through legislative process, and to promote the quality and value of their beers. The Guild represents more than 60 brewery members and is led by the Executive Committee who is tasked to lead legislative discussions and make sure the brewing industry’s voice is heard in Olympia. Over the years the Guild has tackled various issues including fighting excise tax increases, defending breweries’ right to self-distribute, and opposing deregulation of the industry. Some of those achievements were not only remarkable but even life-saving to many of its member breweries. As this year’s legislative session nears the end the Guild continues to keep an eye on new developments in Olympia to make sure the Washington brewing industry can continue to grow, create new jobs, and contribute to the economic well-being of the local communities.

Please visit our sponsors