Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two NW Fall Beer Events Worth Attending

Well, perhaps they are all worth attending, but these are two happening this weekend that are worth extra attention.

Celebration of Beer Weekend at Skamania Lodge

Look at the picture above (and Jeff's from last year) and you immediately understand the appeal of this event.  This mix of stunning setting, great beer and good food looks a real treat and I will be attending this for the first time this year and am looking forward to it.

It is a great mix of Washington and Oregon Breweries and includes some can't miss names - Double Mountain, Fish, Full Sail - and some I have yet to sample, like Lazy Boy and Salmon Creek.  There is also a beer battered and beer boiled seafood buffet on Saturday night and a kegs and eggs buffet on Sunday morning.  And if you are really brave, you can try teeing off in the golf challenge with some brewer/duffers.  

This one was clearly made for me.  I love the fresh hop beers, warts and all, because they feel just that: fresh.  And I live a short (and very pleasant) walk to Oaks Park through the wonderful Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. I plan to attend.

There are few moments when beer feels particularly connected to the land - unlike wine which always feels that way - and fresh hop beer is one of them (seasonal fruit infusions are the other in my opinion).  This festival allows you to sample many variants of fresh hops used in all the different beers.  The one I am most pining for is this years Double Mountain Killer Green which uses Brewer's Gold hops.  Other beers to watch out for?  Jeff at Beervana has had the new Deschutes Hop Trip and finds it 'tasty.'  And John Harris never fails to create some fresh hop magic. I believe Harris is a proponent of the theory of using dried hops at the beginning of the boil to lay down a base of bitterness that is easier to control and then fresh hops at the end for aroma and flavor, you can try and see if you can detect beer made thusly versus all fresh hops.  

But wait, you say, how can you do both?  Fortunately, there is a Tastival preview on Friday night.  The intrepid craft beer enthusiast will not be stopped! 

So where is the economics?  Easy: beers are complementary to each other, to food, to beautiful settings and to good company.  Thus enjoying them together increases the satisfaction I get from consumption, making such festivals and events a deal.  Plus, contrary to appearances, I don't actually drink that much beer, but I do love to try new ones - so these festivals with little sampler tastes are ideal for this enthusiast. 

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