Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Washington Cask Ale Festival

"A friend is a gift you give yourself." ~Robert Louis Stevenson.

The Washington Brewers Guild puts on a remarkable festival. It is small and attended by devout beer aficionados. The beers are each unique and of high quality. It reminded me of the early days of my brewing career when passionate brewers poured their own beers and festivals were small, fun, and impactful.

But the reason I went there was to see my friends.

I was too busy over the last year: maintaining the responsibilities of my old post, the mostly administrative Brewmaster of all three current Steelhead locations, as well as my responsibilities as Eugene’s Head Brewer of production. Many times it was difficult to be in two places at once concerning both my jobs, but I did my best to deliver my best. That meant I attended very few beer events last year.

Not this year!

Although (I think) this was the 8th year, I had never attended the Washington Cask Beer Festival. It was raining in Seattle almost the whole time, but that didn’t dampen my enthusiasm for seeing and hugging my old pals, including the fine brewers shown in the above photo. (L to R) My husband Jon Graber of Wyeast Labs, Skip Madsen of Water Street in Fort Townsend, myself, Dick Cantwell of Elysian Breweries, and Kevin Forhan of the newest Elysian incarnation.

There is a strong Pike Brewery - Big Time Brewery - Triple Rock Brewery connection among us. In fact, the Head Brewer position at Big Time has been a musical chairs experience for some of the Seattle brewers. Currently Bill Jenkins (photo on right) sits in the hot seat at Big Time.

My favorite beer you ask? Sorry, I can’t choose among my friends. You’ll have to attend next March and taste them yourself!

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