Eric, Mitch and I went to the inaugural Spokane Oktoberfest in River Front Park. Sponsored by the Washington Beer Commission, 20 beers from our wonderful state (second only to Colorado) communed for times of stein holding, yodeling, beer drinking, and, in my case, a nap on the lawn. Here are some of the highlights (and busts):
Diamond Knot Brewing—Mukilteo, WA: Vienna (ABV: 5.8%): “Vienna Style Ale. Our answer to an Oktoberfest! Reddish amber in color, the ale has a bright, crisp flavor with a malty finish,” says the program. A red beer with a bit more kick than Mac & Jack’s African Amber, it’s a cross between an angry amber and a light Spaten Optimator.
Elliott Bay Brewing—Burien, WA: Organic Washington Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 7.6%): Tastes strongly of nutmeg.
Elysian Brewing—Seattle, WA: Night Owl Our Original Pumpkin Ale (ABV: 5.9%): Boasts that they brew seven pounds of pumpkin per barrel. Eric had this one and the Elliott Bay Pumpkin, and he prefers Elysian’s. “Pumpkin, pumpkin pie!” He says.
Fremont Brewing—Seattle, WA: Mystere du Rayon (ABV: ?): A harvest ale that tasted like a cross between an amber and a cider. Maybe they just mixed some together.
Laht Neppur Brewing—Waitsburg, WA: Oatmeal Porter (ABV: 6%): The program says it has “strong coffee and chocolate flavors,” but we’ll never know because Eric knocked his over.
Iron Horse Brewery—Ellensburg, WA: Malt Bomb: a dark beer that tastes like a toasty thick milkshake.
Northern Ales—Northport, WA: Smoked North Porter (ABV: 6%): Keep an eye out for this little brewery as it’s expanding to Kettle Falls. The man wearing the Viking hat told me that they’re looking to distribute to Spokane in the next year. It took me twenty minutes to get through six ounces of the Smoked North Porter. A charming motor oil color, I’d like to take that beer camping with me. It smells like my apartment and tastes like a fire pit.
Paradise Creek Brewery—Pullman, WA: Dirty Blonde (ABV: 5.2%): Mitch refused to try any beers from Pullman. This not-spicy blonde didn’t taste like much. The sign said that the ladies liked it too... not my kind of ladies.
And now for the Best o’ the Westovs:
3rd—Elliott Bay Brewing: Hop Von Boorian (ABV: 5.5%): Don’t let the low alcohol content and the light color fool you. This Belgian-inspired IPA is a kick in the face.
2nd—Georgetown Brewing—Seattle, WA: Lucille IPA (7.2%): “Anything that tastes that good has to be named Lucille.” It’s everything you want an IPA to be, a field of flowers in a glass. Aromatic, crisp, complex. Really well done.
1st—Laht Neppur Brewing: Autumn Warmer (ABV: 8%): The highest in alcohol content, I tried it first—the love child of a pumpkin ale and an IPA. Burnt umber in color. Sweet, smooth, spicy. It’ll hold your hand and keep you warm, the best counselor for October.