Mandy and I had a blast Friday evening with some good friends sampling the best of Washington beer at the Washington Brewers Festival in Marymoor Park, a three day event held during Father’s Day weekend. Seventy-four brewers showcased over 250 beers at Washington’s largest beer festival.
77% of the total hops output of the United States is nestled in the heart of the Yakima Valley, about 170 miles south-east of Seattle. Hops love a moist temperate climate, and the long sunny days along with ample irrigation make the Yakima Valley one of the most important hop growing regions in the world, second only to the Hallertau region of Germany. Most all hops harvested are used in making beer; two-thirds of hops grown in the Yakima Valley are exported all over the world.
We live in hop heaven.
Consequently, Washington beer is some of the best in the world. Our close knit and imaginative brewing community combined with amazing hop varieties make for some outstanding beer creations. I’ve had some truly wonderful brews: IPAs that taste of grapefruit juice, Pale Ales with strong fruit and citrus flavors, a Cascadian Dark Ale that brought back childhood memories of mom’s pot-puree burning on the wood stove.
Some of our favorites from Friday:
- Black Raven’s Splinters – a grand bourbon barrel scotch ale that was like sipping whiskey on the rocks;
- 192 Brewing’s Strong Lavender Honey Ale – nice and sweet with a touch of lavender;
- Laht Neppur Brewing’s Strawberry Cream Ale – a fruity ale, we went back for seconds;
- Sound Brewing’s Mosaic Pale Ale – the mosaic hop is a brand new strain with mango and citrus flavors
- Wingman Brewers’ Coconut P-51 Porter – a nice light coconut, molasses and toffee brew
In fact, all the beers we sampled were fantastic. Of course, the brewers are friendly and approachable and are happy to answer questions about any of their beers. Beer geeks geeking out on beer. I love that.