Monday, January 23, 2012

Belgianfest, Judging & Barleywine Festivals

Snowpocalypse 2012 has passed.  I for one, hope that was the majority of lowland snow we'll be seeing this winter.  Living at the bottom of a steep hill, it cuases lots of problems for me.  I hope any of you who were snowed in had an adequate supply of liquid courage on hand.  Now it's time to look ahead to what's next. 


The next event I'll be attending is Seattle's 2012 Belgianfest, which will be held this year on Saturday, February 4th at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on pier 66.  There will be more than 60 different Belgian styled beers from several different Seattle area breweries.  Tickets are on sale now from Brown Paper Tickets, and there are two sessions to chose from:

Session 1: 12:00-4:00 pm
Session 2: 5:30-9:30 pm
I already have my ticket for Session 1, and I'm looking forward to wrapping my lips around some Saisons, dubbels, wits, farmhouse ales, lambics and more.  Belgian yeasts have very distinctive character, and I'm looking forward to a full afternoon of inundating my palate with various, wonderful Belgian styles. 

Sasquatch Ale Homebrew Competition:

The weekend after Belgianfest, it will be time to flex my judging muscles again as I participate as a judge for the Sasquatch Ale Homebrew Competition.  This competition is limited strictly to AHA/BJCP category 23A Specialty Beer.  This is a fairly wide-open catetory, where the brewer is free to experiment and try new ingredients/combinations.  The resulting beers should be a pleasing combination of malt, hops and whatever 'featured' specialty ingredient(s) the brewer has chosen to use. 

It should be an interesting judging/tasting experience.  Unlike many other AHA/BJCP styles, which are quite clearly defined.  Catetory 23A allows for more subjective judging due to the wide variety of specialty ingredients used. 

10th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal:

Next up, two weeks after the Sasquatch Ale Homebrew Competition, it will be time for the 10th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal at Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle.  I really Love a good barleywine, so this event, along with the next one I'll be discussing below, are two of my favorites of the year. 

This year's Bacchanal kicks off on Saturday, February 25th, which is a slight change from previous years, where things got under way on Friday.  No list has been posted yet for this year's festival, so I'll just have to look over last year's list and dream about what might be. 

10th Annual Hard Liver Festival:

Just one week after the Barleywine Bacchanal, on March 3rd, is the kickoff of the 10th Annual Hard Liver Festival at Brouwer's Cafe.  This festival seems to get more popular every year.  It's always packed to the gills with a line out the door of barleywine lovers waiting to get in.  This year's list is not up yet, but you can look at last year's list, or visit the Hard Liver website for photos from last year's festivities. 

I prefer to sit at the bar when I'm at Brouwer's Cafe, so I'll be sure to get there pretty early this year.  There's always a line, and I'd rather be closer to the front than the back. 

Drink responsibly and stay safe out there. 

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