This past weekend saw one of the best events there is for a beer-lover in Seattle: The Seattle International Beerfest.
While I have been to festivals with more individual beers (there were about 125 here), I have never been to a festival that offered more geographical diversity or obscure styles. Looking around a festival is a little overwhelming; there are just so many beers that looked so intriguing (Traditional Norse Moonshine beer, anyone?).
I knew I wanted to try some bier de garde, as its rare to find this style. I also wanted to try some meads, as well as any style I was completely unfamiliar with. I present here, in chronological order, my notes on most of the beers I tried. My notes devolved in depth somewhat as the evening wore on, but I hope they get the point across regardless.
St. Sylvestre Gavroche Strong Ale: This was the first bier de garde I tried, and to be honest, I was expecting more. There isn’t a particularly complex aroma to it – just a little malt with some sourness, and the taste was a bit thin – some toffee flavors from the malts coupled with a bit of a winey sourness. Not too much hop to this, but there are some floral hops on the end that made a nice addition.
Deschutes 2006 Mirror Mirror Barley Wine: American breweries are certainly in the minority at this festival, and as I typically like Deschutes, I figured I’d give this one a try. I’m quite pleased overall with this, and will have to look for it. The aroma is sweet and malty, and the taste pleasantly complex. Caramel flavors mingle with esters of pear and dark fruit (plum?), while the hop bitterness provides an excellent balance. This is thick and delicious, with a lot of alcohol warmth.
Mountain Meadows Agave Mead: After the barley wine, I am ready for something less viscous. I don’t really know what agave tastes like, so I’m having a hard time finding the flavor in this mead. It has a bit of a white grape aroma, as well as some slight spice to it. The alcohol warmth comes on the end. It’s medium sweet and tasty, but it lacks some of the complexity of really good purely honey meads. Still, a good find.