Beer, it's my opinion! Feb. 20, 2012

  • Written by Toren Heald, Wedgewood Realty owner and beer lover

Saturday, the 4th of February, was a spectacular sunny Seattle day.

I met a friend of mine, Mike, in Edmonds to take his boat to Belgianfest which was happening at Bell Harbor International Conference Center.

This has got to be one of my favorite ways to travel to and from any beer fest. This is the third annual Belgianfest and is put on by the Washington Beer Commission.

We arrived at about 11:30 a.m.

After a nice morning cruise into Seattle, Mike and I arrived at Bell Harbor Marina which is just steps away from the conference center.

The event didn’t start until 12:00 so we sat outside to bask in the sun until the gates opened.

Yes, I did say 12:00 pm…what time do you start drinking on Saturday? I know some of you that start even earlier … Mike.

There were some concerns with some of the event goers about the venue and how well it would flow but after we were in, they didn’t seem to have much trouble.

With 32 breweries and over 50 Belgian style beers represented this was a well put together event.

If you are a Belgian beer fan or just looking to broaden your palate and missed it this year you might want to put it on the calendar for next year.

As most of you who have been reading my articles for any time you have probably noticed that I tend to write a lot about IPA’s so you will be happy to know that I can still pick out great beers in all different categories.

On this luminous day going to Belgianfest there was temptation of skipping out and staying on the boat and traveling to faraway lands, like Poulsbo but Mike twisted my arm and made me go.

Keep in mind that with over 50 beers and only eight beer tokens, needless to say I wasn’t able to hit all the 32 brewers.

C’mon, I didn’t drink eight full beers; they are 4 oz sample pours.

But even at that if you do the math it is still quite a bit.  If you are a brewer who was at the show and I didn’t mention your beer please don’t be offended, I probably didn’t get to your booth.

You can always send me samples and I may write something up.

To come up with my “what and whose beer to sample” game plan I found a table of about six people that were dividing and conquering this event.

They had it down and since it was just Mike and me we recruited help.

These folks were serious. They would all go get different beers and bring them back to the table make tasting notes and then make recommendations to the rest of the group whether or not a beer was “token worthy.”

From this die-hard group brew officiates I used some of their suggestions to help me pick who is “token worthy.”

In no particular order from what I tasted, my top five are:

Black Raven Brewing — Bourbon Barrel Aged La Petite Mort

Who doesn’t like hints of bourbon in their beer.  It was aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for over 6 months.   ABV 8.8% IBU’s 36

7 Seas Brewing—Le Harve Belgian Winter Ale

This was a soft easy to drink Belgian.  I could taste the complexity of the different malts and the traditional Belgian Abbey yeast.  8.0% ABV

Hale’s Ales—Hale’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Belgian Gold

Something about the Bourbon and Belgians go hand in hand.

If there were more Bourbon Barrel ales this article would have been a different focus. Great Job Hale’s, the bourbon flavor shines through atop the flavor of the Belgian yeasts.  ABV 9.0%  IBU’s 15

Issaquah –Menage A Frog Belgian Trippel

This one nails what I think a true Belgian trippel should taste like.  Very well rounded with a ton of fruit and caramel blended.

If you like a Trippel give this one a try.  ABV 9%  IBU’s 30

Silver City Brewery—La Fat 2007

Great job Silver City!  You have made my top five pick again.

Another wonderfully smooth brew, this has caramel tones, spice and a hint of oak.   ABV 9%.

The Washington Beer Commission has some great events you can attend and it’s worth every penny for the variety you can get in one place.

You might catch me at Cask Fest on Saturday, March 31, 2012.

For more details on upcoming events, go to

Op uw gezonheid! (On your health!)

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