Beauty and the Beer


The Seattle International Beerfest took place this weekend at Seattle Center, and it proved to be an exercise in trying to remember everything you sampled.

The admission, reasonably priced at $20, scored beer junkies a 4-oz tasting glass, 10 beer tickets and a wristband that got the wearer free re-entry for the duration of the festival. The beer tickets were good for any beer offered, which ranged in “cost” from 1 to 6 tickets, depending on the rarity of the beverage.

My accomplice and I found ourselves perfectly content with most of the 1-ticket beers, since the vast majority of those were “oh, I can only find this at (fill in name here)” as opposed to “what the hell is this crap?” Oftentimes, I don’t have much interest in tasting a beer I can’t even begin to pronounce; let alone trying to remember what the hell it was after the fact.

A 4-oz glass might seem innocent enough, but try using it to drink beers that commonly contain percentages of 11.5 and above. I was initially skeptical about getting any kind of buzz whatsoever upon going inside, and figured this would be nothing more than just a fun tasting/sampling experience.

By the time I’d had my third 4-oz serving of Old Ruffian Barley Wine from the Great Divide Brewery out of Denver, CO., however, I was finding myself in a constant argument with the ground about whether or not I’d be standing upright. Looking around at some of my fellow festival-goers, I soon discovered I wasn’t the only one who was having this argument. Only it appeared they were losing. Badly.

The lines for Dogfish Head’s 120-minute IPA (21 percent alcohol content) and Shelton Broers’ Mikkeller Black (17.5 percent) were just as staggering as the potency of the beers themselves, so I sadly missed out on those. But, I have the good fortune of living across the street from Pike Street Beer & Wine on Capitol Hill, so the 120-minute IPA isn’t too hard for me to track down. The Mikkeller, however, remains a mystery to me, and I’ve developed a strong curiosity about this Danish delicacy. I’ve since put it on the list as another to eventually try before my liver tenders its resignation.

And speaking of livers, even though this year’s Seattle Beerfest didn’t do my internal organs any favors, what it did for my palette more than made up for it. And hey, it wasn’t even too rough on the pocketbook.

4 Comments so far

  1. samantha on July 8th, 2008 @ 1:06 pm

    I always try to keep notes on the beers that I try, but by the end of it they’re generally totally illegible.

  2. Mike (drgonzo) on July 8th, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

    And trying to remember the name often becomes equally garbled, doesn’t it?

  3. tonyb on July 9th, 2008 @ 9:42 am

    I’ve found that taking a quick picture on my phone as they pour the beer helps tremendously.

  4. Mike (drgonzo) on July 9th, 2008 @ 9:46 am

    That’s a good way to do it too

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