Rule #1: Never brew in socks.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Since this blog's inception, we've focused on our homebrew recipes. After a conversation last night with the bloggers over at, we've decided to experiment with some new directions. We're still gonna be putting up homebrew recipes, but you might also find reviews of beers, breweries, and beer events popping up. With that, let's get on to Stoutfest.

Brouwer's Stoutfest is a must for any stout lover this side of Tacoma. With no less than 40 different stouts on tap, even the experienced stout drinker can feel a bit overwhelmed. Couple that with a bar running at full capacity and blasting death metal, and you've got an event that makes lager drinkers quiver. Mad props have to be given to the Brouwers staff; when you're this busy for this many hours, service can really go down the drain. The bartenders and wait staff really kept it together. With the bar filled to fire code from 6 pm, it was still a relatively painless experience to get a drink, even with crowds around the serving stations and a thirst for stout pushing the glassware collection to the limit. Waits to get in were manageable, with the longest lines popping up from 6 to 7pm, and the wait for another stout hardly a few minutes.

It was choosing a stout that proved the most difficult part of this event. Lee and I managed to get through a healthy portion of the draft list, and found a few to really stand out. Chief among them was Boneyard's Suge Knight. This was only our second taste of Boneyard, a brewery that really wowed us with a chocolate espresso stout at The Burgundian a few weeks ago. At a potent 14%, Suge Knight is one of best balanced high gravity stouts I've ever had. The color is a totally opaque black, with a healthy tan head, much like many of the stouts sampled last night. Nose, however, totally stands out. It hit me like a black IPA, with a surprisingly strong aroma of earthy hops followed by notes of coffee, chocolate, and lots of dark malt. The taste followed suit with a hop character unlike any I've ever found in a beer this big. It tasted like the keg had been dry-hopped, with a firm, earthy hop flavor up front, followed by dark chocolate and coffee. At 14%, it was remarkably dry, with no strong malty sweetness. Wilder still, there was no heat. Its rare to find a beer over 10% that can balance a strong roasted character with hop flavor; finding one that pulls it off without any alcohol heat is almost unheard of.

Suge Knight was followed up by Evil Twin's Imperial Biscotti Break. True to its name, Imperial Biscotti Break was dominated by vanilla and dark chocolate, with a range of coffee flavor typically reserved for beers actually brewed with coffee. The aroma was full of bread and vanilla, with strong chocolate overtone. There was a fleeting sense of brettanomyces, but the full flavor dispelled all possibility of wild yeast. The taste opened with vanilla and dark chocolate, with a subtle oak. The finish was coffee and milk. The beer really tasted like a biscotti dipped in coffee. The sweetness was well balanced, and never cloying. This was a beer any stout lover could get into, provided you enjoy a bit of vanilla.

Other honorable mentions include the Abyss '10, a brew that proved itself much finer after a year and a half of aging. All in all, this was one of the finest opportunities to drink stout I've found out here in Seattle. The company was great, the waits were short, and the sometimes surly Brouwers staff were in surprisingly good spirits.

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