The Bremerton Summer BrewFest was a blast. Coming in waves off the ferry, driving across three major bridges to get to the Kitsap Peninsula, happy beer enthusiasts filled the boardwalk from the Turner Joy to the ferry terminal.
The 5th annual Summer BrewFest was hot in more ways than one. Shade was at a premium but this year’s festival, featuring of fruit infused beers, was just the ticket to cool things off.
There were quite a few Washington craft brewers that made a fruit infused brew. They used one or more of the following: pineapples, raspberries, apricots, blood oranges, blackberries, limes, peaches, watermelons, lemons, strawberries, or grapefruits with other refreshing, non-fruit additions such as basil, ginger, rosemary, honey, rhubarb, chili peppers, Szechuan peppers or black peppers.
Many of these ingredients were added during fermentation but another way to introduce a really refreshing note into your glass is to pour it through a Randall. A Randall is a device that is connected to the tap and filled with flavor enhancers be it fruit, hops or spices. The beer flows through the container and Voila! You have a very cool, refreshing beverage.
For instance, Silverdale’s Rainy Daze poured their session IPA with its big citrus hop notes through a Randall of citrus fruit. This refreshing brew is a session brew meaning its alcohol content is lower (4.5%) than an IPA (5.5 – 7.5%).
Fish Brewing out of Olympia served up a Randalled Peach Imperial Pilsner made with German malts, hops and peaches. (10%) Another was Dirty Bucket out of Woodinville. Their Hefen’ Pineapple is a German weisen made with fresh pineapple and Randalled through a homemade fruit cocktail. (5%)
One of the most refreshing brews of the day was In the Shadow Brewing, a nano-brewery outside Arlington. They brewed up a blonde ale with crystal and honey malts and threw in some basil and lemon during fermentation and added local honey at the end for a touch of sweetness and perfect balance. (5% with 13 IBU) It would be a fun summer jaunt to the brewery to get your growler filled but do make an appointment.
Top Rung Brewing from Lacey poured the Raspberry Lacey Lager through a Randall of Raspberries. Very aromatic and refreshing summertime sipper at 4.5% with 24 IBU.
Other unRandalled, made-with-real-fruit brews include the ultra refreshing Boundary Bay Steady as She Gose infused with Raspberries. Gose is an old German beer style made from malted wheat, which creates a cloudy, yellow color but provides crispness. It has low hop bitterness, spice from ground coriander seeds and twang from the addition of salt.
Fremont Brewing’s Summer Mojito is a refreshing take on the classic summer cocktail, they take their Summer Ale and infuse it with lime and mint. A seriously quaffable ale. (5.2% / 45 IBU)
No-Li Brewhouse’s Brass Monkey is a very good, sweet malt ale combined with orange peel zest. This refreshing, citrusy summer seasonal has that robust citrus aroma from the cascade hops and orange peel.
Schooner Exact brewed a wheat beer called Seamstress Union Raspberry Wheat. The raspberry aromas explode from the glass and the palate is all tangy raspberries. (5% / 20 IBU)
Another perfectly refreshing summertime filtered wheat beer infused with raspberries is from Walking Man Brewing. Crafting award winning beers along the Columbia River Gorge at Stevenson, Walking Man Brewing has a 17-barrel system that produces about 1200 barrels per year. (4.8% / 28 IBU).
Saving my favorite for last, drum roll please… Pyramid’s Apridunkel. Woot! Woot! This is a stronger and darker version of their gold medal winning Apricot Ale. Made with 2-row, caramel 40, chocolate malts and flaked wheat and only enough Cascade hops to balance the sweetness of the apricots. Really, really good. (6.8% with 25 IBU).
Many of these breweries have limited distribution so a trip to the brewery may be warranted. Or try Kitsap Peninsula’s best beer store – Marina Market in Poulsbo. They have a huge and many times unique collection of Northwest brews.
More hoppy news – It was great seeing Mike Hale pour on Saturday and pass out postcards announcing Hale’s Barrel House Tavern opening this fall at 15th and Wycoff in Bremerton.
This festival is presented by the Washington Beer Commission. They hold many craft beer festivals throughout the year. Next month: August 15th is the Everett Craft Beer Festival and August 29th is the South Sound Craft Beer Festival. More information at WashingtonBeer.com