Five Weird Washington Beers
Washington is no stranger to strange beers. The Evergreen State celebrates its offbeat brews with funky festivals, including Strange Brewfest in Port Townsend and Weird Beer on the River in Washougal. Even outside these events, it's easy enough to find peculiar pales, strange sours, and bizarre blondes in the greater Seattle area. Here are five of the weirdest western Washington beers available.
Kitty Kat Blues Infused Pale Ale
Black Raven Brewing's lineup consists of several experimental recipes, from sours and saisons to a pecan porter. Only one, however, is truly the cat's meow. Infused with "organic mountain-grown catnip", blueberries, and vanilla, this pale ale is said to taste like a blueberry muffin.
Thank goodness for Washington's liberal laws. Created by Justice Brewing in Everett, this edgy concoction is released annually on 4/20 and laced with such ingredients as hemp seeds, bacon, and maple syrup. Still got the munchies? Justice also offers a Butterfinger Brown.
Epic Ales prides itself on producing "a slew of strange and wonderful brews" for the Seattle area to discover. This American Wild Ale, inspired by its German cousin Gose, is a sour wheat beer with coriander and sea salt. Boasting sours, a rooibos tea red ale, and an IPA called "Interesting Picture of Animals", there are plenty of interesting possibilities at Epic.
Southwestern Hatch Green Chile Blonde
Chile beers are becoming more common, and - like pumpkin beers - may be perceived as less strange by consumers due to their availability. But if you've never tried a spicy brew before, Brickyard Brewing has the one for you. Brewed with Hatch Green Chiles from New Mexico, this award-winning hot blonde is well balanced and "not too spicy at all".
Disco Lemonade Berliner Weisse
Bellingham's all-organic Aslan Brewing has cranked out quite a few quirky brews since opening in 2014. Among the best received has been Disco Lemonade, a summer seasonal sour wheat beer. Additionally, Aslan brews a refreshing Cucumber Lager made with 30 lbs of local, organic cucumbers.
Looking for more weird, uniquely Washington beers? Beers Made By Walking is a program which invites brewers to create nature trail-inspired beers. In 2015, Seattle breweries created a Chocolate Stout with foraged wood (Two Beers Brewing), a Devil's club porter (Machine House Brewery), and more. Perhaps the most ambitious was Lantern Brewing's Amabalis Wit, brewed with "salal, fennel, elder and yarrow flowers, granite chunks, and silver fir resin inspired by Bandera Mountain". These one-run recipes are served exclusively at a tapping event each fall, so watch for updates on the organization's website. Cheers!
Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based writer and photographer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he has contributed to a handful of publications including Washington Trails and Outdoor Project.