Brouwer’s Hard Liver Barlywine Fest

March 21, 2009


Saturday, March 21, Brouwer’s Cafe in Seattle, Washington, held their 7th annual Hard Liver Barleywine Fest. I was fortunate enough to judge again this year, and it was yet another terrific festival. When the doors opened at 11:00 a.m., a line snaked up to the end of the block and Seattle’s best Belgian bar was filled to capacity with minutes of opening.

The crowd at Brouwer’s for the Barleywine Fest.

I was sequestered upstairs with the final eight beers for the final judging.

Where we set about sampling each of them.

Trying to whittle them down to three; first, second and third.

But we stalled at four; the final four.

Matt Bonney, co-owner of Brouwer’s Cafe, with the seven final judges.

After we finished, Bonney announced the winners.

Downstairs, I caught up with some friends. Clockwise from left; Shitwig (a nickname, I believe), Jessica Jones (now with Firestone Walker Brewing, her sister and her friend.

Back upstairs, relaxing with a few delicious beers, Tom Peters (from Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia), Matt Bonney (from Brouwer’s) and Stephen Beaumont.

Alan Shapiro, from SBS Imports, brought in a few bottles of his Lousberg Ale, a nice, refreshing Belgian Golden Ale that was designed to go with some local artisan cheeses from Gent, Belgium.

Bonney also opened a bottle of the blended wild ale that he and Vern, along with some help from Dave Keene and others, created at New Belgium Brewing for their 10th anniversary of Bottleworks.

As Peters and Beaumont discovered, there’s no escaping the rubber chicken.