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Black Raven Brewery Hoppy Anniversary Party Review

Black Raven

Black Raven Brewing

May 1st, Black Raven Brewery celebrated their first anniversary in fine style, with some of their best brews from this past year, plus food  and entertainment. Standard Black Raven Beers were on tap in the parking lot  where you could purchase tickets for beer and food, as well as Black Raven merchandise, and if you are really lucky a coveted spot in their mug club.  Tents were set up in the parking lot for food, music and the standard Black Raven Beers on tap. In the taphouse, was a selection of new special beers were available at the bar. In the back of the brewery were special casks and kegs of some of their special beers brewed over the year. They called this their Rare Bird line up and included their World Beer Cup award winning brews! $4 tickets purchased 14oz of the standard brews and 12oz of the rare bird brews.

Its all about the beer

Casks

  • Coco Jones Porter 2010 WORLD BEER CUP Gold Winner!
  • Cherry Margalette
  • Wisdom Seeker Double IPA

Coconut porters can be tricky to get just right. Too much coconut  can totally over power a beer and mediocre coconut can make you wonder why the brewer bothered. Beaux Bowman bothered to take the time to make it right in the Coco Jones. He toasted the coconut himself in the oven to that sweet spot where the maximum oil is released and the coconut acquires that toast nutty characteristic.  The coconut was dry hopped into the brew. Andy Lapworth, Black Raven Brewer,  equates it to a Mounds bar. This isn’t a really sweet beer, it has some sweetness from the malt of course but this is too balanced for me to think of it as sweet. It does have some smooth chocolate notes along with the nuttiness and coconut flavors. This beer is a stand out as a cask. Complex and layered, just the way I like my beers.

Black Raven Casks

Black Raven Casks



Cherry Margalette is a strong Belgian style ale. The dried cherries in this beer give it subtle tart cherry flavor. This is not a fruit bomb. It uses the same malt profile as the Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale but it isn’t as sweet. It reminded be of cherry coffee, it has some great bitterness to it or maybe dark chocolate cherry. Cocoa nibs were added to this Washington beer as well as french oak chips, soaked in Kahula. The Cherry Margalette was then aged in rye barrel. Lots going on in the flavor profile of this beer  but they all play nicely together so it works.

The Wisdom Seeker Double IPA is a big beautiful gift for the senses. Big bold grapefruit and spice nose makes me want to wear it as perfume but that would mean less for me to drink! I had the privilege of watching this batch get made back in February. Two casks were made at that time, one went to the Washington Beer Commission  Cask Festival where it won 1st place in the People’s Choice Awards. The second cask was tapped for this anniversary party. This beer is worthy of a post of its own, look for it soon.

Black Raven Rare Birds

Oak Aged Oostkant, Oak Aged Trickster IPA, Pour Les Oiseaux

Rare Birds

I don’t usually think of oak when I think of IPAs but I will give anything a try once. The Oak Aged Trickster IPA is definitely worth trying. The bourbon notes are restrained on this one. Basically it is the classic Trickster IPA with some nuances on the nose, smoothness on front of the palate and bigger body. Bigger and smoother with all the characteristics that made the Trickster the people’s choice for IPA at Beveridge Place Pub.

I am a big fan of Oak Aged La Petite Mort, especially in the winter but I have a new spring favorite Oak aged Oostkant. The official name of this brew is

Verdiger Voordigan Voor de Oostkant which translates to Representing for the Eastside

Brewed as an anniversary brew to commemorate Malt and Vine, and their commitment to quality beer in Redmond.  This version for their 3rd anniversary has been barrel aged and it is magnificent. Silky smooth like the best bourbon, this brew is exquisitely balanced. Layers of flavors evolve across the palate. There is no mistaking the bourbon influence here so it might be a bit boozy for some people, but I think the bourbon enhances, not overpowers the beer. This is the kind of beer that you want to a have a loooooooooooong date with.

Check out our previous reviews on the Pour Les Oiseaux Saison style brew and the the Bourbon barrel aged la Petit Mort.

Washington Brewers

Birds of a feather... Brewers gather to celebrate

Beer line up

  • Sunthief Kristallweizen
  • Hefeweizen
  • Totem Pale
  • Trickster IPA
  • Tamerlane Brown Porter 2010 WORLD BEER CUP Gold Winner!
  • Second Sight Scotch
  • Morrighan Stout
  • Splinters
  • The Margalette
  • Old Birdbrain 2009

Old Birdbrain 2009 is Black Raven’s first Barley wine and it is a winner. Aged in rye, this Barley wine had some nice complexity to stand up to the alcohol content. Nice caramel notes balanced with hop bite.

Splinters was a beer that I wanted to love but I couldn’t quite there. It is the Second Sight Scotch, aged for 6 months in bourbon barrels. Several barrels utilized in aging this beer were previously used to age other brews so the bourbon notes were very subtle. It spent some time in a rye barrel, which I usually love but it just wasn’t coming together for me. It had some brett-like aromas and mouth feel but no brett in this beer. I wish I had more time to warm this beer a bit, I think it would have smoothed a bit and opened up if it was a tad warmer.

The Margalette is an interesting project and demonstrates Black Raven creativity. Margalette is a beer series that has evolved from the need to grow yeast and starts with Second Sight Scotch wort. This is a small production series and Black Raven was pouring two of the series, the plain Margalette and the Cherry Margalette.


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