We kept a lid on things Saturday knowing that we’d be pulling a double-header. Still, when we woke up on Sunday morning after attending the Washington Cask Beer Festival on Saturday, it was hard to believe that we were about to do it all again. After a few chores around the house that needed our attention, we headed down to the CenturyLink Field Events Center for Taste Washington – the annual wine and food extravaganza produced by the Washington Wine Commission. This year the event spanned two days (Saturday and Sunday).
You might wonder what we were doing at such a wine-focused event. The Washington Wine Commission has been around since 1987. That means it is 20 years older than our Washington Beer Commission. The Wine Commission does a really good job of promoting Washington wine. Also, they do a really good job of putting together festivals like this. Taste Washington is their biggest event – akin to our Washington Brewers Festival in June. That said, there are always things that we beer people can learn from those wine people. Look for a post in the near future on that subject.
Yes, they have beer there, too. But the focus here is on wine and food–really good wine and really good food. All of it local. We have some pictures below. This was the second year that we attended this event. Read our story from last year.
Too Many Highlights
To begin with, we enjoyed amazing food from 50 of the area’s top restaurants and caterers. We particularly liked what Dahlia Lounge prepared for the crowd: grilled leg of lamb with preserved lemon aoli served on house-made olive focaccia bread. We spent some time at the Chef Stage watching Tom Douglas demonstrate how they created the dish. He even butchered a whole lamb right there on the stage. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Penne Cinghiale from Assaggio Ristorante (penne pasta in a wild boar ragu). Another favorite, the Lamb Panang from Racha. We noticed a lot of lamb this year.
Wine? Oh heck yes! And in staggering quantities. We brag about Washington having 150+ breweries, but Washington has well over 700 wineries and 225 of them poured at Taste Washington. Most wineries brought multiple wines. Not only do the best wineries show up, they bring their good stuff. It seems insane to pick favorites, and we certainly did not try them all, but I will name a few: Delille Cellars 2008 Syrah, Brian Carter Cellars 2006 Solesce (red blend), Saviah Cellars 2009 Cabernet, Mark Ryan Winery 2009 Dead Horse (red blend), and I could go on all day.
Here’s something cool. Taste Washington features a Vineyard Tasting section: growers pouring a variety of wines made from their grapes. In many cases, different wines made using the exact same grape. It is a bit hard to translate into beer terms, but imagine one of our Yakima Valley hop growers pouring three different beers brewed using the same hop. Like I said, it doesn’t translate well, but in the wine world the vineyard tasting experience is interesting and educational.
As we experienced last year, towards the end of the festival the line gets longer at the beer stand. Once again Pike Brewing was the lone brewer pouring beer at the event. In addition to pouring four different beers at the booth, Charles Finkel loaded up the mobile beer distribution unit and headed out to quench the crowd.
Photos by Kendall Jones, Washington Beer Blog.