Today is Herbert’s Brew Day. Several local brewers gathered at Postdoc Brewing in Redmond to formulate and brew Herbert’s Legendary Cask Fest Ale, which will be released on Monday, March 23 at Latona Pub and will thereafter be available at a select few pubs around the area.
Then, as always, you can drink it at the Washington Cask Beer Festival on Saturday, March 28th. In fact, you should drink it at Cask Fest: it’s a Washington beer tradition. To make sure you have the opportunity to do so, we are giving away a pair of tickets to the event. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the ticket giveaway.
What is Herbert’s Legendary Cask Fest Ale? To begin with, it is a beer brewed collaboratively by members of the Washington Brewers Guild to honor Herbert (Bert) Grant, a legendary figure in the world of brewing, particularly here in the Pacific Northwest.
The Ale Master
Grant’s Scottish Ale is the stuff of legend. Originally introduced in the early 1980s, it was one of the first craft beers of the modern era. Some people loved it passionately. Other hated it with equal fervor. It was bold, assertive, bitter, and a little bit odd. If you knew the man, you’d describe the beer as Bert Grant in a glass. It was a kilt-wearing, broadsword-wielding, son-of-a-bitch of a beer.
In 1982, Bert Grant opened a brewery and pub in Yakima. It was the first post-prohibition brewpub to open in America. Grant abandoned a career in “big beer” and moved west to live out his dream of making small-batch, handcrafted ales. In 1980, when he embarked on this adventure, there was no blueprint for what he wanted to do. There was no How To manual for opening a craft brewery (or a microbrewery, as we used to call them).
Bert spent most of his life working for breweries back east but decided to head west for this next phase of his life. He wanted to be close to the hop farms so he landed in Yakima, where the vast majority of the country’s hops are grown. The founding of Yakima Brewing and Malting Co. (Grant’s company) was a seminal moment in modern craft beer history.
Bert Grant died in 2001. His company outlived him for a few years, but now they are both gone.
Honoring the Man
Herbert’s Legendary Cask Fest Ale is a collaborative beer brewed once a year by participating members of the Washington Brewers Guild. Each year the project has a life of its own, with different brewers working collaboratively to devise a recipe and brew the beer. Typically, the beer has been something akin to an IPA. Bert Grant loved hops, so it always seemed fitting to memorialize him with a hoppy beer.