PNA Winter Beer Taste – 24 years of great beers

by North Seattle Sarah, North Seattle Bureau Chief

Although the PNA Beer Taste has been going for 24 years, I haven’t. Let’s face it – I’ve only been of legal drinking age for the past 7. So I didn’t have a lot of expectations for the event or know what I was getting into.

Knowing it was at the Phinney Neighborhood Center, I suppose I expected something small and low key. What I got might as well have been the biggest thing in Washington – two stories consisting of five rooms of beers and one room for a sizeable silent auction.
I was told at the front that the taste did sell out, and I wasn’t surprised as it was packed with hundreds of people. I suppose before I even go into the details, I should say a big thank you to all the volunteers who made it happen – not just at the event, but those who spent the day making food, setting up, and tearing down. They did a fabulous job (and my personal thank-you to whoever made the meatballs).

big al brewing at pna winter beer taste
The crew from Big Al Brewing.

Now, onto the good stuff. I made a beeline straight to Big Al’s table this year on the top floor, knowing that the infamous Peanut Butter Stout would be on tap again. I had tried to get it during last year’s Winter Beer Fest at Hale’s Palladium, but it had run out before I could even make it across the room. This time they had a good supply, and I was able to get my hands on one early in the evening. Other beers I sampled: Elysian Bi-Frost, Lazy Boy Mistletoe Bliss, and Silver City’s Old Scrooge Christmas Ale. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite, as I thoroughly enjoyed each one.

silver city brewing at pna winter beer taste
Don Spencer and Kurt Larsen of Silver City Brewing.

The Taste had a few new faces this year besides my own: new Ballard brewery Hilliard’s Beer was there, as was Phinney’s own Lantern Brewing. Another PNA Beer Taste newbie was Tieton Cider Works, which I was really pleased to see at an event dominated by heavy, darker beers. In all, 33 breweries participated last night. This year, you could also vote for your favorite beer through the placement of a QR code at every station, to be scanned with your Smartphone.

the crowd at pna winter beer taste
A big crowd warms the room on a chilly November evening.

Tons of items were donated from the breweries for the silent auction, and bids shot through the roof on most. Although the items were well worth the prices they fetched, you could also sense a community spirit amongst the crowd knowing that this was all to support a good cause – their neighborhood association. It’s events like this that are a constant reminder of how much I love my neighborhood!