A clutch of Seattle/Eastside brewers hit the trail over the summer, gathering herbs, flowers and even rocks to flavor their suds. You can taste the results on Oct. 15 at Naked City Brewery.
As an exercise in creativity (or maybe they had too much time on their hands), a posse of brewers from Seattle and the Eastside hit the trails this summer, seeking a muse for their next batch of suds.
The results range from the predictable to the “what-the-hell-were-they-thinking?”
You can taste their creations next Thursday (Oct. 15) at Naked City Brewery in Greenwood.
There will be some doozies.
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Lantern Brewing in North Seattle brewed a Belgian Wit with salal, fennel, elder flowers, yarrow flowers, chunks of granite and “a touch of resin from silver fir.” Machine House Brewery in Georgetown made a porter with the shrub called devil’s club.
This “Beers Made By Walking” challenge was issued by beer geek Eric Steen of Portland, who has been urging brewers to put on their trail shoes and find inspiration from nature. His mandate: Create a beer that’s a “landscape portrait” of the trail they hiked on.
Since 2011, more than 100 breweries from Oregon, Colorado, California, North Carolina and Washington have accepted his challenge, including such acclaimed breweries as Stone Brewing Co. in California.
One of the best that Steen tasted last year was by Fremont Brewing, which made a double IPA “flavored with elderberries.” It was complex and fruity, he said. Fremont’s encore this year is a winter ale with licorice moss.
Those less adventurous can sample the cherry porter by Hi-Fi Brewing in Redmond, inspired by the old cherry trees along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail.
Lantern Brewing owner Chris Engdahl found his muse on a misty, hazy morning up Bandera Mountain, with all the flora, “ancient rocks and weathered trees” he eyed on his climb.
But what does a beer made with edible flowers and rocks taste like? “It got a light herbal and fir aroma” said Engdahl, who got a foraging permit for his excursion. “It got a tinge of color from the salal and a little bit of herbal astringency and a little bit of bitterness from the yarrow.”
Beers were not available for taste testing at press time.
Naked City Brewery & Taphouse, 8564 Greenwood Ave. N., Seattle, hosts the “Beers Made By Walking” event 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, with nine beers and a cider that were inspired from the brewers’ hikes. Proceeds benefit Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust (206-838-6299 or nakedcitybrewing.com).