Happy Hour: Redmond's Black Raven Brewing Company.

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HAPPY HOUR |

That didn’t take long. Started in spring 2009, Black Raven Brewing Company now seems to be the rock star at every local beer festival.

Its line is always one of the longest, its kegs often tapped out early and often. Its specialty brews are often sold out early and may be the only thing Washington has on the verge of being a cult brand.

On a recent visit to Black Raven, in an industrial complex in Redmond, I arrived shortly before its tap room opened at 3 p.m., only to find two patrons already out front, noses pressed to the glass door. One table was already reserved for a group that had called ahead.

Black Raven is the most exciting new brewery to hit this area in the last couple of years. Quite a stellar lineup from owner and brewmaster Beaux Bowman. A porter, with big coffee flavors and some nuttiness. A balanced India Pale Ale, with a citrusy finish.

Its bold, malty brew, Second Sight Strong Scotch Ale, is always on tap. But even better is its ale aged in bourbon barrels (Splinters), one of Black Raven’s finest. It sells out quickly. It was a runaway hit at the Washington Brewers Festival in Kenmore in June, one of the biggest summer beer events in the state.

Best to grab a sample tray. Best day to throw back a few is a Wednesday, when Black Raven releases a cask ale at 4 p.m. Past cask releases include a porter with jerk seasoning and a beer made with French oak chips soaked in Jameson Whiskey. As with a lot of the brews these boys have been coming up with, Cask Wednesdays’ beer usually sells out the same night.

Black Raven Brewing Company, 14679 N.E. 95th St. in Redmond. Open 3-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, noon-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and noon-9 p.m. Sundays. The tap room serves peanuts and pretzels only, but Flying Saucer Pizza, around the corner, will take your order and deliver to the tap room. Beer costs $3.75-$6 (425-881-3020 or www.blackravenbrewing.com).

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or tvinh@seattletimes.com