|All photos by "SNOB" Ritch Marvin|
By "SNOB" Ritch Marvin
When I got the invite to the Cheers to Beers festival at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA, I have to admit, I had some preconceptions on what I was in for. I had heard great things about the lodge and assumed it would be a good stay. However, I was a bit skeptical on the beer festival. I mean, I've seen it before--take a great location, throw on some standard beers from the standard breweries, give everyone a mug, and call it a “beer festival.” Well, I was right about the lodge and, happy to say, wrong about the festival.
First off, the lodge was top notch. It was the right mix of rustic lodge and modern resort. The room I had was fairly spacious, clean, very quiet, with a big comfortable bed and free wifi. The lodge also had a library, game room, bar, restaurant, indoor pool, an adults-only outdoor hot tub, and plenty of scheduled events to keep everyone busy. I was also really impressed with the food at the lodge. The special Oktoberfest dinner buffet was delicious, but the Sunday Champagne Brunch is really where its at. It has all your standard breakfast staples, like omelettes made to order, but then it goes over the top with prime rib, crab legs, shrimp, a bloody mary bar with all of the fixings, and mimosas. Apparently the brunch is pretty legendary, and how could it not be.
|Bob Craig and Jason Kahler point out how drunk BrewDad is while Chad Roberts tweets about it|
|brewers from Acadian Farms|
|SNOB Ritch, Jason Kahler (Solera Brewery) & Josh (Pfriem)|
|Josh Pfriem pours his delicious Belgian Blonde|
I was really impressed with the lineup from Acadian Farms, a small nano brewery (10 gallon batches) from Carson, Washington. They had a nicely balanced IPA that had great hop flavor, as well as a great tasting strawberry wheat. At the pFriem tap, brewmaster Josh Pfriem was serving up one of my new favorite beers, the Belgian Strong Blond. If you see this beer somewhere, do yourself a favor and order one. Other standouts included Walking Man Fresh Hop Strider and Solera Pêche Bier. Another impressive beer was the Snipes Mountain New Sheriff fresh hop beer. I think this is my favorite fresh hop beer that I’ve had so far this year. It had a nice green hop aroma and flavor, without being too much grassy or vegetal flavor. Head brewer Chad Roberts told me he used hop extract for bittering, then loaded up the fresh hops at the end for flavoring and aroma. I’m not sure if Bill the Fresh Hop Führer would accept this method, but I was happy with the results.
|Josh Pfriem and Irena Bierzynki of Lompoc Brewing|
After the fest was over, the party continued as we found out who had the stamina to keep going. My wife Amy, Jason Kahler from Solera, Irena Bierzynski from Lompoc, Irena’s friend Aukeem, and I went hot tubbin’ in the adults-only hot tub. This is where we found out the lodge was serious about the rules. Jason and I got busted trying to smuggle a twelve pack of beer in our robes into the hot tub area (A side note, don’t commit a crime with Jason, at the first sign of trouble he’ll squeal like a jailhouse snitch). The staff was cool and guarded our beer at the desk while we returned to the hot tube in shame. We finally ended the night closing down the bar, still wearing our robes, rehydrating with $50 worth of Coors Light.