By Aaron Swaney / Special to The Herald
One of the great quirks of the Washington Beer Awards is that tiny micro-breweries can compete head-to-head with the big boys.
It’s truly a testament to the fact that anyone can make a great beer.
In The Shadows’ owner and head brewer Cole Rinehardt exemplifies this. Having been a homebrewer for two decades, Rinehardt is an accomplished brewer and seasoned brewery owner. He runs In The Shadows out of a garage on his property in Arlington. It is only open one day a week: Fridays.
In The Shadows recently took home a bronze medal in the 2022 Washington Beer Awards for Rinehardt’s HBL blonde ale. The HBL — or Honey Basil Lemon — took bronze in the Spice, Field and Herb category.
“It’s one of those beers that you either love it or hate it,” Rinehardt said, laughing. “It’s very humbling to be recognized for making a good, quality beer.”
Rinehardt has been brewing HBL for 15 years and said what he loves about the beer is that drinkers can taste all the ingredients in each sip. The basil gives the beer a slight star anise flavor, the honey malt expresses with a slight honey flavor and the zested lemons add a little sour kick.
The trickiest part is making sure not to cook the basil too long. Rinehardt uses four pounds of basil in the boil. He then pulls it out, cools the beer down and adds the basil back during the whirlpool part of the brewing process for 10 to 15 minutes.
“It’s important to not cook the basil too long or you get a spaghetti beer,” said Rinehardt, referring to beers that use herbs achieving too much of an herbal flavor.
One downside is that HBL is a spring seasonal beer, so it’s not currently available. In the meantime, Rinehardt suggests visitors try his new winter ale, a dark brown ale made with cinnamon, orange peel and paradise seed, an African crushed black pepper.
Diamond Knot takes home two golds
Mukilteo’s Diamond Knot Brewing won gold medals for its Tropic Island Stout and Lazer Sword Hazy IPA. Winning a gold in the hazy IPA category, a very competitive category, was exceptionally satisfying for the folks behind Diamond Knot.
“We feel this beer is as true to the style as you can get,” said Joshua Russell, Diamond Knot Sales Manager. “Super juicy, soft mouthfeel, highly aromatic and low bitterness.”
Diamond Knot has been brewing Lazer Sword since 2017. Starting out as a limited release, Lazer Sword is now a core beer for the brewery.
Russell said that the team entered Tropic Island Stout because of its uniqueness in the category. With notes of Caribbean rum, chocolate and coffee notes, the beer is light in body and a rare dark beer made for the summer.
Both beers are currently available in cans and on tap in numerous locations.
Sound to Summit brings home three medals
After a solid performance a year ago, Snohomish’s Sound to Summit brought home two golds and a silver from this year’s Washington Beer Awards. Sound to Summit won gold for its Night Sky Red Ale and collaboration beer with Scuttlebutt, Bridging the Trestle, and a silver for its German-style marzen, Snohtoberfest.
“Hard work and attention to detail on every beer we have brewed paid off this year in a big way,” Sound to Summit head brewer Adam Frantz said, adding that the haul makes it. “We are not done crafting new beers, nor resting on our laurels with our current offerings. We are always looking to improve.”
The collaboration with Scuttlebutt is a repeat of last year’s winner, Bridging the Trestle. The traditional hefeweizen is made with Saphir hops and has notes of banana and clove.
“While I love the beer that we made together, I find it even more gratifying that in a category like collaboration beers that could include any style, our little 5 (percent) hef consistently takes top honors,” said Frantz.
Night Sky Red, which recently won a silver at the U.S. Open competition, is made with two different type of caramel malt, giving the beer a touch of sweetness and notes of dark fruit.
“It is a fantastic red color with a nice white head,” Frantz said. “It drinks smooth with a little hop character for balance.”
Bridging the Trestle and Night Sky Red are available on tap right now.
Roundup of local winners
Along with sharing a gold with Sound to Summit for Bridging the Trestle, Scuttlebutt Brewing took home gold for its Oktoberfest, which is on tap right now, and a bronze for its Pilsner (available in cans). Also in Everett, Lazy Boy Brewing took home a silver medal for its Oatmeal Stout.
Snohomish winners included Audacity Brewing (silver for Thames At Night, English Dark Ale) and Haywire Brewing Co. (bronze for Jersey-American-style Brown Ale).
Whidbey Island was well represented with Double Bluff Brewing bringing home a gold medal for its Langley Summer Ale and Penn Cove Brewing winning silver for its Maxwelton Scotch Ale.
Further south, Bothell’s McMenamins-Anderson School won gold in the Belgian Sour and Wild Ale category with its Class of 2021. Watts Brewing won a bronze medal for their Xylocopa Irish export stout after winning a gold medal for the beer last year.
Check out the full list of winners at www.wabeerawards.com/?q=2022winners.