When the Bothell Beer Festival began in 2014, Jim Jamison’s Foggy Noggin Brewing was the only brewery that claimed Bothell as home. Now four years later, Bothell has a group of breweries and an entrenched beer festival to go with it.
The fifth annual Bothell Underground Beer Festival — it moved to the city’s underground parking garage due to a windstorm in 2016 and hasn’t moved back yet — is this weekend. Festival founders have noticed Bothell is a more beer-centric city than it was four years ago.
“Bothell’s beer scene really just keeps growing and the quality keeps getting better,” said Eric Schaffer, owner of Bothell’s The Hop and Hound bottleshop. “Bothell is a snapshot of the industry, with a wide range of breweries putting out really unique beers.”
Along with Foggy Noggin, Bothell is home to larger brewpubs like McMenamins Anderson School and Beardslee Public House, as well as Decibel Brewing, a small brewery and taproom, and Watts Brewing, a tiny one-barrel nanobrewery.
This year’s Bothell beer festival will focus on unique brews. Fifteen breweries and cideries have been asked to bring unique one-off beers to be judged, including a fresh hop by Decibel, sour cherry ale by Beardslee and a Brett IPA by McMenamins.
For his unique beer, Foggy Noggin’s Jamison brewed a foreign export stout called Bloody Well Right! that will only be available at the beer festival. Using only English ingredients, Jamison upped the malts and roasted barley to give the beer its classic roasty nose and flavor. He also used blood orange extract to give it a subtle sweetness. The beer clocks in at a robust 8.1 percent ABV and 92 IBU.
“It’s a big, bold beer,” Jamison said. “It’s kind of like those chocolate orange candies, but not too far on the sweet side. It’s a very drinkable beer.”
Foreign extra stouts are a stronger variant of traditional Irish dry stouts originally brewed for tropical regions. The higher alcohol and hopping rates helped the stout survive the long journey to the colonies.
One sign of the growth of the Bothell beer festival is its ability to attract high quality breweries from out of state, including Oregon’s pFriem Family Brewers. PFriem, started by Meadowdale graduate Josh Pfriem, is coming off of a big showing at the Great American Brewers Festival, where it won Mid-Size Brewering Company of the Year and a gold and silver medal for its Druif and Pilsner, respectively.
Fresh Hop Weekend beers, SnoTown Brewing: The Snohomish brewery will be pouring three fresh hop beers: Stagetime Session Fresh Hop, made with Citra hops delivered from Yakima; Local Fresh Hop, made with hops grown in Snohomish at head brewer Frank Sandoval’s house; Community IPA, made with a large amount of hops donated by customers and friends grown in Snohomish. Available on tap at the brewery.
Trio of Fresh Hop beers, At Large Brewing: The Everett brewery will be pouring three fresh hop beers, Citra, Mosaic and Cashmere versions. Available on tap at the brewery.
Pneumatika, Whitewall Brewing: Made with 100 percent Skagit Valley Malting pilsner malt, Czech Saaz hops and lagered for 35 days, this German-style festbier is clean and crisp. Whitewall also released Sham Pain 2.0, the brewery’s brut-style IPA hopped with Motueka and German Huell Melon hops. Available on tap at the brewery.
Bloody Well Right!
Foggy Noggin Brewing, Bothell
Style: Foreign export stout
Stats: 8.1 percent ABV, 92 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and at Saturday’s Bothell Underground Beer Festival
From the brewery: We brewed a very special beer for this event to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Bothell beer festival. Bloody Well Right! is a monster stout with
tremendous rich, roasty flavors and a hint of blood orange.