It’s going to be hot this weekend. Especially out in Sultan, where the Sultan Shindig is happening.
Hot weather is the perfect excuse to break out a shandy, the style that typically marries a light or blonde lager with lemonade or lemon-lime soda like Sprite. It’s a light, sweet beverage that is easily consumed and a crowd favorite as a perfect summer beer.
Timber Monster Brewing head brewer Mike Varnell didn’t make a standard shandy when he created his Shindig Shandy — he may have made something better. Using lemon-flavored candi sugar from Cascade Beer Candi in his base blonde recipe, Varnell has created a shandy in name only. No matter. The beer has the classic characteristics of a shandy: drinkable with a nice lemony bite.
Varnell brewed the shandy for this weekend’s Sultan Shindig. Timber Monster will be hosting the beer garden for the annual celebration, which pays homage to the city’s logging history with a carnival, street fair and parade. The beer tent will be in the brewery’s parking lot, right off U.S. 2 in downtown Sultan, and will feature food and live music.
Not a fan of the sweetness of standard shandys, Varnell worked with Jim Ladd, of Cascade Beer Candi, to get his hands on some of his Shandy Candi syrup. He then infused his base blonde recipe with the syrup, giving the beer the smooth character of a blonde with the bright, lemon flavor of a true shandy. It’s crisp and smooth and a great summer sipper with a big aroma of lemon.
Since opening the brewery in April, Varnell and his wife, Brandi, have worked overtime as the brewery/coffee shop finds its footing. Over the first 100 days of business, they said they’ve been astounded at the support they’ve received from the Sultan community. And now that it’s summer and more recreational opportunities have opened up along U.S. 2, they’re serving more out-of-towners.
With business heating up along with the weather, the Varnells have leaned even more on their sons, Mike Jr. and Jake. The two, who helped their dad with construction of the brewery, have been working in the brewhouse since it opened. They mostly clean the place, but both just got a chance to brew their own beers. Mike’s creation, Gold Barbarian, an IPA brewed with Nugget, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Citra hops, should be out by the end of the month. Jake’s Mango Pineapple IPA will be out later this summer.
The Sultan Shindig Festival is today and Saturday in downtown Sultan. Timber Monster will be offering five brews in the beer garden — Shindig Shandy, Sultan Sweetie Pilsner, Skeptic Amber, Timber Monster IPA and Vanilla Bourbon Porter — plus bar food like wings and pizza.
Also on this week’s taster tray:
You Mango Me Hazy, Dreadnought Brewing: A Northwest interpretation of the New England IPA made with Citra and Mosaic hops and fresh mango. Available on tap at the brewery.
House Ale, Foggy Noggin Brewing: The annual release of the brewery’s barrel fermented ale, a delicate and smooth ale fermented in Hungarian oak barrels with perpetual yeast. Available in 22-ounce bottles at the brewery.
Ryesing Tide Rye IPA, Sound to Summit Brewing: Made with Simcoe and Mosaic hops, this IPA is resinous, fruity and extremely drinkable. Available on tap at the brewery.
In Memoriam/Coastal Debate, Skookum Brewery: In Memoriam is an IPA brewed with massive amounts of soft oats and white wheat and Citra Mandarina, El Dorado, Mosaic and Apollo hops. Coastal Debate is an IPA brewed with 100 percent barley malt and hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo, Idaho 7 and Mosaic. Available on tap at the brewery.
Hwy 2 Honey Lager, Spada Farmhouse Brewery/Haywire Brewing: A twist on the traditional lager, this beer was brewed with honey malt to boost the malt character and flavor, with a touch of sweetness on the finish. Available on tap at both breweries.
Berry Bruin Barrel-aged Sour, Spada Farmhouse Brewery: A sour brown aged 13 months in red wine oak barrels and then racked onto blackberries, strawberries and black raspberries. Available on tap at the brewery.
Levi vs. Van Imperial Brown, Crucible Brewing: A big imperial brown brewed by Crucible Brewing’s associate brewer Levi Hill. Available on tap at the brewery.
Shindig Lemon Shandy
Timber Monster Brewing, Sultan
Stats: 5.8 percent ABV, 26 IBU
Available: On tap at the brewery and in the beer garden at today and Saturday’s Sultan Shindig.
From the brewery: Light and crisp, with just enough lemon snap!