Getting a brief respite from the traditional Thanksgiving activities was easy. Driving to the Black Raven brewery in Redmond, a little less so. I’m currently willing to bet that the Seattle metro area was cityscaped by people who hate human beings, robots and lesser gods. Nothing makes any sense while driving there, unless you use the logic of hate.
That said, we still found our way to (and from!) the brewery which from the outside: not so impressive. Camouflaged in a business park, the Black Raven brewery could be anything: a CIA front, deliverers of teddy bears, spawning ground for Elder Gods-whatever bland, nondescript, terrible thing that tends to hide in these places. It did not inspire confidence.
The inside was a totally different story though; only two televisions, neither of which were oversized or too dominant, warm lighting which was easy enough to see by but low enough to bring a date, plenty of space to get comfy and a staff that enthusiastically expressed their knowledge of Black Raven’s beverages. I felt a little like Dorothy walking into Oz, though with much more comfortable shoes.
And then there was the beer. In the foreground is the Scottish ale, in the background is the sampler tray (with my Scottish ale obscuring the Scottish sample.)
Not a bad beer in the bunch. Favorites included the pale and the brown ales; they were a cut above due to the drinkability. However, this drinkability ran through the entire line of beers and worked against the stout, IPA and Scottish ales. Not that those beers were bad by any means, merely that because they were so drinkable, I felt that some of the elements of the style that I’d come to expect, like denser flavors or a more viscous mouthfeel, these things were held back in order to serve a more ‘sessionable’ brew.
Again: They were not bad! I heartily recommend Black Raven’s stuff to anyone who has the chance to try them. Getting to taste samples and picking up what I felt was an overall philosophy (we want to make drinkable beers across a range of styles) is a hell of a thing. It may very well be that, due to being spoiled in Portland, I occasionally neglect to appreciate beers that are well within their style guidelines. Even lesser deities are not perfect.