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Guest post: Vancouver Brewfest and Heathen create official festival beer

In less than two weeks, the 2nd annual Vancouver Brewfest will be moving into Esther Short Park and serving up more than 50 craft beers to folks from all over the region who visit Clark County to check out the buzz about our brews. This hyper local community event oozes summertime delight for grownups with palates of all calibers.

New to this year’s event, which runs August 9th – 11th, is the first official beer of the Vancouver Brewfest, designed and brewed by Vancouver craft brewery Heathen Brewing.

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As guest blogger on “Brews In Clark,” I accepted the tough assignment of hanging out at Heathen to watch the crafter craft the creation. When I arrived to take part in brewing the official beer, I was silently squealing with a little summer delight of my own. See, I love a delicious, dark, cold one. I crave it. And now, I get to make it. It’s what makes summer…summer.

Unassuming at first, but sophisticated and inviting, Heathen Brewing was buzzing early as owner/brewer Sunny Parsons and head brewer Rodney Stryker prepared equipment and measured ingredients for the yet-to-be-named summer sud. And while brewing beer is serious business, having an actual hand in handcrafting a one-of-a-kind beer certainly got everyone’s attention when came time to take a tour, learn the ropes, and finally brew the beer that will blaze a trail for all other official brews to follow.

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I joined Vancouver Brewfest owners Cody Gray and Andy Stromberg, and Matt Corson, manager of Total Wine & More, sponsor of the official beer of the Vancouver Brewfest, in watching Sunny demonstrate the process of formulating beer recipes, selecting and crushing the grain, soaking and mashing the grain, and mixing the various parts together to create a perfectly hopped summer blend. Sure, that’s a kindergartner’s version of the real deal, but what you really need to know is what to expect when the official beer of the Vancouver Brewfest is served up cold and bold on opening day August 9th.

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When we asked the obvious question, “What will it taste like?” Sunny drew a palatable picture worthy of second round. With hints of cracked coriander, both sweet and bitter orange peels, citra hops, and cascade hops, he promises a light beer with a velvety texture, lightly hopped, and boasting citrus and floral aromas achieved through the process of dry hopping. And in the event you speak Brewerese: 4.8% | 25 IBU. For the rest of us, basically, that’s alcohol content and a bitterness factor. And if you’re like me and you know a good beer when you taste it, Sunny says this is one beer that will handsomely reward you with a fragrant aroma before you even taste it.

With only ten barrels of this anticipated beer being made, quantities will be limited. And when it’s gone, it’s gone. After making its debut on opening day of the Vancouver Brewfest, and served throughout the weekend, it will be available for tastings and growler fills as Heathen Brewing, and for growler fills at Vancouver’s Total Wine and More, while supplies last.

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Heathen Brewing was chosen to curate the official beer of the Vancouver Brewfest because it has shown great potential and rapid growth since opening day in September 2012. From tanks to barley to packaging, Heathen sources local whenever possible, and donates spelt grains to a local farmer who has the “best fed cows in the county,” according to Sunny.

Oh, and it’s official… they just make delicious beer.

NAME THAT BEER! You can help select a name for the official beer of the Vancouver Brewfest by heading over the event’s Facebook page and submitting your creatively delicious ideas.