MOSES LAKE — So. How did Troy Watson, the co-brewer at Squirrel Fight Artisan Brewery, get into making beer? He brewed beer at home for about seven years, he said.
And the team that owns Whipsaw (western Red) Brewing?
“Home brewers,” said Denver Smyth, the son in the father-and-son team. “We were loggers before this, and we just wanted a change. Beer seemed fun.”
Greg Krsak, head brewer and owner of Scrappy Punk Brewing, didn’t want to home brew. A friend of his started experimenting with home brewing and invited him to join in. “I said, ‘that’s for nerds. No thanks.’” But eventually he started helping his friend, experimenting with ingredients, and was hooked. “It’s such a cool creative outlet.”
The three were among 13 breweries who filled the lawn at the Ten Pin Brewing Company Saturday afternoon for the second annual Craft Out Cancer, a benefit for the Columbia Basin Cancer Foundation.
Each company brought two beers, representing a few of the almost endless variations possible with water, hops and grains. “Dark to light, you can make it hoppy, you can make it yeasty,” Smyth said. Krsak and Smyth explained that changing the balance of ingredients changes the flavor — one way it’s more bitter, another way more sweet.
And that’s just with basic ingredients. Each brewery offered two beers, and the Wenatchee Valley Brewing Company was among the brewers that added fruit, in their case raspberries. The Squirrel Fight team added hibiscus flowers.
The team at Hidden Mother Brewery is interested in pushing the boundaries while sticking with the basics. ”We want to do a lot of wild and spontaneous yeast stuff,” said Nick Coons, who was pouring beer Saturday afternoon.
Hidden Mother owner Mike Detar came dressed as Batman. When attending a brewfest it’s a company custom to visit the local Goodwill store, buy a costume and attend the event in that costume.
“Days like this are a blast,” Smyth said. The beer came with games, music from local bands and food trucks serving pizza, barbecue and tacos and tortas. Cancer foundation director Angel Ledesma said the 2019 brewfest attracted more breweries and more people. “We’re having a blast. This is such a great crowd.”
Along with all the fun was a serious purpose. “This is great for the Columbia Basin Cancer Foundation,” Ledesma said.
The cancer foundation provides support services to cancer patients in Grant and Adams counties. Those include cards for gas and groceries, “hats and wigs and scarves, and then there’s the support group,” Ledesma said. The cancer foundation also sponsors “Meals to Heal,” volunteers who make meals for cancer patients and their families.
Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at email@example.com.