The name. The Route. Throwing a wrench in the cogs, this beer is named for our route up Mt Baker, as opposed to the mountain itself. The Easton glacier sits on the S side of Mt Baker, and is one of the two most common routes up the volcano. This was my first route up a Cascadian volcano. While climbing volcanoes is not for everyone, the area still offers great accessibility and trails (park butte) in a gorgeous setting with a snow-capped mountain rising above you. The common route to the Easton is “railroad grade”, the trail so aptly named from its pitch that would be perfect for a locomotive to climb slowly and gently, ending at the Easton glacier about 4,500′ below the summit. The next 3500′ were full of meandering through crevasses adding what seemed like another few miles because of the meandering. But after the “slog” there are some of the best views of the surrounding N cascades.
The Beer. Easton Blonde is a Belgian blonde, with Leffe blonde being the defining commercial example for the style. Easton blonde has a slight sweetness to it, but is dominated by the peppery and phenolic notes that are typical of Belgian style yeasts. These notes are complemented by the spicy hop aroma and flavor offered by noble hops. We added some sugar to the brew (which is standard) allowing for an increase in alcohol compared to our other beers, but retaining a dryness that allows for drink-ability. The slight (at about 6% ABV) alcohol warming also increases the perception of the spicy, dry, phenolic character that defines the style.