Alcohol in moderation has been found to be good for you, local brewer and winemaker Gordon Gibbs explains, “It raises the good cholesterol and lowers the bad.”
Plus, we’ve been hearing for years the benefits if the healthy oils in salmon.
So it was a great combination of healthy foods at the 16th annual Forks Fish and Brew.
Judging by the rosy cheeks at the Roundhouse (101 Business Park), there were a lot of people in the area looking after their health.
The wet and windy Saturday past, locals turned out for the Fish and Brew, a friendly competition of local fish smokers and cooks as well as folks who enjoy sharing their homemade brews and wines. Entry was by donation for anybody who took a notion to join the festivities.
Holly Mansfield was one such person, “I think it is great. There are not any restaurants in town that sell fish.”
Kitty Sperry’s contributions to the salmon cooking consisted of savory Asian curry chowder and traditional chowder, made from salmon she smokes at home herself.
In 1997, the West End Business and Professional Association approached Kitty and her husband, Bill, to see if they would host this event in their barn on Huckleberry Avenue.
“It’s just a fun event,” she said. “Last year I made a smoked salmon ice cream.”
Moving to the Roundhouse has provided more elbow room and, as Scott Jamieson and Dick Martin of the bluegrass band, Loose Gravel, have noted, the acoustics are much better.
“We’ve been playing for this since the first year.”
When asked why set aside time each fall for this?
“It’s fun and there is free beer!”
Paul and Judy Edwards of Forks have an enjoyable evening before the competition making up names for their creations, each year bringing new creative bursts.
“I smoke the fish and she does the rest,” Paul explained with shining eyes and rosy cheeks.
This year, Judy made chowder and a salmon mousse called Dippity-Doo-Dah.
After about nine years of being a part of the Fish and Brew event, she appreciates the people.
“You remember them from the year before. It is fun and you get to be creative,” she said.
Creativity certainly is an undercurrent of the event.
Local artist Jack Datisman makes mock beer label prints each year to commemorate the event.
Tables were decorated appropriate to the season or the food being presented.
“I appreciate all of the variety,” commented Heather Wilcox visiting the event for her first year.
“I love to see people’s talents on display, mingling with folks, and listening to the great music.”
Gordon Gibbs grows his own white grapes and loganberries for his wines right here in Forks.
He has many different types of beers (including root), ranging in color and weight. His favorite from his selection is his raspberry light ale.
“It is a very appropriate addition to Forks Heritage Days as the settlers of the Quileute Prairie grew hops,” he said.
Bill and Cindy Sanders brought their Klosch German Ale, a lighter homemade brew that has become Bill’s favorite since Cindy turned him on to it after a trip she took to Germany.
“It’s nice to drink a lighter ale because you can go out and mow the lawn after a glass,” he said, though it is not something he has to worry about too soon.
Gerry Radford had a busy table due to her sangrita, which she was serving from a fruit-filled punch bowl or bottles labeled “Poison.”
The food was judged this year by Mayor Bryon Monohon and Bill Sperry (it is not a conflict of interest, this is fun).
Third went to Kitty for her curry chowder, second to Paul Edwards for his Caught-but-not-Forgotten smoked fish.
First went back to Kitty for her traditional chowder.
The Peoples’ Choice award went to Judy Edwards‚“Smokin” Chowder.