Some people swear by it, others aver that it's hardly beer at all, but wheat beer (aka "hefeweizen") has undoubtedly gained market share since Seattle's Pyramid Breweries pioneered the field with its Wheaten Ale. Pyramid and its brewer, George Arnold, got a suitable reward for their dedication early this month when their Pyramid Hefeweizen won a gold medal as best in its class at this year's Great American Beer Festival competition in Denver. Pike Brewery has rolled out the 2004–05 "vintage of its blacker-than-black Pike XXXXX Stout. The sumptuous 6 percent brew sells out quickly, so pick up a six-pack or two before the chilly holidays, when stout is a creamy cure for wintertime blues. Work continues apace on Bottleworks' eagerly awaited pub-restaurant in Old Fremont, Brouwer's Cafe. Slated to open in December, Brouwer's will sport 40 pulls featuring premium brews from home and abroad. The kitchen, under Craig Danter, plans to emphasize foods cooked with beer as well as beer-friendly dishes. If you're serious about your beer, you don't need us to tell you that Saturday, Oct. 30, marks the fifth annual Washington Cask Beer Festival. Take part in one of two sessions (noon to 4 p.m. or 6 to 10 p.m.) for the most inclusive, in-depth survey of the trends in the fine art of brewing in the Pacific Northwest. This year the three-ounce pours will be underpinned by suitable food catered by Barking Dog Alehouse. There's no better way to spend a Saturday and $35 ($40 at the door, if any tickets are left).