Celebrate Presidents Day with WA Porters, in Wenatchee

This weekend (February 17 -19) marks the first-ever Great Washington Porter Festival. Details below. The event takes place at Columbia Valley Brewing in Wenatchee and features a selection of Washington-brewed Porters.

Alan Moen is the editor of the Northwest Brewing News and also the mastermind behind the Great Washington Porter Festival. Alan approached me about the idea a few months ago. At first, I did not completely understand the concept. Washington… Porter… Presidents Day. It took me a moment to connect the dots (big, huge, super-obvious dots) and then I realized it was a brilliant idea.

George Washington and the other Founding Fathers were fueled by ale when they fought for our nation’s independence. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and quite likely many more of our nation’s earliest patriots were home brewers. In colonial America it was common for men of certain means to brew their own beer. More likely, they had the women brew the beer, but I digress.

Historians note that George Washington’s favorite style of beer was Porter, or at least something brewed in those days resembling what we now refer to as Porter. During the 18th century Porter was the mainstay beer in the Mother Land and presumably in her colonies as well. At this weekend’s event they’ll even be serving up samples of a beer brewed by a local home brewer based (loosely, I’m sure) on George Washington’s recently discovered, historic recipe for “Small Beer.”

The Great Washington Porter Festival is a great idea. We hope it becomes a President’s Day tradition. Lord knows our Washington breweries produce some damn fine Porter. George Washington would be proud.

Here is the press release about the event:


The Great Washington Porter Festival will take place at Columbia Valley Brewing Company in Wenatchee on Presidents’ Day Weekend, February 17-19, 2012.

In honor of George Washington, our state’s namesake and the nation’s first brewer/president, the festival will showcase porter-style ales from different Washington breweries.

Porter, a dark ale with a rich malty favor but without the strong roasted bitterness of a stout, was Washington’s favorite beer. He brewed it at Mount Vernon, and his 1757 small beer/porter recipe is preserved in the archives of his estate today. A variation of Washington’s recipe made by a local brewer will be poured at the festival on both Friday and Saturday.

George Washington was patriotic about American porter, a style first developed in England and probably named because of its popularity with the working class. “We have already been too long subject to British Prejudices,” Washington wrote. “I use no porter or cheese in my family, but that which is made in America: both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.”

Participating breweries include Columbia Valley Brewing, Icicle Brewing (Leavenworth), Elysian Brewing (Seattle), Old Schoolhouse Brewing (Winthrop), Methow Valley Brewing/Twisp River Pub (Twisp), Ancient Lakes Brewing (Quincy) and Flyers Brewery (Oak Harbor).

The festival is for those age 21 and older, with no admission charge. Beers will be sold as samples, by the glass or pitcher. Live music is planned, and food will also be available.

Hours for the festival are: Friday and Saturday, February 17 and 18, noon to midnight, and Sunday, February 19, from 2 until 10 p.m.

Columbia River Brewing Company is located at 538 Riverside Drive in Wenatchee. For more information, contact organizer Alan Moen at 509-784-5101, the brewery at 888- 9993, or visit or the brewery’s Facebook page.


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