Lost in Fremont – a beer lover finds himself at Fremont Oktoberfest

Today we’d like to introduce a new contributor to the Washington Beer Blog. To his friends, he is known as the Growler Guy because that’s the way he rolls: showing up at parties, barbecues, and just about anywhere else with growlers full of delicious craft beer. Last Saturday, not entirely by his own choosing, Growler Guy found himself at Fremont Oktoberfest. Here’s his report.

Fremont Oktoberfest

By Growler Guy

Sometimes it isn’t always about the event, but about the experience you make out of it.

So when my wife and I, and our friends, loaded the car towards Seattle for the Fremont Oktoberfest, I kept my expectations low. For no good reason, we bypassed Auburn’s Hops and Crops and Des Moines’ Blues and Brews, which were basically in our backyard, and headed North. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, we were heading for a day in the city and beer was going to be plentiful. What was not to like, right?

I had been warned that the Fremont Oktoberfest was more frat party than craft brew festival. This was pretty accurate, but we still made the most of a great afternoon. Thanks to my friend Mark at Deschutes Brewing, we were on scholarship (free beer tastes even better), and ventured out to find the best beers to fulfill our five tokens.

Upon arriving in Fremont, I had an idea of what beers were being poured, and a little disappointed that I would be missing out on two of my favorites, Airways and Two Beers, who were both at the events we bypassed.

There were a ton of breweries from all over the West Coast to choose from, and also a great selection of German beers. We all started off with the selections from Fremont Brewing, because, when in Rome… right? I sampled the Mystere de la Saison and the Universal Pale Ale and loved both.

The beer tents were lined in kind along the streets of Fremont and when we went (around 1 p.m.) it wasn’t very crowded, which suited us just fine. As the day got later, a lot more people started showing up, the lines got longer and I imagine the party got a little rowdier.

I fully intended to stick to a strictly Washington Beer diet, but there were just too many selections and choices to pass up on. I can’t remember all the beers our party tasted, but I enjoyed the Big Al Tripel (8.9 percent ABV), Deschutes Jubelale, Ninkasi Total Domination and Roslyn Brookside. We spent a lot of time hanging around the Deschutes Brewery’s Woody and even got to sample their Black Butte XX with some Theo Chocolate.

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t buy a pint of any of the many breweries, but I later discovered there was a Pyramid Beer Garden right outside the gates. Having spent my five tokens, I decided it wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest without enjoying a stein of German Beer (Weihenstephan). Of course it was overpriced, but the plastic mug was pretty cool and it was fun to walk around with a full glass of beer.

With our tokens spent, we decided to say goodbye to Oktoberfest, and created our own Seattle Beer Fest. We had muscles and fries at Brouwer’s (along with fresh hop Full Sail Lupulin).

From there we took our friends (thanks to Jeff and Dawn for driving!!!!) to our old stomping grounds in West Seattle. We made a stop at the Beer Junction, and picked up a few bottles we had heard about, but never saw in person (Iron Horse 509 Style and Ashland’s Caldera Lawnmower Lager). We introduced our friends to Beveridge Place Pub (shared a Black Raven Trickster IPA and Leavenworth Whistling Pig Hefeweizen) and ended the night in Burien at the Tin Room where we polished off a plate of nachos and a Two Beers Evolution IPA.

All around, it was just about the perfect day. Anytime you mix good people, with good weather and good beer, you can make anything of any event!

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  1. October 2, 2010 9:29 am (my time)
    Can I ask something about the average drinker’s taste preferences here? I have a Q, there are lots of commenters here and this forum just seems right. So I’m stickin’ it in here.

    Regarding the Wikipedia definition of Real Ale (above), would most beer guzzlers in the lower 48 think Real Ale tastes flat? It seems to me most of us here in the US have been conditioned and have developed palates for brew with higher carbonation levels.

  2. Mr. Fizz,
    Cask-conditioned is the way we frequently refer to real ale. While I cannot speak for beer guzzlers, I think that most craft beer aficionados appreciate it and do not think of it as flat. Maybe not all beer lovers appreciate it, but most do.

    The popularity of cask-conditioned beer has soared in recent years. Around Seattle, the best beer bars –the ones that focus on serving good beer– have regular cask nights where they feature a firkin of beer sitting on the bar. Also, many such pubs have beer engines installed and are regularly pumping at least one beer.

    The annual Washington Cask Beer Festival is a very, very popular event that sells out every year. Usually over 50 different cask-conditioned beers from a few dozen Washington breweries. It’s awesome. As a matter of fact, last year the Vancouver chapter of CAMRA brought a busload of people down from B.C.

    The Bud Light crowd would not appreciate it, but then there are a lot of things about good beer they don’t appreciate.

  3. Growler Guy,
    Great posting! I think I enjoyed reading it almost as much as you enjoyed living it, and isn’t that what being a great communicator/writer is all about!

    Keep on keeping on …from a “neighbor” in Kent.

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