For the first time in, well, maybe for the first time in forever, I am going to miss the Washington Brewers Festival this year. Yep, unavoidable. It’s gonna be weird to know that y’all are there and I am not. But alas, I’ll hoist a brew in honor of the “big daddy Father’s Day beer fest” wherever I am, though it will very likely be a non-Washington beer. Yep, weird.
The weather is shaping up nicely for the state’s largest beer festival. Daytime highs in the mid-70s, virtually no chance of rain. Extraordinary beer-drinking weather. AND the event organizers want you to know that they’ve added more entry lanes to help get you into the festival faster.
For three days, June 14 thru 16, the Washington Beer Commission takes over Marymoor Park in Redmond to showcase the state’s vibrant brewing industry. Though no single festival could reasonably accommodate all of Washington’s 400+ breweries, over 100 of them will pour at this weekend’s event and serve up in excess of 500 different beers over the course of three days.
Here’s my cheat sheet. In other words, here’s what I’m going to miss most about the festival. Yeah, there are a lot of great breweries at the festival worthy of a shout out, and a lot of great beers deserve your attention, but here are few things to consider. Seriously, you will find a lot of great beer with or without my guidance, so take this advice as you will.
- Mexican-Style Lagers – This increasingly popular style of beer is not yet clearly defined. At least not that I can tell. Usually, it’s a light bodied beer brewed with some portion of corn or maize. Whatever the case, among the breweries bringing Mexican lager to the show are Farmstrong Brewing, Heathen Brewing, No Boat Brewing, Sound Brewery, and others. Open the PDF below and search for “Mexican.”
- The Hidden Mother – This brewery from the greater Spokane area rarely makes it west of the Cascades, so take advantage of this opportunity to try the beers. Don’t miss the Pine Tree Saison. In a fit of creativity, they run the hot wort through a freshly cut, channeled-out pine tree to extract some unique character. This beer was one of the darlings of last years WA Brewers Festival.
- Vancouver – Across the river from Portland, the collective breweries of the Vancouver area are making some damn fine beers these days. Trap Door Brewing, Brothers Cascadia Brewing, Heavy Metal Brewing, Fortside Brewing, and Heathen Brewing are among the participants this year. Check ’em out without the long drive.
- Iron Goat Brewing – Another one from Spokane that rarely makes it to the west side of the state and rarely disappoints me when they do.
- Pilsner, Helles, and Lagers, oh my! – In addition to the aforementioned Mexican-style lagers, there are a lot of other lagers on the docket this year. Our local brewers have really stepped up their lager game in recent years, perhaps because of Chuckanut Brewery (not at the fest this year) raising the bar so high. Whatever the case, there are a lot of Pilsner, Helles, and other light-bodies lagers to quench your thirst.
- Bowling for Beer – Ten Pin Brewing of Moses Lake is one of the rising stars on the beer scene, IMHO. (Yes, I said Moses Lake.) In addition to their always popular Pineapple Wheat beer, they’re bringing a large list of rotating specialty beers. If you’re not yet familiar, give Ten Pin a shot.
- Sour Power – A lot of breweries are bringing sour beers this year. If I had to choose just one brewery, I’d probably go with Urban Family Brewing. They’ve got quite the sour lineup scheduled for the event this year. One-stop shopping, try a few different sours.
- Seaview? Where’s that? – Seaview, Washington is just south of Long Beach on the SW Washington coast. I’ve been tracking the progress of North Jetty Brewing since they opened a few years ago. I was there recently and can attest to the virtues of the beer. It’s a long drive down to Seaview, so take advantage of this opportunity to try their beer.
Here is the complete beer lineup. Of course, it’s subject to change as breweries switch things up at their own discretion.