Rhubarb – It's Not Just for Pie Anymore

This weekend (Friday and Saturday) offers beer drinkers an uncommon opportunity to sample some uncommon beers in Tacoma. The Rhubarb Barrel House at the Sumner Art + Rhubarb Pie Festival will feature craft brews from four local breweries. Yep, I am talking about rhubarb beer.

The use of uncommon vegetable matter in the production of beer often intrigues me. It seems very American. There was a time in American history when our brewers could not always afford, or regularly acquire, the malted barley and other ingredients they needed to brew traditional English ales. They relied on Yankee ingenuity. Our colonial ancestors brewed beer using things like pumpkin, molasses, sassafras and pine. If it had been available, I suppose they would have used rhubarb as well.

To further prove the vast quantities of useless knowledge packed into the confines of my size 7 ½ skull, I will tell you that Ben Franklin is credited with bringing the first rhubarb seeds to America in 1772. The exceptionally tart veggie did not gain popularity until the 1800s. By that time American brewers were making beers using “regular” ingredients.

Here is the press release with all the details about this weekend’s event.

Sumner Art + Rhubarb Pie Festival, August 3-4, 2012
The Rhubarb Barrel House to Feature Exclusive Rhubarb Brews

July 27, 2012—Tacoma, Wash.—On Aug. 3 and 4, fans of craft breweries will have a chance to sample exclusive offerings by three local microbreweries. The Rhubarb Barrel House at the Sumner Art + Rhubarb Pie Festival will feature craft brews from Northwest Brewing Company, Duo Brewing, Puyallup Valley Brewing Company  and 7 Seas Brewery. Music, food and a magical setting will round out the Barrel House experience.

The Rhubarb Barrel House will be open 3-11 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 3, and 3-10 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. Admission is $20 for six taste tickets and includes a Pilsner Souvenir glass. Admission to the Rhubarb Barrel House without taste tickets if free but guests must be over 21.

Northwest Brewing Company will feature brews such as rhubarb blonde, Midnight Ale and Mango Weizen. Duo Brewing will be offering American Wheat Beer, Porter and Belgian Golden Ale. The Belgian is made with honey from Heavenly Honey Farms in Puyallup. Puyallup River Brewing Company will feature South Hill Pale Ale, Electron IPA, Fryingpan Cascadian Red Ale, Paradise Blonde Saison and Strawberry Rhubarb Farmhouse Saison. 7 Seas will be offering Cutt’s NW Amber Ale, British Pale Ale, Ballz Deep Double IPA and Port Royal Export Style Stout. Sumner’s own Dixie’s will offer all-American fare for food options, including food specifically made to pair with each brew.

Nothing goes with microbrews like music, and the Rhubarb Barrel House will feature a variety of performances. On Friday, Doug Clerget from The Bachelorette will kick off the Rhubarb Barrel House Main Stage leading to Randy Linder’s Creedence Clearwater Revival Tribute and Party with May Day. On Saturday, the Best Brew Battle will get things started before performances by The Diamond Experience, a Neil Diamond Tribute, and Ten O’clock Curfew.

Puget Sound Energy will add to the atmosphere to the Rhubarb Barrel House with “Light up the Park”, adding hundreds of white lights to brighten the event. The Rhubarb Barrel House is located in Sumner’s Heritage Park.

The Rhubarb Barrel House is one of many events making up the Sumner Art + Rhubarb Pie Festival, Aug. 3-4 in Downtown Sumner. Other events include the Great Rhu-Bate, the Great Rhubarb Race, Rhubarb Wood Carving Contest, Rhubarb RAW!, Rhubarb’s Pet Parade, Kid Valley and more. For more information, visit www.sumnerfestival.com.

For more events in Tacoma + Pierce County visit the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau’s online event calendar at www.traveltacoma.com/events.

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