Whether you are looking for a way to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, or you just want to get ready for the official start of summer on Monday, this weekend’s 2010 Washington Brewers Festival is perfect for both. More than 200 beers from over 50 breweries will pour throughout the weekend at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, WA. The festival kicks off tomorrow night with a 21+ session from 4pm to 9pm featuring Friday-exclusive beers from select Washington breweries, and the fun continues on Saturday and Sunday with a family-friendly atmosphere, including a kids playground and a root beer garden. All the info you need to know for the weekend is below, including some suggestions on beers to target.
Cost: Friday night admission will cost $15 and include a tasting glass and 4 tasting tokens. Saturday & Sunday admission will cost $25 at the door and include a tasting cup and 6 tasting tokens. Additional tastes can be purchased for $1.50/EA.
Location and Logistics: The festival is held on the grounds of beautiful Saint Edward State Park on the north side of Lake Washington in Kenmore. For Friday night, you’ll be able to drive right up to the festival and park for free. But, with large crowds expected for Saturday and Sunday parking will be very limited on site, and the festival will utilize free shuttles from five different locations to get you to the festival. If you prefer, you can still purchase a parking pass for Saturday and Sunday online for $15. The shuttle locations include Inglemore High School, Kenmore P&R, Kingsgate P&R, Bothell P&R, and the UW Bothell campus. Please visit the festival site for more info on shuttle buses, driving directions, and public transportation options.
Beer: With over 200 beers throughout the weekend, it is safe to say you will be able to find something to your liking. Most of the beers will come from Washington breweries, but a handful of breweries from other states will attend on Saturday and Sunday as well. Following are some suggestions on what beers might be worth your tokens
Seattle Beer News/Big Al Brewing Passive Aggressive Wheat – I’ll have my own Seattle Beer News booth at the festival, and I’ll be pouring a beer that Big Al Brewing made for me called Passive Aggressive Wheat. I had a chance to try it for the first time last night, and I’m a big fan of the final result. This “Hoppy American Wheat Ale” is a light session beer at less than 5% ABV, but it is sneaky in bringing you over to the hoppy side with a boatload of Amarillo and Sorachi Ace hops. There were 5 hop additions total. The bitterness is low at around 30 IBUs, but the hop flavor and aroma really shine. This should appeal to hop-heads and wheat beer drinkers alike. Come on by to try it and say hello!
Black Raven _____ – Just fill in the blank with one of the five enticing beers they have on the list. They aren’t bringing a single beer from their “standard” lineup, just specialties that make people like me drool. The Wisdom Seeker Double IPA just might be the first beer of the weekend to kick, but then you’ll have to choose from the Malt & Vine 3rd Anniversary, Jerked Brown Porter, Spinters, or Coco Jones (Friday only).
Alpine Hefeweizen – This traditional Bavarian-style hefeweizen is just what the doctor ordered if we get ourselves some sun. If you are a fan of the style, this is a must-hit.
Fremont Solstice Pale Ale – This summer seasonal from Fremont is brewed primarily with Amarillo hops, and it packs in a lot of hop flavor without too much bitterness. The malt backbone is nice and light to keep it very drinkable. You just may be heading over to the brewery to fill a growler after you try this one.
Schooner Exact Imperial Project #2: Virgil Gamachinator – This Friday night-only beer is the second in their experimental Imperial IPA series. The first attempt was top-notch, and I’m excited to try this one.
Stone Levitation – I was re-introduced to this 4.4% Amber Ale a few weeks ago, and it just might be at the top of my list of hoppy session beers. It’s very well-balanced, but the hop flavor shines. Stone is often known for their big, in your face beers, but this shows some true skill.
Snipes Mountain Cask Twangzister Sour Cherry Stout – Another Friday-only beer, and this one is for the sour freaks out there. You can’t go wrong with anything from Snipes, in my opinion, but they’ve done a nice job of experimenting with sours and this one could be interesting.
Georgetown Brewing Lucille IPA – This will be the first chance for many of us to try the new IPA from Georgetown. I’ve heard good things.