I still remember the first year that I had the pleasure of going to the Seattle International Beer Festival (SIB) back in 2006. That year saw a sharp increase in my beer-geekiness, and my trip to SIB was one of the highlights of the year. Most beer festivals focus exclusively on draft beer, often from local and regional breweries. The goal of SIB is to bring in great beers from around the world, both on draft and in bottles, as well as some treats from around the region. That first year I was amazed at some of the things that I was able to sample for sometimes just a single token.
This year’s festival features more than 150 world-class beers from over 15 countries. About half of the beers are on draft and many can be had for just a single ticket. Much of what they have available in bottles are expensive beers that might cost you upwards of $15/bottle to buy in a store. These might cost you more than a single ticket, but it is a great chance to try these beers without having to buy the entire bottle.
The full beer list can be found here, and I’ve called out a few suggestions on what to target below. Many of the beers available have a very high alcohol content, so please drink responsibly and don’t drive.
Friday, July 2 from 12pm to 10pm
Saturday, July 3 from 12pm to 10pm
Sunday, July 4 from 12pm to 9pm
The Mural Amphitheater at Seattle Center. Right under the Space Needle.
$25 at the gate or $20 online. Entry includes a tasting glass and 10 beer tickets. All beer samples are 4oz servings and cost 1 to 6 tickets, depending on the what it cost the organizers to buy the particular beer. Extra tickets are available for $1 each.
The event is 21+ only. There will be food on-site and bands throughout the weekend. As for most festivals, it could get busy and I’d suggest going early.
Flyer’s Kentucky Uberwine (10.5% ABV) – Made exclusively for Über Tavern in Seattle, this barley wine is bourbon/oak aged using American Oak & Bookers Cask Strength Single Barrel Bourbon.
Walking Man Jaywalker Imperial Stout (12.3% ABV) – Liquid crack for Imperial Stout aficionados. This Stevenson, Washington brewery rarely sends kegs of this gem outside of their taproom, so enjoy.
Firestone Walker Parabola (11.0% ABV) – The first-ever bottling of this rare Imperial Stout from the well-regarded California brewery. It’s complex and thick, and oh so good.
Laurelwood Workhorse IPA (7.5% ABV) – If you still haven’t tried this outstanding IPA from the Oregon brewery, what are you waiting for? This will be on draft.
New Belgium La Folie (6.0% ABV) – This festival is perfect for trying out new styles you aren’t familiar with. If you are new to sours, give this one a try. It’s one of the best American-made examples of the style available. It’s intensely sour, and if it is too much for you try the Duchesse de Bourgogne instead, which has a nice sweetness to balance out the sour flavors.
I could go on and on highlighting beers, but I’ll stop there. You can always buy extra tickets for just $1 if you too can’t decide what to drink.