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 1 from 12pm to 10pm
Saturday, July 2 from 12pm to 10pm
Sunday, July 3 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.
Hopworks Kronan the Bourbarian (9.2% ABV) – Bourbon Barrel aged imperial Baltic Porter from the outstanding Portland brewery known as HUB. They will also be pouring a bourbon barrel version of their barleywine.
Firestone Walker gems - They will have Firestone Walker Double Jack and 14 on draft, as well as bottles of Parabola and Abacus. Take your pick.
Lompoc Brewing Sour Willy (4.5% ABV) – This blend of five different beers is a light, complex, slightly sour beer with a fruity aroma and mellow cherry, oak flavors. Sounds like the perfect break from all the high ABV brews.
Diamond Knot Shipwreck XXX IPA (9.0% ABV) – This strong imperial IPA is even bigger than their XIPA, and it is conditioned on port soaked white oak chips.
Oakshire Bourbon Imperial Overcast Espresso Stout (10.0% ABV) – Oakshire’s regular Overcast Espresso Stout is a treat, and I look forward to seeing how this big boy turned out.
Chuckanut Rauchbier (5.5% ABV) – My favorite beer from a lineup of outstanding beers from one of the country’s best lager brewers. Smokey goodness.
Shelton Brothers Beers – This importer of world-class beers such as Cantillon, Mikkeller, Fantome, Struise, and several others, recently pulled out of the Washington market. But, it looks like the fest will have some interesting beers from their portfolio, such as De Molen Heaven & Hell, Les Trois Mousquetaires Kellerbier, Saint-Germain Page 24 Réserve Hildegarde Blonde, Xbeeriment Black Force One, and a “kick-ass keg or two of Cantillon”.
Pelican IPA (7.8% ABV) – Another solid IPA from Oregon that we usually don’t see in these parts.
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.