According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, our Pacific Northwest winter this year is set to be colder and rainier than usual, with more snow than in recent years. While I usually cozy up with a heavy red wine or a spiced-up eggnog cocktail, I also enjoy beer. In particular, heavy winter beers like the ones found at the Winter Beer Fest held in early December each year at Magnuson Park’s Hangar 30.
As I wandered the festive booths sipping barrel-aged beauties, I realized there are several other good beer festivals on the horizon. If you missed the Winter Beer Fest, look forward to these gatherings and get them on your 2017 radar:
Fisher Pavilion-Seattle Center, 2017 Date TBD – Usually late January
Second only to the Winter Beer Fest on my favorites list, this is a wonderful opportunity to try Belgian and Belgian-styled ales: Tripels, Dubbels, Saisons, Wits, Abbeys, and Lambics. All the ales use Belgian yeast and there are plenty of Sours to try as well. 100+ beers to try AND food trucks? Yes, please!
Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Seattle WA, March 25th 2017
A long-running and very popular beer event held at the Seattle Center, the Cask Beer Festival focuses on cask-conditioned beers brewed by more than 40 Washington Brewers Guild members. According to the Guild site the event “features only beers that are conditioned naturally, without artificially introducing CO2 into the cask. Beers are poured by gravity or via a beer engine and served at cellar temp to let the flavor nuances shine.” This one tends to sell out each year, so scoop up tickets as soon as you can.
Seattle Scotch & Beer Fest (Formerly Hop Scotch)
Fremont Studios, April 14-15, 2017
Ticket prices vary
Ok, so it happens in the spring and also includes Scotch (who’s complaining) and wine (even better), but this stellar event is a benefit for the Fremont Chamber of Commerce’s community grant programs. Funded programs include The Fremont Fair and the Solstice Parade. Want to keep Fremont weird AND train your palate? Come on out to this tasting experience.
Pro Tip: Love Washington Beer? Join WABL, the Washington Beer Lovers group. Members often receive extra tokens, WABL lounge access, or exclusive tastings at WA beer events. Membership also comes with a t-shirt, a WABL passport to collect brewery stamps, newsletters with news and event info, and a free annual subscription to SIP Magazine. What a great gift idea for the beer lover in your life (or just yourself?) for only $30!
Amy L. Dickson is a communications professional, freelance writer, and contributor to Rain or Shine Guides. She’s currently training at the NW Wine Academy for her Level 1 sommelier certification. Follow her at @amyldickson75.