Get Your Beer on This Winter

Winter Beer Festivals in Seattle

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:

Belgian Fest Seattle, WA

Belgian Fest

Fisher Pavilion-Seattle Center, 2017 Date TBD – Usually late January

About $35

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!

Cask Fest Seattle, WA

Washington Cask Beer Festival

Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Seattle WA, March 25th 2017

About $40

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.

Past event photo

Past event photo

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.

The Tallest Drinks in Seattle

The Smith Tower's Temperance

The Smith Tower got a facelift this year! For those of you who haven't been to the new and improved Observation Deck yet, we highly recommend it. Along with the all-time favorites like the lever-operated elevator, The Wishing Chair, and the incredible views at the top, the experience now includes a much higher amount of educational content and a speakeasy style bar! Seems so obvious now that the space was always missing a bar, how did we not figure this out sooner?!

The staff was incredibly friendly and helped us land on a delicious cocktail named Serenity for our drinking pleasure. In true speakeasy fashion it was strong, but good. And you can sip it in comfy chairs as the sun sets on Seattle. It really is a beautiful space with a wonderful view.

The Smith Tower is 35 stories tall (462 ft.), placing it in 3rd place on the list. It might not be the tallest, but something about standing amid all the buildings that have sprung up since 1914 is pretty magical. 

cocktail at Temperance Bar Smith Tower
view from the Smith Tower with Space Needle

Space Needle's SkyCity

SkyCity is the high-end, rotating restaurant at the top of the Space Needle. The restaurant is the shape of a donut, wrapped around the Space Needle right beneath the observation deck. When you exit the elevator you are led to a table along the outer edge; definitely try to get a table against the window -- watching the city circle below you is a ton of fun! When you eat/drink at SkyCity you also get complimentary access to the Space Needle's observation deck, so make sure to factor in time to head up before or after dining.

At over 500 ft. tall, SkyCity sits in second place on our list of tallest drinks in Seattle! 

Insider Tip: Going to SkyCity does comes with a food and beverage minimum. Dinner is a tad pricey at $35/person, but they have a promotion right now for Sunset Hour with a lower minumum of $25. For comparison a ticket to just the observation deck is $22, so we think this is the way to visit the Space Needle! From 2:30 - 5:30, Monday - Friday, you can go to the top, have a drink while the sun goes down over the city, and visit the observation deck. It ends December 16, 2016 though so hurry on over! 

Columbia Center's Sky View Observatory

Columbia Tower is the tallest building in our skyline and also has the highest observation deck in Seattle (we covered it here). Your ears will pop as you ride the elevator up to the 73rd floor. When you arrive, you will be granted beautiful 360-degree views of the entire area and this is the only observation deck that includes unobstructed views of the Space Needle and the floating 520 bridge. On clear days you can see as far as Mount Hood in Oregon. 

Their cafe/bar is a bit lacking compared to the other places on this list. It's the Panera Bread to the Space Needle's McCormick and Schmick's. But, they have local beer and wine and happy hour, which is exactly what we were looking for when we visited after work at 5:00 PM. We sipped on a Naughty Nellie from Pike Brewing Company and a red blend from Chateau Ste. Michelle.

At 900 ft. this is the tallest you can be in the city while sipping on an adult beverage! 

The Tallest Geographic Point- 35th and Myrtle

Well what do you know? The tallest geographic point in the city is not in Queen Anne, it is in West Seattle in the Delrigde neighborhood at 35th and Myrtle St. We wouldn't recommend drinking here though (do as we say not as we do), as the city frowns upon opening beers on street corners, but we found a really great bar, The Westy, nearby where you can enjoy a nice taplist along with wine and cocktails.

This one is obviously a bit off trend from our previous three, but we thought it would be a fun one to include-- now you know a little piece of Seattle trivia! 

Standing at the tallest geographical point in Seattle!

Standing at the tallest geographical point in Seattle!

Alright folks. That concludes our drinking in tall places post. it was random. It was fun. We raise our glass to you for reading Rain or Shine's recommendations!