Gig Harbor festival toasts craft beer

A distillery also will offer samples at event that aims to showcase Gig Harbor, Kiwanis

Staff writerMay 9, 2014 


Cindy Murphy of Tacoma's Harmon Brewing Company flashes her radiant smile and retro sunglasses at patrons as beer and sun lovers had their fill at the second annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival in 2013.

DEAN J. KOEPFLER — Staff photographer file, 2013 Buy Photo

The good news: More than 20 local breweries are serving beer at Saturday’s Gig Harbor Beer Festival.

The bad: If you don’t already have a ticket, you’re probably not going. The event is expected to sell out.

In its third year, the festival at Uptown Gig Harbor has gained enough momentum to sell out before the event opens its doors.

A sold-out beer festival is a good problem for John Fosberg, event organizer and craft beer enthusiast. That’s how it’s been since the festival began in 2012. That first year’s reception was so overwhelming, the festival ran out of beer. Fosberg fixed that problem last year, increasing the number of brewers and beers, and there are even more brewers this year. He expects this year’s additional brewers will mean kegs won’t run dry.

His festival is an homage to South Sound craft beer – and he’s about to become a South Sound brewer himself as he works on establishing his own brewery in 2014. Fosberg also intended the festival to showcase Gig Harbor as a tourist destination for breweries.

“It’s a great area to come out, get a hotel room and spend a few days hitting 7 Seas — then going out and hitting Silver City and Sound. They’re close and they’re nice drives,” Fosberg said.

Saturday’s festival will feature more than just beer. Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling Co. will offer samples from its Elk Rider line of distilled spirits.

For those who bought tickets, here are three beers Fosberg is most looking forward to sampling Saturday.

Damnedeleven from Slippery Pig Brewery: “They’re bringing what they call a Damnedeleven – an imperial version of a Dandelion bitter made with 30 pounds of dandelion and 11 percent (alcohol by volume),” he said. Fosberg said the Poulsbo brewery described its dandelion bitter as “the exact opposite of a lawn-mower beer.” That brewery also is bringing a beer brewed with stinging nettles.

Sense a theme?

Mango Weizen from Northwest Brewing: This American-Bavarian Hefeweizen comes tinged with fruit, something Fosberg said he’s curious to try. The Pacific-based brewery also is serving its Chinook Copper Ale.

Fat Scotch Ale from Silver City Brewery: Fosberg is anticipating that beer to be a popular drinker. The brewery described it as a “smooth and malty” ale.

Sue Kidd: 253-597-8270

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