Planning an outdoor beer festival in May can be a soggy endeavor in the Pacific Northwest.
When the inaugural Gig Harbor Beer Festival last year collided with one of the first really sunny and hot weekends of 2012, the festival found itself in trouble when droves of people showed up to take advantage of two rare things: hot weather before July 4 and one of only a few craft beer festivals held in the South Sound. Tragedy struck – well, as tragic as it can get at a beer festival. The kegs ran dry before the event was over.
Will that happen again at this year’s festival - especially considering there should be decent weather on the horizon? Organizer John Fosberg has hatched a plan to make sure the taps keep flowing at the festival, which will be held Saturday at Uptown Gig Harbor. He’ll have seven additional brewers at this year's festival – for a total of 18 – and the tap list will include at least 36 beer choices. The festival also promises a more spacious beer garden.
I asked South Sound brewers what they'll be serving. Here's what they told me. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read a full list of breweries.
DUO BREWINGFrom brewer Dan O'Leary:"Verdoppeln" Kölsch Style Ale: Brewed with German Pilsner and Munich malts. Hopped with Mt Hood hops. The beer weighs in at 6.5% ABV but is light, crisp and should be refreshing at the festival.""Twin Ports Porter: Our flagship beer. Balanced roasted and chocolate malts while the Irish ale yeast keeps the beer smooth and quaffable. 5.7% ABV.""Dúbailte Belgian Abbey Ale: A Belgian Dark Abbey brewed with Belgian Special B malt and Sterling hops. But the highlight of this beer is it has been aged for two months in a rye whiskey barrel from Woodinville Whiskey. We only have one keg of this beer so expect it to go fast. 8.7% ABV."
HARMONFrom brewer Jeff Carlson:"Pinnacle Peak Pale - We use a special German malted barley to round out the grain bill in this clean and crisp Pale Ale. Cascade and Falconers Flight hops provide a balanced hop note with a bit of citrus in the finish.""Rajah's Royal IPA - Our biggest beer of the year! Rajah's is a full bodied Imperial IPA. Brewed with three different malted barleys and five different hop varieties including - Magnum, Amarillo, Cascade, Simcoe and Centennial. Centennials were used again for the dry hopping to create a big, strongand hoppy Imperial IPA with a nice citrus and pine finish."
WINGMANFrom brewer Ken Thoburn, "We will be serving our Coconut Imperial Porter and Magna Vapor, which is an Imperial steam beer. Our coconut porter has been called the beverage equivalent of Girls Scouts' Samoa cookies and our magna vapor is a robust yet refreshing spring creation celebrating one of the few indigenous American beer styles."
Gig Harbor Beer FestivalWhere: Uptown Gig Harbor, 4701 Point Fosdick Drive NWWhen: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday May 11, 2013Cost: $25 at the door for a tasting glass and eight tokensNote: Ages 21 and older only; the event might sell out earlyRaising money for: Gig Harbor/Peninsula Fish Food Bank. Representatives will be at the festival to collect donations of non perishable foodEntertainment: The festival will have a concert by Perry AckerEats: Local restaurants will serve food.This is important: Festival attendees must be 21 or older to attendInfo: gigharborbeerfestival.com
Here are the breweries expected to serve: Gig Harbor’s, 7 Seas Brewing, Puyallup’s Duo Brewing, Tacoma’s Wingman, Harmon and Ram breweries, Poulsbo brewers Sound and Valholl, Silverdale brewery Rainy Daze, Bremerton’s Silver City, Centralia’s Dicks Brewing, American Brewing from Edmonds, Hood Canal from Kingston and multiple Seattle breweries - Alaskan, Big Al, Georgetown, Elysian and Odin. Ninkasi is making the trip from Oregon.