Whether it’s a stout, a hefeweizen, a microbrew, a lager or a pilsner, beer appears in all form throughout the Pacific Northwest. Breweries are a common site and destination in the Northwest, and so it makes sense that the region would host quality festivals each year celebrating the authentic character of Northwest beers. Check out these festivals when you’re enjoying the Northwest.
Oregon Brewer’s Festival, Portland, OR
Now in its 21st year, this festival celebrates beer the way Oregon loves to celebrate – on a hot summer day in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Seventy-three brewers are present at this festival, and more than 60,000 beer lovers attend each year. Since the event is a non-judging festival, that means there’s less time to analyze and more time to savor each beer. Admission to the festival is free, but once inside they’ll sell you a mug for $4. Mugs purchased inside the festival are required for drinking beer. In true Portland form, there’s free bike parking available each day. To encourage safety and family involvement in the festival, free root beer floats will be provided to all minors and designated drivers at the festival. Taps are open from noon until 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and from noon until 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Washington Brewer’s Guild Cask Festival, Seattle, WA
This festival has more of an indie appeal, which means it has a cult following among wine snobs and home brewers from around the country. This year, the event will be held on Mar. 22 in two four-hour sessions. Cask-conditioned beers from major regional breweries and smaller producers will be on tap throughout both sessions. These cask beers are known for their distinct flavors and aromas, their creamy head and their smooth textures. The festival is held at the Seattle Center, in the Fisher Pavilion. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door, and include all beer tastes and a tasting cup for the 60 one-of-a-kind beers from 30 breweries.
International Beer Festival, Seattle and Portland
These two international beer festivals happen in July each year and offer the best of the world as far as beer goes. In Seattle, the festival is from July 4-6 at Seattle Center Mural Ampitheater and in Portland, it follows on July 18-20 in the North Park Blocks, near the Pearl District. This adults-only festival has a real party atmosphere, and beer is sold on a “swanky” scale – from one to three tickets for each beer. There will be more than 100 beers, some very rare, available for tasting. Both events are fundraisers for Pet Cross, and the party keeps going each night until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. on Sunday.