(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Beer Notebook: Bothell Block Party and Brewfest returns this weekend

Plus, a Snohomish cidery wins big in national awards, new taprooms come to Mill Creek and Lake Stevens, and more.

Summer is here and beer fests are back.

Well, most of them.

Unfortunate news hit the local craft beer industry earlier this year when the Washington Beer Commission canceled the 2023 Washington Brewer Festival. The annual beer fest was a Father’s Day tradition as breweries from across the state would converge on Marymoor Park for three days of exploring the best beers Washington brewers had to offer.

The festival was a victim of the pandemic and beer fans’ changing attitudes toward festivals. Part of the problem was dwindling attendance after the pandemic scuttled festivals for a period of time. But could they be coming back?

The annual Bothell Block Party and Brewfest is hoping so. This Saturday’s festivities will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., featuring nearly 20 breweries, four cideries and even a seltzer maker. There will also be food trucks and live music courtesy of The Cave Singers and others.

Hosted by UW Bothell and Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce, the Block Party and Brewfest drew a strong crowd of more than 2,000 partygoers last year for their first post-pandemic fest.

“We’re looking forward to this year’s event after a really successful Brewfest last year,” said Jessica Newkirk, UW Bothell Associate Director of Alumni Engagement. “We see this year as building upon that.”

A number of local breweries will be pouring at this Saturday’s festival. Bothell will be well represented by microbrewery Foggy Noggin Brewing, Good Brewing, McMenamins Anderson School, Watts Brewing and Beardslee Public House. Other Snohomish County breweries in attendance will include Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing and Snohomish’s Haywire Brewing.

“Our focus is to bring people together over music, food and beer that’s all local,” Newkirk said.

Tickets for the Bothell Block Party and Brewfest are $50 online from the Bothell Kenmore Chamber of Commerce or $55 at the gate. UW alumni get a break with $45 tickets. Entry includes eight tasting tickets and a commemorative tasting glass.

Also this weekend, the Washington Mead Festival is from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Everett’s Æsir Meadery will be one of eight vendors on hand pouring samples. Tickets are $29 and include six tokens, each good for a 2-ounce pour of mead. The event is being held at the Viking-inspired Skål Beer Hall in Ballard.

Empyrical Orchard and Cidery brings home three awards

Snohomish’s Empyrical Orchard and Cidery recently brought home three awards and was named Micro Producer of the Year at the prestigious Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition, the world’s largest fruit wine competition.

Empyrical, owned and operated by husband-and-wife team Adam Wargacki and Elizabeth Lockhart, brought home a second-in-class medal in the Traditional Perry category for its Principle perry. The orchard and cidery also took third-in-class medals for its Inversion, a Champagne-style blend of American and English cider apples and perry pear juice, in the fruited cider category, and for its Archive in the wood-aged cider category.

The Pacific Northwest at large excelled at the 17th annual Great Lakes awards. Not only did Empyrical take home Micro Cidermaker of the Year, given to cideries making 5,000 gallons or less, but Seattle Cider Co. was named Large Cidermaker of the Year and Bauman’s Cider, of Gervais, Ore., took home the prize in the Midsize category.

Earlier in the month, Empyrical took three medals in Cidercraft Magazine’s annual judging for Principle and for apple wines La Raison Reserve and Objective.

4 Stitch Brewing now open in Mill Creek

4 Stitch Brewing recently opened a family-friendly taproom at 16709 9th Ave. SE in Mill Creek after spending the past two years operating out of their garage. The brewery has a five-barrel brewing system and a lineup of eight beers, including three IPAs and a pair of pale ales.

Penn Cove Brewing to open first mainland taproom in Lake Stevens

Whidbey Island’s Penn Cove Brewing, which currently operates a pair of taprooms in Freeland and Coupeville, is opening another location in the former home of Meatheads Beer Works in Lake Stevens.

The new location at 8928 Vernon Road is the brewery’s first off Whidbey Island and is slated to open its doors next month.

Meatheads Beer Works, which took over the location off of Highway 204 in April 2021, closed down this past November. The building that Penn Cove is taking over has a long history. Originally built to house 5 Rights Brewing, the building’s construction stalled in 2018. Eventually, 5 Rights moved on to a building in Marysville and Meatheads took over the two-story building and brewhouse.

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