It’s been two years since the Washington Beer Commission has held its annual Washington Brewers Festival.
In that time, the local craft beer world has been turned upside down. New breweries have opened while others have closed, head brewers have come and gone, and owners and managers have made significant changes to their taproom and distribution strategies.
All the while, the beer has continued to flow and most local breweries have muddled along and survived – some even thrived.
This weekend’s 15th annual Washington Brewers Festival will be a good opportunity to catch up with brewers to see how they’ve navigated the pandemic while trying some of their newest creations.
One new brewery to check out is Snohomish’s Hops & Seed Brewery. Opened in May 2021, Hops & Seed is owned and operated by JM Cellars owners John and Peggy Bigelow. The brewery shares a production space and taproom with the winery at The Vault facility in Maltby.
Dru Seed, who worked for JM Cellars as a cellarmaster, is the head brewer at Hops and Seed. He has a degree in viticulture and oenology from Washington State University and is a longtime homebrewer.
Seed said his focus is on making hoppy beers and lagers. Because of the extra space at the winery production facility, Seed has been able to lager beers for the required 12-to-16-week wait time. For the upcoming Washington Brewers Festival, Hops and Seed will be bringing four beers, including its Sunglow Pilsner, Big Mitch Imperial IPA and its Multi-Guild Collaboration Hazy IPA. The fourth beer will be the brewery’s anniversary beer: an imperial stout aged 10 months in JP Trodden bourbon barrels. The Anniversary 1 Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout includes toasted coconut and vanilla beans.
Here’s a look at some other local beers to try at this weekend’s festival:
Crucible Brewing: New Beginnings, a low-calorie and super dry IPA made in collaboration with Bellevue Brewing. Made with citra and simcoe hops and kviek yeast.
Lake Stevens Brewing: Dried Carolina Reaper-infused blonde ale is made with Carolina Reaper peppers, the reigning king of the hottest peppers in the world at 1.1 million scoville scale.
Meatheads Beer Works: Moose and Squirrel Rauch Lager is smoked lager brewed in traditional German style.
Sound2Summit Brewery: Sound to Cerveza Mexican Lager is a light and smooth lager brewed with pilsner malt, Vienna, a touch of flaked corn, and a small amount of Mandarina Bavaria hops to the tail end of the boil.
Three Bull Brewing: Toasted Marshmallow Porter is brewed with chocolate, roasted and smoked malts and combined with infused marshmallow.
Watts Brewing: Apian West Coast IPA is part of Watts’ rotating line of IPAs and showcasing a different blend of hops over a crisp, dry bed of pale malt.
Whitewall Brewing: Wheezing the juice hazy IPA is made with a blend of Cascade, Chinook, Citra and Simcoe hops.
Washington Brewer’s Festival
When: 4 to 9 p.m. Friday; noon to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Marymoor Park, Redmond
Tickets: $35 online; $40 at the door. Admission includes a 5-ounce souvenir tasting glass and eight tasting tokens.
5 Rights Dad’s & Drafts: Marysville’s 5 Rights Brewing is hosting its annual Dad’s & Drafts event June 17 through June 19 at the brewery. Along with 5 Rights beers, there will be beers from six other breweries, including Breakside Brewing, Moonraker Brewing, No Drought Brewing, Reuben’s Brews, Scuttlebutt Brewing and YaYa Brewing. Tickets are $22 and include a taster tray of all guest beers and a souvenir cup. Tickets can be purchased at the brewery.