EVERETT — So many choices, so little time.
That’s the problem with beerfests: With more than a dozen breweries pouring multiple beers it can be difficult to choose which beers to try first. Go hoppy early, add in a few dark beers for fun and then end with the light stuff? Or maybe have some ciders and then move on to beer? Or just mix it up and let your tokens guide you. Whatever it ends up being, it’s always good to go to a beer festival with a plan.
Jared Loranger knows beerfests. Loranger and his event management company Fizz Events put on a variety of beerfests every year and they’ve been the masterminds behind the Upper Left Beerfest since 2017. Like anyone, he’s a bit overwhelmed at the choices at this year’s Upper Left Beerfest, happening this weekend in downtown Everett.
“There’s a ton of solid options at this year’s festival,” Loranger said. “I wish I could get through them all.”
Loranger is a self-professed “hazy guy” and hopes to try a few this weekend while he’s working.
“I like all things hazy, so I’m excited to try most of the hazys,” said Loranger. “I won’t get through all of them while producing the event, that’s for sure. But knowing all these breweries have so many great options, I look forward to visiting their locations after the festival.”
After the hazys, Loranger said he likes to try ciders to mix it up.
“On a warm or hot day though, the cideries provide some awesome, refreshing drink choices,” Loranger said. “I’m typically partial to a peach cider.”
Loranger plans on trying Lake Stevens Brewing’s Sunset Cove Hazy, Sound2Summit’s School’s Out for Summer IPA, Glory Bucha’s Pineapple Pizzazz Hard Kombucha and Locust Cider’s Juicy Peach.
Sometimes it’s a name that will grab you. Lazy Boy Brewing owner and head brewer Shawn Loring said he’s excited to try Meathead’s Pink Lady Raspberry Blonde because he loves the name. Oh, and it sounds delicious too, Loring added. He’s also excited to try S2S’s School’s Out for Summer, a popular choice.
Other times it’s a story that reminds you of something that earns your token. Middleton Brewing owner and head brewer Geoff Middleton always looks forward to drinking Georgetown Brewing’s Gusto Crema, a golden coffee ale, that will be pouring this weekend. He said he gravitates toward the beer because it reminds him of the first time he tried it.
“I love a good coffee beer, and the fact that it was a light ale, with coffee, was very intriguing,” Middleton said. “After the first sip — who am I kidding, it was more like an 8-ounce chug — I was hooked on that creamy coffee deliciousness! … Keep in mind, I’m a brewer that brews quite a few coffee beers. Needless to say, four Gusto Cremas later, I’m on my way home in the back of an Uber. Two days later, as I’m scrolling through recently awarded GABF winners, I see a familiar beer: Yup, of course, the Gusto won a gold in the coffee beer category.”
Even if you don’t try the Gusto Crema this weekend, Middleton’s best advice is taking an Uber if you’ve had too much. That’s always a good call.
And don’t forget to check out the Everett Food Truck Festival, happening Saturday right across Beerfest.
Here’s a look at my list:
Sound2Summit, Lager 180: Start out with this crisp refresher made with ingredients sourced from within 180 miles of the brewery, including pilsner malt from Skagit Valley Malting and Sterling hops from Yakima.
Bugu Brewing, Ozzy Old Ale: I’m a sucker for old ales. I love the big flavors and slight bitterness. This beer from the newish brewery in Monroe is built with eight different malts and promises bold flavors of caramel, toffee and dark breads.
Crucible Brewing, Can You Feel the Shawn Tonight: Shawnfest, the annual festival celebrating all the amazing “Shawns” in the local beer world, always brings out some interesting beer. This beer is a collaboration with Bellingham’s Darach Brewing – who of course has a Shawn of their own – and is a 10-percent stout promising flavors of cocoa and vanilla.
Whitewall Brewing, Boss’s Orders: Cut through those big dark beers with a hoppy ale. This IPA is made with the classics: Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe and Amarillo hops.
Soundbite Cider, La Paloma: Finish your day with this refreshing cider from the Everett cidery that features grapefruit, sea salt and lime.
Upper Left Beer Festival is from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 12 and noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 13, at 2930 Wetmore Ave. near Everett City Hall. Patrons must be 21 and older to enter.
Tickets: $25 for Friday or Saturday, and $40 for the weekend. Discount tickets available at: At Large Brewing, Crucible Brewing (Everett) Lazy Boy Brewing, Middleton Brewing, Scuttlebutt Brewing Taproom, Soundbite Brewing, Toggle’s Bottleshop
For a full list of the breweries and beers pouring, go to heraldnet.com/food-and-drink.