A beer is poured at the 2019 Upper Left Beerfest in Everett. The event returns this weekend, in conjunction with the Everett Food Truck Festival. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A beer is poured at the 2019 Upper Left Beerfest in Everett. The event returns this weekend, in conjunction with the Everett Food Truck Festival. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Drink This: Beer and food truck festivals team up in Everett

Enjoy 25 breweries and cideries at the Upper Left Beerfest and 16 food trucks at the Everett Food Truck Festival.

For Jared Loranger, business is booming once again. That’s what happens when you’re the owner of an event-planning business and a pandemic shuts you down for nearly 15 months.

“I’m just trying to keep up,” said Loranger, owner of Fizz Events. “We have eight events over the next couple of months. A lot of events got moved into this late summer and fall window.”

One of those events is the Upper Left Beerfest. After taking over for the now-defunct Everett Craft Beer Festival in 2017, the Upper Left Beerfest, like most festivals, took 2020 off. Now back on, the Upper Left Beerfest highlights local Snohomish County craft beer and, like the preceding Everett festival put on by the Washington Beer Commission, takes over downtown Everett for a day.

This year’s Upper Left Beerfest is paired with the Everett Food Truck Festival, like it was in 2019. The Upper Left Beerfest is Friday and Saturday on Wetmore Avenue between Everett Avenue and Wall Street. The Everett Food Truck Festival is Saturday only and will be set up between Everett and Hewitt avenues.

Fizz Events has run the Upper Left Beerfest since its inception, and Loranger said he’s been in talks with city of Everett officials to bring the festival back when the time was right.

He said the city suggested they move the event to the last weekend in August to give planners as much time as possible. Loranger joked that it needed to be before Labor Day to avoid a certain favorite football team.

“We didn’t want to compete with the Seahawks,” Loranger said. “We learned that lesson.”

The brewery lineup features local brews, including pours by all five Everett breweries: Scuttlebutt Brewing, At Large Brewing, Crucible Brewing, Middletown Brewing and Lazy Boy Brewing. Marysville’s Whitewall Brewing and Mukilteo’s Diamond Knot Brewing will also be there, as well as Everett’s Soundbite Cider and Snohomish’s Hammered Dwarf.

“We’re really happy with the breweries that are coming,” Loranger said. “We’ve tried really hard to make it as good of a mix as possible.”

The food truck lineup at the Everett Food Truck Festival includes Zaytoona, Alaska Weathervane Scallops, Bliss Ice Cream, Yay Big Ice Cream, Famous Dave’s BBQ, Street Treats, Yummy Catch, Wingz & Thingz, Langostino Sushi Burrito, The Food Atlas, Pie Bar, Das Bratmobile, Mai’s Bamboo Deli and the Diedrich Espresso Mobile.

There will also be live music. The Upper Left Beerfest will kick off Friday with “hoppy hour” from 4 to 8 p.m. featuring DJ Forrest Gump, followed by four local acts playing live music on stage from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday. They are the Martin Thomas Reed Project, Steel Beans, Outshined Trio and FIASCO.

Though some breweries expressed concern about safety and health, Loranger said most were happy to commit to pouring at the festival. A few breweries had to decline participation in this year’s festival because of staff shortages.

“They’re just having trouble getting people to work,” Loranger said. “They don’t have the ability to staff an event and keep their doors open.”

Loranger said they’ve received support from the Craft Beverage Guild of Snohomish County, a nonprofit organization that offered to provide volunteers to help breweries with pouring. Other breweries like the Skagit Valley College Cardinal Craft Brewing and Flyers Brewing will have their beer on hand but won’t have representation.

“We’re trying to branch out and let them be here without having to be here,” Loranger said.

Loranger knows that safety is top of mind of all those planning to visit the festival. He said they will ask those who are unvaccinated to wear a mask. Breweries will also be spread out along Wetmore Avenue to help with social distancing.

Above all, Loranger said each brewery will drive the safety protocols in their designated area, including possibly using single-use cups instead of glasses.

“We want people to be comfortable, and we feel that we’ve set the festival up in a manner that allows for that,” he said.

If you go

Upper Left Beerfest is scheduled for 4 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 27 and noon to 7 p.m. Aug. 28 along Wetmore Avenue between Everett Avenue to Wall Street. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the gate. Discounted tickets for military are $15 or $20 if purchased at local brewery. Go to www.upperleftbeerfest.com for more information.

Everett Food Truck Festival is 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 28 on Wetmore between Everett and Hewitt avenues. Admission is free. There will be 16 food trucks. More at www.everettfoodtruckfestival.com.

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