Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

July 26, 2014 at 7:25am

Olympia Brewfest hosts regional breweries for Aug. 2 festival

The Olympia Brewfest returns to the scenic Port Plaza on the waterfront of Budd's Inlet's West Bay Saturday, Aug. 2. Courtesy photo

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Over the years, I've been to a lot of beer festivals. Many of them boast, "146+ beers from 73 breweries!" Those are the ones I now avoid. Much like Austin's SXSW Music Festival these days, long lines can eliminate my enthusiasm.

To me, a beer festival is about three things:

1. Sampling rare and one-off beers,

2. Reconnecting with and meeting new people in the beer world, and/or

3. Seeing the latest crazy beer-centric T-shirts.

Olympia Brewfest is right up my alley. It will host 34 or so regional breweries, each pouring two beers - definitely enough in a seven-hour period, and it promises to provide a more intimate atmosphere than I'd get at the bigger fests. It reminds me of the Gig Harbor Beer Festival in May, which was a blast.

"A committee and I handpicked these breweries," says Mike Marohn, Olympia Brewfest founder and director. "We tasted all the beers, including beers from the 12 or so breweries we turned away."

Marohn has his sights on being the best beer festival in Washington state, in terms of quality. It's all about the beer. And, he knows beer. A beer drinker well before the craft brew explosion, he would often visit his friend at the Olympia Brewing Company's taproom, and drink his favorite Olympia Dark beer.

"When the Schmidt family owned the brewery in the 1970s and early '80s, the brewery was using thirty-two yeasts," says Marohn. "When Pabst Brewing Company bought in 1999, the yeast count when down to six."

Today, Marohn has part ownership in two breweries - Top Rung Brewing in Lacey and Unknown Brewery Company in North Carolina. Brad Shell, who worked for Terrapin Beer Co. in Georgia, Rogue Ales in Oregon and Fish Brewery in Olympia, left Fish last year to open Unknown in Charlotte.

"Brad had many tips on how to run a beer festival, and I listened before launching the inaugural Olympia Brewfest in 2012," says Marohn.

In August 2011, Marohn was gazing at the Port of Olympia Plaza from his office building, watching the annual Sand in the City celebration. He thought, "This would be an excellent spot for a beer festival."

The Olympia Brewfest returns to the scenic Port Plaza on the waterfront of Budd's Inlet's West Bay Saturday, Aug. 2. Eight brewery booths will butt up against Anthony's Homeport Restaurant, with another 16 facing the water by the Market Place Building and a tent by the amphitheater with 10 or so additional breweries. Marv's Marvulus BBQ, O'Blarney's Irish Pub, Lucky Eagle, Blend Café and other restaurants will serve food by the fence. DBST funkadelic rock band, Beyond The Fringe and Endangered Species will provide the drinking soundtrack on a stage close to the tower.

The festival runs from 1 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 2. Admission is $25 in advance and includes 6 tickets (each ticket is a 5.5-ounce pour), which includes a commemorative mug. Tickets will be $30 at the gate. Additional drink cards for six more tastes will be available for $8. Designated driver tickets are $5.

Funds raised by the Olympia Brewfest will assist the Thurston County Chamber Foundation's Small Business Development Program. Fish Brewing of Olympia and Top Rung Brewing from Hawks Prairie are contributing sponsors to the event. Other South Sound breweries include Kastellan Brauerei, Three Magnets Brewing, 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing, Narrows Brewing and Whitewood Cider.

For current info, visit the event Facebook page. And if you go, hit up the Twitters at #OlyBrewfest and say hi if you see me.

As of this writing, there are 34 breweries signed up to pour at the 2014 Olympia Brewfest:

7 Seas Brewing, Gig Harbor

Backwoods Brewing Co., Carson

Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego

Bellevue Brewing Co., Bellevue

Bi Al Brewing, Seattle

Brickyard Brewing, Woodinville

Buoy Beer Co., Astoria

Central City Brewers, Surrey, B.C.

Chuckanut Brewery, Bellingham

Der Blokken Brewery, Bremerton

Diamond Knot Brewing Co., Mukilteo

Dick's Brewing Co., Centralia

Double Mountain Brewery, Hood River

Everybody's Brewing, White Salmon

Fish Brewing, Olympia

Fort George Brewery, Astoria

Hi-Fi Brewing Co., Redmond

Iron Horse Brewery, Ellensburg

Castellan Braveries, Lacey

M.T. Head Brewing Co., Graham

Manama Brewing Co., Corvallis

Narrow Brewing Co., Tacoma

Orison Brewing Co., Airway Heights

Pelican Pub & Brewery, Pacific City

Reuben's Brews, Seattle

Schooner Exact Brewing Co., Seattle

Scuttleb8utt Brewing Co., Everett

Silver City Brewery, Bremerton

Sound Brewery, Poulsbo

Three Magnets Brewing Co., Olympia

Triton Cider Works, Teton

Top Rung Brewing Co., Lacey

Wander Brewing, Bellingham

Whitewood Cider Co., Olympia

Filed under: New Beer Column Olympia
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Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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