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Summertime beer festivals in the South Sound (and beyond)

Craft beer is all the rage in the Northwest and beer fests are the easiest way to discover new brews. Stock photo

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Nothing conjures up idealized visions of summer quite like the idea of a festival in the park ... unless maybe it's a beer festival in the park (or some equally festive venue.)  This summer's beer festival season is heating up to be a great one, with events ranging from beer-sipping day-trips to places as far and exotic as Redmond, to those that may be closer to your back yard.

To start the celebration of the frosty-bubbly beverage season even before summer officially begins, check out the Gig Harbor Beer Festival at the Uptown Gig Harbor Pavilion.  Get your feet wet with a variety of beer, food and entertainment, and help support the Gig Harbor Kiwanis Club.  Advance tickets are $25, $30 at the door and ID will be checked; over 21 only, please!

A little further afield and not strictly a "festival," Seattle Beer Week from May 12- 22 celebrates fermented goodness with frosty brews and special, beer-centric events  in around the Emerald City - go to for more information on events and locations.

Celebrating Dad and the official coming of summer? Hit up the 11th Annual Washington Brewers Festival at Marymoor Park in Redmond (6046 W. Lk. Sammamish Pkwy.) on June 17-19 (coincidentally, Father's Day weekend.)  This three-day festival features 400 beers from 105 Washington breweries in addition to wine and cider tastings, food trucks, live music and all-ages activities.  Note that Friday will be over-21 only; tickets for all three days can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets, and purchasing before May 31 lowers the admission price from $30 to $25 per day.

Getting well into the summer, just in time for a day trip to a waterfront destination, find the Bremerton Summer Brew Fest.  This year, the event will expand to two days, July 15-16, and will take place on the Bremerton Boardwalk (100 2nd St.) just a short walk away from the Seattle-Bremerton ferry.  Here, 30 Washington breweries will pour more than 100 beers, many focused on the fruits of summer.  And in true festival form, entertainment and food will also be on-tap at this event.  This event is $20 advance, $25 at the door, or $15 with valid military ID.  Present your Washington Beer Lovers passport and get two bonus tokens (standard admission gets you a commemorative tasting glass and five tastes.)

A bit of a day trip but well worth the drive, hit up the Oregon Brewer's Festival in Portland, at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park from July 27-31, and discover the nation's longest running craft beer festival, with 86 craft breweries represented from all over the nation. The event isn't just about the sips: it also features live music, beer-related vendors, displays, homebrewing demonstrations, and an assortment of food vendors. The Crater Lake Root Beer Garden offers complimentary handcrafted soda for minors and designated drivers; minors are welcome at the festival when accompanied by a parent.

Closer to home in the beginning of August, find a venue and event that suits your beer-sipping tastes Aug. 1-8 during Tacoma Beer Week; events are still in the works but will update as they solidify.  Loosely capping off this event on Aug. 13, the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts presents BREW FIVE THREE, Tacoma's Beer and Blues Festival.  The event features - you guessed it! - beer and blues in a block party setting (on Broadway between 9th and 11th streets, in downtown Tacoma) along with food trucks.  Advance tickets are $25 and there is a designated driver discount - get in for $10 but please don't expect to drink any brews and be prepared to present ID: DD or not, you need to be over 21 to get into this event.

Heading south on the I-5 corridor and into August, specifically Aug. 6, look for the Olympia Brew Fest.  This annual summer beer festival at the Port Plaza (915 Washington St.) features over 30 hand-picked, Northwest breweries and over 60 different beers, and includes food and music. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Thurston County Chamber Foundation Small Business Development (Incubator) Program; tickets are $25 advance, $30 at the door and can be purchased through the festival website at

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Leavenworth in the summer

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