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Bottoms up, Bremerton | Kitsap Week

Patrons taste beers at a previous Bremerton Summer BrewFest.  - Contributed photo
Patrons taste beers at a previous Bremerton Summer BrewFest.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Beer has a story almost as long as civilization. It was consumed in ancient Egypt, written of in Mesopotamia, and carried on the backs of Germanic tribes across Europe. Legend tells that the first non-native American in the colonies was born in a New Amsterdam brewhouse in 1614. The Founding Fathers would later brew their own, and revolutionary soldiers would be allotted a quart of beer each day.

Modern craft beer enthusiasts and home brewers are writing a new chapter in that story, changing the face of the brewing scene, and Washington is no exception.

“We have a great pocket of breweries in the Bremerton, Silverdale and Poulsbo area,” said Eric Radovich, executive director of the Washington Beer Commission. “It’s a hot bed of great craft beer.”

The Washington beer Commission organizes a series of six brewing festivals throughout the year in Washington and Bremerton is the next stop.

“It’s about celebrating Washington beer and the beer of the west sound and the Olympic Peninsula,” Radovich said.

“It’s all Washington craft beer,” he added. “You won’t find any Corona or Heineken at this event.”

The Bremerton Summer BrewFest is July 12 from noon to 6:30 p.m. in the heart of downtown Bremerton. The stretch of Pacific Avenue from 4th Street to 7th Street is closed to traffic and opened to beer enthusiasts. The parking lot of the Kitsap Bank in downtown Bremerton will also be taken over by the beer festival. The event is for ages 21 and older.

The BrewFest has partnered with the Fairfield Inn in Bremerton so patrons can turn the afternoon into an overnight stay in the heart of downtown.

The summer BrewFest features 30 breweries from across Washington — including a collection from Kitsap — amounting to more than 100 varieties of beer available to taste.

“You can pick the ones you like to try,” Radovich said.

The festival ticket provides attendees with a 5-ounce tasting cup and six tokens. Tokens can be exchanged at brewery booths for a taste; a full 5-ounces worth. Additional tokens are available for purchase at four for $5.

“You really get to taste the beer,” Radovich said. “It’s not just a 1-ounce serving like at other tastings.”

Food and live music will also be available at the festival, making for an entertaining sunny, beer-soaked afternoon.

“Our average attendee stays for 2 ½ hours and they have eight or nine 5 ounce tastes and some food,” Radovich said.

As if the selection of more than 100 beers wasn’t enough, the festival has a trick up its sleeve to make things a little more interesting.

“We also do something unique. We invited each brewery to bring a contraption called a randall,” Radovich said.

A randall is a device that filters beer through a chamber filled with added ingredients, ultimately adding an extra kick or flavorful angle to the beer’s taste.

“It’s a way to infuse different flavors into already delicious craft beer,” Radovich said. “Like hops or jalapeños, coffee, licorice.”

With variety, flavor, and brewery representatives, the BrewFest is a veritable tour through the state via a river of beer, from 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor to Laht Neppur Brewing in Waitsburg.

“It’s an opportunity to open your pallet and your mind to all that is craft beer,” Radovich said. “A lot of folks drink yellow beer, your Bud Lights and your Coronas in the summer time, and this is an opportunity to experience the creativity and artistic nature of craft brewing.”

“These are small batch brewed beers,” he said. “Here in the Northwest we really have a pallet for flavor and we see it in our coffee and in our chefs and restaurants, and with wine. Beer fits right into that. We enjoy experiencing new flavors and artistic creations.”

See a list of festival breweries and other information at www.washingtonbeer.com.

Fourth Annual Bremerton  Summer BrewFest

What: Downtown Bremerton’s annual beer festival featuring local breweries, and beers from across the state. Thirty breweries total, pouring more than 100 beers.

When: July 12, noon to 6:30 p.m.

Where: Downtown Bremerton on Pacific Avenue between 4th Street and 7th Street.

Tickets: $25 at the gate, or $20 in advance at www.brownpapertickets.com, or at these local breweries: Brickyard Brewing, Woodinville; Harmon Brewing, Tacoma; Slippery Pig Brewery, Poulsbo; Der Blokken, Bremerton; Hale’s Ales, Seattle; Slaughter County Brewing, Port Orchard;  Sound Brewery, Poulsbo; Valholl Brewing Company, Poulsbo; Silver City Brewery, Bremerton; Toro Lounge, Bremerton.

How it works

-Admission provides six tokens and a 5-ounce tasting cup.

-Each token can be exchanged for a tasting (fill your mug with 5 ounces of beer).

-Additional tokens can be purchased. $5 buys four tokens.

BrewFest Tips

-Pace and plan: Try the lighter beers first before taking on more heavily flavored brews, especially those filtered through a randall. You don’t want to taste the jalapeno from your first beer throughout the afternoon’s tastings.

-Parking: Street parking is available, but there are also plenty of parking lots and garages in downtown Bremerton.

-Ferry: If you’re coming from Seattle, the ferry terminal is within easy walking distance of the festival. Leave the car on the other side of the pond and don’t worry about parking.

-Hotel: The festival has partnered up with the Fairfield Inn in downtown Bremerton. Drink responsibly, and if needed, hotels are a relaxing alternative to the consequences of irresponsibly getting behind a wheel.

-Weather: The weather forecast indicates that July 12 will be a hot one with plenty of sunshine. Plan accordingly with parasols and sunscreen. And keep hydrated.

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