By Kathryn Millhorn
There’s an old Czech proverb that declares, “A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it’s better to be thoroughly sure.” With the rise of home-brewing and craft breweries, we’re surrounded by a wealth of knowledge combined with the genius inspiration of youth. On Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Tumwater Artesian Brewfest, attendees are able to sample all the region has to offer.
Jennifer Leach, Special Projects & Event Manager at the Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Visitor & Convention Bureau explains that “This is second year of a beer event in Tumwater. Last year, we hosted the first Tumwater Oktoberfest, however we wanted to be able to hold the event in August and differentiate ourselves from the numerous Oktoberfests and Beer Festivals in the Pacific Northwest. That is why we chose to rebrand this year, as Tumwater Artesian Brewfest, paying homage to the Olympia Beer advertising campaign from the 1980s, as well as the Artesian wells all over town.”
The event will take place at Tumwater Valley Golf Course from 1:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. There will be more than 30 breweries participating, as well as the original Olympia Beer, and wine tastings from wineries across the region. Aficionados interested in to-the-minute listings of registered brewers and vintners can follow the event online, where the names and specifics of participating food and drink vendors are updated. One such attendee is a new addition to the Olympia brewing scene, Three Magnets Brewery says “We’re excited to give a sneak peak to our community about what to expect from Three Magnets Brewing Co.”
Attendance is limited to the 21+ crowd but that doesn’t mean things will be staid and dull. Leach says, “The reason we have so many activities is that we wanted to be unique from other beer festivals or brew fests, providing things to do besides standing or sitting and tasting beer – we will have plenty of tables, chairs and shade tents to do that too though. Our partnership with the City of Tumwater allows us to do that, especially with the large driving range we host the event on. Our hope was also to create an environment where there is plenty to do besides tasting beer – or wine or cider – especially for those people who are the designated drivers for the group or simply don’t enjoy beer. We will also have wine and hard cider available. So there will be something for everyone, but is it definitely not your average brew fest!”
Activities will include — but are not limited to — Supersized Beer Pong, Cornhole, Giant Jenga, a Mechanical Shark, volleyball, field goal kick game, footballs, Frisbees, etc. available for play, Beer Stein Holding Contests (whoever can hold a 1-liter beer stein filled with Olympia Beer the longest), First Tee Hole In One Contest, 168 yard hole, and more. DJ’s will provide music from 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. to keep things rocking.
With the gorgeous summer weather we’ve had, and more predicted, numbers at the Brewfest promise to be an increase over last year. Leach explained that “Last year we had about 1,500 people, and this year we are expecting 3,000. We have made quite a few changes and number of improvements, so it wouldn’t even be fair to compare last year to this year! Last year we had a very basic set up, and utilized a tap truck to handle all the beer. This year we will have about 30 breweries representing and pouring their own beer, four wineries and one cider producer.
“Each brewery is bringing 2-3 beers each, so we are expecting about 75 different beers. Our goal was to only have Pacific Northwest breweries, so we hand selected breweries from Washington and Oregon to celebrate all the great beer being brewed in the state. The idea of Tumwater Artesian Brewfest originated with the desire to celebrate Tumwater’s brewing history, as the former home of Olympia Beer. That is why in addition to all the micro brews available, we will have Olympia Beer on tap as well, to honor the former Olympia Brewing Company’s impact on the Tumwater community.”
Before Brewfest, there will be a 3-mile Fun Run which begins at noon. Runners will all receive a complimentary beer mug as well as access to the festival 30 minutes before gates open to the general public.
Discounted pre-sale tickets are available online through noon on Friday, Aug. 22. You can purchase them online or at the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau at 103 Sid Snyder Ave SW, Olympia. Attendees are welcome to bring blankets, but pets must be left at home. Ticket prices include admission, a tasting mug, and 5 tokens to use toward samples. Additional samples are available for purchase. Pre-sale prices are $20 for regular admission, $15 with military ID, and $10 for designated drivers. At the gate, all prices increase $5.
Crafting has progressed from a hobby to a way of life. Small businesses, community clubs, and online forums train, share ideas, and make the obscure a part of our everyday life. Whether you’re a backyard hops gardener or basement home brewer, the Brewfest offers the chance to mingle, sample, or just enjoy a Saturday night outdoors.