There’s no question the Bremerton Summer Brewfest was a success.
Even before you stepped foot onto the streets in downtown Bremerton you couldn’t help but run into hundreds of like-minded beer lovers boarding the ferry in Seattle in search of some liquid gold.
Once on Pacific Ave, which served as the main artery for the festivities, you were no longer running into hundreds of beer lovers – but rather queuing up alongside thousands of thirsty cohorts who were taking advantage of the picture perfect summer day to hang out with friends and to discover some new craft brews to stock in their ‘fridge. But the waits went quick for most beer lovers as they queued with a cold one in hand and got the scoop from other microbrew lovers on what they should try next.
Half-way into the nine hour Brewfest I ran into Eric Radovich who heads up the Washington Beer Commission. Finding one of the last free patches of pavement to make a quick phone call and catch up on some Commission-related email, Radovich commented that they had already seen more than 2,800 people pass through the gate. And he was fairly confident that they would reach the expected attendance of 4,000 long before the last beer was poured.
So what was everyone lining up to taste?
As expected, plenty of established breweries were on hand pulling some of their summer specials including Fremont Brewing Co., Redhook, Hale’s Ale and the ever present Pike Brewing Company.
But the longest lines could be found at some of the younger, edgier upstart breweries located west of the Sound.
Poulsbo did itself proud with offerings from two breweries new to the scene. The Slippery Pig Brewery offered up a Hogs Breath Hefe that was the perfect American Honey Wheat beer for the 80-degree heat bouncing off the pavement.
And over at Sound Brewery (also from Poulsbo) the line snaked around to try their Monk’s Indiscretion, a Belgian style specialty ale which snagged the 2011 US Beer Open Gold Medal earlier this year. Word spread through the crowd that it was a “can’t miss” and that the keg always ran dry quick when it was poured.
Host city Bremerton was not to be outdone and scored plenty of fans with its new entries onto the beer scene.
Der Blokken Brewery offered up a couple of summer ales with its Pactolian Pale Ale and its maltier Double IPA brethren – the Sacred Hop. If you were looking to add even more complextion to your summer time beverage Der Blokken offered up their “Black” Stout which combined hints of coffee, dark chocolate and mild hops with a rich and dry finish.
And Silver City Brewery had its own toast to summer that had the crowds queued. Like Der Blokken, Silver City offered up three summer choices that went from crisp to full-bodied. The classically named Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager was well balanced with herbal hops and a honey-like malt flavor.
If you wanted to take that up a notch on the herbal scale then the Cask Condition Ziggy Zoggy Summer Lager would fit that bill. Finally, for a more full-bodied treat Silver City had their Ridgetop Red Ale on tap.
The local brewing community has definitely found a new home in Bremerton. If you missed the Summer Brewfest this year – not to worry.
As Radovich finished his phone call and a few follow-up texts he looked up at the crowd who had descended upon Bremerton for a taste of what Washington State brewers had to offer and exclaimed, “We’ll definitely be back next year!”