Brewfests: Change Is Inevitable

This summer brings a mix of old and new beer-focused events. The Washington Brewers Guild (WBG) stages its first Washington Brewers' Festival, with 40 craft brewers, Saturday, June 17–Sunday, June 18, at Seattle Center's Fisher Pavilion. Observant beer drinkers will notice that the timing of the event resembles that of a brewfest previously held at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, the Summer Microbrew Festival. A successful annual affair, the microbrew fest's logistics were handled by Bold Hat Productions. WBG member brewers and others worked the booths, talked beer, and tossed empty kegs in an afternoon competition. This year, the WBG and Bold Hat parted ways, and the WBG is producing its own festival. In May, Bold Hat announced a change of direction for its events business—toward charity fund-raisers. Other news: Charles Finkel, with wife Rose Ann, is back in the craft brewing and pub trade. Finkel is the founder of beer importer Merchant du Vin and Pike Brewing Company. MdV and Pike were sold a few years ago, but on May 24, the Finkels announced that, as of May 28, "the Finkel family has reacquired full ownership of the Pike Brewing Company." Pike, which is a separate entity from MdV, will concentrate on its ale range and market-based brewpub. It will pour Kilt Lifter Scotch Style ale, Bootleg Imperial Brown ale, and Pike IPA at the Washington Brewers' Festival. If you're up for imports from Merchant du Vin and the like, there's more good beery fun to be had Friday, June 30–Sunday, July 2, at Seattle Center (again!), when the Seattle International Beerfest makes its annual appearance in the Mural Amphitheatre. Expect a wide range of imported and domestic brews from Belgium, Germany, the U.K., Eastern Europe, the U.S.A., and elsewhere. You'll also find exotic brews handled by local specialists Click Distributing and Browar Polska, and you'll see some familiar import names like Spaten and Chimay alongside exotica like 3 Fonteinen Oude Kriek and Walking Man's "My Old Kentucky Homo"—a bourbon-barrel-aged version of the brewery's Homo Erectus imperial IPA. Ahh. Two fine brewfests in town (just weekends apart), both with the possibility of good summer weather: It doesn't get much better than this, does it?

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