Five Quirky Washington Beer Festivals


There are dozens of "normal" beer festivals to attend in the Evergreen State. Attendees show up, try four or fifteen beers, and go home. End of story. Only a select few festivals — the quirky ones — are truly memorable. So brush up on your beer fest navigation skills. It's time to try something completely different.

Strange Brewfest
There's no understanding Strange Brewfest without attending it. You can try to process their murky marketing, mulling over phrases like, "Over 35 breweries and over 70 beers to wash over parched lips after the chariot ride to the games." But you'd be better off attending the event, and experiencing its merrymaking for yourself. Strange Brewfest takes place each January at the American Legion in Port Townsend.

Collaboration Festival
New in 2016, the Washington Beer Collaboration Festival is one of a kind. Brewers from 50 breweries around the state pair up to make 25 unique beers for the event. Ever wonder what would happen if Red Hook and Chuckanut Brewery had a lovechild? How about Georgetown and Two Beers? There's only one way to find out, and it's by attending this April festival at South Lake Union Discovery Lawn.

National Lentil Festival
What is National Lentil Festival doing in a beer fest roundup? This pulse party's in Pullman, and that means celebrating with beer. It's even branded as "Pullman's Original Food and Brew Fest". So head on out to the Palouse — where 18% of the nation's lentils are grown — to enjoy some legume chili with your brews. This one's held annually in August near downtown Pullman.

Oktoberfest
You don't have to fly to Germany to attend the great granddaddy of beer festivals. Set in the faux-Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington's Oktoberfest is the next best thing to being in Munich. Don your lederhosen or dirndl, swill stein-fulls of beer brewed for the event, and munch brats to the tune of musical groups hailing all the way from Germany. Prost!

Weird Beer on the River
This aptly-named beer festival takes place at Marina Park in Washougal. Each July, 25 breweries gather to serve at least one "weird" brew made exclusively for the event. In 2015, Fremont Brewing offered "Summer Sushi Pale Ale," made with pickled ginger and nori. Expect beers made with fruits, vegetables, and possibly even seafood. The best thing about Weird Beer on the River? All proceeds from the event will support services for veterans, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Cheers to a good cause.

Brandon Fralic is a Bellingham-based freelance writer. With a focus on the outdoors, travel, and craft beer, he has contributed to a handful of publications including Washington Trails, WhatcomTalk, and OutdoorsNW.