Whats hopping at the Olympia Brew Fest?
For the events second year, there will be more breweries, more kinds of beer and, organizers hope, more attendees.
Last years festival exceeded expectations, drawing close to 2,000 people, said Mike Marohn, chairman of the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the festival.
The festival, happening Saturday at the Port Plaza, will have on tap as many as 33 breweries and at least 70 different beers, including a blackberry wheat and an oatmeal hefeweizen.
A longtime beer enthusiast, Marohn is more concerned with the quality of the beers than the quantity.
We strived to improve the quality of our offerings, he said. Unlike a lot of brew fests that Ive attended where theyll work with maybe just a certain distributor and the breweries that they work with, we chose to go for some really top-quality individual breweries.
You dont have to worry about coming in and having a brew that is like Ugh, whats this?
The participating breweries are mostly from Washington, with a few coming from Oregon, he said. Hes particularly excited to try the beers brewed by Mike Davis of Redmonds new Hi-Fi Brewing Co. Davis formerly worked at Harmon Brewing in Tacoma. Ive known him for a long time, Marohn said. I have confidence that hes going to bring some good stuff.
The festival also features music blues by Olympias John Scooch Cugno and the 88s; rock by Silver Bullet, with members from Yelm and McKenna; and funk by Seattles Eldridge Gravy and the Court Supreme and, of course, food.
In addition to brats, burgers and barbecue, the festival has added a vegetarian option this year, flatbread with vegetables, prepared by the Hawks Prairie Casinos Riverbend Restaurant. Therell also be not-too-sweet desserts by Blend Cafe.
With more breweries 28 participated last year and more beers, the festival needs a bit more space this year, too. Were expanding, said Alisha Blain, the chambers events coordinator. Were going into more of the Port Plaza area.
One thing that did not expand is the hours. Last year, the festival was open from noon to 10 p.m. This year, its just 1 to 8:30 p.m.
It just got to be a real long day, especially for the brewers, Marohn said. We wanted to make it more of a daytime event.