by Kirby Lindsay, posted 10 September 2014
“Washington has some world class breweries,” John Thorburn recently observed. He should know. As Marketing Director for Bold Hat Productions, Thorburn has been able to meet the rising stars and reigning gods of beer, as they sign on to pour their best at Fremont Oktoberfest on September 19th, 20th & 21st.
Bold Hat organizes the Fremont Oktoberfest on behalf of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber is about business, and promotion, so our Oktoberfest has always been about giving breweries (large and small) a place to meet their customers, and give their best. “As a beer lover,” Thorburn said, “one of the things I enjoy most is Fremont Oktoberfest.”
Washington State grows 75% of the U.S. production of hops, which has resulted in a wealth of breweries here. Fifty breweries, most from around Washington, will bring more than 100 craft and seasonal brews to the Fremont Oktoberfest. “We’ve got it all,” observed Phil Megenhardt, Creative Director for Bold Hat.
“Somebody who hasn’t been to Oktoberfest before,” Thorburn acknowledged, “might not understand what is going on here.” Fremont Oktoberfest can just be about drinking beer – this year they have two places where drinkers can enjoy one-liter steins or ‘boots’ – but Fremont Oktoberfest specializes in providing tastes of many different brews.
Both admission levels include ‘tasting tokens’ and a 5-ounce ‘mini-mug’ that give attendees the opportunity to sample an assortment of brews, and/or ciders. According to Thorburn, five ‘mini-mug’ samples (providing you slurped down every drop) would not quite equal two full beers.
At Oktoberfest, “we’re celebrating the local breweries, and what they have,” Thorburn explained. In this case, local doesn’t just mean Fremont, although both Hale’s Ales and Fremont Brewing will be on-hand. Local does include a great representation of Pacific Northwest breweries including Northwest Peaks, Snoqualmie Falls, Everybody’s Brewing, Seapine, Elysian, Georgetown Brewing, Peddler, Mac & Jacks, Two Beers Brewing, and Sound Brewing.
Flavors Far & Near
“As far as a beer tasting event, Oktoberfest is one of the biggest in the North West,” Thorburn observed, “there’s a lot on tap here that I want to try, but I know I won’t be able to try them all. I will have to go visit…”
When choosing which beers to sample, geography may be one way to decide. It would be easier to make a day trip to Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, after Fremont Oktoberfest, and give them a taste – than to travel to Germany and try the Franziskaner Hefe Weisse. Of course, another way to decide might be the beers.
Fremont Oktoberfest provides a full spectrum of options – IPAs, seasonal brews, imports, and some more curious creations. Peddler Brewing has Tangerine Wheat, Mad River Brewing has Flor de Jamaica, and Backwoods Brewing offers Blueberry Wheat. Laurelwood Brewing will serve its Pumpkin Ale, 10 Barrel Brewing will offer the Big Ol’ Pumpkin, and Alaskan Brewing has a Pumpkin Porter. Some breweries, like HopWorks, will skip fall and move right on to winter with their Adominable Winter Ale.
For the adventurous, try Anchor Brewing Big Leaf Maple, Laguintas Brewing’s High West Cappuccino Stout or Blue Moon’s Cinnamon Horchata Ale. Gilgamesh Brewing will offer Mamba, a malt beverage with black tea flavors, and Vader CDA, aged with roasted coffee beans. For a special Oktoberfest brew, check on Leinenkugel’s Leinenkugel Oktoberfest (just don’t make me pronounce it,) the Doppel Dinkel Bock from Deschutes, or (again, from Germany,) the Spaten Oktoberfest. Or just look for an incredible selection of IPAs, from the traditional to the entirely citrus, to some exotic mixes.
For cider lovers (or those who want to try this new drink sensation,) Fremont’s own Schilling & Company Hard Cider will offer seven of their brews – including Chocolate Nitro, Siracha Lime, and Blue Perry, while Atlas Cider is bringing us Blackberry Elderberry, Pomegranate Cherry and Apricot Cider. Also look for ciders from Angry Orchard, from Cincinnati, Ohio, Crispin Cider, from Colfax, California, and Woodchuck, from Vermont.
How To Enjoy Oktoberfest
As to the beer drinkers, “we attract both,” Thorburn said of ‘typical’ Oktoberfest-ers, “We can get the real beer connoisseurs, and we can also get the people who want to drink beer with their friends.”
Everyone has plenty of options for how to enjoy Oktoberfest – and how to fit it into their weekend. For those who fear missing ‘The Game’, Oktoberfest has a Sports Bar in the Fremont Studios (you haven’t seen the Seahawks beat the Broncos – again – until you’ve seen it on building-sized screens inside the Studios.) On Saturday, you can also watch the Husky’s play, all while drinking 16 oz. cups or full 1-liter sized ‘Buxom’ beers.
To enter the Sports Bar, and the Buxom Beer Garden, adults must pay for admission into Oktoberfest. Yet, on Sunday, September 21st, those under 21 get in free, with an adult, so everyone can enjoy the other Oktoberfest entertainments (beyond the beer,) including live music, dog costume contest, the Texas Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving and kids’ games.
So, it is important to figure out what kind of admission to purchase:
- a Festival Only Admission includes 4 vouchers for non-alcoholic drinks (Thomas Kemper’s yummy root beer, and others…)
- a General Admission includes five 5-oz. tasting tokens
- a Grand Admission includes 10 tokens for the 5-oz. tastes
- a V.I.P. Fremont Brew Crew membership, which includes entry, a special seating area, special kegs, a t-shirt and discount cards for use a Fremont eating/entertainment establishments, or
- a Fremont Oktoberfest volunteer position, which requires four hours of work one day, but gives you – for FREE – a groovy t-shirt, entry for one of the other two days of Oktoberfest, and tasting tokens
Fremont Oktoberfest has a 5K fun run, the Street Scramble, a Chainsaw Pumpkin Carving, entertainment all day, every day, plus fun for the kids and dogs. The whole festival raises funds for Fremont Chamber operations and community grants.
Yet, Fremont Oktoberfest has plenty of beer, and cider, on tap too! Purchase tickets today, through Stranger Tickets, to be part of the annual celebration. After all, Fremont Oktoberfest may not be ALL about the beer, but it is about beer!
- Scramble Along The Streets Of Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 20, 2010
- Pumpkin Pulp, Made By Chainsaw
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 19, 2011
- Hop Scotch, And Fund Community Projects
- by Kirby Lindsay, April 14, 2014
- You Did What?!? or, Oktoberfest, A Background
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 23, 1999
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.