Seattle Beer Week (SBW) can be a costly endeavor. Depending on how many different events you plan on attending, in addition to any special dinners or other ticketed events, keeping up with the Jones’ can become a costly prospect this time of year for Seattle area craft beer fans. This year’s SBW kind of snuck up on me a bit. I can’t believe it starts in just one month.
Back in 2013 I ran the first version of this article: Seattle Beer Week On A Budget. In that article, I told you about one event each day during SBW #5 that would be kind to your wallet and give you the biggest bang for your buck. There are nearly 180 different events listed on the schedule for this year’s Seattle Beer Week already, and there’s still a month to go. Deciding which event(s) to attend can be a challenging task. There’s often more than one event I’d like to attend happening at the same time, and usually on opposite ends of town.
Last time, I listed just one event per day. This time, however, I’ll list two different events for each day of SBW, but you’ll have to decide which one(s) to hit. Hard choices sometimes have to be made.
Here are my recommendations for the best and most cost-effective events you’ll find at Seattle Beer Week this year:
Thursday – May 7th:
Sieben Brau Tasting at various Whole Foods Market locations – 4:00 PM. Come out to Whole Foods Market in Redmond, Lynnwood, Interbay, Roosevelt Square, Bellevue or Westlake to taste the official beer of Seattle Beer Week #7: Sieben Brau, brewed by Silver City Brewery out on the Olympic Peninsula. This event should be inexpensive and easy for just about anyone to attend. Just find the Whole Foods Market closest to you and be there between 4 PM and 6 PM.
Cask-O-Rama at Beveridge Place Pub – 6:00PM. Did you miss Cask Fest this year – or are you just a fan of cask beer and you want more? This annual event is like a mini cask fest, with 20 casks on the bartop from 20 different Seattle breweries. Have a taster tray (usually $20 or less) or just have a pint or two. You can keep the cost low here and still have a great time.
Friday – May 8th:
Back In Black Stout Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe – 11:00 AM. This event is a must for stout fans. The majority of Brouwers’ 57 taps will be taken over by stouts of every variety. If you love it thick and dark, and perhaps even barrel aged, then this is the event for you. Keeping it cost effective is a matter of how many stouts you choose to enjoy. If your budget demands that you only have one or two, at least you’ll have a great selection to choose from. If you can spend a bit more, you may find yourself lingering at Brouwer’s for hours, sampling as much of the dark delicious nectar you can handle. Just be sure to make travel arrangements. Often times, many of the stouts featured at this event are pretty high octane.
Nanobrewery Night at Naked City Brewery & Taphouse – 6:00 PM. C’mon, lets get small. This event features over 15+ different local nanobreweries from Washington state. Being small doesn’t mean you can’t make a good beer. Come have some big fun as you enjoy a pint or two from the smallest of the small. Go easy on your wallet by only having a few. Perhaps these two: “Naked City and Geaux Brewing collaborated on a rum soaked barley wine brewed just for this one amazing night! And Naked City and Outlander Brewing collaborated on a Lemon Lavender Pale just for this one amazing night!”
Saturday – May 9th:
Barleywood Squares at Naked City Brewery & Taphouse – 12:00 PM. Returning for a second year, Barleywood Squares is the beer-centric version of the classic TV game show: Hollywood Squares. Test your craft beer knowledge as the region’s most celebrated brewers provide witty answers to craft beer-centric questions in a life-size ‘Hollywood Squares’ tic-tac-toe board in Naked City’s Walrus beer garden. “Featuring celebrity brewers, and beers, hosted by Ninkasi & Naked City. And many other great breweries to be announced!” This event is free to attend, but you might want to quench your thirst with some delicious Naked City beer as you enjoy the show.
Beer Can Derby at The Pine Box – 2:00 PM. Back for its fourth year, the Pine Box Can Derby is a fun event that brings back memories of my Pinewood Derby days in the Boy Scouts. Build a can racer and race for glory and prizes. This year’s event is hosted by New Belgium Brewing. The cost for this event is minimal – just a few bucks for your wheels and axle. Of course, you could spend a few bucks more and enjoy a beer or two while you watch the races. You can build your racer at home and bring it in or build one on site. Just make sure it complies with all the rules.
Here are the rules The Pine Box listed for last year’s derby. I have no reason to suspect they have changed:
1. The can weight shall not exceed 5.0 ounces. The official race scale shall be considered final.
2. The overall length of the can shall not exceed 7 inches.
3. The overall width of the can shall not exceed 2 ¾ inches.
4. The can must have 1 ¾” clearance between the wheels.
5. The can must have 3/8” clearance underneath the body.
6. The can may be shaped any way that is desired.
7. The can must be freewheeling, with no starting devices.
8. You must use official Pine Box Wheels and Axles, Available at the Pine Box.
Sunday – May 10th:
Mother’s Day BBQ at Prost! West Seattle – 3:00 PM. Bring mom and your best dish out for a pot luck style BBQ in Prost’s biergarten (and inside), and help out those less fortunate by bringing something to donate to the West Seattle Food Bank. Prost! will be serving up grilled brats and sides for no charge and all moms get $1 off their beers. Now that’s a deal.
Iron Brewer Triple Header at Beveridge Place Pub – 5:00 PM. Iron Brewer is an ongoing series of events at Beveridge Place. The idea is that Beveridge Place chooses the ingredients, and breweries compete to see who can make the best beer using those ingredients. Try them all with a taster tray (usually $20 or less).
The match up for this triple header includes:
- Harmon vs Hi-Fi
Sesame and Plum
- Diamond Knot vs Valhöll
Apricot and Almond
- Schooner Exact vs No-Li
Blackberry and Lavender
Monday – May 11th:
THIS IS WASHINGTON DAMMIT! at Beveridge Place Pub – 2:00 PM. This event features 36 different beers from 36 different Washington State breweries and ONLY Washington state breweries, dammit! Monday is usually ‘Micro Monday’ at Beveridge Place Pub, which means $3.50 pints of featured Washington microbrews. For this event, all 36 beers will be $3.50 a pint – very economical.
Green Flash & Ninkasi Laser Tag Battle at Virtual Sports – 7:00 PM. Pew, pew! I got you! Come enjoy some tasty beers from Green Flash Brewing and Ninkasi Brewing and join a team for some laser tag down in Tukwila. This event will run you $15 per person, and sounds like a lot of fun. Just don’t have too many beers or your aim may suffer.
Tuesday – May 12th:
Can You Handle My Randall at The Pine Box – 4:00 PM. A Randall is a device that is hooked up between the keg and the tap, allowing you to infuse different ingredients into beers as they flow from keg to glass. 12 different Randalls will be hooked up out on The Pine Box’s patio, and 12 different beers will be pouring. Here’s a recap of this event from Seattle Beer Week #5 in 2013, to give you some idea of what to expect. The lineup for this year’s Can You Handle My Randall has not yet been announced, but I’m sure the folks at The Pine Box will come up with some creative and tasty combinations, as always. Tickets are usually just a few bucks a taste, so you can try them all or just have a few and keep your costs down.
Puget Sound Barrel Aged Beers at The Sixgill – 4:00 PM. I love a good barrel aged beer. There’s just something about aging beer in wooden barrels that adds something special. This event will feature barrel aged beers from Anacortes, Bainbridge Island, Engine House No. 9, North Sound, Schooner Exact, Sound, and Two Beers. How much you spend will depend on how many different barrel aged beers you want to try.
Wednesday – May 13th:
FIRKIN FIRKIN!! at Elysian Brewing Capitol Hill – 12:00 PM. A Firkin is a type of cask that holds about 9 gallons (about 72 pints). So this is basically another cask fest and, yes, it’s at Elysian Brewing. Get over it. The list has not been announced for this event yet and your cost will depend on how many different Firkins you want to sample.
Pint Night Challenge: Gigantic & Ecliptic at Toronado – 6:00 PM. Gigantic Brewing and Ecliptic Brewing fight to the death! Well, not really. However, this epic battle will decide who gets to have a featured tap handle at Toronado for the next year. Brewers Ben Love and John Harris will be on hand to chat with you and hand out pint glasses. Come out and help your favorite take the title. You can keep your costs down at this event by only having a few pints and you might even go home with a free glass.
Thursday – May 14th:
Sourfest at Brouwer’s Cafe – 11:00 AM. Pucker up and get ready for one of the most popular festivals of the year at Brouwer’s Cafe. If you’re not a fan of sour beers, this is the event that will turn you on to them. The majority of Brouwer’s 57 taps will be taken over with sour, tart, funky goodness. Come early, because there’s always a line for this festival. If you get hooked it could take a bit of a toll on your wallet but, if you must, you can limit yourself to just a few to keep your costs down.
Georgetown Bob’s Brown Release at Beveridge Place Pub – 6:00 PM. The annual release of Bob’s Brown Ale from Georgetown Brewing. This beer is brewed just once a year and released every May 14th (Bob’s birthday). 100% of the proceeds from the sale of Bob’s are donated to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Washington and Alaska in honor of Charles “Bob” Hirsch. Bob died from leukemia back in 2004, only about a month after his 21st birthday. Last year, they raised $101,909. Let’s see if we can help them raise even more this year.
Friday – May 15th:
Beer Sale! at various Whole Foods Market locations – all day. Want to stock up while taking it easy on your wallet? Come out to Whole Foods Market in Redmond, Lynnwood, Interbay, Roosevelt Square, Bellevue or Westlake and save 20% off all beer purchases, all day long. Any beer – 20% off. Cha-ching!
Bodacious Beverages Fest at Beveridge Place Pub – 2:00 PM. “As many unusual beers as we can come up with. Odd ones, rare ones, new ones, etc. Barrel-aged brews, sour beers, fruit & spice beers, and more! Taster trays encouraged!” As they suggest, a taster tray is the way to go here. Taster try prices at Beveridge Place are usually $20 or less and let you try 6 different beers.
Saturday – May 16th:
Brewshed® Tap Takeover at Watershed Pub And Kitchen – all day. The Brewshed Alliance takes over all 18 taps at Watershed Pub And Kitchen. $1 per glass sold will be donated to Washington Wild in honor of the Brewshed® Alliance and Connection. Also, $2 per beer will be donated to keep Washington wild, green, and full of great beer. Keep your costs low by only having a few. “For each Brewshed® beer purchased you will also receive a drawing ticket for free schwag- you don’t have to be present to win (though prizes may vary depending on presence). Drawings will be done at 6:30 PM and 9:00 PM before a brief program and live music.”
Here is the lineup:
1.Airways Brewing Company
2.Aslan Brewing Co.
3.Bainbridge Island Brewing
4.Big Al Brewing
5.Boundary Bay Brewing
6.Elliott Bay Brewing Company
8.Hi-Fi Brewing Co.
9.Island Hoppin’ Brewery
11.Naked City Brewery & Taphouse
12.New Belgium Brewing
13.NW Peaks Brewery
14.Peddler Brewing Company
15.Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company
18.Twin River Brewing Company
Sunday – May 17th:
Last Call Beer Week Party at Chuck’s Hop Shop, Central District – 12:00 PM. Join the crews from several different breweries for a Seattle Beer Week-ending party including: Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, HUB, Two Beers, Deschutes and Firestone. “The festivities will include 24 carefully selected draft offerings, delicious food truck action, and giveaways.” This event shouldn’t cost you any more than any regular trip out to Chuck’s. Hobnob with the crews and enjoy a few brews.
Hellbent Brewing Launch Party at Rhein Haus – 5:00 PM. Why not end Seattle Beer Week by celebrating one of Seattle’s newest breweries. Hellbent Brewing Company hasn’t even opened their doors yet, but the beers will be ready in time for this event. “Former Rhein Haus bartender, Chris “Larry” Giles, is finally seeing his dream of opening a brewery come true! After over two years, a lot of hard work, and almost losing two fingers, the beer is ready. Come try a selection of brews from this brand new Seattle brewery.” Keep your costs down by limiting your choices to just a pint or two. Personally, I think they should name their first beer: For Leather.
This concludes Craft Beer Monger’s budget-friendly picks for Seattle Beer Week 2015. If you don’t see a particular event you’re looking for, or if the events I’ve listed here aren’t resonating with you, be sure to check out the full list of events on the official Seattle Beer Week website. Also, if you want to attend any ticketed events, don’t delay. Many of them sell out quickly. Start making your plans now. Seattle Beer Week kicks off in 1 month.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.