Fall is one of the best seasons to be a northwesterner. The weather gets nippier, the food gets hardier, and the beers flow like rivers through the craft brewing companies of Seattle. There are always numerous beer festivals and celebrations that take place during this autumnal period of the year. One such celebration is the Fremont Oktoberfest that takes place in Seattle every year. It was a three-day event that sported more than 25 different brewing companies and more than 100 different on-site libations. Chris and I felt it was our duty to show up and sample some of the greatest beers from across the country.
The first thing we noticed is how busy the festival was. We showed up on a Saturday, which could point to some of the crowd density. But for a smaller neighborhood like Fremont we were both surprised at the amount of people that were there. It was like attending Hempfest or PAX all over again, shouldering through the crowds just to get a glimpse of all the merch. Nevertheless we paid our $40 entrance, received our commemorative 5 ounce mugs, and 11 tasting tokens to hand out to the various breweries. We waded in.
I made a beeline for the first tent and was surprised to find that Blue Moon was operating the space. They were touting their Harvest Pumpkin Ale, Crispin’s Hard Cider, and a Blackberry Pear. The thing that set us both back was that such a large brewing company was basically front and center as soon as we passed through the gates. I snagged a Hard Cider but Chris made his way to the first of the tasting tents, which turned out to be a collection of craft breweries. This immediately set Chris off and I can’t blame him. Oktoberfests are supposed to be for craft breweries, but while we were getting a taste of what Mack & Jack’s had to offer (The Two Tun IPA for me and the Black Cat Porter for Chris), we noticed that other big named breweries were privileged enough to get their own tents. Pacifico and Deschutes were also present with their own special territory. Unfair if you’d have asked us.
The bad definitely didn’t outweigh the good. We still got to sample some amazing brews from some crazy good breweries. As it was an Oktoberfest, I made sure to grab as many of those seasonal beers as possible. I got one from Lazy Boy Brewery, Firestone Walker, and even the Georgetown Tomtoberfest. We did make a little bit of a mistake when we ventured into Chucanut’s territory. We figured with such an awesome name the Oktoberfest brew that came out Chucanut would be equally as awesome. We were wrong. Chris put it best, “That is just awful. It tastes like someone fermented salmon.” Definitely a mistake on my part, and we both suffered for it.
Aside from one or two rare misses we did have a blast. We got a chance to sample Newcastle’s Werewolf ale which is made with a blood orange. Chris sampled a brew called Pray for Snow from 10 Barrells, and he even braved the Harvest Pumpkin from Blue Moon, to which he said, “It tastes like a pumpkin Fruit Roll-up. And I dunno how I feel about that.” Before we left, we made sure to try two things that are always a must at Oktoberfests. The first of those being a hot-off-the-grill bratwurst with authentic spicy mustard and sauerkraut. It was devine. We also couldn’t leave tasting an actual German beer. Chris found us a Warsteiner brew called Dunkel, and we both enjoyed it. But for a celebration centered around a German tradition, the imported beers seemed to be hidden off to the side, while things like a strawberry vodka got full-on glass enclosures. Just didn’t seem quite right.
We did a final lap around the event and got the obligatory pictures of Oktoberfest’s own cosplayers. The atmosphere, while crowded and a little heavy on the bros, was definitely friendly. I think I’m correct in assuming that anyone who missed the event this year should definitely look for others in the area.
When is the Next Festival?