Seattle Showcases Summer Festivals
Seattle may be synonymous with coffee, but at the Seattle International Beerfest, the world’s craft beer brewers will put their idea of alchemy on display. If you’re one who believes the golden liquid really is the elixir of life — or you just enjoy a chilly quaff — you won’t want to miss this hoppy event.
Taking place from July 6-8 at the Seattle Center Fisher Pavilion, located mere steps from the iconic Space Needle, the festival will offer the chance to sample more than 200 beers from 16 countries, including some hometown favorites.
Created to showcase obscure and exotic beers from around the world, SIB (as the festival is known in beer circles) got its start in 2002 when 3,000 people gathered to sample a handful of brews. Event organizer Rick Carpenter said at the time he wanted to provide a different experience than the standard beer festival, which always featured mainstream brews. Though many now include specialty beers, which Carpenter says he’s happy to see, 15,000 beer enthusiasts attended the Seattle event last year to taste beer styles ranging from barrel-aged ales to imperial stouts to wild yeast-fermented Belgian lambics. It’s no wonder SIB has been called the most sophisticated beer festival around.
The $25 to $30 cost of admission includes 10 beer tickets and a commemorative event glass. You can purchase additional tickets (4 oz. beer samples cost from 1 to 7 tickets). The price covers re-entry all weekend, though festival organizers recommend early attendance since the rarest bottles and kegs tend to get drained first.
Later in the month, Seattle’s top restaurants will put the polish on their masterpieces and serve them up at the Comcast Bite of Seattle, also being held at the Seattle Center. Since its origin in 1982, the Bite has grown into one of the city’s biggest summer festivals.
This year the July 20-22 festivities will include a comedy club, a piano bar, wine tastings and, of course, local flavor. Home cooks can enter a video for the chance to become a celebrity chef for the day, cooking in front of a crowd on the new demo stage on the Fisher Pavilion roof with some of the area’s notable professional chefs.
Admission to this family-friendly event is free, and includes food samples and entertainment. If you want a more in-depth Pacific Northwest culinary experience, a $10 admission gets you into The Alley, hosted by Tom Douglas, where you can sample food from some of Seattle’s finest restaurants, both mainstays and up-and-comers. Proceeds benefit the Food Lifeline, an organization that feeds the hungry throughout Western Washington.
After you’ve had your fill, head over to the Capitol Hill Block Party, where you can dance away the calories. Also taking place July 20-22 this year, the Block Party will rock until 2 a.m. to the sounds of 100 bands and DJs from throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country, including Neko Case, Fitz and the Tantrums, and the Lumineers.
Spread onto six stages positioned throughout the South Capitol Hill neighborhood, the 16th annual Block Party will take place rain or shine. You can purchase the $85 three-day pass or single-day tickets for $30 online; first-come, first-served door sales may be available, though be warned: the festival sold out last year.