15th Annual Olympic Club Brewfest – McMenamins – Centralia, WA

Finally after four years of trying to make it to this event and always having another event in the way, I finally made it!  I must also add for this weary driving beer blogger it was finally easy to get to.  They put together one awesome “little” festival.  Besides 7 different brews from other McMenamins in the region, they also brought in beers from Diamond Knot, Dicks, Elliot Bay, Fish Brewing and Merchant Du Vin Importer to have a good amount of liquid libations available.

Did you know that of all 57 of the McMenamins locations, almost every place has some sort of brewing set up – ranging from a small one barrel to the big 15 barrel system. So they all brew; it’s just a matter of when and what.  I found this out from talking with one of the local traveling McMenamins brewers, who goes from place to place to make the special brews for several locations in Washington State.  Tannar Brewer is his name and you could say he gets around.  He brewed four of the seven brews just for this festival and did a great job.  I really liked the MI-5 IPA from Mill Creek.  The Six Arms store has nothing hang their heads low about the Skinny Pants Black IPA.  I am sure he named that one after me.  (LOL)  There was a Spar Martian Pepper ale made at the Spar Café from Olympia, with a hint of pepper that was enough to make it very enjoyable but not make you wish for ice cream later on.

What can one say about the venue – typical McMenamins with awesome paintings and artwork all throughout the old Olympic Club building.  They took the theatre area and put all the brewers in one end and the rest for the drinking masses to mingle. The back doors opened for fresh air and the wafting smell of fresh BBQ – not fair!  They also had tons of seats and a covered area outside for the overflow.  Just be careful as you are a stone’s throw from the train station; one wrong step and you headed to Portland.  Later in the day the music came out to create a festive mood.  The crowds got much more intense when it got later in the day so to avoid the crowds come early.  I must mention the BBQ is off the hook good, so if you arrive late in the day they can and will run out.

All in all, it was a terrific time.  The beers were great and the people were awesome.  I know for this beer geek it was a nice small festival and I enjoyed myself and had some very tasty brews from both McMenamins and the others.  Fish Brewing CDA – Awesome.  Diamond Knot Brown and IPA – Wow.  Last but not least, Dicks Brewing IPA was still tasty as ever.  See you all again next year at the 16th Annual Olympic Club Brewfest.