Festival celebrates the art of craft brewing

Bennett Thurmon has been brewing beer at home for 25 years. Not long ago, a friend pointed out to him that Tacoma lacked a beer festival, so Thurmon decided it was time to do something about it. The result is Tacoma Craft Beer Festival. The fourth annual event will take place on Sept. 1.

“It has turned out to be quite a lot of fun and quite rewarding,” said Thurmon, who is director of the festival. The event continues to grow in popularity. It was held in Foss Waterway Seaport the first and second year. It outgrew that venue so last year it was moved to the park at 2101 Dock Street on Thea Foss Waterway.

Last year the event drew 41 brewers. That turned out to be not enough, as ticket sales were halted at 4:30 p.m. when beer was running low. “Last year we had to turn away hordes of people,” Thurmon said. “This year we will make sure to have lots of beer on hand.”

He said 65 brewers have expressed interest in participating this year. He expects to pare that number down to about 58. Most are from Washington, with a few from Oregon and California. There might be a brewer or two from Colorado as well.

“A lot of brewers tell us we run the best festival in Washington,” Thurmon remarked.

Brew Essentials, a local business, will do on-site brewing demonstrations. Various brewers will be available to discuss their brewing process.

“It will bring together those who are passionate about craft beer,” Thurmon commented.

For entertainment there will be music from six bands, and there will be karaoke as well. Food vendors will sell Mexican food, barbeque and other cuisine.

Proceeds from the festival will go to Tacoma Historical Society. Thurmon has a friend who is on its board of directors. He told Thurmon the society obtained 3,000 glass negatives from a photography studio that were taken around the turn of the last century. As the society lacks the funds to develop them, members considered donating the negatives to Tacoma Public Library but the library also lacks the needed funds.

“[The historical society] needed some help raising money and we are happy to do it,” Thurmon remarked.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is 21 and over only. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door, with a $10 discount for active-duty military at the door. Tickets include a 5.5-ounce glass and 10 tokens for tastes. Additional pours will cost $1.50. For more information visit www.tacomacraftbeerfest.com.


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