Two beer fests set this summer in Vancouver

Organizers hope the June, August events downtown will be the first of many

By Sue Vorenberg, Columbian features reporter

Published:

 

Beer Fests

Who’s Your Daddy

When: noon to 9 p.m. June 16.

Where: Turtle Place, Seventh and Main streets in downtown Vancouver.

What: Festival featuring about a dozen small Washington breweries, two food vendors and a chili cookoff.

Cost: Not fixed yet, probably $15.

Information: http://on.fb.me/H9YVPj

Vancouver Brewfest

When: 3-9 p.m. Aug. 10; noon to 9 p.m. Aug. 11.

Where: Esther Short Park, Sixth and Esther streets in downtown Vancouver.

What: Regional beer festival featuring brewers from Washington and Oregon — including all Clark County’s breweries — with six food vendors, live music, a brewer’s tent and home brewing classes.

Cost: Not fixed yet, packages probably starting at $20.

Information: http://vancouverbrewfest.com.

A good batch of local draughts could soon quench Vancouver’s brewfest drought.

Two beer festivals are coming this summer -- the first two in the city’s history, as far as anybody can tell. And each one will offer something different for Clark County’s beer-loving public.

“We always wanted to put together the first ever beerfest in Vancouver, and ours will be it,” said Arlene Nunez, co-owner of By The Bottle in downtown Vancouver. “We beat the other brewfest by only about a month, but we’ll take it.”

The By The Bottle-sponsored festival, called “Who’s Your Daddy,” will feature about a dozen small brewers from Washington, most likely including Clark County’s Salmon Creek Brewery and Mt. Tabor Brewing, and will include a

chili fest and two food vendors. It’s set for June 16 in Turtle Place at the intersection of Seventh and Main streets.

The second, the Vancouver Brewfest, will be Aug. 10-11 in Esther Short Park. Two local entrepreneurs, Cody Gray and Andrew Stromberg, have been planning it for about a year and hope to include several regional craft brewers from both Washington and Oregon.

“We want to have every single Clark County brewery there,” Gray said. “We both love beer, and we decided we really just needed to do this.”

Their fest will be larger than “Who’s Your Daddy” with local bands, at least six food vendors and some brew-your-own-beer classes for enthusiasts.

“We want to get several unique beers that you won’t usually see, and we hope to draw people from Portland and Southwest Washington,” Stromberg said. “I’d like to get some farmhouse ales, some other interesting things out there.”

It might sound like the two festivals are in competition, but actually the organizers say there’s plenty of room for both.

“We’ve been talking to each other a lot,” Nunez said. “I’m in full support of that festival. We all hope these will be the first of many events.”

“Who’s Your Daddy” can accommodate about 500 guests, and Nunez said she hopes to draw crowds from both sides of the river. The small brewers she plans to feature will offer beers that aren’t available in Portland, she added.

“This event is really going to bring people downtown,” Nunez said.

The event is actually 2 years old, but it’s never been held as an outdoor beer festival before. It started off two years ago as a fundraiser for CDM Services, a nonprofit in-home health services provider.

“In our first year, we raised $3,000 and last year we raised $6,000 for them, but we’ve outgrown our venue and we had to move to something bigger,” Nunez said. “Turtle Place is perfect, and we really hope we can double the money again this year so we can give them $12,000.”

Both festivals are working with Bader Beer & Wine Supply to spread the word and help find volunteers, and the organizers of both say they want to work with as many local businesses as possible.

“Andy and I both live in Vancouver and we want this to be Vancouver-focused and in support of the community, and I know Arlene feels the same way,” Gray said. “We all want to be good community partners.”

The beer scene in Clark County has been growing quickly, and Gray said he hopes to see that trend continue.

“It seems just a few years ago there were only just a couple of breweries here, and now there are going to be seven or eight of them with Loowit (brewing) and Heathen (brewing) and others moving in,” Gray said. “It’s funny that people in Portland are afraid to cross the bridge, because they’re missing out.”

The Vancouver Brewfest can accommodate about 8,000 people over the two days. It’s also a nonprofit fundraiser for charity, with proceeds going to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Portland, Second Chance Companions, Disabled American Veterans and Fish First.

“We plan on making this an annual event, and we want to encourage people to be supportive,” Gray said.