Hops Stops

Skagit Beer Week, Take Two


What: Skagit Beer Week

Where: Throughout Skagit Valley


WHEN: March 22-30

Cost: Varies


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Farmstrong Brewing Company has only been a part of the regional beer scene for the past three years, but they’ve used their time wisely by making it a goal to integrate the land they love into their brewing process. As of March 1, all of their sipping selections—from Valley Gold to La Raza Ambar and beyond—are now made from locally sourced grain.

“We’ve spent the last year working hand-in-hand with local farmers and maltsters to transfer the entirety of our recipes to 100 percent Skagit Valley malt,” Farmstrong’s Clay Christofferson says. “Every glass of Farmstrong beer now comes from grain that was grown, malted and brewed within a 10-mile radius. This ‘estate brewing’ aspect allows us to do something incredibly unique in the beer industry—showcase the terroir of our land. Crafting award-winning beer while remaining agriculturally independent is no longer a dream, but a reality.”

Find out for yourself what the rarefied results taste like when the Mount Vernon-based brewery helps kick off the second annual Skagit Beer Week from 5:30pm-10pm Sat., March 23 at their home base at 110 Stewart Road. In addition to acting as an announcement of change to Skagit-grown and malted grain, the free, all-ages event will also feature local bands Kicking Names, Whiskey Fever, and Lazy Acres. If the weather cooperates, the beer garden will be open for business. 

Attendees can enjoy Farmstrong fare again when Skagit Beer Week concludes with the Farm to Pint FEST taking place from 2pm-6pm Sat., March 30 at the Heritage Flight Museum located at the Port of Skagit. There, participating breweries—including Anacortes Brewery, Bastion Brewing, Birdsview Brewing, Cardinal Craft, Chuckanut Brewery, Garden Path, Flyers, La Conner Brewery, North Sound, Skagit River Brewery, 192 Brewing Co., and Skagit Valley Malting—will each pair one of their beers with a “bite” featuring ingredients from local farms, as well as offering additional tastings of their choice. Proceeds raised during the shindig will benefit the nonprofit farm business incubator and training program Viva Farms, making philanthropy part of your evening out.

Of course, much more will happen in between the beginning of Skagit Beer Week and its grand finale. Chuckanut Brewery will host a beer dinner Fri., March 22 at its South Nut Tap Room (11937 Higgins Airport Way) to raise funds for the WSU Bread Lab, as well as open its doors early Sat., March 23 for those taking part in the “Farm to Pint Run.” Brewery tours, a Tues., March 26 “Women in Skagit Beer Bingo”—where women reps from nearby breweries and related industries will also talk about what they do at their respective places—and Skagit Brewery Tap Takeovers are also on their lineup.

Other events include happy hour yoga, release parties, trivia night, a home-brew competition, a screening of Strange Brew at the Lincoln Theatre, live music and more. And even if there’s not a scheduled event at the “hops stops” you choose to investigate during Skagit Beer Week, all of the participating breweries will be more than happy to talk about what they do—and why—when it comes to craft beer. 

At Farmstrong, head brewer Thane Tupper may make an appearance to discuss how he integrated the brewery’s recipes to Skagit Valley malt while still making sure to keep the classics identical to what customers have come to expect.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it was worth it,” Tupper says. “As a brewer, I’m excited for new challenges and this one was very important to me and the rest of the team.”

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