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Beer Enthusiasts Descend on Enumclaw for OktoBEERfest This Weekend

The festivities continue today, Saturday, Oct. 20 from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- possibly 11 p.m., said organizers.

Enumclaw's OktoBEERfest celebration this weekend went one hour later Friday night than originally advertised because it was so successful, organizer Dayna Coats said.

People were just getting started at about 9 p.m. on a Friday night, she said, and chances are that 10 p.m. end time for Saturday will be pushed back to 11 p.m. as well if crowds on the second day mirror those from the first.

This is also the first event put on by the city of Enumclaw in which both the Exhibit Hall and the Activity Hall are being used, said Expo Center marketing director Kristen Damazio. Don't miss the 'More This Way' sign directing you to the second building.

On Friday, Washington Beer Commission Executive Director Erik Radovich started off the festivities with an overview presentation of the industry and brewery trends in the state, Coats said. Participants enjoyed sampling the more than 32 seasonal and German craft beers on tap, laughed with comedian Joe Vespaziani and lauded the winner of the Miss Oktobeerfest Beer Wench Contest.

The fun continues today, Saturday with more entertainment and music. John Keister from Almost Live hosts the Homebrew Awards in the evening at 7 p.m. and a new Miss Oktobeerfest Beer Wench contest.

Learn Something Too

Saturday's events also feature several educational presentations on the craft of homebrewing, for those interested in the hobby.

Vance Rifenberick, of Larry's Brewing Supply (www.larrysbrewsupply.com) in Kent who was showing attendees what supplies and ingredients they need to start brewing at home, said home brewing is growing in popularity. "It's cheaper, and people want better beer," he said.

His company, which his father Larry started 22 years ago, sells the starting equipment, kits and ingredients needed to start homebrewing. Equipment costs range from $150 to $200, and basic ingredient kits hover around $30. Long-run costs, however, mean one bottle of beer costs less than $1 - much lower than what you'd find in the supermarket or liquor store.

To emphasize his point, Rifenberick has effigies of what he says is substandard beer (empty beer cans) speared in front of his booth.

From start to finish, it takes about two to four weeks before you can drink the beer that you create with Rifenberick's kits.

Next to Rifenberick, Keith Quimby imparts information about his Carbon Glacier Distillery (www.carbonglacierdistillery.com) located in Wilkeson that just opened in May. Quimby said he started home brewing beers as a hobby and recently learned about distilling whiskey, which inspired him to start his new endeavor.

Quimby focuses on using local Washington ingredients and water to craft spirits in small batches, ensuring each batch is different from before but always of fine quality.  A visit to his distillery includes a chance to sample some spirits and tour the facility.

Both Rifenberick and Quimby's booths are located in the Activity Hall, which also features a Brewer's Lounge with a rotating schedule Saturday featuring representatives from Silver City, Iron Horse, Schooner Exact, Leinenkugels and Harmon who are happy to answer all your questions about the art of brewing.

Are You Going?

Saturday's event starts at 12 p.m. and runs to 10 p.m. A $20 ticket will get you a commemorative glass along with two tasting scrips.

Those who attended Friday night can come back Saturday for free provided you bring your wristband. If you forget your glass, you can purchase another for $10.

For more information, visit www.enumclawoktobeerfest.com.

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