Summer is awash in tasty tasting events. Here are a few to add to your calendar, with the newest noted by an (*):
The Washington Brewers Festival features nearly 200 WA beers from local breweries June 14-16 at Marymoor Park. Friday is 21+ only, featuring select Washington breweries (30+ breweries) while Saturday and Sunday are all ages with the full beer lineup and a wide array of family entertainment including Brewers Keg Toss Contest, live music, wine AND cider tasting, as well as the popular Root Beer Garden and various kids activities. Returning this year, the "Buzz Cart" will be serving special premium beers. It's the perfect way to toast dear old Dad on Fathers Day! Tickets range between $15 and $25.
More than 40 artisan distilleries will pour their handcrafted spirits at the first-ever Proof Washington, a tasting at The Foundry by Herban Feast (the former Urban Enoteca) on June 15. Bites from all sorts of swell restaurants will provide ballast for all that booze. Tickets are $45.
* Portland plays host to the third annual Cider Summit, now expanded to two days, June 21 and 22. If you've been paying attention, you know cider is red hot right now, and this sip-a-thon features some of the best producers in the Northwest and beyond. Give it up for Washington's cider makers making appearances in PDX: Tieton, Finnriver, Snowdrift and Lake Chelan Winery, which makes a release called Chelan Gold. Tickets are $25. (BTW: There's a version of this event in Seattle on Sept. 6 and 7. More details soon.)
Wine World is hosting a Salmon Safe wine tasting from 2-5 p.m. on June 23. The Salmon-Safe program has certified over 240 vineyards throughout the Pacific Northwest, working to ensure that these vineyards are keeping our watersheds safe for native wild salmon to spawn and thrive. We’ll drink to that, especially at the bargain admission price of $10.
Riesling rules! More than 70 wineries from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Slovakia, California, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, New York, New Jersey and Washington will showcase Riesling’s diversity at the Fourth Riesling Rendezvous grand tasting on July 14 at Chateau Ste. Michelle. (One of Riesling’s charms is its ability to go with a wide range of food.) Guests will be able to sample fare from several food trucks, including Barking Frog Mobile Kitchen, Marination and Snout & Co., along with appetizers prepared by Chateau Ste. Michelle's culinary director John Sarich and the crack culinary staff. Tickets are $75 or $100 for the VIP option.
* You've got until June 15 to get those early bird tickets to this year's Wine Rocks, which is on tap for July 11 at Bell Harbor. This event is a pitch perfect combo of an incredible setting (right on the water!), a terrific lineup of producers -- including local distillers -- and the bonus of live music, played by folks in the wine industry. Bravo and go!
* Kirkland Uncorked is three days of art, entertainment and wine tasting on the shores of Lake Washington, July 19-21. New to this year's festivities is a Burger Brawl on Friday evening, where the weiner, er, winner will be determined by a popular vote. So, come hungry. Tickets are $25 each day, which includes a commemorative glass and 10 drink tokens.
* Saddle up for the 8th annual Horse Heaven Hills Winegrowers' Trail Drive on July 20. This leisurely tour of some of the best darned vineyards and wineries in Washington state has become a beloved summer tradition for many city slickers. It ends with a barbecue at Crow Butte Park on the Columbia River. Part of the proceeds from ticket sales benefit a scholarship fund for aspiring enologists. Very cool.