Beer Trip: Varietal Beer Co.'s GoatFest is an all-lager festival featuring breweries from Portland, Seattle and Spokane

A long trip for lager beer — we like the sound of that. If you're looking for a last-minute adventure to get out of town this weekend, Yakima Valley's Varietal Beer Co. is hosting GoatFest at its Sunnyside taproom on May 14.

The Saturday beer festival returns for the first time since its inaugural year in 2019. Consisting solely of German bock-style lagers, eight participants range from iconic Portland and Seattle breweries to Spokane's Whistle Punk Brewing. They're joined by Chuckanut, Grains of Wrath, Heater Allen, Holy Mountain, Lowercase, Lucky Envelope and Wayfinder. Spokane Valley's LINC Malt is the official sponsor of the event.

Sipping on easy-drinking light lagers is one of our favorite pastimes and GoatFest's beer menu is shaping up to be a great one (find a full list of the beers below). Highlights include Chuckanut's classic Maibock, Holy Mountain's Formless Dread (heller bock) and the Barleywraith — a collaboration heller bock between Heater Allen, Wayfinder and Varietal.

Varietal co-owner John Cope is especially looking forward to Whistle Punk's Doppelbock. Literally translating to "double bock," it's a stronger version of lighter bock beers.

"Whistle Punk is probably bringing the most exciting beer to this whole thing," says Cope. "That Doppelbock is crazy."

A $45 ticket gets you beer, a GoatFest dimple mug, and the rockabilly sounds of Seattle's Shivering Denizens. A limited amount of tickets might be available the day of, but Cope suggests purchasing tickets in advance to be guaranteed glassware. Food is provided by local trucks Triple C's (tacos, burgers and more) and Cascade Crust (wood-fired pizza)

Looking for a place to crash? Cope recommends staying at the Best Western Plus Grapevine Inn. But if you want to make it a day trip, designated drivers get free admission as long as they're accompanied by a ticket holder. Dogs and kids are allowed, too. ♦

GoatFest • Sat, May 14 from 12-9 pm • $45 • Varietal Beer Co. • 416 E. Edison Ave., Sunnyside • brownpapertickets.com • 509-515-2222

THE BOCKS (CURRENTLY):
Descriptions courtesy of Varietal's John Cope

BARLEYWRAITH — "Collaboration 7.8% heller bock lager with Wayfinder, Heater Allen & Varietal. Simple, honest beer brewed with the help of a couple of our favorite lager brewers."

FORMLESS DREAD – "Holy Mountain Brewing’s Heller Bock lager brewed with WA-grown genie-pils malt, hopped with Sterling & Strisselspalt hops. Conditioned in barrels that previously held barleywine. It’s a creative twist on a classic."

MAI(CRO) BOCK – "Lowercase Brewing & Varietal collab session Maibock lager at 4.3%. Made with locally grown barley malt as Lowercase explores Washington-grown malt."

HELLES BOCK - "Lucky Envelope brewed this rich lager with GoatFest in mind, and considering the quality of their Helles Pilsner we cannot wait to try it! We have been fans of this brewery since we opened!"

GOAT THRONE – "9% Rye Maibock brewed by Grains of Wrath in Camas, Wash. Rye fans (like us) will enjoy this Maibock, adding even more complex flavor to the classic style. Expect it to be easy to enjoy as it was crafted by a technical wizard."

MAIBOCK – "Chuckanut’s classic Maibock is perfect. It won the Best in Show award at GoatFest in 2019 as well. Just hard to beat the champ. (This is a reminder that we are kind of ruined for great beer here in Washington. This is just a regular batch for the Chuckanut but it’s just perfect.)"

DOPPELBOCK – "Whistle Punk makes awesome versions of traditional German beers and their big Doppelbock is a richer, more flavorful example of the style! This one will probably be the first keg to go."

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About The Author

Derek Harrison

Derek Harrison is the Inlander creative director and Drink Local editor. He has received national recognition for his editorial layout. A graduate from Washington State University, he joined the Inlander in 2016 with a background in editorial design and photojournalism.