It is Saturday, Sept. 16, and Karey Wise is having his first ever go at Hops and Crops, Auburn’s annual beer and music festival.
So, whattaya think, a nosey journalist asks Wise.
“Bring the microphone close,” the Kent West Hill resident gestures.
Then, raising the brew cup to his lips, the Navy veteran draws a long, satisfied ssslllurrrrpppp!
“Ausgezeichnet,” says Wise — that is, “excellent.”
Proving, if proof were needed, that it’s bodacious to be a beer drinker in the brief season that links Labor Day to Halloween, specially under the sunny skies at Mary Olson Farm, with a firkin or so of crisp, cold, Oktoberfest Märzen coursing down one’s gullet.
From noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 16, thousands made their way to the farm 28728 Green River Road to welcome brews on tap, the pourings of cideries, fantastic bands and great food at the historic, rebuilt Mary Olson Farm, snug in its canyon just across Green River Road from Green River itself.
Guests scattered on the grass in chairs and on blankets in the sun, enjoying the company of many a canine companion, all properly leashed, of course.
Even better with the music of top local bands warbling over field and orchard of the renovated 100-plus year old farm on Green River Road, just north of the Auburn Municipal Golf Course.
We caught up with Auburn’s Jay and Angie Anderson, kicking back at a picnic table just west of the rebuilt barn.
“We haven’t come every year, but we look forward to it,” said Jay.
“My favorite beer is cold, typically. I like a darker beer, but cold. She’s more of a cider gal,” said Jay, nodding to Angie.
“I like the Two Towns Rotten Apple,” says Angie of the Two Towns Craft Cider at the ready. “They got a good variety of ciders here.”
Hops and Crops is a rain or shine event that, to date, has never suffered a rainout.
All proceeds from the event support the free education program at the Mary Olson Farm, which welcomes in more than 2,500 students annually for history and environmental science field trips.
“Couldn’t ask for more,” said Billy Jack Newman, co-owner and master brewer at Rail Hop’n Brew on Auburn’s West Main, under his awning, pouring out Uncommon Valor, his trademark Jalapeño, and his Porter and Pineapple Seltzer. “Two years in a row now, pristine, beautiful day, plenty of people, beautiful dogs.”