When La Conner invited me to their annual October beer festival Brew on the Slough, I jumped at the chance. After all, I love beer, and I love the small town of La Conner, WA. The festival is from 5 to 8 pm and includes ten breweries and cideries, live music, food for purchase, a silent auction, and a raffle. The $30 ticket includes a tasting glass and ten tasting pours.
Happy Saturday! What does the evening have in store for you? I’m at Brew on the Slough in La Conner, Wa. Trying some great brews and dancing to a great band. (Btw- can’t get hubs off dance floor.) * * * #dreambigtravelsmall #lovelaconner #brewontheslough #smalltownwa #smalltownwashington #drinkwabeer #beerlover #beerfestival #beertasting #travelwriter #beerthirty #pnwbeer
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Brew on the Slough – La Conner’s Annual Beer Festival
The day of Brew on the Slough the weather turned dismal – windy, rainy, cold. Thankfully, the festival is inside Maple Hall, and the weather didn’t matter. After we checked into our room at the Hotel Planter, which happened to be right across the street from Maple Hall, we took a short walk around town and then headed to Brew on the Slough.
We checked in with our names on a list and received our souvenir tasting glass and ten tasting tokens. Breweries were set up around the sides of a large room with a stage leaving the center open for dancing and tables. Being on the smaller side with a total of 10 breweries and cideries we didn’t make a tasting plan of attack. Instead, we made our way from brewery to brewery at a leisurely pace.
Participating breweries and cideries included Pike Brewing, Pfriem Brewery, Scuttlebutt Brewery, Hales Ales, Incline Cider, Chuckanut Brewing, La Conner Brewing, Farmstrong Brewing, Everybody’s Brewing, and Portland Cider.
That night I tasted beers I was familiar with like Kölsch, IPA, porter, and less familiar ones like Schwartz bier, golden IPA, and Weizenbock. I would also have tasted ciders too, but there were so many good beers I decided not to switch it up.
The band – The Sardines played the entire night. We really liked their choice of cover songs, and I don’t think they played one I didn’t like. Lots of songs from the 80s, and of course the night ended with the late and great Tom Petty.
La Conner Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest which is a Märzen style beer.
Things I loved. I’ve been to larger beer festivals, and I appreciated the smaller size of this festival as we rarely had to wait in line for our pours and those manning the beer booths had more time to chat. On top of that, the band played lots of great music, and by the end of the night, there was a serious groove on the dance floor.
Also, I’ve been getting more into beer since my husband has started brewing, so lots of the styles were new to me, and I appreciated the chance to try a variety of beers.
Things I wasn’t crazy about. We arrived a little after 5 pm, and most of the tables were already taken. While I wasn’t really interested in sitting, I did want someplace to put my coat, and a coat room would have come in handy. I also think bistro tables would have been a nice addition too, especially if you were going to eat at the festival.
Afterwards, we headed to La Conner Brewing Co. for a sausage and mushroom pizza! ($12)
Going to Brew on the Slough? Here are my recommendations:
- Buy your ticket early as they sell out and you’ll want to get a souvenir tasting glass.
- Plan to stay in town. There are accommodations within walking distance. Play it safe!
- Arrive at the festival a little early to grab a seat at one of the tables. Or, at least put your jacket on a chair. (If you are staying at the Hotel Planter, leave your jacket in the room.)
- Take time to chat with the breweries and cideries.
- Check out the silent auction and raffle items.
- Plan for a dinner or snack after the festival.
- Don’t leave your souvenir glass behind!
Where to Stay – Hotel Planter
If you’ve been following me you know, I love historic hotels, inns and bed and breakfast establishments. So I was thrilled to find out that Hotel Planter – a National Historic Inn – would be hosting us for the night. The inn is in downtown La Conner with lots of historic charm, a courtyard with a gazebo and art, and steps away from downtown shopping and dining. Plus, it is right next to Maple Hall!
Hotel Planter History
The hotel was built in 1907 on land purchased by Louisa A. Conner, who is also the town’s namesake. At the time it, its modern conveniences included indoor plumbing which consisted of one bathroom, electricity and a cement sidewalk.
Almost seven decades later, the building had lost its luster and primarily used for transient housing and soon condemned. Owners, Donald and Cynthia Hoskins, took it upon themselves to restore the building, giving it a more modern makeover. The retail spaces on street level opened first, including the Hoskin’s Earthenworks Gallery. In 1989, the Hotel Planter reopened. Some of the second-floor changes included expanding the rooms to include a private bathroom, custom built furniture, and adding skylights for additional natural light.
You can read more about the hotel’s history here.
Hotel Planter – My Room
We stayed in a Queen room that featured a queen bed, two chairs, and small table, an armoire with a flatscreen TV, a bathroom with small skylight, a pedestal sink and a shower. I appreciated the addition of the skylight as it brightened up the bathroom. I also liked the built-in shelf next to the sink. Some of my favorite features were the building’s original doors with the window pane above and the very, very comfortable bed. I’ve stayed at quite a few hotels this year, and the Hotel Planter has won my award for most comfortable bed. From the moment I hit the sheets, I sunk into heaven.
Hotel Planter Rooms and Amenities
The entire hotel has a floral motif, which I’m not usually fond of. But, knowing the history of the hotel and its connection to Louisa A. Conner the choice to go floral seemed very fitting. The hotel has a total of 12 rooms that include twin, full, queen, deluxe queen and a suite that overlooks the courtyard and its own private Jacuzzi tub. Prices range from $125 to $175, and they offer offseason rates. The rooms are on the smaller side, compared to a chain hotel room. The size of our room was good for one night, and if we were going to stay in La Conner for a couple of days, I’d opt for a slightly larger room.
Hotel amenities include free Wi-Fi, coffee, tea, and cold bottled water. The hotel does not have an elevator, and all the rooms are on the second floor, so if that is an issue, you’ll want to find other accommodations. It rained during our visit, so we did not get to enjoy the courtyard, but I looked like a great place to chill.
There is no breakfast at the inn, but there are plenty of restaurants in town. If you want to know more, here are some of my favorites and three reasons to love La Conner.
The next morning we opted for Calico Cupboard across the street. I ordered one of their signature dishes, butternut squash hash with potatoes, spinach, red peppers and feta cheese. It was good, but the flavors were so earthy it felt more like a lunch or side dish to dinner.
Other Lodging Options
If you’d like to have a room with a view of the Swinomish Channel I recommend the La Conner Channel Lodge. If you are traveling with a pet, I suggest the La Conner Country Inn and The Heron Inn & Day Spa. You can also visit LaConner.com to review other lodging and activity options.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.