Tater Tots and Beer Festival

Tater Tots and Beer Festival

Tater tots and beer! What’s not to love?

Unfortunately for the organizers of this event, it was a great idea but that’s where the compliments stop. Try as I might to find the silver lining in any review, I would be doing a disservice to the rest of the beer-loving community if I didn’t warn you about this traveling beer fest, which may be coming to a city near you.

Promoted as an all you can eat and drink event, with “a side of music and fun times, … You just may have dreams about it for a long time afterwards.” Yes, perhaps dreams of getting a refund!

I attended the 1-4pm session of the Tater Tot and Beer Festival held in Seattle at Jefferson Park on August 5th 2017.

Let’s start with the small glimmer of good news. Jefferson Park is a really cool venue in the North Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle. Home to a golf course, wading pool, skate park, community center and more, it is a prime location for a summer beer fest. The highlight of the entire event had nothing to do with the event itself, rather perfect timing that coincided with Seattle Seafair Weekend. The location of Jefferson Park was in such close proximity to the Boeing Seafair Air Show taking place over Lake Washington, that event-goers were treated to a free Blue Angels FA18 demonstration. It truly was the best part of the whole festival!

Now for the bad news, which is plentiful.

The ticket price was high when compared to the value of the event. The early bird ticket special was $35/ticket, GA $45/ticket and VIP $75/ticket. VIP didn’t offer any better service, or selection of food and drinks or shorter lines. In fact, the VIP adhesive wristbands were easily removed and many people were passing their wristbands to aid others stuck in much longer lines.

Did I mention the long lines? The event was one giant mess of long long long long lines because it was one volunteer pouring 4 different taps. After waiting 30-40+ minutes for your 3-5 ounce taster, many people became visibly frustrated. One person even stood there chugging each taster and asking for refills trying to avoid going to the back of the line. All the beer tents were grouped together with the lines wrapping around each other and backing up to the fenced barrier on both sides of the tents.

The event stated there would be 40+ beers on tap and that seemed to be accurate. There was no visible signage until you got to the front of the line, so you had no idea what beer line you were in. I was able to get 3 tasters in the 1.5 hours of attendance.

A similar experience happened in the tater tot lines, which were also all group together opposite the beer tents. Once people got to the front of the tot lines they grabbed as many trays as they could carry. Sucks for the rest of the people waiting in line, but sadly understandable. There were just not enough resources to go around and not enough volunteers to man the crowds. Similar to having one volunteer manage 4-taps, I only saw one guy frying all the tater tots. The event promised 8 tater tot options that would vary by venue. I did manage to try 3 of the 8 options. No complaints on food quality once I was able to get my hands on a few samples. The Seattle event had the following:

  • Nach-Yo Taco Tots – With taco seasoning, salsa verde, sour cream and crushed Doritos
  • Loaded Bacon Cheddar Tots – Topped with a bacon cheddar cheese, cilantro and parsley. (There was no cilantro or parsley garnish on my serving).
  • Pepperoni Pizza Tot Poppers – Pepperoni, Italian spices, topped with parmesan cheese and marinara sauce.
  • Bare Naked Tots –  Plain tots paired with ranch, ketchup or mustard
  • Jalapeño Popper Tots – Infused with chopped jalapeño, chopped green chili and topped with spicy four-cheese sauce
  • Gimmie S’more Tot – Infused with cinnamon and topped with maple-cinnamon syrup and mini marshmallows.
  • Powdered Cake Tots – Infused with sweet cake and topped with powdered sugar
  • Garlic Parmesan Tots – No description necessary on this one.

The event was clearly understaffed, poorly planned with a terrible layout. When entering the event my paper print-out ticket was collected (not scanned) so I could have easily just photo copied my ticket and given it out to others, my ID was NOT checked which is a big no-no for any event serving alcohol, no passport was handed out (as stated in the event details), and there was no music as promised (live or otherwise). Security was clearly lax, as there was a large section of perimeter fencing that was open, welcoming people who had not paid for the beer fest.

In conclusion, if you are thinking of braving this beer fest be advised it needs A LOT of work. I was really looking forward to this event and it failed on so many levels.

Just in case you don’t believe me, check out the yelp reviews.

 

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