Beer Olympians drink for the gold

Ninth annual Beer Olympics raises money for Pullman School Food Pantry


Beer Olympics competitors dunk employees for Pullman School Food Pantry

JOSIE GOODRICH, Reporter/Copy Editor

The ninth annual Beer Brigade Beer Olympics has come and gone, crowning yet another Beer Bridager champion.

Birch and Barley has been open for ten years, and started their beer brigade party after their first year of being open, said Jill Bielenberg, general manager and partial owner. With the first party being such a hit, Birch and Barley decided to take it a step further.

“The second year into this celebration we decided to add the Olympic Games piece of it, just to bring a little more fun camaraderie and give adults a chance to dress up and be goofy,” Bielenberg said. “It’s just bringing people in the community, specifically our mud club together, but then other people are welcome as well.”

The mud club, also known as the beer brigade, allows customers to get deals on beer, first-hand information on brewery events throughout the year, as well as a complimentary entry into the Beer Olympics each year, Bielenberg said. 

The event consisted of six different games, one game for each of the five breweries and one cider company, Bielenberg said. Burwood Brewing Co., No-Li Brewhouse Spokane, Common Language Brewing Company, Boneyard Beer, Another Round Brewing Co. and Trailbreakers Cider were all in attendance.

“Every year we just pick a different list and we always try and bring in regional people and then usually get one as local as possible,” Bielenberg said. 

With 17 teams in the competition, the 2022 Beer Olympics Best Costume was awarded to The Peaches from A League of Their Own, with Kari Simpson dressed as Coach Jim and her three softball players, Erin Carroll, Rachel Koon and Hailey James. 

“I think it’s a great opportunity to meet new people in the community, maybe that you wouldn’t meet on any given day in your normal life and it’s fun,” Simpson said. “You just can kind of engage and enjoy great food. It’s so fun to make a connection face with a name, so I would encourage anyone to be here and to make those connections.”

Games included many different challenges that participants must complete in a time frame, including a game called the “drunk simulator,” where challengers put glasses on top of kaleidoscope glasses and toss tennis balls to their partners, trying to catch them for the best score, Bielenberg said. 

“There’s just a handful of different goofy, funny ones. We obviously call it the Olympics and in all of our promotions we talk about having to be incredibly athletic and all these things but [we want people] to have fun and be goofy,” Bielenberg said. “But everything is timed and scored and at the end, we do best costume, best team name and then the highest points.”

Not only does the Beer Olympics call for great beer, food, games and prizes, but there is a charity dunk tank, Bielenberg said. This year the dunk tank raised $410 for the Pullman School Food Pantry. 

“We do a $5 minimum donation for free balls and our employees get up there to be dunked and it’s always for a charity,” Bielenberg said. “This year it’s for the Pullman School Food Pantry program and that organization serves the families with the highest need and food insecurity in Pullman.”