Washington state is a pioneer in the craft-beer movement. It grows 77 percent of the U.S. hop crop in the Yakima Valley, and the Washington Beer Commission, host of Saturday’s event, is the only state commission for craft beer in the U.S.

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In honor of the Saturday, Feb. 24, Washington Beer Open House, it would be great to cite approving quotes of the Founding Fathers, but alas, the oft-repeated sayings of Benjamin Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” and Thomas Jefferson, “Beer, if drunk in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health,” unfortunately appear to be mythical. We can reliably go with actor Jack Nicholson’s thoughts on the subject for our motto, however: “Beer, it’s the best damn drink in the world.”

Washington state is a pioneer in the craft-beer movement. It grows 77 percent of the U.S. hop crop in the Yakima Valley, and the Washington Beer Commission, host of Saturday’s event, is the only state commission for craft beer in the U.S. The Washington Beer Open House is one of several events they sponsor throughout the year to invite people to learn about and enjoy our state’s breweries, including 109 Seattle and King County venues among the 373 statewide participating in Saturday’s open house. Create your own Ale Trail tour in your neighborhood or anywhere around the state using the event’s website to choose your destinations on a map. Whether you’re a fan of pale ales, lagers, IPAs, barley wine, cream ales, porters, wheat beers, Belgian beers or open to trying a variety of tastes, you’re sure to find some old favorites and new discoveries.

Special events at Seattle venues include tours and samples at Reuben’s Brews; tours, games, beer release and a food truck at Ravenna Brewing; tours and happy hour featuring oysters at Pike Brewing; tours, samples and free pint glasses at Maritime Pacific Brewing; tours, taste tests and release of new beers at Optimism Brewing; and many more.

Washington Beer Open House

Time: noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24; hours may vary at some locations

Location: craft breweries in the Seattle area and throughout Washington state

More info:washingtonbeer.com

Regional events include the South Everett Pub Crawl to Middleton Brewing, Crucible Brewing and Lazy Boy Brewing with food-and-drink specials and a chance to win prizes with a punch card showing visits to all three locations. Mac & Jacks Brewery in Redmond offers tours from brewhouse to cellar at 1 and 3 p.m. to show how they’ve crafted their ales for 25 years, with samples and free pint glasses. Airways Brewing in Kent has tours on the hour, 1-4 p.m., with samples right from the tanks of beer in different stages of fermentation. Kirkland’s Chainline Brewing will be pouring two special lagers, along with a selection of IPAs and Polaris Pilsner.

The Washington Beer Commission reminds everyone to drink responsibly and designate a driver or take public transportation.

Cheers!