I checked out the race calendar for December and saw that we had a gap between Dec 5 and Jan 8 with no pre-planned running events.  So I decided to plan a brew tour for B and me that would take us through some of the finest micro-breweries in the PNW.

Besides being coffee snobs and running enthusiasts, B and I are also micro-brew connoisseurs.  Without a doubt, our preferred beverage is beer and we have a cold cellar (aka the crawl space) at home filled with deliciously malty and hoppy beer.  Not a Friday night goes by without sampling some brewery’s latest concoction.

With some careful pre-planning, I mapped out a skeleton plan for a week of indulgence.  Here is the brew tour review of beers:

craft brewery Mukilteo WashingtonDec 26 – Mukilteo, WADiamond Knot Brewing – Full marks for this tiny brewery at the ferry dock!  The highlight of this stop was a photo that B took in the men’s room.  They had converted an old empty Budweiser keg into the urinal!

  • B – HefeWeizen
  • M – Industrial IPA

Winthrop, WAOld Schoolhouse Brewery – We arrived in the sleepy town of Winthrop and walked over to the Old Schoolhouse, expecting it to be empty or perhaps closed on a Sunday night.  Instead, this place was hopping, full of outdoor enthusiasts of all sorts.  There were beers aplenty on tap so we ordered up a taster set.  After dinner, Winthrop Washington craft beerwe began a Yahtzee tournament which carried us well into the night.

  • B – Ruud Awakening IPA; Imperial IPA
  • M – Ruud Awakening IPA; Backcountry Stout, brewed with locally roasted coffee.

Dec 27 – Winthrop, WA – Old Schoolhouse Brewery – After an adventurous day on snowshoes (which I’ll recount in a different blog post), we found ourselves back at the Old Schoolhouse around 4:30 pm, desperately in need of lunch.  We grabbed a table and ordered up a huge meal, then made ourselves comfortable for a continuation of the Yahtzee tournament.  The brewmaster’s brother was the server on shift and we discovered that a new beer had been tapped that day.  The Imperial Stout was a higher alcohol, specialty beer which was jet-black and roasty, but had too much of that alcoholly taste for me.  I eventually admitted defeat in the Yahtzee tournament and decided that it was time to hit the hot tub back at the inn.

Dec 28 – Twisp, WATwisp River Pub – After another day of breaking trail in snowshoes, we sat down for a well-earned dinner at this nearby pub.  Again, we ordered the taster set as we were determined to expand our tastes from our known favourites.

  • Taster – Cherry Hefe, Christmas Ale, ESB, Sachwarz Bier and Winter Ale.
  • B – Christmas Ale
  • M – Sachwarz Bier (dark lager)

Dec 29 – Sunnyside, WASnipes Mountain Brewery – In the middle of eastern WA, there lies a town of car repair shops and one of the finest breweries in the Pacific NorthWest.  We started out with the taster set which disappointingly only let us sample the beers they brew for non-beer snobs like ourselves.  We got a growler of their IPA to go and will enjoy it once we get home again.craft beer Sunnyside Washington

  • B – 2 Fresh 2 IPA – a double IPA brewed with fresh hops); Zombie Killer (double IPA)
  • M – IPA; Zombie Killer IPA

If you ever happen to be in Yakima, head a bit further East to indulge in some great beer!

Dec 30 – Hood River, ORFull Sail Brewing – We stopped in here as a lunch stop, after debating whether to try this or Double Mtn Brewing. It may have been a mistake, in hindsight, as we had a chance to try some exciting craft beer Hood River OregonDbl Mtn beers later on.  We had the taster set, which again offered a set selection of their most popular beers but none really appealed to our extreme tastes.

  • B – nitro-cask Powder Face Pale Ale
  • M – Wreck the Halls IPA

Portland, OR – We arrived at Beer-Meca in the late afternoon and realized that our hotel was within walking distance of about 8 breweries and taprooms. I will warn you now that we visited as many as we could.

Bailey’s Taproom – A one-barman show with 21 taps to choose from!

Rogue Ales – It is incredible to have 25 house-brewed choices in front of you.  We spent a number of hours here over dinner.

  • B – Taster including Juniper Ale, Cafe Frog, Chatoe Rogue Creek Ale, ?
  • B – Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale; Chatoe Rogue Creek Ale
  • M – Taster including Mom’s Hefe, Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir, Candy Cap Ale, Brutal IPA
  • M – Santa’s Private Reserve; Mogul MadnessPortland Oregon craft beer

Deschutes Brewery – We tried to come here for dinner but the place was over-filled with beautiful people, so we left and returned for a night-cap.

  • B – Hop Henge IPA
  • M – Headwater’s HefeWeizen

Dec 31 – Portland, OR – Oh yes, the madness continues!craft beer Portland Oregon

Rock Bottom Brewery – This place was ramping up for a big New Year’s Eve party so we had a happy hour drink and got the heck out!

  • B – Blitzen  – a Belgian style ale
  • M – SunnyDay IPA

Henry’s Taproom – 101 beers on tap and many of them local creations.  We spent the entire New Year’s Eve here!taproom craft beer Portland Oregon

Jan 1 – Seattle, WA – We are almost home and we are almost tired of beer.

Elliot Bay Brewery – This is a favourite stop when we are in Seattle.  After dinner, we stayed on and had a shuffleboard tournament which lasted well into the night!  Needless to say, B won, but I played with more panache.Burien Seattle Washington craft beer

  • B – Diamond Knot cask-conditioned IPA; Demolition IPA; Barrel-Aged Merlot Stout
  • M – Highline IPA; No Doubt Stout

Jan 2 – Home – With one last lunch stop before we get home…

Boundary Bay Brewery – Well-worth the border-wait every time, this brewery is where I first discovered how beer should really taste!

  • B&M – IPA

Big Ridge Brewery – It was extremely difficult to wrap our brains around cooking dinner, Surrey BC craft beerso we headed out one more time to our local craft brewery for cheap pizza and beer night.

  • B&M – Clover Ale

Although we didn’t quite make it an official resolution, we did decide to lay off the beer for a while.

And so end the Brew Tour 2010.  It was a great week of over-indulgence and a celebration of craft brewing!