" This award winning farmhouse ale is a blend of Saison hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops and Belgian-style table beer. Both beers were aged for 8 months in sauvignon blanc wine barrels. The barrels were also inoculated with 4 strains of brettanomyces. All this creates a complex and funky farmhouse ale that has notes of fresh pineapple, lemon, white wine, oak, ripe melon, spice and citrus rind. "Farmhouse usually connotes funky but that doesn't necessarily mean funky. In this instance, it means delicious and at 6.8% ABV it could also spell dangerous as it was highly drinkable. Enjoy with measured caution.
Our next stop was Wet Coast Brewing Company in Gig Harbor. There, they are know for their Moving Day IPA and, now, for their Wet Coast Cream Ale which took a gold medal this year. The IPA was everything an IPA should be: hoppy and flavorful. This one features Munich and Crystal hops. At 68 IBU it gets your attention but the hops don't overwhelm due to a smooth malt bill.
The description for the Cream Ale reads:
" Light, Crisp and Refreshing; Our cream ale is smooth on the palate thanks to a malt bill featuring Flaked Barley and Honey Malt. Galena hops bring a bright citrus component to this extremely quaffable beer. "Highly drinkable it was but we needed to catch a ferry so we left it at one each. Be advised, Wet Coast has a three pint limit. While the Cream Ale was only 5% ABV, the IPA was 6.4%. I can see where a three pint limit could be a very good idea.
Our evening ended in a pentathlon competition consisting of lawn pong, ladder toss, corn hole, dining table ping pong, and indoor shuffle board. Beer was most definitely involved.
Saturday, our local beer guides brought us to Skookum Brewery in Arlington. There, we had Amber's Hot Friend amber ale and The Manuscript IPA. Both were delicious and paired nicely with smoked ribs and pulled pork nachos from PinkyQ's and Zoup. And wouldn't you know? There was corn hole! Started in 2007, Skookum produces beers that are locally sourced with over 90% of their barley and hops grown in Washington.
Next, was North Sound Brewing Co. with all the doors rolled up. There, we had the Hopsolicious IPA, Big Wild Rye IPA and the Big Bend Blonde. We liked these beers enough for a second round while we took over the corn hole lane. The skill of our players drew a crowd and we began to hear whispers of, ESPN. We managed to get out of there before we became wildly famous.
The evening's activities included Farkel. Our hosts provided protective eyewear to ensure a safe Farkel experience. It's always Farkel until someone gets hit in the eye. Safety first!
Sunday, it was time to say goodbye to our local beer guides and head back home. Naturally, we made a couple stops on the way. The first one was at Geaux Brewing's new Auburn location. If you liked their old Bellevue location, you'll love the new Auburn facility. It's much larger, brighter, and has a full kitchen. We enjoyed the Brussels Salad with the BTR red ale and La Belle blonde ale. The BTR includes rye in their grain bill which adds a spicy character that I enjoy plus enough hops to lend it some bitterness. The Labelle includes wheat, pale, and Vienna malts that finished light and crisp. Both had gorgeous, foamy heads that laced the pint from start to finish.
Geaux took the Washington Beer Awards bronze medal in 2015 and 2018 for Wee Y'at, described on their website as:
" Crafted in the style of a Wee Heavy Scotch Ale, Wee Y’at is a complex, rich, and malty brew that unfolds with each sip. The Maris Otter malt base gives Wee Y’at nutty undertones complemented with chocolate and honey malts. If you’ve been a hop-head all your life, this is the beer to bring you over to the other side. "Unfortunately, it was not on tap when we stopped in.
Our last stop before we made it home was at brand new Well 80 Artesian Brewing in Olympia and we were pleasantly surprised - by their facility, their story, and their beer.
The brewery is named for the well upon which they sit as explained on their website:
" In 1939, a survey of artesian wells in Olympia identified and numbered ninety-six individual wells. The well in the back of our building was designated as Well #80, with an average flow rate of 35 gallons per minute and a constant temperature of 53 degrees. When we were first shown the well inside the building our mission was clear: We had to find a way to bring this amazing resource back to brewing. "The building was purpose-built for the brewery. The facade is clean and modern while blending respectfully with it's historical neighbors. It is open and inviting with indoor and outdoor space, convertible event space, and full kitchen. They pay homage to Olympia Brewing Company in everything they do from using artesian well water, crafting a beer in the style of Olympia Beer (Original Later Year '64), to employing the granddaughter of a former brewmaster of Olympia Brewing.
We tried a flight that included Handsome Paul's Pale Ale, Original Dark '66 Lager, Porter Patois, and Jalo's 80 Day's of Haze IPA. We were blown away by them all. Not surprising as their brewer comes from nearby Fish Brewing Company bringing considerable skill to his craft. I recommend a stop here if you're in the area and don't be afraid to try anything on the menu. My bet is it'll be good.