Last weekend, my wife and I took a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula to visit some breweries (and also to do a bit of hiking up by Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park). We had a great time, and I wanted to share my experiences and impressions of the breweries we visited with you. We didn’t make it to every brewery on the peninsula (it was just an overnight trip), but we did manage to visit: Silver City Restaurant & Brewery, Hood Canal Brewery, Slippery Pig Brewery, Sound Brewery, Valhöll Brewing, and Port Townsend Brewing.
Leaving on Saturday the 27th, our first stop was Silver City Restaurant & Brewery in Silverdale. We figured starting out with a good lunch at the one stop on our itinerary that had a full restaurant would be a good way to kick things off. Also, my wife and I are both big fans of Sliver City’s Fat Scotch Ale – one of the best Scotch Ales around. We find many Scotch ales offered by some local breweries are too light for us. They seem closer to a Scottish Light 60, rather than a Scottish Export 80, which we prefer. The menu at Sliver City Restaurant is impressive and quite a bit larger than I’d expected. They have a long list of appetizers, salads, entrees, sandwiches, steaks, pizzas, pasta and more (their chicken pot pie (with a Tillamook cheddar crust) looked gargantuan).
My wife, Lynn, opted for their Northwest Seafood Cobb Salad (Dungeness crabmeat, bay shrimp and bay scallops with organic greens and lemon dill dressing), which she quite enjoyed. I decided on the open-faced Baked Crab Sandwich (Dungeness crab, artichoke hearts, sweet onions and a touch of creamy mayo topped with Roma tomatoes, rich parmesan and Tillamook cheddar baked on Italian bread), which was quite tasty, but I found it to be a bit light/stingy on the crab (especially considering how much was in Lynn’s salad). In addition to their Fat Scotch Ale, I also really enjoy Silver City’s Saint Florian IPA. It’s often a bit more difficult to find on tap around Seattle, as most places are more likely to have Fat Scotch on their Whoop Pass Double IPA on tap. I’m usually more of a double IPA fan myself, but I really do enjoy Saint Florian IPA. It’s got a great floral and citrus hop character, and enough malt to balance the hop character nicely.
We planned to spend the night at a hotel in Silverdale, so we decided our best strategy would be to head to the Northern-most brewery we planned to visit that day, and then work our way back South towards Silverdale. That meant our next stop was Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston. Located in a local industrial park, the taproom was inviting and they had a pretty good selection of beers on tap, including: Baywater Bay ESB, Dabob Bay IPA, Agate Pass Amber and their Briedablik Barleywine, which they actually let us fill a growler with (for $18 – most growler fills are $9). They also allow dogs (as did most of the breweries on our trip), which was great for us, since we decided to bring our two Dachshunds, Brandi and Bailei, along with us for the weekend. After enjoying a pint and grabbing our growler of barleywine, we were off to our next stop; one I was really looking forward to after some great word of mouth.
That next stop was Slippery Pig Brewery in Poulsbo, Washington. I’d been hearing some good things from a few friends who had visited them in the past so I wanted to check them out, and I was definitely not disappointed. Set on a farm, near the end of a dirt road just a bit off the main road, Slippery Pig had a very inviting atmosphere and, in addition to beer, they were even selling free range farm fresh eggs (which we picked up a few dozen of for the great price of just $3 a dozen). They had a total of 10 beers on tap, including one gest tap of Rainy Daze IPA from another peninsula brewery we didn’t make it to on this trip: Rainy Daze Brewing in Silverdale. There were some interesting choices on tap, including: Blueberry Kolsch, White Chocolate Stout on Cherries (quite delicious), Techno Viking Elixir Barleywine (packing a punch at 14% ABV), Kiwi Lager and a few great sour beers including Damned Eleven Sour (11%), which we took home a growler of. We ordered a taster tray of all 10 beers so we could give them all a try and, honestly, we didn’t find one among them that we didn’t enjoy. All of their pints and tasters are served in plastic cups, which we really didn’t mind, and everyone there, both behind the bar and those visiting like us, were very open and friendly. We will be back.
Our next stop, which was only about 5 minutes away from Slippery Pig Brewery, was Sound Brewery, also in Poulsbo. I’ve had several Sound Brewery beers before, including: Mosaic Pale Ale, Dubble Entendre, Tripel Entendre, Humulo Nimbus, Monk’s Indiscretion and others, so I sort of knew what to expect. Also, Sound’s Tripel Entendre is one of Lynn’s favorites. We took a growler of it home to enjoy. You’ve probably had at least a few of these beers yourself, as most of Sound’s beers tend to make their way to taps around Seattle on a pretty regular basis. At the brewery, they seemed to taste even a bit better than usual. We stayed for just a few pints each before heading to our last brewery stop for the day.
For our last brewery visit of the day, we stayed in Poulsbo to visit Valhöll Brewing. I’ve had a few of their beers on tap around Seattle and at a few festivals, but this was my first visit to the brewery. One of their assistant brewers noticed me taking a few photos and immediately invited me back into the brewery for a quick tour. Everyone at Valhöll was very friendly and they had quite a few beers on tap to choose from, including: British Black, Spotty Dog ESB, Valkyrie Red, Golden Strong, Belgian Wit, Monster IPA, Squig Dunkel, Brew Bitch IPA, Smoked Cherry Rye and a few others. After Lynn and I had a few sample tastes, I selected a pint of their Strong Scotch Ale, which was so good we took a growler of it to go along with a growler of their Squig Dunkel. Lynn tried their Belgian Golden Strong Ale, which she really enjoyed. I also grabbed myself a Valhöll T-shirt; the only one I grabbed on this particular trip.
After a long day of visiting breweries it was just about time for dinner, so we headed across the street from Valhöll to the back entrance of Tizley’s Europub for a hearty, European meal before making our way back to our hotel in Silverdale to crash for the night.
The next day we only had one brewery visit on our itinerary, because we wanted to make it up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park for a short hike with our dogs. It was my first trip up to Hurricane Ridge, and it was truly beautiful. With just a light breeze and only a few clouds, we couldn’t have asked for a better day to visit. On the way there, we stopped in at Port Townsend Brewing, in Port Townsend for a pint and a growler fill. Port Townsend Brewing has a very inviting tap room and a large outdoor beer garden for their patrons to enjoy, and they’re situated right next to the Port Townsend boatyard and docks. After getting a few samplers, I had their Bitter End IPA; an English style IPA, which you don’t find too many of in the Northwest. Lynn had a bit of a harder time deciding, but finally settled on their Hop Diggidy IPA – a Northwest style IPA.
The one other stop we made on our way up to Olympic National Park was at a small farmer’s market going on in the small town of Chimacum, where we found some great produce and picked up a brisket and some ‘pupsickles’ (beef bones) for our dogs from Short’s Family Farm, which is also in Chimacum. They specialize in naturally raised, 100% grass fed beef and, I must stay, the brisket we picked up (which I spend 6 hours smoking the next day) was probably the best brisket I’ve ever had. We will definitely be back to Chimacum, or one of the other area farmer’s markets they frequent, to stock up on some great grass-fed beef.
After making our way up to Olympic National Park and spending a couple of hours hiking around Hurricane Ridge, we made our way back South towards the Tacoma Narrows bridge and then back North towards home. It was such an enjoyable weekend, we’ve decided we really need to make the trip again soon; perhaps around Labor Day weekend. If you have an adventurous spirit and a spare day or two on your hands, it’s a trip I highly recommend. You can see more photos from our trip HERE on Facebook.
Drink responsibly and stay safe out there.