The Pacific Northwest may be known for green scenery and an increasingly liberal social climate, but more than either of those, the wide array of fresh seafood and the thriving craft beer scene drive thousands to the west coast each year for premium imbibement.
Pike Brewing Co. is located in downtown Seattle on 1st Avenue just north of Union Street. The brewery, bar, and restaurant (called Tankard & Tun) have a museum-like motif, with several beer-related artifacts affixed to the walls. The brewery’s gravity flow system spans all three floors of the establishment and provides a unique centerpiece for both new and returning visitors alike. I took part in the hour-long tour, which covered ingredients, equipment, and the brewing process in a manner that was straightforward enough to pique the interest of those without much experience with beer yet provided enough technical details to keep the interest of those of us who have spent a significant amount of time dabbling in the subject. After ending the tour with samples, I headed over to the restaurant where I enjoyed the Country Fried Steak paired with Pike’s High Five Hopped Honey Ale, a blonde ale.
After arriving in Portland following a scenic drive down I-5 and visiting several breweries and brewpubs over the week, there were a few that stood out. Occidental Brewing Co., located in Northwest Portland, focuses on German styled beers and has both a Wursthaus, which is family friendly, and a taproom, which does not allow minors. I had the Festbier, which reminded me more of a traditional Marzen than an actual Festbier, paired with the spicy brats. I enjoyed a refreshing summer breeze and beautiful view of Saint Johns Bridge which nicely complimented the savor of the meal.
Just east of I-5 and South of I-84, lies Stammtisch, a German styled pub featuring beers that represent classic examples of styles that are often recreated in the United States. The menu provides several German dishes to serve as pairings for the imported brews, which are served in traditional, branded liter steins. Of the several lagers on tap, I ordered the Paulaner Oktoberfest, paired with a traditional bratwurst, and the Bitburger Pils served as a respectable night cap for the evening.
Back in Washington State, Yakima Valley is home to Bale Breaker, which is both a brewery and a hop farm. The food truck present during my recent visit featured several Mexican dishes featuring brisket. The Field 41 Pale Ale, featuring fresh American hops and a session-able ABV, goes down smoothly and is a go-to for me whenever I’m in the area. The Yakima Fresh Hop Ale Festival is also worth a visit for anyone in the area when it’s held.
The Pacific Northwest is region that attracts many, young and old, for its picturesque landscape and a beer scene that is unrivaled here in the states. Whether you are a hop head, or a lager lover, there is something for everyone in the two-state land of libations that is known to the locals as PNW.