This past Saturday, my favorite spring hike to Snow Mountain Ranch just happened to coincide with the grand opening of Cowiche Creek Brewing, just five minutes drive from the trailhead. Serendipitous to be sure, and their YPA (Yakima Pale Ale), a crisp and hoppy IPA, tasted mighty fine after the 6.5 mile loop hike.
We had heard the brewery is in a shed on a farm, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Would this be a pop-up shack with a banquet-table counter and some kegs to sit on? So when we rounded the bend and saw the big carved Cowiche Creek Brewing sign on the hillside, we were happy we were in the right place. And the brewery (and crowd, and beers) were way more impressive than we anticipated.
Located on a rural road in Cowiche, WA, closer to Tieton than Yakima, Cowiche Creek Brewing has been a work in progress for several years. Derrick, the brewer, and his family built the 2000 sq.ft. brewery building, and created their 20-barrel brewhouse by hand, doing as much of the work themselves as possible.
A bit of a renaissance man, Derrick is a farmer, works full-time in IT at the local hospital, and is now a professional brewer. And a darn good one, from what we tasted.
The family is well-connected in the area, so the party was swarming with hundreds of locals, with kids and dogs enjoying the large grassy stepped yard. A band was playing in the brewery building, where they had two beers on tap for the party – a blonde ale and the aforementioned YPA.
Plans are for the brewery to be open weekends through the summer. This coming weekend, for example, they are open Friday 5 to 9, and Saturday 12 to 9. (Check their Facebook page for the latest.) The YPA is also on tap in Yakima’s Cowiche Canyon Kitchen & Icehouse Bar. (Do you sense the Cowiche theme here?)
Cowiche Creek Brewing is located at
514 Thompson Rd
If you head that way, consider making time for a hike in the hills or canyons of the nearby Cowiche Canyon Conservancy. Spring is a particularly good time to visit for us wet west-siders, with plentiful sunshine and wildflowers blooming across the hillsides.
Cheers to our sponsors, like…