As our regular readers know, we have traveled to the distant corners of this state seeking beer. We have been to Northern Ales in Northport, WA–a town near the Canadian border in the extreme northeastern corner of the state. We’ve been to Alpine Brewing in Oroville, and we’ve been to Walla Walla Brewers as well. We do not blame our fellow Puget Sound residents if any of those beer trips seem too ambitious; however, you have no excuse for not visiting Flyers Brewery and Restaurant in Oak Harbor. It’s not that far away, but Flyers is frequently skipped-over by beer tourists who often make it to La Conner and Anacortes yet rarely go the extra mile to visit Flyers.
This Wednesday, November 18th is the fourth birthday of Flyers Restaurant and Brewery in Oak Harbor. The celebration continues through Saturday. Not that you need an excuse to make the trip, but now you’ve got one.
We have a soft spot in our hearts for Flyers. Back in 2007 we celebrated our wedding at Jenne Farm — a historic farm on Whidbey Island. Though the rules said we could not have kegs of beer, we explained that we wanted to serve local beer -Flyers beer- which is not available in bottles. They graciously bent the rules for us and we happily poured Flyers’ Humbles Blonde and Afterburner IPA at our wedding.
Since then, we’ve made our way over to Whidbey several times each year to visit family and friends who are lucky enough to enjoy the island lifestyle. On the way there or the way back, we usually stop for lunch and beers at Flyers. Since we tend to arrive mid-afternoon we miss any lunch or dinner rush, but there’s always a crowd at the bar watching sports and chatting. It’s the kind of place where everyone seems to know each other, perhaps from the nearby Whidbey Naval Air Station, but we still don’t feel like outsiders.
NOTE – there is an interview with Flyers’ brewer Tony Savor on the Northwest Beer Guide blog. Check it out by clicking here.
The name might not make sense until you visit Flyers Restaurant and Brewery and recognize the unmistakable aviation theme. This was the idea of one of the owners, whose family has a proud aviation heritage. With Whidbey NAS just up the road, no doubt there are plenty of “fly boys” around.
You may be familiar with the beers, which are occasionally distributed to local beer bars on the mainland. The regular offerings are all solid, with the aforementioned Humbles Blonde and Afterburner IPA, plus the Pacemaker Porter, Heat Seeker Hefe, First Flight Amber and Barnstormer Brown. The aeronautical theme carries throughout the restaurant, with memorabilia and vintage photos displayed in the reception area, over the bar and throughout the space.
The food is also a treat, served in hearty portions from an open kitchen. We’ve particularly enjoyed their juicy burger with sweet potato fries, the succulent finger-licking baby back ribs, and the double stack BLT served as a wrap with avocado. After having eaten there several times, we’ve never been disappointed.
If you’ve never made the trip up to Flyers, here’s a good excuse: they will be celebrating their fourth birthday from Wednesday, November 18th thru Saturday, November 21st with beer and food specials, live music, and a brewers night with Deschutes Brewery on November 21st. On that night, the special draft lineup includes a vertical tasting of the 06,07 and 08 Abyss, Black Butte XX and XXI, 08 Dissadent, Nitro Juble, Red Chair, Hop Trip and more.