When we awoke from our Turkey-induced coma it was Friday morning following Thanksgiving – Black Friday. Our plans did not include anything as trivial as shopping. We quickly packed up the Washington Beer Cruiser for a road trip: this time, to tour the breweries and brew pubs of southwest Washington. That alone would be reward enough, but the fact that we would also be spending two nights in Hood River, OR was not at all lost on us. This is the Washington Beer Blog, but we aren’t stupid. We pledge allegiance to the evergreen state, but we also adore our beery cousins to the south.
This is a synopsis of our trip – a fly by. We will post a detailed report in the coming days and we’ll include more photos.
Dick’s Brewing – Centralia, WA
We stopped in on Friday morning to chat with Derek Wilmot (brewery manager) and sample of few of the beers you rarely see in the Seattle market. The big news here is that Derek says that in the wake of Dick Young’s untimely death in October, the plan is to continue on. They will keep making beer and keep building on Dick’s legacy.
Salmon Creek Brew Pub – Vancouver, WA
We stopped here for lunch. Larry and Ana Pratt, the owners, were there to welcome us. We had always wanted to visit Salmon Creek Brew Pub and we’re glad we did. The food was excellent and the owners are very sweet people. Brother Larry’s Belgian Ale was my favorite of the beers, though they were all rock solid.
Walking Man Brewing – Stevenson, WA
Our next stop was some 40 miles east up the Columbia River. Stevenson is not a very big town and Walking Man is not a very big brewery. This is the place to be in Stevenson – completely packed by 4:00 Friday afternoon. The pub is warm and cozy. It is the kind of place where you just want to sink deeper and deeper into your chair and into your beer. We were able to meet with Jacob Leonard (brewer) and Bob Craig (founder, owner).
Double Mountain Brewing – Hood River, OR
On Friday night, we went to Double Mountain Brewing for dinner. We had an excellent thin-crust pizza and decided to stick around for the live music. This place was rocking! I think everyone in Hood River was there. The beer is excellent, though not for the faint of heart. They seem to like their beers strong. We found several beers that we really enjoyed. In all, we hit the Double Mountain three times in two days. I think we like it.
Everybody’s Brewing – White Salmon, WA
Saturday afternoon we visited Everybody’s Brewing. We cannot say enough good things about this newcomer to the Washington brewing scene. They’ve been open as a pub for 13 months, but have only been brewing for the last 4 months. The beers are excellent already. From their large deck, the view of the Columbia River and Mount Hood is unreal. The food is amazing. We shared the hamburger, served “XXX style.” That means it came loaded with pickles, Munster cheese and peanut butter. You would only order a burger like this if someone recommended it. We do. Delicious!
Full Sail Brewing – Hood River, OR
Some people have an attitude about Full Sail. Mostly, it’s the serious craft beer purists who look down their noses at this production brewery. Here is what we know for sure. The pub is really nice and we always enjoy visiting. Full Sail has produced a lot of great beers as well as a lot of great brewers. It is an employee-owned company. It is a green company. As far as the beer goes, for a brewery that makes 540 barrels of beer at a time, we think it is pretty damn good beer. Any trip to Hood River would be incomplete without stopping into visit Full Sail.
Big Horse Brewing – Hood River, OR
The beers were good. The view is amazing. Other than that, let’s just say that we must have caught them on an off night.
Laurelwood Public House – Battle Ground, WA
Before making the trek homeward, we stopped in at the new Laurelwood Public House in Battle Ground, WA. This longtime Portland brewery has now moved north of the border. When it comes to opening a pub, Laurelwood knows exactly what they’re doing. The new location will have a very small brew house that will produce little more than seasonal beers; however, they do serve the full complement of Laurelwood’s award winning beers. The pub is beautiful and the beer is, well, it’s Laurelwood.
Planning your trip:
After considering our lodging options in Hood River, we decided to save money and stay at the Comfort Suites located about a mile west of downtown. It was comfortable with a king-sized bed priced at about $90/night including a servicable breakfast. Other options we looked at were the Columbia Gorge Hotel, which was also just west of town and had nice rooms for about $140/night; and the Best Western Hood River Inn which is about a mile east of downtown, with older rooms under $100/night and newer view rooms for $140+/night including breakfast. Next time we might think about staying right downtown at the Hood River Hotel which is within easy walking distance to all three breweries.
The only meal we took outside the breweries was at Brian’s Pourhouse which we heartily recommend. We’ve also heard good things (from a windsurfing friend) about Betty’s for breakfast, and we grabbed a great Stumptown coffee at Dog River Coffee.
Check back with us in the coming days to see more detailed brewery reviews from our Thanksgiving weekend road trip.