23 Oct 2009 - 7:19:04 PM
Bike Tour Breweries
During the Islands Bike Tour last month we made time to visit three breweries en route. The first one was great, but then it was all downhill from there.
Port Townsend Brewing Company - Port Townsend, WA
Conveniently located at the end of the bike trail into town, this brewery has a tasting room but no kitchen. Which is fine because they have some great beer. There's a Mexican place just across from them, if you're hungry. They also sell logo pint glasses, so I got to carry one of those around in my panniers for the rest of the trip. What surprised and delighted me most about this place was that they had four different IPAs on tap. You don't see that very often.
- Chet's Gold - slight hoppy edge, refreshing, goes down easy. Good for a hot day.
- Bitter End IPA - good! Decent hoppiness, citrusy. My fave of the four IPAs.
- Hop Diggidy IPA - little crisper than the Bitter End, floral
- Strait Stout - a touch on the light side, but a good all-around stout
- Peeping Peater Scotch Ale - smoky, really nice
- Imperial IPA - kinda creamy, nice!
- Barley Wine - wow. Best barley wine I've tried (but I usually don't like barley wines). 10.5% - extremely dangerous. Usual strong taste reserved for the finish.
- Pale Ale - ok, but nothing remarkable
- Reel Amber - ibid
- Brown Porter - ibid
- Boatyard Bitter - not bad, but kind of blah
- Single Hop IPA - spicy edge, not an intense hoppiness. My least favorite of the four IPAs.
Port Townsend Brewing taster tray - 1
Water Street Brewing - Port Townsend, WA - Update: Closed!
Well, this place has a lot going for it -- relaxed hang-out vibe, cool decor, friendly and pretty waitstaff, great food. Unfortunately, beer is not on that list. Very disappointing, especially after all the good stuff at PT Brewing. Oh well. They also sell hand-blown, hippy-esque glasses (for $25/glass!), but no logo pint glasses, contrary to the artwork on their web site. I only had so much room in my panniers, though, so that was okay. Did I mention they have great food? The BBQ tofu sandwich was all sorts of spicy awesomeness.
- Queen Nina's Imperial IPA - kind of a messy IPA, but good enough
- Schwag Lite - kind of meh
- Purdy Pale - has that soapy flavor I'm not so fond of
- Strange Brew Single Hop - well-named. Hoppy, but taste is all over the place.
- Panama Red - vague caramel flavor, but mostly bland
- McPrior's Irish Stout - slight formaldehyde aroma, watery, mostly tasteless. Pretty bad stout.
Water Street Brewing taster tray
San Juan Brewing - Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA - Update: Closed!
Last and, unfortunately, least was the San Juan Brewing Company and Front Street Ale House. Forgettable beer and mediocre food. Two bad tastes that go worse together. You gotta be leery of a place that touts their Bacon Beer as their most famous ("as mentioned in the New York Times!"). They had an insert in their menus saying they were out of the Bacon Beer at the moment, which was some welcome news to me, but when the taster tray showed up, there it was. Wayne generously offered to drink that one.
- Blockhouse Red - decent amber, but only 4.0%
- Raging Main Ale (limited edition) - has a stale, paper-y taste. Not bad after a few sips, actually, but not great. Their strongest beer at 6.6%.
- Royal Marine IPA - kinda hoppy, but kinda big for an IPA, which masks the hoppiness. A little too well-rounded for my tastes. 4.3%
- Eichenberger Hefeweizen - kind of watery. Meh. 4.0%
- Haro Strait Pale Ale - slightly floral, mostly meh. One of my least favorite Pale Ales, actually. A mere 3.5%.
- Ale Diablo Pepper Beer - peppery! Gives you something else to think about as you drink this otherwise mediocre beer.
- Starboard Porter - a Zen koan of a beer. From the beer menu: "Molasses" - yup. "Version of a straight-forward stout" - yup. "But without the stoutiness" - odd. What is a stout when it's not a stout?
- Bacon Beer - Wayne sez, "inoffensive"
San Juan Brewing taster tray
Only one more brewery post, and I'll be all caught up!