A Toast to the Northwest: Beer Washington Style
Washington state is renowned for its natural beauty, coffee, and salmon. However, it also has an incredible brewing scene that is often overlooked. The state is home to more than 400 breweries, the second-highest number in the country, and there’s no shortage of tasty beers to try.
The History of Washington State Beer
Washington State has a long and storied history of brewing beer, dating back to the 1800s. German immigrants took the lead in brewing beer, and by 1890, there were 89 breweries in the state of Washington. However, the prohibition era, followed by the Great Depression, almost decimated the brewing industry in the state.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that beer began to make a comeback in Washington. With the repeal of prohibition laws, and the emergence of microbreweries, craft beer became more popular in the state. Today, there are more than 400 breweries in Washington, a testament to the state’s passion for beer.
What Makes Washington Beer Unique?
Washington State is known for producing a wide variety of beer styles, but the state’s brewers excel at a few particular styles. The abundance of fresh hops and water of unmatched purity make the state an excellent destination for brewing:
Washington is famous for its juicy and hoppy IPAs. Brewers take advantage of the state’s hop farms to create bold and flavorful IPAs that are a must-try for any beer lover. Some of the best IPA breweries include Georgetown Brewing Company, Fremont Brewing, and Elysian Brewing.
Despite IPAs dominating the scene, Washington also has a long tradition of producing crisp and refreshing lagers. These light beers are perfect for hot summer days in Seattle or on a hike in the Cascade Mountains. Some of the top lager breweries include Chuckanut Brewery and Silver City Brewery.
Sour beers are the perfect way to beat the summer heat or add some excitement to a rainy fall afternoon. Washington brewers work their magic with unique blends, barrel-aged, and kettle soured sours that are flavorful and complex. Some of the best sour beer breweries include Holy Mountain Brewing, Urban Family Brewing Company, and Mollusk Brewery.
Growing Beer Culture in Washington State
The brewing culture continues to grow in Washington. In addition to the established breweries, innovative newcomers are making a name for themselves by experimenting with unique approaches to brewing. However, It’s not just the big city that is making waves in the brewing industry, but the somewhat off the beaten path towns and smaller cities are also involved.
Many tiny towns, such as Leavenworth, are becoming known for their beer festivals, beer walks, and events. Known for its Bavarian-themed town and as the base for an ice fishing lake in winter, Leavenworth is also home to a handful of breweries such as Icicle Brewing Company, Munchen Haus and more. So next time you are on the west side of the Cascades, do not forget to check out the smaller towns for their unique beer culture.
What is the best beer festival in Washington State?
Washington State Beer Festival is an annual event, and it is considered the best beer festival in the state. Held every June in Marymoor Park near Seattle, the festival features over 500 beers from more than a hundred local breweries.
What is the oldest brewery in Washington?
The oldest brewery in Washington State is the Olympia Brewing Company, founded in 1896. The brewery was located in Olympia, Washington, and the company produced beer for nearly a century before it shut down.
What is a growler fill station?
In Washington State, a growler fill station is a store that specializes in filling and selling growlers – refillable glass containers typically used for beer. Many growler fill stations offer a wide selection of local and regional beers on tap that customers can take home in a growler.
Washington state’s beer culture is something to be revelled in. Whether it is an IPA, sour beer, or lager that you seek, Washington state has something that is sure to delight you. So the next time you are in Washington State, make sure to take some time to explore the local beer scene and savour a pint of cold beer.