5 Best Breweries in The Pacific Northwest
Guest Post By Linus Minick
Decided to take a drinking tour of the Pacific Northwest? Great idea. West Coast Brewing is booming, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are putting out some of the tastiest beers with the freshest takes in the industry. Breweries in the northwest, like most things up there don’t have a long history, in fact most of the breweries on this list are barely pushing 20 years in the business. What they may lack in years they make up with in creativity, atmosphere, and for many, a dedication to sustainability. Here are just 5 of the best, in the Pacific Northwest:
Ninkasi Brewing Company, Eugene OR
If your IPAs need to come with a great atmosphere and friendly staff, then Ninkasi Brewing in Eugene, Oregon, should be your first stop. I have never heard one person complain about the service at Ninkasi. Friendly, knowledgeable, and great personalities abound. They have a heated patio where most of your drinking will be done. While no food is served on location, food carts are always within walking distance. Each beer you order comes with a “playing card” that has the specific beer information listed on it. Great for a collectible, or for tourists (me). Great prices too, as tasting beers come in with five options and are only $7. Some favorites include Tricerahops, Dawn of the Red, and their Quantum Pale Ale.
Fremont Brewing, Seattle WA
Fremont Brewing is where you’re going to get the best prices for some pretty amazing beers. Located in Seattle, Washington, the brewery is right on the waterfront. The patio seating overlooks the water and creates a spectacular view on sunny days. The only food on location are free pretzels and apples to munch on, but they allow you to bring your own food if you really like some grub with your beer. With $10 growler fills and pints for $4, it’s hard to keep this brewery off any list. Plus they’re dog friendly, so you can drink with your REAL best friend. I’ve heard rumors of a neighborhood cat named “Batman” that hangs around, but that may just be a Fremont urban legend. Popular brews include the Brother Imperial IPA, Dark Star, and their Universale Pale Ale.
You can’t visit breweries in the Northwest without making a stop in Portland. Rogue Ales is the token dive bar for any list of breweries. Anyone who drinks knows dive bars can secretly have the best libations, and Rogue Ales is no exception. One fairly unique drinking option for this brewery is its selection of spirits. Rogue Ales is a perfect brewery for anyone with a curious palette. From whiskey to gin to their Voodoo Bacon Maple Vodka, this place welcomes the open-minded drinker. The sheer amount of options alone make this place worth a visit. With a wide variety of food also available, this is a great meet up place after work or on the weekend. Favorite drinks include the Chipotle Ale, Fruit Salad Cider and their ORE-Gasmic Ale.
Deschutes Brewery, Bend OR
If you are in Bend, Oregon, this one is the first brewery to visit. One of the most well-known breweries in the Northwest, it’s for good reasons. Family- and employee-owned since 1988, this once-small brewery has now grown into one of the most recognizable breweries in Pacific Northwest. Some notable beers are the Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes River Ale, and the apparent favorite, The Abyss. They also have a selection of gluten-free beers. If you stop by their location, you may have to wait, as they tend to be busy, but you can always grab a beer before you’re seated. Another must have if you’re stopping in is the Mac n’ Cheese Pasta. Beer and beer food: what a novel idea. Leaving the best for last, everything is at a reasonable price; some flights go for $9.
Boise Brewing, Boise ID
Let’s not forget about Idaho. In the last decade, Idaho has grown leaps and bounds in establishing quality breweries. Boise has a growing sustainability movement, and Boise Brewing fully embraces it, using ingredients from local farms and businesses as well as donating spent grains. They also offer memberships for $100 a year. This includes 12 growler fills, one for each month’s unique beer. With names like Red Velvet Cream Ale, Ode to the PIMP Imperial Pale Ale, and Soul-less Ginger Saison, curiosity alone may make becoming a member worth it. While no food is served at the brewery location, the upstairs lounge does provide a foosball table, so we can let the lack of food slide. Besides, you can have food delivered as well as reserve the mezzanine for parties. Favorite beers include Snowboarder Porter and Hip Check IPA. If you ever find yourself thirsty in Idaho, you now have your first stop.