We had one more day in Seattle. It was obvious that we were beer touring but the question was where? Chris Devlin suggested we take the ferry over to the Kitsap Peninsula. With several new breweries to visit, that sounded like a good idea to us.
The day was the most glorious of our short trip. Arriving at the ferry terminal 45 minutes before our Bremerton-bound boat sailed, Merideth and I enjoyed a few minutes of downtime and soaked in the warm sun. Joining us on the ferry for the beer tour were Chris Devlin and Dave Doran; reuniting four sevenths of the previous day’s Urban Beer Hike. Once we reached Bremerton, the plan was to make the short drive to Silverdale for lunch at Silver City.
An overlooked component to successful beer touring is luck. And luck was on our side on Friday. Chris Devlin received a text from his friend Matt, a brewer for Silver City. Matt suggested we stop by Silver City’s production brewery in Bremerton on our way through town. Usually, deviations from a plan cause me quite a bit of consternation but for some reason I readily agreed. And Merideth concurred.
We found Silver City’s production brewery on the outskirts of Bremerton. After introductions, Matt showed us around the brewery. As Matt was talking, it became evident to Merideth and me that Silver City no longer brewed at the pub in Silverdale. At an appropriate break in tour, I clarified this with Matt. Yes, all beer production was now at this facility.
At this point, for Silver City to count on “The List,” we would need to try the beer. And for all of Matt’s hospitality, trying the beer wasn’t a given. We don’t expect everyone to know our “rules” and Matt probably just assumed we would try the beers at the pub during lunch.
Merideth and I explained our predicament and Matt disappeared back into the brewery. A few minutes later, he came back with a quarter pitcher of Baby Fat 60 Schilling Scottish-style Ale. At 2.99% ABV, Baby Fat was quite flavorful and a perfect start to the day. With Silver City officially added, we bought a few bottles for home and thanked Matt for saving the day.
A mall is the last place we expect a beer place. But Kitsap Mall boasts two with the Hales Alehouse joining Silver City in the expansive shopping center. Silver City was still doing a brisk lunch business mid-afternoon when we arrived.
As Merideth and I poured over the lunch menu, we counted our lucky stars for the text message Chris Devlin received. I am not sure we would have backtracked to Bremerton if we got to Silverdale and realized that Silver City no longer brewed there. I hate backtracking on beer tours!
Lunch felt much more relaxed with the mini disaster averted. Merideth had the Baked Crab Sandwich with their nice Bavarian-style Hefeweizen. It was middle-of-road on the banana-clove scale, a very pleasant lunchtime brew. I paired the Indianola IPA with Silver City’s Pulled Pork Sandwich. The IPA was nicely balanced with Cascade and Columbus hops. I was disappointed in the Porter BBQ sauce on the pulled pork. Looking forward to trying it, I think the issue was there wasn’t much of it on the sandwich. Dave, Mr. Sweet-Tooth, ordered a seemingly odd pairing of Panther Lake Porter with the Baked Crab Sandwich. But there was method to his madness, as he was setting himself up for the very yummy chocolate brownie desert which luckily came with four spoons.
It was a short drive from Silverdale to Poulsbo (pronounced POLES-bo). With a population of just under 9,000, the tiny town astride Hwy 3 boasts three breweries. We visited two of them.
First up was Valhöll Brewing. Located just off Hwy 3, Valhöll was somewhat hard to find. The brewery was located in the garage of a private home located behind a medical office building. Despite assurances from our navigator that we were in the correct place, it took some fumbling about before we finally found it’s location.
Not knowing anything about Poulsbo, I was somewhat surprised by the number of people hanging out in the converted garage enjoying an afternoon pint. The Begian Wit, at 4.8% ABV was a refreshing beer and clearly my favorite of the ones I sampled. The others I sampled were, for a lack of a better word, strange. This included Smoked Cherry Rye, a big brew at 8.4% ABV. The smoke was provided cherry wood-smoked malt and cherries were also added. I enjoy experimental beers but this experiment I think went somewhat awry.
For our Kitsap Peninsula Beer Tour, we saved the best for last. About a mile from Valhöll, Sound Brewery was the end business in an industrial park. They had the door up and the beer flowing on Friday afternoon with a similar sized crowd as our previous stop.
Chris Devlin was also friends with Sound’s brewer/owner, Brad. After quick introductions, I purchased a taster set and settled in for our last stop of the day’s tour.
The six beer sampler had some tasty, 8%-10% ABV Belgian-style beers including a Dubbel and Tripel. However, the stars were three of the lower alcohol brews. O’Regan’s Revenge, a 5.9% ABV Red Ale, was one of the best of the style I have ever tasted. Poundage Porter had a pleasant roasty/toasty flavor with a nice amount of hops. The third of this trio, and my favorite, was Koperen Ketel, an easy drinking Copper Ale.
Having a friend of the owner has it’s benefits, as Brad poured us samples from back in the brewery. Their Belgian-style IPA, Bevrijder, was excellent and the yet-to-be-released Double IPA was in the best beer of the trip category.
Time flew by on our beer tour. We were having a great time at Sound, but unfortunately, we had the ferry back to Seattle to catch. We finished our samples and bade farewell with thanks to both Brad and Matt who had popped into Sound after work at Silver City. It was a great end to the the trip–an afternoon with friends and adding three new breweries to “the List.”
And Dave, I’m sorry for passing that Dairy Queen. I really didn’t see it.
For more information on beer on the Kitsap Peninsula
go to visitkitsap.com