Yesterday took us across the border into Washington to attend a friend's bottle share. Being that we needed to be there early evening we gave ourselves plenty of time to deal with rush hour and ended up in Vancouver with plenty of time. Knowing this might happen I figured we could pop into By the Bottle for a pint or two however as we turned down W Evergreen Blvd, what did I see, but a brewery! We quickly swung around the block, easily found a parking spot and proceeded to enter Dirty Hands Brewing Company.
Although it was just after 4:00 pm, there were already a few patrons inside and we made a beeline to the bar. With five beers on tap we ordered up a sampler tray and started in. Before we got even half way through one of the owners came over and introduced himself. Phil and his business partner, Grant, are both chemists by trade and Phil previously worked for Miller in their R&D department followed by time with a winery. Phil graciously offered, and I accepted, a trip down stairs to check out the brewery. With relatively low ceiling height they may have to look at a warehouse space for much expansion in the future but for now they have plenty of room in the brewery.
Dirty Hands, a name that speaks to both the history of the building (formerly housed a newspaper) and the fact that brewing will get ones hands dirty, has been open for less than a week. The 3.5 barrel system is housed in two levels of what was most recently a bridal shop. The corner location with large windows catches the eye (that's how we found it!) and the warm glow draws one in.
As for the beers, of the five the Liberty Ship Stout was easily my favorite. It's a roasty stout with very little sweetness and at only 5.6% ABV, one I could enjoy many pints of. I also enjoyed their Redemption Brown Ale which had a milder roastiness and as Mag said, "a very sessionable brown." The other three, 320 Mule Wheat, New Deal Amber Ale and WPA (a golden ale), aren't styles I generally enjoy but there was nothing off or unpleasant about them. I'll be interested to see what direction their beers take as they grow but for now I think the stout will be a crowd pleaser for the winter months.
With all the breweries popping up in Portland,it's easy to forget that there's a similar trend just across the border. Now I wouldn't recommend making the trip during rush hour, but if you find yourself with time on a weekend, a quick run north might be a good way to spend an afternoon. We'll certainly be making it a point to visit again soon.