Monday, August 19, 2013

Plan B: Beer

One of the great things about being a beer geek is that anytime you have extra time on your hands, especially when you're out of town, is that you always have a solid Plan B, which is to seek out beer. Sometimes this can be challenging, if you haven't fully fleshed out Plan B in X location but thanks to smart phones, the interwebs and great apps like Untappd, those problems are easily resolved.

Saturday found us with some of the before-mentioned extra time in the Puyallup, WA area and while it might not be the hot bed of beer like its neighbors to the north (Seattle and Tacoma) we managed to find some places to check out.

The first, Northwest Brewing Company, is actually in Pacific, WA, a short drive from Puyallup. This brewery has gone through changes in both ownership and name (you might recall Trade Route Brewing and before that Laughing Buddha) but they've kept a couple of the recipes.

The brewery is located in a light industrial area and consists of a taproom with outdoor patio and indoor bar and table seating divided from the brewery by a partial wall. Of the 10+ beers they make, six of them were on tap and we started with a couple of their lighter offerings. I fell on the "chick beer" offering, Mango Weizen, while Mag checked out their Three Skulls Pale Ale. Both were good beers with the mango flavor of the Weizen being appropriately mild and thankfully not artificial tasting. We also tried the Jet Stream Lager (unsurprisingly Mag enjoyed more than I did), Hoppy Bitch IPA (great hop aroma) and Local Ink (a roasty brown that could easily be mistaken for a porter) before departing.

Our second stop, Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery, is actually housed in an old power house. The brick exterior gives way to an interior that while nice enough, is a bit too slick for me and seemed to be more restaurant than brewery. The 10-beer menu was displayed on a distracting and hard to read (even from the seats at the bar) mirror behind the taps. Trying to keep an open mind we tried the IPA, Scottish and Double Down IPA. While there were not any flaws in the beers they also weren't exciting and the highlight of what we consumed was the Breasts of Fire, chicken in an addictive, I'd-really-like-to-lick-the-bowl chili cream sauce served with crostini. Fortified, we moved on.

Our third stop, Puyallup River Alehouse, we found by checking out the "nearby" section of Untappd. They brew their own beer but also have an assortment of guest taps including ones we were familiar with (10 Barrel, Harvester, etc.). Us being us, we were most interested in their beers and made our way through a fair number of them including Apricot Saison, One Hit Warrior IPA, Cucumber Lemon Saison, Fryingpan Cascadian Red Ale, Strawberry Farmhouse Saison and Paradise Blonde Saison. All the beers were good but hands down my favorite was the Cucumber Lemon. This rivals and perhaps beats the cucumber beer I've thoroughly enjoyed from Flat Tail.

Not only was the beer the best at our third stop, but we ended up chatting with some fellow Untappd users. For a place that upon walking in looks like they'd only be serving up a selection of BMCs, I walked out of there a very happy beer geek. So if you find yourself with some time on your hands in Puyallup, grab a stool and order up some of Puyallup River's house brews.

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