You Can Own Snohomish if You Have A Bike
Damn, Daniels. Snohomish is dope. I love discoveries like this. While the people of Snohomish have known this for years, those of us who live a little further away will be surprised to find that Snohomish is one hell of a beer destination. It’s always embarrassing for me to be the last to find out, though I guess technically you reading this are really the last ones to find out and Snohomish denizens get to laugh in our faces. Point is, Snohomish has a really solid showing with 6 strong breweries that run the full gamut from garage startups to wedding venue worthy locations with a good amount of classic industrial warehouse thrown in. Come with me.
The Route: The SnoHomish Scene
Snohomish is nice and small. It’s small enough for you to completely own on a bike. That is to say, the distance between the two furthest breweries, Haywire Brewing Co to the South and Sound To Summit Brewing in the North, is a mere 4.5 miles. With all the other breweries no more than a mile off the main road, the total route clocks in at less than 6 miles. The best part is that there are actual bike paths for some of this route! The famed Centennial trail starts about halfway through our route and over half of what remains is on bike-friendly roads. For what’s left, get ready for a little bit of sharing the road with cars. Not ideal, but it will work just fine over the short distances we're dealing with. If you already live in Snohomish, then I envy you because the real trick is getting there. You can always grab a Designated Driver and make the trek through the ever-present I-5 traffic, or you can hop on your bike and ride the roughly 35 miles for 3 hours from Seattle. If you know me, then you know what I’m about to tell you to do. There are 6 breweries in Snohomish; make that whole ride and you will have burned enough calories to drink 3 beers at each place! I can’t imagine a better Saturday, though I won’t blame you for waiting until the Spring rolls around to give it a go. Not all of us can own raincoats, after all.
Haywire Brewing Co
Highlights: Barn, Venue
First up is Haywire. The first thing you’ll notice is that a barn. It’s also the fanciest brewery on the route. You should be getting very excited now. Once you get in, you’ll find that the place is actually perfectly manicured and styled to have that “rustic wedding venue” vibe, but it does all that without even moving the brewing equipment out of the taproom. The bar stools are repurposed tractor seats, and basically, every fixture is an upcycled trough. Their beers feature a fairly standard array craft styles but also include a gluten free beer as well as some wild cards: a gingerbread beer, for example, on the day I was there, but I wouldn’t count on a popular beer still having any kegs left by the time you get there.
Spada Farmhouse Brewery
Highlights: Sours, Wine-like
This location is merely a tasting room for the brewery that’s a little out of town. I hear they are looking for a good facility to brew and serve in, but in the meantime, this is what they have. It has more of a wine tasting room vibe than a beer one. That suits their fancy beer selection quite well, despite the difficulty of getting a strip mall location to look as classy as they have. Their selection consists of just a small handful of fruity, barrel-aged sour beers. They have a few other IPAs and stuff, but those feel like auxiliary options to bolster their small selection. Sour beers are notoriously hard to brew en masse, so I don’t blame them for having some IPAs there to fill out their numbers while the good stuff ages.
Highlights: Free Popcorn, Stage
I’m not a long time Snohomish resident, but I hear from local sources that the building this tiny brewery is in used to be the pet shop. That’s neat. This place takes advantage of small-town pride with merch and branding that is reminiscent of Snohomish High school (or so I hear). The brewery is right there on the floor for all to see, its two small fermenters separated from the seating area by a narrow drainage grate. The rest of the decor feels like a combination of Texas BBQ joint and defunct guitar shop. They have a small stage set up in the corner which bodes well for potential karaoke but I get the feeling it’s more of an open mic type of place. Their beers are the standard array, nothing weird or exciting, but well executed.
Highlights: Homegrown, Garage
Smell: 3/2 - it breaks the scale!
Local-ness: 3/2 - it breaks the scale!
Beers: Standard with some wildcards
Cycling Cicerone highly suggests this place
The glory of this place might be lost on you as you read through the rest of these reviews. How can I make one place stand out among six? You’ll just have to take my word for it. This is without a doubt the smallest brewery I have ever been in, and it is amazing. In my mad rush around town to visit all of these places in a single day, this was the place I stayed at for the longest. It’s a maybe 150sq ft garage (just guessing, it may be even smaller) with just enough room for a bar, a couple tables, a short barricade built of kegs, and a tiny little brew setup jammed into the back of the place. Despite being jam-packed with local fanatic fans, it doesn’t feel cramped. The volunteer bartender serves beer out of plastic cups because there’s no room for a dishwasher and outfitting the garage with fire suppression just to qualify for the right licenses just doesn't quite seem right. If you want the hometowniest, homegrowniest brewery in the entire world with some of the friendliest folk, I present you with Scrappy Punk. If you want someone to be brewing literally within spitting distance (please don’t spit at the brewers) while you drink, then this is your place.
Sound to Summit
Highlights: Brewpub, Huge space
Actually a brewpub, this place serves up a full menu in addition to their beers. It's the only brewery on this list where you are seated by a hostess and handed a menu. That’s never been my style, but while you are running this route, I might consider heading here before the end of your journey to fuel up. Six breweries is a lot and I couldn’t fault you for stopping at a brewpub even if it was a bit out of sequence. The space is great. It’s much larger than the total seating area, so you feel like you are hanging with a small cluster of folks drifting about in a huge brewery. And I mean huge, it’s the largest (and the oldest) in Snohomish. Try the fry nachos.
Highlights: Huge Space, Board Games
I have to admit, this place was at the end of my long journey. By the time I had arrived here, I had… partaken… heavily. Perhaps it was for that reason that this place was so magical. It’s a great big warehouse in the back of a small industrial plaza. High ceilings, open floor plan, and fresh paint. Friendly bartenders and Truth-or-Dare Jenga cement this place in my mind as a great drinking spot… I just wish I could remember what I drank. It was good though if my fog brained vague endorsement is worth anything.
There you have it. Every brewery in the beer town of Snohomish. While I think it's possible to go to every one of them in a single day, you'd really be better off waiting for the long days of Summer if you plan on riding (I know, I was sassy earlier in the introduction, but you get a pass this time). If you are lucky like me and have a local guides Jim and Nancy to shuttle you around the scene, then you can try to do all six no problem. If you live in Snohomish now and haven't ridden to all six breweries on this route, then shame on you.