The North County Scene
I’ve had a charming little holiday break, but now it’s time to get back to the grindstone. There’s lots of beer to drink and someone’s gotta do it. This week, local heroes Jim and Nancy reprised their role of guiding me around the breweries in the northern reaches beyond Seattle. This isn’t quite a bike route yet; another exploratory mission is required to map it all out and check out some of the other breweries in the area. There are the makings of a route here for sure between Everett and Arlington.
The Makings of a Route
We started off the night finishing off my #DrinkLocalEverett punch card by hitting At Large and the Scuttlebutt Taproom. Quick unaffiliated plug for that awesome thing - if you get a beer at any of the 5 breweries in Everett (Scuttlebutt, At Large, Middleton, Lazy Boy, and the Everett Crucible location) then you get a punch for your card. Two punches at each mean you get a free pint glass. Bonus points from me if you do this on a bike. These five breweries make a great route by themselves. The three southernmost ones I’ve already written a post about, but it seems a new update to that post to include At Large and Scuttlebutt is due. After visiting the Everett Breweries we drove (a car, yes. Gasp!) north to Skookum brewery which received high praises from Jim. Skookum is so far north I was on the lookout for attacks by Canadians or white walkers, but it proved to be a worthy risk. From there we went to nearby Whitewall, so named for the tire, not the Game of Thrones zombies I was afraid I might see. On the way back into town, we stopped in at Scrappy Punk for a quick nightcap at the expense of a couple of other new breweries we could have tried. Scrappy Punk is just that good.
It turns out that this entire area is serviced quite well by the Centennial Trail, a killer bike path that runs from Snohomish to just north of Arlington. Soon, I’ll map out that perfect route that hits some of the places we missed last night including Lake Stevens, 5 Rights, Brew Bakers, and Swinnerton Brewery. Who knew this region was so accessible!
Beers: Hair Color
Scuttlebutt is a pretty massive brewery. You might just recognize it. Despite being nationally distributed, their new taproom has a great small brewery vibe. This new place is apart from their restaurant which I haven’t even bothered with. It’s nestled nicely in the brewery at which I’ve managed to catch some live music and $ 2-pint night. Not sure how they schedule those, so it’s probably a good idea to watch their Facebook page for updates. Their beer is a so-so blend of hair color beers*, but one or two rotating special beers might catch your eye.
Highlights: Warehouse, Food trucks, Cornhole
Beers: Standard, All Rotating
At Large is a great example of a small town, family run brewery. They serve some great baseball stadium style nachos and other small bites, but their strength is in their space. Basically one big square room, from your spot ordering at the bar, you can see all the equipment for their 3(ish?) barrel operation. To the left, shelves of ingredients ready to be used and the beer menu written out on a chalk paint covered old door. To the right, cornhole. Sweet, sweet cornhole. Their beer menu is growing and includes a pretty standard array of styles with good variety, though no beer is safe. Once it’s gone, it’s gone until they decide to brew it again.
Highlights: Warehouse, Food trucks
This place takes quite a ride to get to, even by car, but it is worth the trip. A massive warehouse reminiscent of Tripplehorn. Huge wooden picnic and antique tables fill the whole place and massive wood bar tops line the edge and build a barrier to the rest of the brewery with its massive fermenters. They have a ton of IPAs on tap, so you can drink those to your heart’s content, though I grabbed the kolsche. This place has a great vibe, great beer and an adorable brewery dog that loves to beg for your snacks you got from the food truck outside.
Beers: Standard, Lots of Dark Beer
This was the last new place on the route. Like Skookum, it has a great garage vibe, though it is much smaller. The brewery facility itself is a little hidden in the back behind a big door, but you still kinda feel like you are in the middle of it. The unassuming brewery is easy to miss, but it’s worth stopping in for the friendly folk and a game of Seattle Monopoly. They have a pretty great selection of dark beers to choose from, unlike what their name implies, and their cream ale, despite being too buttery for my tastes, was very popular among our group.
A great evening with great folks. We checked in at Scrappy Punk after all of this to finish off the night, because what tour of this area would be complete without a stop to everyone’s favorite beer shed? I’m still a big fan of their coconut blonde. Thanks again to Jim and Nancy for their stellar guiding. Can we get a triple-tandem bike so we call all ride around together? There is a great new bike route in the works here, and I am excited to try out some of the more remote breweries. Cheers and Happy Riding!
*Hair Color Beers - a boring menu consisting of something blonde, something red, something brown, and something black. It's got something for everyone, but nothing special.