Silverdale, next to Poulsbo, looks like it was all built last year--or the year before the economy tanked, 2007.For all the fabulous natural scenery, urban Washington is not very old. What went up in the second half of the nineteenth century was made of flammable wood, which did what wood buildings tend to do when they dry out. So when we call some area like Fairhaven or Pioneer Square a historic district, that means the really old buildings were new when TR or Wilson were presidents. Charleston or Philadelphia, we ain't But if Silverdale ever declares a historic district, it will be for some buildings that date to the second Bill Clinton term.
The local micro, Silver City Brewing, sits in its own new building next to the South Kitsap Mall. I went in on a rainy Friday afternoon with low expectations of any individuality here. Well, you can't judge a book by its cover or a brewery by its exterior. I went in on a rainy Friday afternoon and the place was full of people launching their weekends. Typically, a crowded brewpub with a good restaurant has servers who are rushed and can spare only the bare minimum of attention (I think of Fish in Olympia and Boundary Bay here in Bellingham as examples). My server, Brett, found a few seconds to chat between orders and was able to give me quite a bit of information. Yes, the whole area was new; when he was born, his dad says, this whole area was pastures and apples. When the mall was built, half the businesses in Bremerton moved here, and Bremerton has just been getting back on its feet. Here were some tasting notes: try the Bavarian Hefeweizen. Clove notes? Yes, it really does have them. Lots of places claim a clove-y flavor in their Hefes, but I haven't found it too often. Here, Dick's in Centralia, Elliot Bay in Burien...). Served with a slice of lemon or orange? Brett shakes his head, not the policy here unless the customer asks. I usually throw the slice away if they serve it without asking me, as I want to taste what the brewer made, not what the chef bought at the produce stand. Cheers, Brett.
Standing at the bar, I start chatting with a guy standing nearby about the Fat Scotch Ale, their brew with the most GABF medals. We agree that the peaty taste does remind one of a nice single malt whiskey. I notice a long row of pint glasses with people's names on them behind the bar. Yes, it's for the regulars, just like a diner with names on the coffee mugs for its locals. Brett swings by again to bring a taste of the Indianola IPA, hopped to the pucker point. He tells me the brewing apparatus visible through the plate glass is no longer in use. With over 200 retail accounts for kegs and 22-oz bottles, they pushed up against the capacity for this system and had to build a larger one across town.
When I tell him about my goal to visit as many Washington micros as I can, Brett mentions the new one, Der Blokken, that just opened in Bremerton in April and is not yet listed in the NW Brewing News. He finds their address and jots it down. When I leave, it's with a good feeling. Folks here were a lot friendlier than I was expecting, and I tasted some really nice beers.