Tuesday, October 12, 2010

North Sound Brewing: Mt. Vernon's second

It just opened August 27th.  North Sound Brewing, a couple of miles west of downtown Mt. Vernon on Rte. 536.  The first thing you notice is this tall, brooding stone standing out in front in a landscaped pattern.
There's a story, of course. It seems Kurt Ahrens, one of the owners, has always had a passion for dolmens, those ancient burial markers seen throughout western Ireland and in other ancient Celtic lands. While the typical arrangement is two upright stones supporting a horizontal one, a single stone like this is just as full of Celtic mystery. So his wife gets him a dolmen from a landscaping outfit and has it delivered the day before Christmas last year. Just as he wakes up with a kidney stone to pass.  So he gets two stones, one to keep and one to lose!
  Four of the eight beers on tap have been named; the rest are called X-batch for now. I started my sample tray with a Big Bend Blonde. Its a light ale, named for the bend in the Skagit, just across the road and behind a dike. Next I tried a Bitter Rain ESB, made with seven different grains and an enjoyable maltiness.  After that, the Slainte Stout, very smooth and chocolate-y with yes, the hint of toffee the tasting notes mention.  Last was some sips of the Hop Chops IPA, with a nice grapefruit finish from the Simcoe hops;
  The little patio looked like it would be well used on a sunny day, but not on this rainy one.
A pleasant stop with friendly servers and pleased customers.
    During a later visit, Kurt was tending bar and sharing more stories.  The Goosetown Brown is named for a neighborhood in Anaconda, Montana. It seems all the brewing equipment was purchased from a micro in Anaconda that had to liquidate after operating less than two years, a victim of embezzlement. They gave the Goosetown name to one of their beers and North Sound kept the name going as the equipment started up again out here on the coast.
   And during tulip festival time (Mt. Vernon always tunes up for this the whole month of April) I got another story from Lyra, frequent tender of the tasting room. The pale ale was a seasonal, named Pearl's Pale Ale, and a large poster showed a cute shar-pei puppy sniffing a big red tulip.  This was Pearl, the late and beloved dog of Kurt and his wife.  Pearl passed away at the good canine age of 12 and they had this fine picture among their memories.
(Visited 10/9/10; 2/26/11; 4/15/11)

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