Took in the Untapped yesterday, and Wow! new breweries keep popping up all over the state. I met folks from four outfits I had never heard of before, and they all brought excellent beers to the show. Let's start with Richland, next door to Kennewick. Last year I visited White Bluffs Brewing and noted it as the third in the city, along with Atomic Ales and Rattlesnake Brewing. Now the nuclear city is up to five brewers! First stop was at the Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery: that's two lines of business, barbeque and brewing. I did start out with a smoked dark lager, to muddle matters further. Shrub Steppe is located miles out of the city limits, on the road that skirts the Hanford reservation.
Back in Richland proper, the New School Brewing Company had just opened for business. Owner/brewer Rob Hall and colleagues were doing a brisk business at their stand, curious locals checking them out. They had commissioned some vivid artwork and have plans to bottle some of their intriguing ales.
About 80 miles up the Yakima valley, in the hoppy town of Moxee, Bale Breaker Brewing had opened several months ago, complete with canning line from the get-go. They displayed 12-oz. 6-packs of their IPA and their pale ale, Field No. 41. The latter refers to the hop field in which they literally brew. This pale has a very hoppy aroma, but the nose deceives the mouth: the bitterness tests out at just 38 IBUs.
The last new brewery had come all the way from the Columbia Gorge, from the little town of Carson. Open about eight months, Backwoods Brewing has done such a brisk business they have decided to replace their seven-and-a-half barrel system with a twenty-barrel system. As their neighbors at Walking Man Brewing and Everybody's Brewing are also doing plenty of business, one must infer that Oregonians are crossing the river in significant numbers to drink Washington beer. They may not admit in public that any other state can make quality craft beer, but their actions speak louder.