Kitsap Breweries : Bainbridge Island

Well, my recaps of the peninsula breweries is definitely behind. On the bright side, my visits to these breweries is chugging forward. I’ve got a few in the queue, so let’s get one knocked out right now.

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Industrial Park brewing.

A few weeks back, my wife and I ventured out on a drizzly day to Bainbridge Island and made a stop to the local brewery cleverly named: Bainbridge Island Brewing. Oh, those creative business types. It just so happened to coincide with Washington Beer Open House, so not only did we kick back a couple tasty brews, we got a guided tour of their cramped but effective brewing space.

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Love that stained glass

Bainbridge is located in what feels like a hybrid industrial park and strip mall. It’s interior has a craftsman, nearly a log cabin feel to it with lots of natural wood. A relatively small downstairs is augmented with a loft offering quite a bit more seating. While they don’t offer up food of their own (other than simple snacks. We had cheese and crackers) they do bring in a rotation of food trucks (with the schedule on a big chalkboard) and you can always bring in whatever else you might want to chew on.

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Res Judicata

But why do we really go to breweries? It’s not the food or the atmosphere even. We go for the beer. Bainbridge brews up many tasty beers and they seem to be slowly expanding into the barrel aged and sour realm lately, too. We shared a couple flights plus added a couple tasters and got through pretty much their entire lineup that day. I’m not generally a fan of fruited IPAs but their Grapefruit IPA was solid and might be the best of the style that I’ve had. Their new sour, Res Judicata, was tart, tasty and a solid first offering. It has me excited to see what else they might pump out in that capacity.

We enjoyed a tour of the brew house by the head brewery and co-founder. He took the time to explain the ins and outs of their system, the highs and lows of their current size, what is pushing them forward and holding them back. It was a very honest and refreshing conversation.

Bainbridge is doing some good stuff out of a fairly packed environment. Their bottled offerings are getting easier to find and their tap only brews are definitely worth trying if you see them on somewhere. I’d be more of a regular if Bainbridge Island weren’t so damn far out.

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Bunch o’ Hops

Kitsap Breweries : Silver City

One of my beer goals for 2017 is to visit all breweries on the Kitsap Peninsula. Basically, anything north of the Tacoma Narrows bridge is fair game. And now, the race has begun.

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A classic warehouse brewery tap

I decided to start the adventure at a place I know well. Silver City is the big dog over here on the west sound and ships its beers far and wide. Last I checked, they were the fourth largest craft brewery in Washington. I won’t go into specifics about their beers because you’ve most likely had a pint of the Ridgetop Red, Nice Day IPA or any of their regulars. They even brewed the Seattle Beer Week beer, Sieben Braü lager … so they are totally big time.

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Tropic Haze when it was still a pilot brew

The brewery taproom itself is actually pretty small and reserved. A few seats at the bar next to a small window to the packaging floor of the brewery greets you as you walk in. A lineup of 20 tap handles is front a center in case you forgot why you were there. Beer. Beer is why you are there. Some tables scattered among stacks of silent barrels aging a whole host of different brews adds some ambiance and gives a good reminder that you’re drinking at a very busy working brewery. They have a large chalkboard calendar with all their goings on in the main room of the bar so you can see what food truck will be in on what day, when that special release imperial porter is available, and when cask night is gonna be. It’s helpful. The service is always friendly, and as a native midwesterner, I enjoy the easy and relaxed friendly atmosphere they seem to promote. I enjoy Silver City but it’s a basic brewery taproom that seems to exist more to fill growlers and sell bottles and cans of their liquid than as a gathering spot to tie a few on. They are not trying to wow you with ambiance. They are trying to sell their beer in a friendly environment. I dig it.

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A fuzzy photo among the snoozing barrels.

I wouldn’t call myself a regular but I do stop in a few times a month and relax- generally  over a pint of one of their pilot beers. They seem to have at least a couple going each time I’m in, in addition to the regular lineup and standard seasonals.  They also brew a number of seasonal lagers, which needs to be a thing at more places. Lager. Yea. It’s the next new hotness that isn’t new at all but is awesome.

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Scrooge rests patiently.

So yea, Silver City. It’s a damn’d fine brewery with a solid taproom offering up a good variety of their beers with some one-offs, too. It’s nice to have them nearby.

On the web: Silver City Brewery

*This is solely about the brewery taproom in Bremerton. The flagship restaurant in Silverdale is a different beast all together. I rarely venture up there as its focus is casual dining and the tap list isn’t as extensive. And I write a beer blog, not a causal dining blog.

Motivation.

I haven’t blogged in quite some time. I have reasons, sure. Time, energy, access to the internet, etc. They’re all…good, as in, they are all real. But honestly, lack of motivation is the driving factor in the layoff. While stationed in Japan, I had plenty of things to talk about that were new and interesting. However, Philadelphia is flooded with beer and people who know far more than I and Bahrain had nearly no beer and no reason to discuss it. I now find myself on the Kitsap peninsula. It may be the most frustrating place I’ve lived. Kitsap is surrounded by large cities and small towns overflowing with great beer and great breweries. Hell, even this peninsula has some outstanding breweries…but where are the great beer pubs and stores pushing the local suds? This tiny blog will have no discernible affect on the availability of beers, but I do plan on at least talking about them a little more. Hopefully, the motivation lasts.

In that effort, my lovely Craft Beer Wife (the most understanding of all the wives) challenged me. You see, I am the nerd who enters his thoughts on the ol’ Ratebeer.com website. I’ve amassed a decent number over the years and am close to certain milestones in the stats department. I agree, my stats that don’t mean a damn thing. Hell, none of it means a damn thing, but it is fun to do, so I do it.

When I stepped on the pier after seven months of being at sea and on deployment, my wife challenged me to rate 100 new beers by the end of the year. With all the brews she snagged for me while I was gone and after downing a few flights at breweries, we both realized that was a walk in the park, regardless of how depleted my tolerance had become. So I asked for a new challenge.

She decided that I needed to get to 100 overall rates of each of the following:

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Only 28 beers. Easy day.

 

At first glance, it doesn’t seem too difficult. It’s only 28 beers, dude. But, Belgian strong ales could be the sticking point. Impy stouts and IPAs? I’ve already got those in my queue, but the BSAs, and ones I haven’t had yet, might prove trickier than I’m thinking. The only way to find out it to start drinking.

Let’s get to it.