Mill Creek is the only microbrewery within a 50 mile radius of Walla Walla, and it’s next door to Whitman College, so I figured it would be fairly busy, even on a Monday. It wasn’t really though—there were probably a dozen or so other tables filled (couples/groups and a few individuals). I sat inside rather than on the patio (it was just shy of 100 degrees). It’s a fairly typical brewpub: everything is done in dark wood, there’s beer posters and memorabilia on the walls, a couple of TVs with sports on. The bar allows smoking (something I’m not used to seeing anymore, since most places in Oregon don’t allow smoking these days), though I sat at a table in the dining area.
Mill Creek brews four of their own beers: Brew 22, apparently a very light beer (the only one I didn’t try), Walla Walla Wheat, Penitentiary Porter and an IPA. A note: their menus are out-of-date; they no longer have the sampler tray, and the ESB is no longer brewed.
I started with Walla Walla Wheat. It’s not the typical wheat beer I’ve come to expect—it was more of an amber-style ale, and hoppier than a wheat usually is. ("Usually" in this case refers to the Widmer style of wheat beers—light, easy on the hops, a bit yeasty.) It wasn’t really a traditional style, either… just a darker, filtered (clear) American wheat.
The Penitentiary Porter was next. This was a pretty good porter. It was dark, not too heavy—a light mouthfeel—moderately hoppy, and you could taste the roasted malt for a bit afterward. It didn’t have the smoothness of a Black Butte Porter, but I think it was still good for the style, and definitely worth a pint.
The IPA was the best of the three I had. Hoppy, strong, much better mouthfeel, malty and complex. It was a very good IPA. Copper-colored, with a nice head of foam, it just tasted right. This would be the beer I’d drink regularly.
Dinner was fish and chips (halibut fish and chips), typical brewpub fare, and was pretty good, not greasy at all. The soup I got with it was a salmon chowder, their special for the night. It was pretty good, but more of a New York style chowder (I think; fairly thin, not thick like a New England style…), and it seemed they could have been a bit more generous with the salmon.
Altogether a pretty good visit. If I find myself in Walla Walla again, I’d come back.