We spent the past weekend in Walla Walla, Washington, hitting up wineries and partaking in a bit of the Celebrate Walla Walla Wine event they have every year (this year’s theme was Syrah). Though Walla Walla for about three decades now has been known for its wine, there is a small but growing beer scene developing there. Here’s a rundown of what the current scene looks like:
Mill Creek Brewpub. If their website is correct, they are celebrating 12 years this month, which means they were established in 2002. I visited them once back in 2005, though I believe the brewpub has since changed hands so things might be a bit different now.
Laht Neppur Brewing. Located in nearby Waitsburg, they opened an Ale House in downtown Walla Walla not too long ago, and according to their website is looking to build a production facility in nearby Milton-Freewater, Oregon. They are best known for their fruit beers.
Nosdunk Brewing. They are a production brewery closed to the public and only about a year old. Their bottled beers can be found at a few places downtown, and it looks like a limited rotation.
Dragon’s Gate Brewery. This “farmhouse nano craft brewery” is a few years old now and is actually in the Milton-Freewater zipcode, just over the state line. (Walla Walla and M-F are really only a few miles apart.) They have beer tastings and dinners in Walla Walla frequently and you can sometimes find their bottled beers in town.
Burwood Brewing. Brand-new, they actually had their official grand opening on the Saturday while we were visiting. Alas, we didn’t get a chance to visit, but interestingly one of the people who poured samples of wine for us at a winery was planning to hit their opening and opined that Walla Walla needs more beer.
There used to be another, Walla Walla Brewers, that is now out of business.
We did not visit Burwood, but did stop in for a sampler tray at the Laht Neppur Ale House on Saturday—I’ll have a short writeup and some pictures from that visit in a separate post. And we hit a few downtown shops where I picked up a few of the local beers to bring home: Nosdunk’s Walla Wheat and Stout, Dragon’s Gate Wit, and a couple of cans of Bale Breaker Top Cutter IPA. I will be writing about these beers soon.
(Bale Breaker is actually located in Yakima, in the heart of hops country, but it’s not available in Bend and I’ve been hearing good things about it, so I picked it up when I had the opportunity.)
The other beer of note is the one I had with dinner Saturday night at Brasserie Four, a French restaurant in downtown Walla Walla. Very French. I was a bit wined out at that point and was debating beer, and when I found out they had Kronenbourg 1664 on draft—on draft, mind you, something I have not found in this part of the country that I can remember—I jumped at the chance to enjoy it. Yes, I know it’s the industrial pale lager of France (the Heineken of France, if you will), but that’s just it: from France. And I’m okay with it. I had two.