Thursday, September 5, 2013

Brewery Review: Westport Brewing Company

View of the brewery as you enter from the street
On a recent holiday to the coastal town of Westport, I had the pleasure of stopping in to the latest brewery to hit the Washington coast since 1944: Westport Brewing Company. Speaking with the owner Robin, she informed me that the 3-barrel brewery had been open just over a year and a half. At the time of my visit, they were pouring a wide range of 10 beers. I quickly ordered a flight.

Left to right: Pilsner, Kolsch, Bock, Cranberry Blonde, Stout, Porter, Amber, IPA, and IRA (center) not pictured: dark ale.
I truly believe that the end of summer is quite possibly the best time of the year for drinking beer: the weather is still warm enough to warrant sitting outside, hops are ready for harvesting, and while you can still enjoy drinking styles more akin to summertime, the maltier, heavier autumn and winter brews are not far off on the horizon. Sitting outside, sampling beers in the sun, whilst sitting amongst hop bines indeed makes for a lovely setting. They even have a beer garden around the backside of the building. The brewery and taproom are one in the same and the aroma of boiling wort was beckoning to us as we approached. They sell their beer in pints (can do a half as well) and also sell their beer to go in growlers and half-growlers (we took home a growler of the Riptide Red).

Hand-blown glass tap handles

Westport Brewery puts out an amazing 19 different beers throughout the year, with an interesting array of seasonals. One of the more interesting that caught my eye was the Cranberry Kriek (traditional Kriek beers are from Belgium and include a dose of sour cherries) this one swaps out the cherries for the tart Cranberry, but unfortunately I was told this is now a retired beer. Speaking with the brewmaster, the Kriek will most likely be swapped out for a Cranberry Lambic (and perhaps quite soon as the Cranberry harvest runs from September through October). They also brew a Cranberry Blonde which was surprisingly delicious: just enough fruitiness on the aroma and just enough tartness in the flavour. The other stand out beers were the Plank Island Porter, Riptide Red Ale (IRA), which seemed to be the table favouritea and the Bucking Orca Bock, a lovely surprise containing more hop aroma and bitterness than one would expect from the style.

Where can one find Westport beers? Currently the distribution is primarily confined to the Olympic Peninsula, with some distribution extending to Seattle and the greater eastside, however one may surmise that Westport, Aberdeen, and Olympia remain the top places for finding Westport brews. You can also use this nifty tool to find out who's pouring WBC beer near you. So what's in the future for Westport Brewing? Aside from experimenting with different styles like the Cranberry Lambic and at the time I was visiting they were brewing an Oktoberfestbier, it is likely that an expansion is soon to take place, as well potential collaborations with local wineries and distilleries (perhaps some barrel-aged goodies are soon to come?). The one thing for certain is that Westport Brewing Company has a bright future. Look out for their beer around Seattle and Tacoma and if you ever make it up to Westport, pop in for a pint of delicious refreshment. A big thank you to Robin and the rest of the crew for taking the time to chat, I really hope to make it out to Westport again soon.

Thanks for reading!

Empties: always a good sign ;)

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