Grab your cab fare or designated driver, comfiest drinking shoes (no time for heels on this pub crawl), poncho & Wi-Fi, and join me on what’s bound to be (almost 97% irrefutably) the best beer tour ever. In honor of the great German festival of Oktoberfest, we’re visiting some of the great breweries & cideries of Washington State. Here we go, try ta’ keep up, stick to the cross-walks, and ma’am, you in the back, put that flask away unless you brought enough to share!
Dick’s Brewing Company; Centralia
Hidden in southwestern Washington, just a half hour outside the capital, Dick’s Brewing Company is hands down the furthest I’ve driven for a pint (175 miles), but well worth it! With a dozen brews on tap at all times, there’s plenty to choose from, including root beer (non-alcoholic – get it to-go for the kidlets, as the tasting room is 21+). Every Friday and Saturday at 3 PM, the garage doors roll up, the picnic tables come out, and the locals pour in. Boasting an open & relaxed tasting area, surrounded on 3 sides by the brewery itself, Dick’s has been voted “Best Place for a Pint” 4 years in a row.
As this was my first visit, I opted for a flight to sample a few of their most popular flavors, including the IPA, Mountain Amber (a favorite among locals with the perfect balance of bitter & sweet), Klaber Fair Beer, and my personal favorite, the Imperial Stout. Like a good man; this brew is rich, hypnotizing, beautifully complex, and absolutely divine. It spoke to my love of dark chocolate and would pair amazingly well with my go-to snack of chocolate covered pomegranate seeds. Did I mention that Dick’s invites their patrons to B.Y.O.M. – Bring Your Own Munchies? Yeah, they prefer to keep their focus on the most important aspect of a brewery: the beer.
A close second for me was the aptly named “Better Half United Red Ale.” Although I’m not usually a fan of the reds, this one had a little something different. In honor of International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day, and as member of the Pink Boots Society, this one was brewed completely by the ladies of Dick’s; I was told they did everything but drive the forklift. Think cider meets beer – crisp, light, fresh & fruity.
While Dick’s Brewing offers some great core brews, they also have a handful of specialty, seasonal ales that I personally can’t wait to try – namely the Oatmeal Cookie Brown Ale (Fall), and Chocolate Cherry Stout (Winter).
Dick Young, the brewery’s namesake, began home-brewing as a hobby in 1984, behind Northwest Sausage & Deli – where he spent his days making and smoking sausage & other various meats. By 1994 the home brew hobby had more than outgrown its space, and thus Dick’s Brewing Company began. They still utilize the original home-built, three-barrel brew house and recipes for the Dick Danger Ale, Lava Rock Porter & IPA to this day. After the sudden loss of her father and brew master in 2009, Dick’s daughter Julie Pendleton stepped in to fill her father shoes. The entire brew crew proudly continues to uphold the dreams and values of their founder. In memory of their brew master, Dick’s Brewing sponsors an annual bowling tournament (coming up on October 24th) to not only celebrate their founder’s thirst for life, but to support a charity close to his heart, Pope’s Kids Place.
Dick’s Brewing has also become known for their Annual Home Brew Competition – Beer for a Cure – where home brewers from all over Washington are invited to submit their best brew for the opportunity to have their recipe brewed and bottled at Dick’s. After much sampling, the winner is announced at a shindig complete with food, beer, live music, and a silent auction – with all proceeds benefiting the Lewis County Relay for Life & American Cancer Society.
Tasting room hours are Friday & Saturday, 3-7:30pm, with tours through the facility at 4:30 & 6pm (sipping & walking is encouraged) – and be sure to stop by Northwest Sausage & Deli while you’re in the neighborhood. For a full calendar of upcoming events, as well as locations where Dick’s brews are available around the area, check out their website here.
Stay tuned next week for my next Washington Brewery Adventure!