Poulsbo has become a hotbed for brewers looking to boil up new and interesting flavors for craft beer enthusiasts flocking to the Viking City.
Here are a few of Poulsbo’s more noteworthy flavors to bubble up from the kettle that you just have to taste.
1. Frankenswine’s Monster is the unholy creation dreamed up by the twisted mind of Slippery Pig co-owner Mike Garigen. According to fellow co-owner Dave Lambert – who initially objected to the monster’s creation — Garigen concocted the brew strictly to see how alcoholic he could make a beer.
Garigen aged his brew in a vanilla extract cask from Gig Harbor’s Heritage Distilling, and that resulted in a beverage which, according to Lambert, tastes “like a cherry Werther’s Original candy with a vodka center.”
“I don’t know how else to describe it,” Lambert said. “A few seconds after you swallow it, you kind of feel the heat.”
The potency of Garigen’s creature necessitates its 5-ounce pour. This monster’s a heavy one, tipping the scales around 16.2 percent alcohol by volume.
2. Visitors to Valholl Brewing may not be greeted with the presence of a gleaming, golden tree as the brewery’s mythological name might suggest, but they can get a taste of gold in the Brewery’s award-winning Valkyrie Red Ale. The Valkyrie Red Ale took home the Washington Beer Awards Gold Medal in the American Amber Ales category for 2018.
3. Mike Montoney is the brewmaster behind Rainy Daze Brewing’s Mindfunk, which Montoney says “is a different beer than anybody makes around here. It’s a pale stout. It’s an oatmeal pale with cold-brewed coffee in it, so it looks like a pale but it smells and tastes like a stout.”
The brew, Montoney said, has developed quite the following, as well.
“I started making it probably five years ago … now it has this cult following. It’s funny. If I’m out of it, I have people that get offended that I don’t have it.”
The oatmeal used in the brewing, Montoney said, gives Mindfunk its body while the cold brew coffee accomplishes that familiar, bold stout flavor.
Rainy Daze Brewing is also responsible for Test Drive Amber and Built For Comfort Stout, which won gold and silver respectively at the 2018 Washington Beer Awards.
4. Western Red Brewing is the spot for those seeking some contrast in their life. According to co-owner Denver Smyth, Western Red’s strength lies in its dark beers. According to Smyth, those hoping to hazard their first foray into dark beers should try tilting a glass of his Falling Wedge Porter to start things off. If they like that, Smyth said, it might be time to move on to his favorite, Western Red Brewing’s Export Stout. Then again, if dark beers aren’t your thing, Western Red Brewing also offers their ultra-light Springboard Kolsch, which Smyth calls a “lawnmower beer. That beer that you can have three or four of while you’re running around on your lawnmower. Good for warm weather and not really hoppy.”
Denver and his father, Paul Smyth (also a co-owner), previously put food on their tables by working as sawyers, operating a small sawmill off Miller Bay Road. Many of Western Red Brewing’s beer names and the brewery’s decor take their inspiration from the Smyth’s previous occupation.
5. Sound Brewery’s co-owner Mark Hood refers to one of Sound’s new beers as a “hop-bursted lager.” Motueka Lager, so named for the Motueka hops used in the beer (which come from New Zealand), is exceptional for it’s clarity and lack of any bittering hops.
“We put all the hops in at the end, so it’s all about the aroma and the flavor of the hops in a clean, crisp lager,” Hood said.
Sound’s other new addition, Soundburst IPA, is Hood’s answer to the current hazy IPA trend, which Hood says is just “breweries trying to convince people that an unfinished beer is somehow better because it’s fresher or something. They know better but they don’t care because it’s selling right now.” Hood’s version, he said, is a finished beer, but without all the haziness associated with a hazy IPA. While he said he absolutely despised the craze, he did say that it turned him on to adding the hops later in the brewing process, creating a more citrus-forward flavor profile.
“We’re actually finishing the beer and making it nice and clean and real beer,” Hood added.
Hood also noted that Sound Brewery’s Monks Indiscretion would be sure to convert even the most ardently opposed to Belgian style beers.