Brewery Review of Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom in Snoqualmie, WA.
Part #3 of the What’s NW of NW? Series.
If you head 30 miles East of Seattle, you’ll find Snoqualmie, WA. That’s exactly what we did, but why? Mainly because Snoqualmie is famous for it’s grandiose waterfall, which was also the backdrop of the hit show Twin Peaks. We wanted to stay a few nights in this truly beautiful part of Washington, which means it was time to hunt for beer.
Snoqualmie is not a big town, with a population around 10,000, but thankfully my initial research showed a brewery downtown, simply known as the Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom, so one night that’s where we headed. It’s easy to find, right behind downtown’s main drag (Railroad Ave.). Upon entering I get a bit nostalgic, as Snoqualmie Brewery reminds me a lot of the first brewpubs I visited when craft beer really burst on the scene in the late 1990s-early 2000s. It’s a decent size taproom with an upstairs/downstairs setup and a full restaurant. There’s some kitchy wall decor slapped around, neon signs in the windows and an overall family-friendly atmosphere.
The beer menu matches the vibe. A classic list of eight house beers (made year-round) and one seasonal choice. It also mentions something about a “brewers choice series” that might be available. They refer to their year-round selections as the “usual suspects”, and they’re right in more ways than one. These are the 8 usual suspects that you would find in any craft brewery years ago. Basically a pale ale, an IPA, an amber, a porter, a stout, a hefeweizen and a kolsch (or lager), with the eighth beer being a nitro version of the same pale ale. For the record I want to state that there is nothing wrong with these beers, and the folks at Snoqualmie Brewery make them well, and it was great to get fresh beer while we were in town.
Now for the bad news. This standard selection was a bit underwhelming. I was hoping for something with a little more creativity or flair. The menu did say they would have one seasonal beer and possibly something from their “brewers choice series”, so maybe that will perk me up. This is where the good news kicks in. They actually had 2 seasonals, as the seasons were transitioning at the time, and 4 beers from their “brewers choice” line! These beers were a total cut above. The highlights were the Mango Hefeweizen, the Spring Fever Grand Cru and the Bunghole Double Brown (they deserve extra points for the name). These extra beers were enough to keep things interesting, and the “brewers choice” stuff is only available at the taproom.
The full pub menu will also fill you with all the usual suspects if you desire, and the restaurant is a big part of what they do here. At the end of the day Snoqualmie Brewery feels like one part craft beer taproom, one part family chain restaurant and one part locals bar. It’s a bit of a throwback to an early time in craft brewing culture, and maybe that’s what you’re craving. After all, nostalgia is in right now, that’s how we got the new season of Twin Peaks on Showtime in the first place. I’m not sure who was clamoring for the Will & Grace return on NBC though…