Brewery Field Trip: Poulsbo

By Allecia Vermillion June 11, 2012 Published in the July 2012 issue of Seattle Met

Slippery Pig Brewery
Two rutted tire tracks wend a narrow, twisting path up a hill, and just when you’re convinced you took a wrong turn somewhere and are officially trespassing, this makeshift road deposits you at Red Rooster farm, home to one of several breweries that make a trip to Poulsbo worth the ferry fare. In this secret hamlet, farmer and brewmaster Dave Lambert replaces aromatic hops with smoked pumpkin, kale, rhubarb, and even stinging nettles. His creations, most of which are stunningly good, are poured beneath an old, peaked farmhouse roof that long ago shed its walls, and beneath strings of white lights, and a few space heaters when necessary. Some people even bring their own hammocks to string up between the support beams. Nearby chickens peck, pigs snuffle, and a dude in a Utilikilt works a field from atop a tractor. Visiting on a sunny afternoon is like stepping into a country music video—and a memorable only-in-Washington beer moment.

932 NW Slippery Pig Way, Poulsbo, 360-394-1686;

Sound Brewery
Sound’s ales are inching their way into Seattle bars and bottle shops, but the industrial-park taproom offers a rare chance to try the full complement of American and Belgian styles, and some brilliant combinations of the two. Did this place really only begin brewing in 2011? Brews like the stealthily boozy Tripel Entendre or the Humulo Nimbus, a crisp hop thunderbolt of a double IPA, carry an assurance of a brewery that has been doing this for years.

650 NW Bovela Ln, Poulsbo, 360-930-8696;

Valhöll Brewing Company
The taproom has a vibe like a biker bar, but with more toddlers and Belgian-style brews. Valhöll’s beers are the brawny companions to the Ultimate Fighting Championship matches frequently aired on the taproom television; a visit here could yield a black Belgian wit dark as motor oil, a banana-fragrant tripel, or Stouty Stouterson, an imperial oatmeal stout made with sweet potatoes, raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Brewers Jordan Rodgers and Jeff Holcomb make “well-rounded and, in many cases rather extreme, beer,” and succeed masterfully.

20186 Front St NE, Ste B, Poulsbo 360-550-5825;

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