Valhöll Brewing

Less than a mile later in the Tour de Kitsap we rolled into Valhöll Brewing, located in a warehouse set back from the main road.  They’ll be moving to a new location more in the center of town this summer.  Maybe in July.  They’ll have logo glasses for sale then, too.  So yeah, a re-visit will be in order.  Anyway, the big group that showed up right before we left Sound Brewing was also here.  They were on a birthday brewery tour, but had skipped Slippery Pig.  Fun group, and one of them gave us cards for a free drink at Sips Espresso (still need to take advantage of that, actually).

Valhöll Brewing

Valhöll Brewing tasters lined up and ready to go — Poulsbo, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Belgian Wit – 5.2% – Nice sweetness and banana flavor.  Interesting bitterness.  Quite nice.
  • Bob’s Tripel – 9.5% – Bubbly and spicy start to alcohol flavor.  Banana sweetness finish.  Fun!
  • Poulsbo Pale Ale – 5.5% – Good maltiness, with nice underlying bitterness.  Very drinkable.
    The Rest

  • Yggdrasil Belgian IPA – 6.8% – Kinda bitter, kinda malty.  Not too Belgian, as far as I can tell.  Slight banana/clove flavor, but tries to do too many things.
  • Crimson Cove Rye – 8.8% – Banana/clove flavor with malty base. Rye is pretty subtle.
  • Rye PA – 7.6% -Very easy drinking. Not particularly hoppy.  Banana/clove flavor, with slight honey sweetness.  Seems unfiltered — gives it some body.

I have to say, for a town with Scandinavian roots, there sure are a lot of Belgian-style beers in Poulsbo.  Guess it’s better than lutefisk beer.  At this point in the Tour de Kitsap, we decided to head back via Kingston, with a stop at the Hood Canal Brewery.  The birthday tour group was heading the same way, so we decided to race and see who would make it to the next brewery first.  Pedal power!

Slippery Pig

The Tour de Kitsap continued, albeit quite briefly, from Sound Brewing to Slippery Pig, just a mile away but up a hill and down a dirt road — we needed to expend a small amount of effort to get there.  The Pig’s on a family farm belonging to Dave and Shawna Lambert, and they use a wonderful amount of home-grown or local ingredients.  So it seems like all their beers are seasonals — I’ll have to re-visit sometime in the future to see what’s new.  They had five taps pouring, one of which was a cask-conditioned version of their Scotch Ale with strawberries.  Usually I don’t include cask versions in my posts, but since all their offerings are pretty small batches, I figured why not.  I forgot to ask about logo glassware, but I think I just assumed they wouldn’t have any.  They did have Battenkill logo growlers for sale — must have gotten a good deal on them when that neighboring brewery closed earlier this year.

Update! 8/15/2012: I ended up re-visiting sooner than I thought, during my Tour de Kitsap 2 ride in early July.  I thought I’d spend an hour here, but they had six beers on tap that I wanted to sample, and then a friend I hadn’t seen in a while randomly showed up, so time just kind of slipped away, so to speak.  They had a bourbon barrel aged version of their Rhubarb IPA, and as word got out about it, the guy from Bainbridge Island Brewing showed up to give it a try.  I said hello, but I don’t think he remembered me from earlier.  Then the Valholl guy showed up.  Pretty cool beer community over there in the west Sound.

slippery piglets

Tasters at Slippery Pig Brewery — Poulsbo, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Rhubarb IPA – 9.8% – Fun aroma.  Subtle sweet rhubarb flavor and good bitterness, solid malty base, and an alcohol edge.  Really nice!
  • Bourbon Barrel Rhubarb IPA – Strong bourbon aroma.  Nice bourbon/rhubarb mix.  Really smooth, and much more mellow.  Aged 20 days.  Dave had been hoping for more oak flavor, but I wasn’t about to complain.
  • Hogsbreath Honey Wheat – 11.5% – Looks like a glass of cloudy honey.  Nice zing on the tongue, probably from the lemon verbena herb in the mix.  Good honey flavor, solid body, very unfiltered.
  • Dandelion Sour – 5% – Interesting sour aroma.  Nice unfiltered haziness to color and body.  Subtle sweetness and good malty undertones.  Pretty cool sour.  At only 5%, this could be considered Slippery Pig’s session beer…
  • Hogwash Sour Stout – 7.4% – Stout aroma with sour edge.  Light on the tongue for a stout.  Chocolate start, strong tart sourness.  Very unique.  Just kept sipping it.
  • Curly Tail Stinging Nettle Pale Ale – 8% – Nice malty aroma.  Good malty taste with subtle spicy nettle flavor.  Quite drinkable.
  • Hampshire Stout – 7.1% – The most normal of the lot — solid chocolate/coffee flavors.  Not creamy, kinda dry, but very nice.
  • DamnedEleven Sour – 10.3% – Really unique!  A very drinkable sour.  Dandelion for initial bittering agent — “wacko” but just crazy enough to work.
  • Strawberry Scotch Cask – 7.7% – Tasted like a more sour version of the Scotch Ale.  Smooth, and the strawberry flavor seemed subtle to me (although Dave thought it was pretty strong).  Quite nice.
    The Rest

  • Dandelion Bitter – Interesting.  Sweet (caramel and other flavors), malty, not too bitter.
  • Mixed Berry Scotch Ale – 6.8% – Pretty crazy — berry blast but with a sour/alcohol edge to it.  Malty base, but berry flavors galore.
slippery pigs

Slippery pigs at the Slippery Pig. (Note: I did not wrestle any of the pigs, so I really can’t say for certain whether they are slippery or not.) — Poulsbo, WA

Took me a while to get this written.  Had a couple weddings to attend, and then I got distracted importing all the brewery posts from my old blog to this one.  I’ll need to step up the pace a bit if I want to get through the next nine before the year is out.

Sound Brewery

I had been thinking about doing an overnight bike trip on the Kitsap Peninsula to visit something like seven breweries, but never got around to it. Then one of the breweries closed, and I suddenly felt a sense of urgency in getting out there. So, when a friend suggested a one day ride to Poulsbo, I suggested a few breweries we could check out, and the next morning we pedaled our bikes onto the Seattle-Bremerton ferry. The plan was to take side roads to Poulsbo, visit the three breweries there, and then decide which return ferry to take, either Bainbridge or Kingston.

We rolled into Sound Brewery around 12:30, and as we methodically made our way through their taster tray, the taproom got busier and busier. There were a few drops of rain, as well, but fortunately it stopped before we headed out.

Update! 12/25/2013: I’ve had a couple more beers by Sound in the past year and a half, and yes, I’m way overdue for another visit, but the big exciting reason for this update is The Pour Fool used my picture in his post on the top 20 breweries in Washington! The picture got sized down quite a bit, but still, I think this means I’m now famous. Right?

Sound Brewery sampler

Before the crowds arrived at Sound Brewery — Poulsbo, WA

    Rob’s Picks

  • Reluctant IPA – 6.4% – Caramel amber color. Big caramel and biscuity maltiness, with almost as big floral and spicy hops. Big but balanced, and flavors linger nicely.
  • Entendez Noel 2013 – 11.4% – Light sweet alcohol and malt aroma. Awesome sweet caramel flavor with light alcohol edge. Doesn’t taste 11.4%. Ridiculously good. I hope I can track down some of the scotch barrel aged version.
  • Quadrupel – 9.5% – I think the name might be “Quad Pro Quo.” Dark color but light, smooth mouthfeel. Sweet, almost brandy-like aroma. Interesting mix of sweet caramel, plum and other fruit, with light alcohol and tobacco edges. A sipping, thinking beer.
  • Entendez Noel 2012 – 11.4% – Pretty big tripel. Caramel, alcohol, banana/clove flavor mix with some sharp malty barley wine-ish notes. Pretty smooth for 11.4% though. Coriander flavor, too, but no spices added.
  • Latona IPA – 7.5% – I assume they made this for the Latona Alehouse anniversary, but I didn’t ask, for some reason. Crisp and bitter, with a nice light maltiness. Lots of citrus as it warmed up a little.
  • Humulo Nimbus – 8.5% – Double IPA. Great citrus aroma. Crisp and citrusy, with a nice malty sweetness. Really drinkable for such a strong beer.
  • Tripel Entendre – 9.9% – Sweet caramel and banana aroma. Surprisingly light, with great banana/clove and caramel flavors. No alcohol edge, but well-balanced anyway. Yum!
  • Monk’s Indiscretion – 10% – Belgian specialty ale. Strong citrusy aroma. Great sweet citrusy taste. Subtle alcohol edge. Pretty amazing.
  • Poundage Porter – 5.5% – Nice and dry. Dark maltiness with a bit of bocky sweetness and slight caramel edge. Some coffee and dark chocolate notes, as well. This won some GABF award a week or two later.
  • Ursus Americanus – 6.5% – American Stout. Thick and smooth, with a good coffee flavor. Not just for breakfast.
  • Koperen Ketel – 5% – Belgian Pale Ale. Banana/clove aroma. Light on the tongue, with a bit of banana/clove start to nice breadiness. Very subtle bitterness.
  • Dubbel Entendre – 8% – Very light and drinkable, with not too much of that bocky sweetness. Slight banana/clove flavor. Dry coffee finish. Nice complex beer.
    The Rest

  • Bevrijder – 6.5% – Belgian IPA. Pretty bitter, with stronger banana/clove flavors than the Koperen Ketel.

Most of the other customers at the taproom seemed to know each other and were pretty friendly, which gave the place a good vibe. So yeah, it was a great start to what ended up being a five brewery day, and they had some cool glassware for sale. A win-win situation.

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