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Day Trip: North Sound Brewing, Washington’s New Brewery in Mt Vernon

February 9, 2011

George Washington was a well-known beer lover and likely enjoyed many brews at his Mt Vernon estate.  It’s quite fitting then, that you can find great craft beer in Mt Vernon, Washington.  The 32,139 (2009 data) residents of this town that is most known for its annual Tulip festival are lucky to have two breweries (Skagit River and North Sound ) and three pubs that specialize in craft beer (Empire Alehouse, Porterhouse Pub and Trumpeter Public House).  I’ll eventually tell you more about all them, but today I’ll focus North Sound Brewing.

We arrived at North Sound Brewing

North Sound Brewing Co. (#223)
Last Saturday, on our way up north we decided to stop and visit North Sound Brewing Co (Map).  It was just after Noon and we nearly had the place to ourselves.  Lyra, our bartender and writer for the blog BeerGoodFood.com, said that this was a sweet spot in the day and the quietness wouldn’t last long (Checkout Lyra’s 30 day beer challenge).  It is good to hear that Mt Vernon has taken well to this new establishment that only opened its door late last summer.

The brewery is located northwest of town at 17406 Memorial Highway (SR 536). They’ve done a great job with what was once a used car lot.  As you arrive, you can’t miss the great outdoor beer garden with its several wood tables.  Although sitting outside was enticing, we ventured indoors.  (It is February after all).   The Taproom isn’t too large, but they make good use of the space they have, with seating for about 20. The large window looking out over the beer garden brings in plenty of light so that it doesn’t feel cramped.

Behind the bar there is very cool custom brushed metal nine tap draft beer tower that sits in front of a large window.  Through the window you get a glimpse of the brewery and the beautiful copper four barrel mash-tun and brew kettle and the double batch stainless steel fermentation tanks.  They weren’t brewing this day, so everything just sat there looking shiny and clean.

If you’re hungry, you may want to eat before you get there, or better yet they allow you to bring in your own food.  They do sell some snacks like Beer Nuts and Walker’s British Crips (in crazy flavors) if you forget.

They are also Fido friendly (In the Beer Garden), but sorry no Kiddos allowed.

Let’s get onto the beer. Like I mentioned earlier, they had an impressive nine tap line up. They sell Imperial Pints, half pints (At half the pint price!), (4) 4 ounce taster trays, pitchers, and wine by the glass. You can also buy or fill your own growler to go.  We opted for two taster trays, plus one extra taster to sample them all. Our empty growler was filled with the Goosetown Brown when we left.

DraughtE with his taster - by LushC

Beer Sampler

Big Bend Blonde – Light, crisp, and dry with enough malt and hop flavor to make it interesting. It would make a great summer-lawn-mower beer.
Big R Imperial Red – Big toasted toffee malt flavor up front with a coppery hop finish.   It hides its 9.1%ABV very well.  Be careful with this one.
Bitter Rain ESB – Well balanced malt and hop make this an easy drinker. Look out though, it is 6.7% abv.  We’ve seen this one around the Seattle area, definitely give it a try.
Cherry Wheat – A very light bodied wheat beer with a slight cherry and almost peppery finish, a summer session beer for sure.
Goosetown Brown – Their description fits it to a tee, “Slightly sweet, smoky and full bodied. Chocolate roasted and dark Munich malts give this beer a nice mahogany color and rich flavor”.
Hop Chops IPA – Sweet floral nose, sweet malt start, and a floral and citrus hop finish. This beer has enough hops for the hop head but it doesn’t have too much to burn the tongue.
Slainte Stout (nitro) – Smooth, well balanced, with a wonderful toffee/coffee finish. This is currently one of LushC’s favorite stouts.
X-Batch Bitter – “Beers we release under this label are experimental or beers that ended up with a different profile than expected.” Like they advertised this beer had a “fruity (almost bubble-gum like) flavor “, and a pleasant floral hop finish. It made me wonder where the baseball cards were.
X-Batch Magnum IPA – Sweet malt up front with a clean bitter finish.  Another very drinkable beer  that hides its 8%abv very well.

Overall we were impressed with the beer.  Many of them are higher in alcohol content than you’d expect, but there is no real overly alcohol taste.  They were all well balanced, with a clean finish.   We felt right at home with the great service and comfortable vibe. We’ll be back, for sure.

Cheers,

DraughtE

FTC Info: Nothing was received for the writing of this post, so Suckit!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2011 5:39 pm

    Awesome review, thanks for the great words. I really appreciate the time you spent here and hope to see you both again!

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