There is an old grainery in Kennewick, Washington where lots of people gather in the afternoon and evening: Ice Harbor Brewery has reclaimed the twice burned building down by the railroad tracks very successfully. When we parked and walked up the old raised boardwalk there were several open spaces and tables available inside. As five o’clock arrived the place began to fill – with all kinds of people! Blue and White collar workers share the passion of hoppy beer and a friendly place to congregate. Jeb, our server, went from available and chatty to hardly visible as he rushed table to table. Before the rush, he gave me a peak at the brewery operations at one end of the building and a brief history, pointing out the charred wall along the hallway as proof.
As we walked back to the tap room I noticed a room full of equipment as well as lots of t-shirts, growlers, and caps covered with logos. A cooler full of bottled beer offered a take-home option if you were in a hurry. Apparently the equipment is for sale to home brewers and classes are also available.
Opened fifteen years ago in Pasco by two Hanford employees with a fondness for beer, it wasn’t until the 2004 move to the grainery building with nine taps in Kennewick that things began to move. So successful have they been that there is a second pub with ten tap options not too far away, the Marina at the Port of Kennewick. Russ Corey has about fifteen years experience, twelve as Ice Harbor’s brewer. There are about six standard offerings and a miriad of seasonal brews to keep things lively.
In September Ephrata had its very first Brewers’ Expo and Ice Harbor participated, bringing Fresh Hop (a silver award winner for about five years at NABA) and Light House Lager (gold winner 2011). Brix& Stone, local Ephrata Pub, carries bottles of Kolsch (gold & silver winnings) made true to the German style and I.P.A. (silver winner) on tap. Keep your eyes open, this is a brewery to watch.
Ales and lagers, all well done with a smidge higher alcohol average and serious hops, primarily from the Northwest. Maybe we can convince Russ he should make a trip to Ephrata and hold a beer event at Brix & Stone sometime.
Look for them: http://www.iceharbor.com/