As I mentioned last week, my cousin recently moved to Poulsbo, WA. I decided to pay him, and some of the breweries there, a visit!
Poulsbo is a short ferry ride and short drive from Edmonds (slightly longer ferry and drive from Seattle). At time of writing, Poulsbo has four breweries (RIP Sound Brewing and your delicious belgian ales). The white settler who founded the city was Norwegian, and there is a deeply proud Scandinavian backbone to the town, which calls itself “The Viking City.” So naturally, there’s great food and drink to be had here!
From my cousin’s place, we walked down a big, steep hill to our first stop, Valholl Brewing. We rolled in not long after opening, and as the place was somewhat empty, opted to sit at the bar (although they had fireplaces and firepits that looked mighty inviting!). I loved the stone and exposed wood interior, it definitely had tinges of a Viking hall. I opted for a sampler, and my cousin got their Chocolate Milk Stout.
As is my habit with samplers, I drank in entirety, left to right. We started chatting with the bartender, and the other two seated patrons at the bar, who also worked there (I’d venture a guess one was a brewer/owner?) and had a great conversation about beer. I love a brewery where you can chat with the bartender and get to compliment them personally on a beer you liked (I also love it when they provide killer service and free pours of tastes, too). I liked the Brew Bitch and Tage Norseman IPAs, and the blood orange wheat was very good, but the Asgard APA (American Pale Ale) and (not-pictured above) the Mother in Law IIPA were by and away my favorites that will undoubtedly have me coming back. APAs are American Pale Ales, which are more malty than an IPA. The Mother In Law had some delicious orange notes. I’m used to a general ‘citrus’ flavor with IPAs, but that’s typically more lemon-y or grapefruit-y, not orange!
The raves from me didn’t stop with the beer. Valholl had some great merch. I take umbrage with breweries that don’t do women’s shirts right (either freakishly small or pornographically low-cut, or not enough designs compared to men’s), so when I see a place that does it right, I must support with my wallet, right? I saw a beautiful maroon women’s Valkyrie shirt that was a normal cut of women’s t-shirt that I knew had to be mine. They also sell viking beer horns! But to me, the coolest thing on their merch board wasn’t merch, it was an experience: axe-throwing! Tons of businesses are starting to do axe-throwing in the Seattle area, but I have yet to see a brewery offer it! In the interest of time and rain we opted to not try it this time, but definitely on my next visit.
In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…
- Full kitchen: No but outside food is welcome
- All-ages: Yes
- Dog friendly: They have a “no sad dogs left at home” policy!
- Merch: Besides the usual products, they sell Viking Beer horns!
- Coasters: Yes
- Outdoor seating: A large uncovered area with firepits and axe-throwing you can book!
We took a longer route through town to walk to our next stop, and it was charming to see so many stores and shops. We walked in to Slippery Pig Brewing. My cousin has brought me growlers from Slippery Pig before, and I know they do some more interesting flavors, so I was excited to get another sampler. Picking between experimental ones versus more standard was a challenge! I decided to go half and half. I went with a Cucumber Saison, an Apple Fritter collaboration ale with a local bakery, the Hog Thai’d Belgian, Queen Sonja blonde, Hogsbreath Honey Wheat, and their flagship Rhubarb IPA, with an order of a hot dog and a soft pretzel to round it out.
I have to admit, as far as samplers go it was an eclectic (and high-alcohol) mix. Slippery Pig states on their website they don’t try to stick to any one style predominantly, and it showed on my tray! The caramel-rimmed glass of Sluy’s Apple Fritter reminded me of Fireball, only more apple-ier. The Hogsbreath Honey Wheat slightly edged it out as my favorite of the bunch though. The Hog Thai’d was surprisingly smoky, but in the most mild way possible (I do not enjoy most smoked beers, so mild was a good thing!). I don’t know how many rhubarb beers are in existance, but the Rhubarb IPA was a wonderful combination I’m surprised more brewers haven’t tried!
Besides beer and ciders, Slippery Pig offers a full bar, and is kid-friendly until nighttime. They had a big projector showing playoff football on a screen on a stage, but often have open mic or live music on the stage. They also had a collection of pinball machines to keep you entertained as well! The head brewer recognized my cousin and even came to chat for a bit, so there was no lack of entertainment for me during our visit.
In summary (to the best of my knowledge)…
- Full kitchen: I’m not sure just how ‘full’ the kitchen is, but tasty hot food is available
- All-ages: Kids welcome until 9:30pm on Fridays, 11pm other days
- Dog friendly: I do not believe so
- Merch: Glassware, t-shirts, hats, stickers, etc.
- Coasters: No
- Outdoor seating: No
I really enjoyed both breweries, and would happily visit again. Luckily, having a cousin in town with a guest-bed makes it easy to do so! There’s two other breweries in town I hope to check out as well, so keep your eyes open for Part Two to talk about Western Red and Rainy Daze breweries!