Hello again, it’s been a while. For the past few months, I’ve been wondering what I will be doing with this blog and if it would be worth it to keep it running. Well, after some reflection and some discussion, I have decided that I will be keeping it running, and will be more regular with my updates. Most of that will happen starting after the new year, as this time of year is exceptionally busy for me in my regular job. Apparently, businesses think they need to have all their projects done during December, so that means I get to be extra busy. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but it also interferes with my trying these great winter brews.
That brings me to today’s real subject: Scatter Creek Brewing had their Grand Opening today. This quaint little brewery is actually an offshoot of the Scatter Creek Winery, which operates in Tenino, WA. The good thing for me, Tenino is less than 30 minutes away. The bad thing for you? You probably don’t know where Tenino is. Honestly, I recommend learning, and then paying these guys a visit.
Before we get too far into things, I wanted to tell you about the brewery/tasting room/winery. Located in a row of businesses on Sussex Ave. in Tenino, this place is rather non-descript. You wouldn’t know that you’re about to walk by them unless you were paying attention. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the big windows, I would have walked right past the place when we visited it this afternoon.
Once you step inside, though, you’d be remiss if you didn’t know that it was a winery tasting room. In fact, you wouldn’t expect it to also have beer available, unless you walked to the back where they have a large projection TV going with different events being broadcast. As this was their Grand Opening, I can’t tell you what they will typically have, but earlier today it was the Seattle Seahawks game, followed by a channel devoted to Christmas Music, further setting the ambiance of the season.
Tonight, the brewery was offering 5 different beers to try. I took some quick notes about each, and while they may help now, it’s not likely that these beers will be available all the time. The five that I tried tonight were: Pale Ale, Hefeweizen, IPA, Porter, and Stout. Each of these recipes had their own characteristics, but stayed true to their style, with the exception of one.
First off, the Pale Ale. This beer was a clear golden color with slight tan tones to it. It was a true pale without any excessive use of hops, and a malty back. There was a light texture to the mouth feel, with the carbonation not being overbearing as you can find in some pales. There were slight citrus notes in the nose, but no overpowering flavors to change that.
Next, I tried the Hefeweizen, which was excellent. Between the notes of clove and coriander, the only thing missing was that it was served warmer than I would like. Most Hefes I try benefit from being served in a cold glass, and this one was no different. However, without being in a cold glass (which is coming early into the new year, according to their staff), it was still a tasty beer that I will get the next time I go out there.
After the Hefe came the IPA. This one was a little more subdued than I typically like in an IPA. They offered it two ways, which kinda made me wonder. The first was just as it came from the tap. The second way was with some key lime juice. Thinking that because the description stated it had that key lime in it, I opted for that inclusion. This addition made it seem like the IPA wasn’t focused on, and needed that extra, and well, the taste confirmed it. The lime juice added a tart acidity to the beer that was good, but not great. I think next time I will try it without to figure out the true intent.
Finally, the dark beers were on order. The first of which was a porter that had a mild coffee flavor, but nothing overpowered. For a porter, it was pretty decent, though I can attest to not drinking many porters in the past. It had a higher ABV, but you wouldn’t know it. The chocolate notes from the malts that were used definitely came through. It was almost like drinking a mocha without the heavy coffee flavor that you would expect.
At the very end was the stout. I’m not a stout drinker, so my review may be a little off, but I still think it’s worthy. If you try any beer at Scatter Creek, this is the one to grab. I’ve never had a beer where the smoky flavor has come through so much as it did here. It honestly tasted like I want my barbecue to smell like when I’m grilling a steak. Honestly, this was the most surprising beer of the bunch, and I can’t recommend it enough.
So, there you have it. My quick and dirty review of the beers at Scatter Creek Brewing. If you find yourself driving along I-5 near exit 88, make the 10 minute detour into Tenino and give these guys a shot. They’re typically open from 1 – 7 PM every day of the week, and you’d be happy visited if you swing through.