Friday, July 10, 2009
Washington Series #3 - LaConner Brewing
When we found LaConner Brewing, we weren't even looking for it. We were simply exploring the cutesy, yet gastronomically gifted little tourist town of LaConner, WA. Then, like a lightning bolt from heaven, I saw the word brewery out of the corner of my eye, and the rest of that night is hazy history. Well, almost.
Not to spoil the end, but this experience was one of the best I have ever had at a brewery. The staff was attentive, knowledgeable, friendly, and even, after spying my camera on the table, offered to take a picture of us together. I have my favourite places, Ft. George, Double Mountain, and Belmont Station. They are my favourites because I leave with a smile, and eagerly anticipate my next visit. I spend hours at my shitty job, thinking about past times, and can not wait to return. LaConner is now in that league. The beer, and food, was awesome. Between us both, we tried the Vienna Style Lager, the ESB, and the Brown. I shall work backwards.
I don't like Browns, or should I say, I don't usually like Browns. The Brown here is listed as a "English-style Nut Brown ale." A overly simplistic description for quite a complex beer. It was light brown in color, had a very nice, heavy body, a very pleasant aftertaste, and had a subtle chocolate mouth feel. My only regret about this beer was that I didn't have my trusty travel growler ready to take some home.
The Lager and the ESB were both excellent. Each, showing far more interest than I am used to in each of their styles. You think lager, and if your like me, you think boring. A few stand out of course, Heater Allen comes to mind, and now, so does LaConner. Erin enjoyed her ESB, and noted hints of orange, and was nicely balanced with 6% ABV. As with other offerings, it uses imported hops and malts.
The food was great, we shared the Wood Fired Chipotle Cream Clams. The dominate kitchen focal point is a beautiful, wood fired brick oven. You can taste it in the clams, between the spice and heat of the chipotle sauce. That, combined with the beer, make it quite an experience.
It is a bit off the beaten path, which is usually where you discover hidden gems anyway. It isn't easy to find info about, and it has no dart board. But, it is absolutely worth a trip, and, yes, I would call it a destination brewery. The rest of the town is interesting, and has other good places to eat, but anyone even in the remote area of LaConner, and doesn't stop here, is paying themselves a huge disservice.