Thurston County’s beer roots run as deep as its famous artesian wells. In 1896 successful Montana brewer Leopold Schmidt opened the Capital Brewery after discovering the famous artesian water was ideal for brewing beer. Originally housed in a stackhouse in Tumwater, and eventually renamed Olympia Brewery, it was a significant player in the region’s sudsy brew movement. The brewery slogged through Prohibition during the early 20th century and ownership changes 50 years later. The brewery closed in 2003 when its parent company shuttered the Tumwater plant and moved the production operation to Irwindale, California. In 1993, Crayne and Mary Horton led a dozen Thurston County investors in opening Fish Brewing Company, South Sound’s first craft brewery. It wasn’t until 15 years or so later that several Lacey and Olympia craft breweries followed Fish’s lead. Peaks and Pints presents Craft Beer Crosscut 7.18.18: A Flight of Thurston County Beer.
After years of home brewing Rob Horn decided to make it official and he and his wife, Kelly, opened their tiny Triceratops Brewing in August of 2014. With the last name Horn and three awesome kids, is there really any other name? At first, they brewed out of their home garage. After thriving there for three years they opened a tasting room next to Matchless Brewing in Tumwater. The Horns brewed this golden ale with 20 pounds of fresh strawberries. He introduced the fruit into his second fermentation to help provide a dry, crisp character and refreshing finish. The strawberry is more prominent on the nose than taste. It’s sweet with slight sour aftertaste.
5.4% ABV, 22 IBU
In 2001, Fish Brewing Company merged with Leavenworth Biers, one of the Northwest’s original German-style craft brewers, based in the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington. Fish Brewing moved Leavenworth Biers to its downtown Olympia brewery where it continues to brew Leavenworth Biers, including Whistling Pig Hefeweizen, a Northwest style, light-bodied hefe with pale amber color, slight banana nose, malty wheat character with a touch of malt sweetness and hops.
6.3% ABV, 40 IBU
Evergreen State College alumni Nathan and Sara Reilly, who had been running Darby’s Cafe for nearly a decade in downtown Olympia, opened neighboring Three Magnets Brewing in November 2014. They hit the lottery when they hired head brewer and “Local Sourcing Liaison” Pat Jansen, who also hit the lottery with assistant brewer Jeff Stokes. Together, they brewed a wide range of award-winning craft beers. Jansen moved on to open Matchless Brewing. Stokes moved into the head brewer slot, expanding on their medal winning ways, especially juicy IPAs such as Galactus. It features Citra and Centennial in the kettle, and was dry hopped with huge amounts of Galaxy to round out the aroma. Galactus has a light body and blasts with tropical fruit, a touch of fresh grass and lemon pith.
6.2% ABV, 50 IBU
We remember it as if it was yesterday. We dropped by Top Rung Brewing’s 2015 Hoptoberfest ready for some malty flavors and noble hops when we spotted its shiny, golden orange bad self. The Lacey brewery co-founders Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz had recently debuted their Shift Trade IPA, a 6.2 percent ABV shot of tropical fruits thanks to a hefty dose of Mosaic and Cascade hops. It was crisp. It was bitter. And it was all we drank. Shift Trade is easy drinking with mango, apricot, and pineapple notes and a solid, slightly toasty malt core.
Turbidity is the measure of relative clarity of a liquid. It is an optical characteristic of water and is an expression of the amount of light that is scattered by material in the water when a light is shined through the water sample. The higher the intensity of scattered light, the higher the turbidity. Matchless Brewing out of Tumwater and Culmination Brewing from Portland turned up their Turbidity to 11. You can almost say the IPA is amplified. Amplified Turbidity’s malt bill is designed to be different featuring Red Wheat, Naked Oats and toasted rice. While adding Summer, Topaz, Waimea and Citra hops, the brewers were sleeveless, blasting metal and talking about amps and drop D tuning. The masterpiece hits the nose with tart lemon, ripe melon and citrus. A sip reveals earthy grapefruit zest, more citrus pith, subtle mango, pineapple stickiness with a dry and earthy on the finish.