“Good people drink good beer.” The ancient Celtic axiom popularized by Hunter S. Thompson may or may not ring true in every instance. But that’s not the point. The Northwest is filled with justifiably proud people. We are proud of the things we do, the things we make and the places we call home. Smaller communities, in particular, rally around a source of local pride. One of the things we do better than most is beer.
There are brewpubs and alehouses that are the heart of some Northwest towns. They are hubs where families and friends meet. They are places that out of towners take special trips to experience. They are institutions, where good people go to drink good beer. Here are just a few of our small-town favorites.
Raymond, WA: Pitchwood Alehouse & Inn
Like many Washington towns blessed with a prime location and extensive natural resources, Raymond was at one time home to a thriving lumber industry. When the industry slowed, the residents of the area were forced to regroup and refocus. These days, the charming town has a lot going for it. It’s a town with access to the Willapa Hills Trail, a remarkable carriage museum, plenty of public art and the historic Raymond Theater. But the lifeblood of this town flows into and out of the Pitchwood Alehouse & Inn.
If a roadhouse could somehow be simultaneously authentic and inviting, it exists in the form of Pitchwood Alehouse. A labor of love for the Hansons, a local family with deep roots in Raymond, Pitchwood is where the community goes to drink good beer, eat good food and enjoy a live band. They serve beers from every brewery within a 50-mile radius, making it possibly the best place to sample suds from this part of the country. If you happen to be passing through town and need to bed down for the night, the stylish, completely refurbished inn that accompanies the alehouse is the premier lodging destination in these parts.
Worth driving to Raymond for? Your libation of choice and a lineup of Goose Point oyster shooters, fresh from the waters of nearby Willapa Bay.
Learn more about visiting Raymond, Washington, at willapaharhor.org.
Enterprise, OR: Terminal Gravity
Situated near the base of the “Oregon Alps,” the town of Enterprise in the Wallowa Valley hovers just below 2,000 residents. Surrounded by fields of grazing livestock, flowing waters, and imposing mountains, it’s hard to envision a more bucolic setting. And the living room from which the community chooses to take it all in is Terminal Gravity Brewery & Pub.
With award-winning beer, locally sourced, seasonal cuisine and an outdoor seating area befitting of any legendary summer BBQ, it’s no wonder that Terminal Gravity is where anybody within shouting distance chooses to eat, drink and catch up with friends. If you visit on a warm, eastern Oregon evening, it’s more than likely that you’ll see children running creekside through a small grove of aspens while live music plays over a thrum of laughter-laced conversation. If it sounds a little like heaven, that’s because it is.
Worth driving to Enterprise for? Cave Dweller, a black IPA, paired with a half-pound, hand-formed buffalo burger.
Find more about the towns of Enterprise and Joseph, Oregon, at visiteasternoregon.com.
Winthrop, WA: Old Schoolhouse Brewery
With a population of just over 400 residents, the tiny burg of Winthrop is the smallest on this list. But anyone who’s ever spent time there, or even driven through for that matter, will remember it. The Old West-themed streets of Winthrop were designed to take advantage of the tourist traffic that the construction of Highway 20 would bring. And they succeeded. But for those that call Winthrop home, the Old Schoolhouse Brewery is the destination of choice after a day spent enjoying the area’s many outdoor attractions.
With a strong customer and community focus, the Old Schoolhouse Brewery has become an integral cog in a mutual uplifting of Methow Valley businesses. And it translates directly into a place where locals and tourists alike can sip exceptional beer while enjoying good food and live music—all on the banks of the Chewuch River.
Worth driving to Winthrop for? Ruud Awakening IPA and Ruud Awakening-braised pork sandwich.
Visiting Winthrop? Go to winthropwashington.com.