Hopstock puts the spotlight on local breweries — and the artists behind the brews. “Kitsap” may someday be synonymous with “microbrew” in the same way “Napa” and “Walla Walla” are synonymous with “wine.”
Kitsap-based breweries have won more North American Brewers Association awards than any other Washington county in the last three years, according to Patricia Graf-Hoek of Visit Kitsap Peninsula. Events have formed around the fine artistry of Kitsap’s brews, and a new company now gives microbrewery tours.
The first of two major meet-the-brew events is June 16-23: The third annual West Sound Beer Week, aka Hopstock 2013 (http://kitsaphopstock.com).
Breweries, brewpubs, bars, restaurants and retailers throughout the West Sound — they’re calling themselves the West Sound Beer Community — will present a week of celebrating-all-things-beer with numerous events and brewery features: Brewers’ nights, samplings, limited releases, beer dinners, price features, fundraisers, a Poulsbo pub crawl, and a “beer run.”
The events will spotlight the numerous breweries that span the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas and the local businesses that support and offer their locally handcrafted beers.
“We have such a blossoming beer community here in the West Sound,” said Derek Gress of Fingers Duke Apparel, acting coordinator of Hopstock 2013 (www.fingersduke.com). “It really stands to be celebrated and brought attention to. Hopstock is the perfect opportunity to do that and I am honored and excited to be a part of it.”
He added, “There really is a community feel to how the brewery community interacts and works together. Aside from enjoying some wonderful local fresh beer at these events, my hope is that those who participate feel like they get to become part of or even more part of that community as well.”
The brewers are proud to have their own beer festival, after being overlooked at the Seattle festival.
"Kitsap County has won more North American Brewing Association awards in the last three years than any other county in Washington," said Mark Hood, founder of Sound Brewery. "This area is really getting beer-centric."
Participating retailers and pubs
— Harbor Public House
— Hare & Hounds
— The Loft
— Manette Saloon
— Moon Doggs Too
— Red Apple markets
— Tizley’s Europub
— Tora Lounge
— The Wig Wam
— Bainbridge Island Brewing Company (www.bainbridgebeer.com). Most popular: Eagle Harbor IPA. “It’s a well-made IPA,” brewmaster Russell Everett said. Coming up: A reintroduction of the brewery’s Point White Wit, a Belgian wheat beer spiced with orange and coriander; an Oktoberfest lager for the Puget Sound Pro-Am, a brewing competition; and a first anniversary ale aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels. “It’s delicious and it’s quite strong,” Everett said.
— Der Bloken Brewery (www.DerBlokken.com). What’s on tap: Tap 2, Praetorian Pale Ale; Tap 4, Sacred Hop Double IPA; Tap 6, Ginga Irish Red; Tap 11, Mutha Hefe.
— Hood Canal Brewery (www.hoodcanalbrewery.com). Kitsap County’s first microbrewery produces 11 labels which can be found in pubs, restaurants and stores in 11 counties — including 31 locations in eight Kitsap County communities. Favorites: “It’s almost a tie between the Dosewallips Special Ale, the Dabob Bay IPA and the Agate Pass Amber,” owner Don Wyatt said. “The ‘Dose’ really, really balances between grain and hops. If someone doesn’t like bitterness in their beers, they choose that. Restaurants choose itr because it doesn’t compete with their food. IPAs are so popular. Agate Pass — what I’ve heard is it’s a good transition beer as we move from winter to summer beers. It has a caramel flavor without the hop-iness. It’s a pretty safe bet a bartender can suggest that and a person would be happy with it.”
— Rainy Daze Brewing Co. (www.facebook.com/RainyDazeBrewing). Rainy Daze Brewing tends to focus on IPAs and Belgians with a twist, owner Mike Montoney said. The brewery has made about 20 variety of beers so far. Bestsellers: the IPAs and the Stash Box Pale Ale.
— Silver City Brewery (www.silvercitybrewery.com). During Hopstock, Silver City Brewery will offer favorite brews such as the award-winning Fat Scotch Ale and Ridgetop Red, said Kurt Larson, director of sales and marketing. Larson said to look for customer appreciation deals as well.
— Slaughter County Brewing Co. (www.facebook.com/SlaughterCountyBrewing). Slaughter County opened about seven months ago. On tap: Hopstock IPA (Slaughter County variation), Bondsman Bitter, Regimental Scotch, Imperial Scotch, Gorst Pilsner. Favorite: Owner Scott Kirvan said the Scotch, Belgian, and pilsner are all hits. The Gorst Pilsner, he said, is selling faster than he can make it. "I brew what I like; I'm lucky enough people like what I brew," he said.
— Slippery Pig Brewery (www.slipperypigbrewing.com).
— Sound Brewery (www.soundbrewery.com). Founder and general manager Mark Hood said Sound will introduce three new brews on three different days — the Koperen Ketel, the Mayan Cave Bear (aged with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs and three types of chilies), and a Bavarian-style hefeweizen. Sound will also feature taster samplers and discounts on growlers and bottles.
— Valholl Brewing (www.valhollbrewing.com). Now in a new, larger location, co-founder Jeff Holcomb said Valholl will offer Hopstock activities every day, including the release of a new brew, Hopstock IPA. Favorite: Valholl’s IPAs.