Six microbreweries recently opened in the town of Snohomish and banded together to create the Snohomish Ale Trail. Launched last May, the Ale Trail includes Sound to Summit Brewing, Lost Canoe Brewing Co., Spada Farmhouse Brewery, SnoTown Brewery, Scrappy Punk and Haywire Brewing Co.
Visit any one of these breweries to pick up a Snohomish Ale Trail brochure with a map of their locations. They make it fun: You collect two stamps from each participating brewery — one stamp per pint ordered — and receive a free collectible Snohomish Ale Trail pint glass when you acquire all 12 stamps on the back of the brochure.
The Snohomish Ale Trail is meant to be done in multiple days during numerous visits to the breweries. It is proving very successful — about 300 collectible pint glasses have been given out to date.
Each microbrewery offers distinctive craft beers that you’ll not find elsewhere. Many are seasonal and specialty beers that change frequently with the creative inspirations of the brewers. For example, you might try a Peanut Butter Porter, Coconut Blonde Ale, Gingerbread Brown Ale or Silli Yak gluten-free grapefruit beer. All the breweries offer tasting flights as well as pints, plus guest tap cider and non-alcoholic beverages for non-beer drinkers. All are family friendly, and some welcome dogs.
The Snohomish Ale Trail suggests beginning at Sound to Summit Brewing, known for its Kiteboard Kolsch and IPAs such as Apex, Going A’Rye, Cascade Haze NE and Six Gill. Opened in December 2014, Sound to Summit was the first of the six and now features at least 12 beers on tap. It is the only brewery that also offers a full food menu, including a Grilled Elk Burger among beer-complementary items. Open daily, it has Happy hour beer specials from 2 to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Lost Canoe Brewing Co. is a nano-brewery by comparison size-wise, opened in April 2017. Yet it brews up to 11 beers, which — Like Sound to Summit’s offerings — are mostly classic styles. Its most popular is Chinook IPA. Lost Canoe is also experimenting with beer fermented with champagne yeast, producing a Champagne Super Nova Brut IPA. Its other stand-out brews are Peanut Butter Porter and Basic White Girl Pumpkin Spice Milk Stout (for fall).
Spada Farmhouse Brewery’s taproom is now located in the heart of downtown Snohomish. Begun in fall 2016 on the family farm (dating to great grandpa in 1912), Spada opened its taproom in October 2017. It has truly unusual brews, specializing in barrel-aged sours, saisons and other farmhouse-style ales. The small-batch sours are tart and include fruit — for example, the Cervoise de Sarah is made with blueberries and The Botanist with currant, blueberries and raspberries. Spada features nine taps, which also usually include a Belgian, IPA and porter or other dark beer. Spada encourages you to bring your own food or order from next-door Piccola Pizza.
SnoTown Brewery, just a few blocks away, produces a variety of intriguing beers, ranging from 12 to 13 on tap with just a two-barrel brew system. Opened in August 2015, SnoTown highlights its Jalapeno Blonde, Dog Paw Pale Ale and Nuevo IPA, among five IPAs. To complement its small interior, SnoTown has a large outdoor patio with picnic tables. It is the only brewery in Snohomish featuring live music – with open mic on Thursdays and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Scrappy Punk is one of Washington state’s smallest commercial breweries, producing seven beers with rotating experimental recipes, unusual ingredients and intense flavors. Opened in December 2016, it features a flagship Coconut Blonde Ale with startling coconut flavor. Other customer favorites on tap are Mango Champagne IPA, Best Friends IPA and Blonde Stout. A current intriguing brew is Rose Petal Centennial Black IPA. Scrappy Punk is housed in a small brewery-taproom with an outside area with tables. Visitors may bring their own food or order delivery.
Haywire Brewing Co. also opened in December 2016, just two miles south of town in the former hay barn of Dairyland (now a wedding venue). Haywire has won awards for it Pig Sty Rye, U Pick Strawberry Pale Ale and Silo Sessions IPA. It usually has 10 brews on tap, often including Dairyland Chocolate Stout, Hen Pecked Amber, Fox Trail Irish Red Ale and Silli Yak gluten-free grapefruit beer. Its big taproom opens to a large patio. Food trucks are on site on Fridays and Saturdays.
Visit www.snohomishaletrail.com for each brewery’s open hours and days.
On Nov. 2-3, you can check out all six Ale Trail breweries in one location during the annual Snohomish Brewfest, Snohomish County’s premier beer festival. It will be held at the Thomas Family Farm; see www.snohobrewfest.com for details.
Spada Farmhouse Brewery
106 Union Ave., Snohomish
— By Julie Gangler
Julie Gangler is a freelance writer who has worked as a media relations consultant for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. She began her career as a staff writer at Sunset Magazine and later was the Alaska/Northwest correspondent for Travel Agent Magazine.