Poulsbo Brews by Transit

There, I did it! All four Poulsbo breweries sampled in one day; and I did it all entirely by transit. OK, so I cheated just a teensy bit, but in my last post I never said exactly how I planned to do it. To get the lowdown, read on….

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Any transit trip from the eastside of Seattle all the way over to Poulsbo and back presents some pretty major logistic challenges.

And on this occasion I limited myself somewhat by deciding to do it on a particular Friday when I needed to be back in Bellevue before 7:00 p.m. This is where my teensy cheat came into play.

Of the four Poulsbo brewers, the only tasting room available during my itinerary was Sound Brewery – starting at 2:00 p.m.

So I built my trip around finding a way to sample the other three brewers before visiting the Sound Brewery tasting room and finishing my day there.

The way to do this fell conveniently into place when Slippery Pig posted on Facebook that for the first time (outside of special events) all four Poulsbo brewers were on tap in one place: at the Hare & Hounds Pub.

As I firmly believe in the saying strike while the iron is hot, here’s how it all came together…

Bellevue to Poulsbo (map)

09:50 ST Express 550 to Seattle (Pioneer Sq Stn); walk to ferry terminal
10:40 Seattle-Bainbridge ferry
11:20 Kitsap Transit #90 bus to Poulsbo
11:45 Arrive Poulsbo Transfer Center

Walk to Front Street – visit Tizley’s Europub and Hare & Hounds Pub
Eat lunch, sample Slippery Pig, Valholl (Facebook), and Battenkill (Facebook)
Walk along Jensen to bus stop on Iverson at Post Office (map)

13:40 Kitsap Transit #32 bus (to Silverdale)
13:50 Arrive Finn Hill & Viking Way (Poulsbo Junction)

Walk along Viking to Sound Brewery – 10 mins – then visit 1 hour (map)

Return to Seattle (map)

Walk back along Viking to the Poulsbo Junction bus stop

15:25 Kitsap Transit #90 bus to Bainbridge ferry
16:35 Bainbridge-Seattle ferry
17:10 Arrive Seattle

Total bus & ferry fares $16.10

This schedule worked out beautifully: after my ontime arrival at Poulsbo transfer center, and the short walk downtown (10 mins), I entered the narrow alleyway off Front Street and climbed the stars up to Tizley’s Europub.

Tizley’s Europub (Facebook)

On my last visit to Poulsbo with The Spouse and The Daughter, we ate lunch and sampled brews at Tizley’s. On that occasion I enjoyed a fantastic Belgian style ale from Sound Brewery: their Dubbel Entendre.

This time around, Tizley’s had Sound Brewery on tap again – but none of the other Poulsbo brews. Given that I would soon be sampling Sound Brewery at the source, I decided not to stop at Tizley’s, instead I moved on to the Hare & Hounds.

However Tizley’s is a wonderful pub with great food and, if you can get one of the balcony tables overlooking Front Street, it’s one of the best places to drink a beer in all of Poulsbo. Unless you’re on a mission like mine, I recommend you stay awhile.

Hare & Hounds Pub (Facebook)

Just as the Slippery Pig Facebook page suggested it would, the Hare & Hounds did have samples from all four Poulsbo brewers on tap.

The pub is British-owned and much of its decor, cask pumps, and memorabilia is from across the pond. The food is pretty authentic too – right down to the Scotch Eggs and other classic pub-grub.

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Back in the megalithic era I used to frequent a pub in Newbury near where I worked at the time. A pint and pasty almost every lunchtime got me through the rest of my workdays.

The Hare & Hounds in Poulsbo brought back fond memories of those dim and distant times.

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In my photo, from left to right, is Valhöll’s Pale Ale, Slippery Pig’s Hog’s Breath, and Battenkill’s Old Tractor IPA.

I remember enjoying the Battenkill IPA at the recent Bremerton Brewfest – it was just as good this time around.

Not an in-your-face hop-monster as so many NW IPAs seem to be.

Valhöll’s Pale Ale is a really nice, well-rounded brew: a fine balance between malty sweetness and hop presence. Might even qualify as an ESB in my book.

And once again, Slippery Pig presented an astonishing brew – Hog’s Breath, a strong, viscous, unfiltered Imperial Hefeweizen.

After spending a leisurely and very enjoyable hour or so at the Hare & Hounds in the company of  Effie (a very friendly and welcoming host – thanks), a short walk from the pub along Jensen Way led me to the bus stop outside the Post Office. I rode the #32 bus from here to Finn Hill; then walked along Viking around 3/4 mile to Sound Brewery (map).

Sound Brewery (Facebook)

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I think it’s fair to say that Sound Brewery is leading the charge among Poulsbo’s four breweries. Their brewing operation is by far the largest which enables them to gain the greatest exposure and word of mouth.

Right now, with it’s explosive growth, Poulsbo may be the hottest beer town in the state of Washington. When people remark about this phenomenon, many have heard of Sound Brewery; they often have not heard of the other three.

Notwithstanding the fantastic Sound brews I previously enjoyed at the Washington Brewers Fest, the Bremerton Brewfest, and at Tizley’s, it is largely because of Sound’s scale – right out of the starting gate – that I have so looked forward to visiting the brewery.

And I was not disappointed: I enjoyed an hour of really great beer tasting at Sound Brewery. I would have happily spent much more time there if I could.

My sampler included everything listed on the blackboard plus a bonus cask ale.

My photo shows from right to left…

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    Humulo Nimbus – a potent NW take on Imperial IPA

  • O’Reagan’s Revenge – a classic Irish Red a la Smithwicks
  • Tripel Entendre – a Belgian-style tripel modeled after Chimay Blanche
  • Kristall Weizen – a very smooth, unfiltered Hefeweizen
  • Reluctant IPA – Another NW IPA… blah!
  • Koperen Ketel – a wonderful Belgian-style pale ale – modeled on Orval?
  • Belgian Style Stout (bonus) experimental cask brew – chocolate stout brewed with Belgian yeast – superb

When 3 o’clock all too quickly rolled around I was not ready to call it a day, but roll around it did, so off I went back along Viking Way to the Poulsbo Junction bus stop. I arrived there at 15:20 – roughly a 15 minute walk.

As it turned out, I missed the 15:25 #90 bus – be warned, I’m pretty certain it left ahead of schedule. Also, this is the only #90 that leaves from Poulsbo Junction in the afternoon; all others leave from the transfer center.

The last bus from the Poulsbo Junction stop on a weekday is at 16:02 (#43). Take this bus to the transfer center then take the next #90 that leaves at 16:37. This connects with the 17:30 Bainbridge-Seattle ferry. This was my route back to Seattle this time around, arriving just after 6 p.m. I still had plenty of time to get back to Bellevue before 7 p.m.

If the 16:02 #43 bus from the Poulsbo Junction stop is missed, it’s a 45 minute walk (2.2 miles) to the transfer center. From there #90 buses to Bainbridge leave at 17:30, 18:30, and 19:30 – then that’s it for the day.

My next trip to Poulsbo will likely use these later buses, allowing me to visit Sound Brewery at 2 p.m. as before. I’ll then walk from Sound Brewery to Valholl to visit their tasting room, which opens at 4 p.m. (map)

Watch this space.

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    1. Thanks – I hope it won’t be too long before we can sample Slippery Pig at the source too. Such creative brews :)

  1. Bluebird · · Reply

    We have recently moved to Poulsbo and really appreciate the review and your traveling style! Thanks for starting us off in our food/beverage/travel explorations.

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