Snoqualmie: The Little Brewery That Could

I was very happy to learn recently about the major remodel & expansion at Snoqualmie Falls Brewery & Taproom. After my previous visit in July 2010 I posted a somewhat negative review and said then that I would not go back. But this latest news changed all that: now I had a reason to return; a transit trip soon followed; and this time I was not disappointed. So how was it…

Snoqualmie Brewery & Taproom is striving to produce some of the finest beer in the NW, and to deliver the taproom experience their beer deserves. I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I was by the quality and scale of the remodel and expansion.

The difference between then and now is amazing. We’re talking triple the restaurant seating space, including the addition of a mezzanine level, expanded kitchen operations, the addition of a banquet room, and all-new restrooms. In this former railway town, it is very definitely The Little Brewery That Could. And let’s not forget the Snoqualmie River and Mount Si which forms a backdrop for the brewery; few can claim such beautiful surroundings.

Snoqualmie Brewery’s standard beer sampler showcases their five flagship beers, as well as the rotating seasonal: I tasted Haystack Hefeweizen; PGA Amber; Copperhead Pale; Wildcat IPA; and Steam Train Porter. My seasonal taste was Harvest Moon (a German-style Festbier).

The Taproom has a total of 14 taps which when I was there included one for the kids: an excellent house-made Root Beer; and one guest beer. If you want to extend your sample beyond the flagship brews, each additional taster is $1. I ended up taking a taster of almost every house brew. My additional pours were the current Brewer’s Choices: ESB (Extra Special Butternut) and Dunkelweizen; plus Powerhouse Double IPA; Nitro Pale; and Black Frog Stout. The Kolsch was not available.

Every beer was a very good example of its type. If I was asked to rank each one individually I believe I could name a preferred example somewhere else; there’s so much insanely good beer in the Seattle area. However, I can safely say that no other eastside brewery can match the overall excellence of Snoqualmie’s dozen or more different beers all in one place.

Now to the food: which was the part of the Taproom I was disappointed with previously. The menu still comprises appetizers, soups and salads; pizzas; hot and cold sandwiches with choice of side; dogs and brats. There are desserts too, and there’s a kids menu. As brewery taprooms go, keeping in mind many are entirely off-limits to kids, Snoqualmie’s is one of the most kid-friendly.

Based on my recollection from a year ago I found the menu now offers greater selection and the choices, particularly the sandwiches, are far more creative in their composition. I had the Persian, a baked sandwich of Scala bread filled with smoked turkey, hummus, sprouts, tomatoes and cucumber. It was delicious, and the potato salad I chose for my side was very good too. No complaints there at all.

So, in a nutshell, I can now say there is  a food experience at the Taproom to match the quality of the beers – which as I already mentioned – are all very good. I won’t hesitate to return the next time I’m out that way.

So, with my comment “out that way“, I come to the logistics of the trip…

To get to Snoqualmie via transit you first need to get to Issaquah. At Issaquah Transit Center transfer to Metro route 208 to North Bend and get off in Snoqualmie. Allow at least 90 minutes travel time each way.

It’s easy to spend the best part of the day just visiting the brewery and railway museum. They are conveniently close to each other but a visit to Snoqualmie isn’t complete without a side trip to Snoqualmie Falls.

Metro no longer serves the falls so ride the bus to downtown Snoqualmie, visit the museum and taproom first then, weather permitting, work off some beer calories walking to the falls, a 1.2 mile hike. From the falls the nearest bus stop for Issaquah is not so far. Either way, this is a really enjoyable day out, especially if the weather cooperates. 🙂

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