Washington State’s faux Bavarian village of Leavenworth is a great place to visit at any time of the year, yet it is particularly magical during the Christmas season. During our previous visits there was however always one thing missing: a local ‘Brauerei’ pouring German style brews. But that all changed in 2011 with the opening of Icicle Brewing Company, and Leavenworth’s Alpine illusion is now complete…
Our trip across Stevens Pass on the Thursday before Christmas provided our first opportunity and we wasted no time locating the beautifully crafted mock-Bavarian brewery to trinken die Bieren. The last time we visited Leavenworth – for the 2010 Christmas Lighting festivities – the brewery was under construction and its architectural details were concealed under a huge shroud.
As this photo shows, after the wraps came off last summer, the owners did a gorgeous job seamlessly integrating their building into its surroundings. It sits at the east end of Front Street next to the Festhalle building; from there the Bavarian Village stretches for half a mile paralleling US highway 2.
As one would expect in a Bavarian-themed village, Icicle Brewing’s standard lineup consists mostly of German lagers: Kölsch, Helles, Hefeweizen, and Märzen; plus two concessions to NW ale lovers; an IPA and a Porter.
The brewery’s tasting room pours 8 taps featuring these 6 brews plus 2 seasonals. During our visit these were: “Dunkel-Stiltskin” a Munich-style dark lager; and “Real Snow” a holiday version of the Märzen – infused with vanilla, cinnamon, and orange. We ordered the tasting tray for a generous sample from each tap.
The Icicle Brewing tasting room also offers a limited food menu consisting of meat, cheese and veggie platters: we found our order provided just the right amount of snack accompaniment for our beer sampler.
If you do as we did, after leaving the brewery, head off down Front Street to explore the Bavarian Village, then by the time you reach the far end you’ll be ready for heartier fare.
So stop in at the München Haus Bavarian Grill & Beer Garden for the best ‘wurst und kraut’ in Leavenworth. Since the Brulotte family owns both the Munchen Haus and Icicle Brewing, the same standard Icicle brews are on tap at both locations, plus a couple of guest taps at Munchen Haus.
A final word of advice: don’t do as I did and forget to pack an empty growler or two for the trip or you’ll be sorry. The holiday Märzen was absolutely superb and I just had to bring some home.
Icicle will happily sell you a growler – a really fancy 2-liter beauty imported from Germany. It’s easily the most gorgeous growler I own, with one of those fantastic tight-sealing ceramic caps with metal fastening lever, but you sure pay a premium for it compared to the typical 64 oz American screw cap version.