I love exploring new breweries, but I feel like I get stuck in my little Seattle bubble far too often. Attending the 11th Annual Washington Brewers fest gave me a great opportunity to try out breweries from all over Washington, and led me taking a little beer road trip down to Longview, WA the other day. First of all, do you know how far Longview is from Seattle? I’m really good at research, so I just assumed it would be an hour and a half away, right? Nope. Turns out it’s about 3 hours away- and all the Seattle and Tacoma traffic I could ever ask for!
I met Jarrett at the brewfest and instantly wanted to check out Ashtown Brewing; the brewery opened its doors in 2013 by two cousin founders, Jarrett and Erik, who were both a bit over the whole corporate scene and felt like a brewery in their hometown would be a great idea. I don’t make it to a ton of small-town breweries, but if I had to guess what it would be like, Ashtown checks off all the boxes. The guys literally built this brewery from the ground up and scored this awesome location in a building that’s almost 100 years old. The decor of this brewery is simply rad- chainsaws, old skiis, horns & skulls are strewn about the place and are a little collection from the community. Whether their friends had an extra saw or someone in town had something they wanted to donate, the collection started to grow as soon as they opened. How awesome is that?! I probably freaked out a little too much over the skulls.. I’ll admit that..
The most exciting thing for them (and us, because it means all the beers) is the expansion they currently have underway! Ashtown has eight taps, one designated for a cider and maybe a guest tap or two; but… they are expanding to 16 taps. YEP. 1-6. Right now the brewing takes place in the front but they will be adding tanks & beer goodness to their back expansion and using the front for specialty brews.
I had the chance to try a handful of their beers, and even some that aren’t quite ready yet! I was way surprised by their Cranberry Berliner Weisse, mostly because I detest both the style (usually) and not a big fan of cranberry. Let me tell you.. this was downright delicious. It wasn’t too sour, but had a little bite, and a hint of cranberry. I’m sure if you’re a huge fan of cranberry, you might miss that tang from the berries. But I’m here to tell you that it is tasty, and you need to get your paws on this 4.7% brew. I also have a huge space in my heart for anything coconut, so when Jarrett spilled about a coconut porter that’s almost ready, I basically begged to have a taste! This is brewed with fresh, organic coconut and even leaves traces of it in the beer. I’m not talking about some chunky beer, just little slivers of coconut that graced the edge of the glass. Holy smokes. This beer reminds me of a german chocolate cake; the toasted coconut was beyond heavenly. I could drink an entire keg of this- but don’t hold me to it..
Aside from their taproom, Jarrett and his dad actually own a food cart they park across the street four days a week. With killer food from a pretty great chef, you can find items like burgers, fish & chips, thai inspired dishes and fries. Now, I’m a little bitter about their plans to open a second location. I mean, of course I am over-the-moon happy for the them.. but they are hoping to expand down south towards Vancouver, Washington and also run a second food cart to accompany that taproom- some seriously exciting stuff!!
Ashtown may be far away from Seattle, but it’s definitely worth the little trek down there; coming up on September 17th, they will be celebrating their third birthday with a block party (so clear your schedule). These owners are passionate about their beer, community & getting involved in life around Longview and it definitely shows. Breweries like this really get me excited for the beer culture around this state and give me hope for the smaller not-so-known breweries. Also if you’re looking for their beer in Seattle, check out both Flatstick locations! So hop in your car and get down there! And if you have an open seat, mind if I join you?