The beer is flowing again at some Snohomish County breweries as COVID-19 restrictions ease. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

The beer is flowing again at some Snohomish County breweries as COVID-19 restrictions ease. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)

Drink This: Raise a pint to breweries that survived COVID-19

The Herald’s beer aficionado enjoyed a beer crawl from Everett’s At Large Brewing to 5 Rights in Marysville.

For the past few months I’ve been living in a beer desert. Having given up the suds for Lent, I was left to drink coffee, tea and nonalcoholic beer. It was a good exercise — I try to give up beer to keep my regular imbibing in perspective — but it wasn’t an easy time to go dry.

Giving up beer was on top of a year I rarely had opportunity to darken the door of my favorite local breweries and visit with some of my favorite people. I love brewers, brewery owners and beer drinkers. There’s just something about sitting down, catching up, comparing tasting notes and more over a pint.

But beer seems to be back. Not only am I regularly writing about beer again, but doors are open, patios are full and the beer is flowing. In the past few weeks, I’ve cracked open Skookum’s newest barleywine, Heavier is the Head, enjoyed one of my favorite beers, 5 Rights’ We Be Kings and was pleasantly surprised by Reuben’s Brews Puffs of (Classified), which features a hop that is too new to even be numbered. If you haven’t had the beer and enjoy intense tropical IPAs, I highly recommend it.

Last week, I celebrated a friend’s birthday with a beer crawl from Everett’s At Large Brewing to 5 Rights in Marysville and then on to The Republic bottleshop in Marysville. It was a glorious time and the first time in a long time I’d visited multiple beer spots in the same night. It was crowded everywhere we went, and social distancing and masks were the norm.

5 Rights owner and head brewer R.J. Whitlow sidled up to our table and chatted about his new expanded space, which was perfect since the tables had to be a safe distance from each other. Whitlow is back to his regular schedule of brewing and is having trouble keeping up.

“It’s so encouraging to see people starting to live their lives again, meeting family and friends and building community together,” Whitlow said. “It was a crazy year, but you can see how people are ready to move forward — although a little bit more carefully than before.”

Breweries have reinvented themselves during the pandemic, and now it’s our opportunity to see it all with fresh eyes. SnoTown Brewing in Snohomish revamped its outdoor seating, creating a music stage and plenty of places to sit and drink. The brewery also started canning and installed a roll-up window so patrons so you can hear live music from inside the bar.

For me, I can’t wait to visit John Spada and his new space in downtown Snohomish. The pictures of Spada Farmhouse Brewery’s new space look as beautiful as the sour and farmhouse beers that pour out of its taps. I’m also excited to get back to Audacity in Snohomish and check in with Adam Frantz at Sound to Summit in Everett. In Bothell, Foggy Noggin is still only open for beer-to-go, but I’ll be swinging back in as soon as owner Jim Jamison decides to open the doors again.

“My phone is ringing off the hook asking if and when we’ll be reopening,” said Jamison, who added that they’re hoping to reopen to on-site drinking later this spring.

It’s been a tough year for local brewers. Most survived — some just barely. I can’t stress this enough: Get out. Buy a pint. Get something to go. Say hello and bump an elbow. Your local brewers have missed you.

Bothell’s Wildwood Spirits offers nonalcoholic gin: As I stated earlier in the column, I took a break from alcohol for 40 days. Thankfully nonalcoholic options have increased over the past couple of years.

Add Bothell’s Wildwood Spirits to the list. Wildwood, which makes award-winning gin, vodka and bourbon whiskey, announced that it has released Ginnocence, a nonalcoholic distilled gin with zero carbs and zero sugars. According to the distillery, Ginnocence shares the same profile and botanical structure as Wildwood’s Kur gin.

I wrote about nonalcoholic brews when I gave up beer in 2020 for Dry January. The best of the bunch I tasted then, Athletic Brewing, is still the best on the shelf now. In fact, Athletic has expanded its offerings and even has a pilot series that club members can sign up for.

Talk to us

More in Life

Workers prepare to offload Dungeness crab from a boat on Pier 45 in the Fisherman's Wharf district in San Francisco, California, on Jan. 13, 2021. MUST CREDIT: Bloomberg photo by David Paul Morris.
No crabs, no scallops: Seafood is vanishing from menus in U.S.

Seafood prices have risen about 11% over the past year, thanks to congested ports, not enough fishermen and soaring demand.

Laura Smith, with husband Tom, makes Danielle Lam laugh after being presented with a check for $10,000 from The Prize Patrol from Publishers Clearing House on Wednesday, July 28, 2021 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
‘Holy roses!’ A day in the life of the legendary Prize Patrol

Publishers Clearing House surprised a Mukilteo couple with a sweepstakes prize, flowers and balloons.

Nathan Welton/ Dreamtime Images
Photographer David Welton’s work has appeared in the South Whidbey Record and The Daily Herald.
The camera is Whidbey Island man’s second calling

After retiring from a career in medicine, David Welton of Langley focuses on his first love: photography

Mussels steamed in white wine. (Kristen Mendiola for The Daily Meal; Shannon Kinsella/food styling/TNS)
Here’s how to cook delicious mussels in 5 easy steps

It all begins with the right way to select, store and clean the blue-and-black shellfish.

A zucchini noodle salad with an East Asian-inspired tahini-ginger dressing is an easy, low-carb summer dish. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Tahini-ginger noodle salad is the answer to zucchini overload

When you can’t bear the thought of more zucchini bread, give this Asian-inspired dish a try.

Can an air fryer replicate rotisserie chicken? Seventy minutes at 375 degrees comes pretty darn close. (Jennifer Bardsley)
Be careful with those carrots — she’s on an air-frying rampage

After mastering a variety of vegetables, this mom was ready to pop a 4-pound bird into her new air fryer.

How to cope with pandemic letdown in face of delta variant

It’s not over until it’s over. The whole world is still dealing with a COVID-19. It is OK to be disappointed and sad.

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrid is available in Sahara, Rubicon, and High Altitude trim levels of the Unlimited (four-door) model. (Manufacturer photo)
Emissions-free off-roading courtesy of 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

The new PHEV version of the perennial all-terrain favorite can go up to 25 miles in full electric mode.

Coffeeshops in Amsterdam sell marijuana.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Dutch Tolerance: Red lights and pot shops

Amsterdam is a laboratory of progressive living, bottled inside Europe’s finest 17th-century… Continue reading

Most Read