Disclaimer – we did our best to include every brewery we could find in the region we have defined below and using the criteria defined below. We do apologize if we missed any.
My husband and I are big fans of really good locally brewed beer from small breweries. Not only do we enjoy good, fresh, local beer, but we also enjoy supporting small local businesses. If you read our blog regularly you are likely familiar with how we support local business here on My Fab Fifties Life. So at the beginning of summer 2021 we decided to visit every local brewery in our region. It became a bigger undertaking than we originally imagined! But hey! Somebody has to do it! And so we give you Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One).
FIRST A LITTLE HISTORY
In 1985 my husband and I visited the Thomas Kemper Brewery. I was 25 years old…barely legal drinking age! Research says the brewery was on Bainbridge Island but my memory has it more in the Poulsbo area…in a farm like setting. Whichever it was, it is likely that was the first small hand crafted brewery I had ever visited. That was 36 years ago. Thomas Kemper operated in Kitsap until 1992 when it was bought by Hart (later called Pyramid). A few years later we would also visit the Pyramid Brewery in Kalama, Washington…long before Pyramid became the powerhouse of Northwest micro brews.
Thomas Kemper wasn’t the first brewery on the Kitsap Peninsula however. In 1933 just after the repeal of prohibition the Kitsap Brewing Company was opened. Later called the Silver Spring Brewing Company of Port Orchard, the brewery operated on East Bayside Road in Port Orchard until 1950 when they moved to Tacoma.
Hundreds of microbreweries would grow out of these humble pioneer beginnings through out the Pacific Northwest. Including breweries like Silver City in Silverdale/Bremerton, and Hood Canal Brewery in Kingston, both early local trailblazers still operating successfully since 1996.
Using the following criteria, we turned up twenty-four – yep – TWENTY-FOUR breweries. Then we set out to visit them all.
- Must brew their own beer, although we can taste the beer either at the brewery or at their tasting room or a restaurant location.
- Must brew or have a taproom within the geographical region we call Kitsap Plus One which we defined as the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the Hood Canal Bridge (the Kitsap Peninsula), as well as Fox Island, Bainbridge Island and including Belfair (the plus one).
So that’s our criteria…pretty simple really. Based on this we set out to visit all twenty-four breweries. Below we share what we learned. We aren’t ranking our favorites here, but we will make observations that might help you when considering your own Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One) brewery tour. Let’s work our way from the South end of the Kitsap Peninsula northward.
Gig Harbor/Purdy/Fox Island
Founded in 2015, Gig Harbor Brewing started in Tacoma and continues to brew there with a taproom. In 2017 they opened their Gig Harbor taproom in the heart of waterfront Gig Harbor. Excellent selection of seasonal and tried and true beers.
Gig Harbor Brewing Gig Harbor taproom 3155 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Gig Harbor’s first brewery opened in the early 2000’s, and despite bouncing around to multiple locations, 7 Seas has consistently brewed an excellent product as it has expanded. 7 Seas was the first Washington brewery to can its beer…now everybody’s doing it! 7 Seas now brews in Tacoma in the old Heidelberg brewery, where they also have a taproom, and have recently moved their Gig Harbor taproom to a beautiful waterfront location.
7 Seas Gig Harbor taproom 2905 Harborview Drive Gig Harbor WA 98335
Wet Coast brews and has its taproom in Gig Harbor, currently the only brewer doing so. Opened in 2015, Wet Coast expanded its brewing operation and taproom recently. You can find Wet Coast right off of Highway 16 at the Wollochet City Center exit.
Wet Coast Gig Harbor taproom 6820 Kimball Drive Suite C, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Crossed Arrow has been brewing for awhile, but their taproom is not yet open…really it should be any day! Their new taproom will be located in the building of the former Key Bank in Purdy right off of Hwy 16. Watch their website for opening info. In the meantime their beer is available at several locations including The Hub at the Tacoma Narrows Airport.
Crossed Arrow taproom opening soon at 14004 Purdy Drive, Gig Harbor WA 98335
Fox Island Brewing almost didn’t make this blog post because it did not show up in any of our research. We learned about FIB while attending the annual Gig Harbor Beer Festival just last weekend. Currently brewing on Fox Island but without a taproom, Fox Island Brewing beers are available at regional restaurants. They told me they hope to move their brewing operation into Gig Harbor or the Crescent Valley area soon.
Opened in 2019 this small brewery packs a big punch with excellent beer in a beautiful farm setting. The folks at Yoked offer fun events weekly, including hot dogs and barbecues, beer and bouquets, fun events for kids and more. The location is a working farm with goats and flowers and vegetables. Oh and the beer is great too.
Yoked Farmhouse tasting room 525 SW Pine Road, Port Orchard WA 98366
This tiny craft brewery is hard to find and only is open on weekends. But make the drive to their production facility and owner Steve will give you a taste of what they are currently brewing. They are still waiting for their permits to open a taproom, so you can visit and learn about brewing while enjoying a tiny taste. Meanwhile Steve continues jumping through the hoops to get a taproom, and to get his delicious beer distributed in the region. (PS they were voted best beer at last weekend’s Gig Harbor Beer Festival)
East2West Production Facility 12913 Shady Glen Ave SE Olalla WA 98359
Opened in 2017 just south of Belfair on Hwy 3, Bent Bine (‘bine’ is another word for a climbing vine like hops), is a popular location for gathering and drinking some really good beer in Belfair. Tasting room has both indoor and outdoor seating, families welcome.
Bent Bine tasting room 23297 WA 3, Belfair WA 98528
For my money, Deep Draft Brewing has one of the best stories as far as how this brewery came to be in 2015. The story is of determination, love and loss, and if you click on the link you can read it for yourself. Really amazing. Meanwhile, Deep Draft also has exceptional beer served both in their taproom and at the restored old WigWam Tavern, an excellent place to drink beer, eat BBQ and look at the eclectic collection of Naval memorabilia.
Deep Draft taproom 3536 W. Belfair Valley Road, Bremerton WA 98312
SLAUGHTER COUNTY BREWERY
Slaughter County Brewery, located on Sinclair Inlet in old Port Orchard has one of the funkiest yet most comfortable tasting rooms that we experienced…and a whole lotta good beer too. The name Slaughter County comes from the original name of Kitsap County…a throwback to the old days. Slaughter County is proud to be the first brewery in South Kitsap in 70 years. Excellent selection of microbrews to try.
Slaughter County taproom 1307 Bay Street, Port Orchard WA 98366
Well, I really don’t have any favorites, but I will say the Dog Days tasting room, which is doggy friendly, is really a fun place. You’ll find a friendly bunch here, dog lovers, comedy too and trivia nights. The beer is excellent. The first time we visited they were serving food and the menu looked amazing but we had other dinner plans. So next time we went intending to eat, but there was no food. So, not sure what is up with the food sitch…but the beer is very good.
Dog Days tasting room 260 4th Street Bremerton WA 98310
After years of home-brewing in three different home locations, brewer Dan and family made the leap to making the beer brewing dream a reality in 2017. Today Crane’s Castle has a beautiful tasting room in East Bremerton they call the Beer Hall…definitely big enough for parties and more. The beer is also very good with a wide selections of changing taps to tempt you. Outdoor seating too and food truck sometimes.
Crane’s Castle Beer Hall 1550 NE Riddell Road Bremerton WA 98311
Truly one of the pioneer microbreweries in Washington State, Silver City has been brewing exceptional beer in Kitsap County since 1996. Its flagship location restaurant (formerly the brewing location as well) is one of Silverdale’s most popular dining spots. Today the production facility is located in Bremerton where they also have a taproom. So two Kitsap choices for you to enjoy one of the mother’s of Washington brewing, Kitsap’s own Silver City.
Silver City Flagship and Restaurant 2799 NW Myhre Road Silverdale WA
Silver City Production Facility and taproom 206 Katy Penman Ave Bremerton WA 98312
Formerly known as Der Blokken and located in Bremerton’s Manette neighborhood, Chaos Bay is undergoing a transformation. Because their new tasting room is under construction, we were not able to visit. Keep your eye on their website (link above) for their new opening announcement.
Chaos Bay Brewing tasting room opening soon at 2901 Perry Avenue Suite 13 Bremerton WA
We have to say we were a little confused by our visit to Lovecraft. They were only offering their brewed hard teas as well as a few craft beers by other brewers. It’s unclear if they will be offering their own brewed beers again in the future. So that said…we didn’t taste their beers.
Lovecraft Brewery taproom 275 5th Street Bremerton WA
A great location in Old Town Silverdale, Breaking Waves is located in the former location of Cash Brewing. Today the operation is as much a restaurant as a brewery, pumping out exceptionally good burgers, salads and pasta, and on Tuesdays delicious tacos. But the beer is just as good…a wide range of brewed-on-site beers as well as a selection of guest brews and ciders. We will definitely be back for both the beer and the tacos.
Breaking Waves Brewing restaurant and taproom 3388 Northwest Byron Street Silverdale WA
Poulsbo is the leader in Kitsap communities for the number of microbreweries, and Slippery Pig was one of the first. They begin brewing in 2010 and opened their current old Poulsbo location in 2014. Slippery Pig promotes local ingredients and family operation (Brewer Dave a 5th generation Poulsbo native) and the result is a consistent and delicious product, with a wide variety of flavors and styles.
Slippery Pig tasting room 18801 Front Street NE, Poulsbo, WA
Opened in 2018, Western Red has an ambitious mission statement “To brew and serve the best craft beers ever made in the Pacific Northwest”. I love entrepreneurs who think big! My visit to Western Red was eye opening. The beer was fabulous and their tasting room just a block from Poulsbo’s main street is perfect, with a fun assortment of old logging implements.
Western Red tasting room 19168 Jensen Way NE Poulsbo WA
Rainy Daze likes to think of themselves as a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. Their beer has a magical mixology quality, delicious no matter which style you grab. Maybe it’s because their brewery and tasting room are in a more humble facility…so they focus more on the beer and less on the hype. I don’t know…but I do know they make a darn good beer.
Rainy Daze Brewing tasting room 650 NW Bovela Ln Ste #2 & 3 Poulsbo WA
Also started in 2010, Valholl touts it’s Poulsbo/Little Norway roots with a strong Viking presence in their logo and tasting room. Valholl’s award winning brews are available in the tasting room and to go as well as on tap at many local locations. Valholl is family friendly, with both indoor and outdoor seating just a block from Poulsbo’s main street. Skal!
Valholl Brewing tasting room 18970 3rd Ave NE, Poulsbo WA
We did not visit Echoes because at the moment they are to go only in cans and kegs. They are planning to open a tasting room and we hope to visit them soon.
Echoes To Go Location 19479 Viking Ave NW Poulsbo, WA
Coincidentally, the day we visited Downpour it was…you guessed it…pouring down. Their small but cozy tasting room included little propane heaters at the table…a great idea in the notoriously wet PNW. We enjoyed their beer a great deal, located on the main drag in Kingston not far from the ferry terminal.
Downpour Brewing tasting room 10991 NE State Hwy 104 Kingston WA
Kitsap County’s first microbrewery, Hood Canal Brewing has been operating since 1996 when brewer Don Wyatt (formerly of Thomas Kemper) opened the brewery. The tasting room was opened in 2003 and today still operates in a warehouse-style facility with an added rough addition to accommodate the growing clientele (and need for outdoor seating during Covid.). A true pioneer in the craftbrew craze.
Hood Canal Brewing taproom 26499 Bond Rd NE, Kingston, WA
In 2012 father and son duo Chuck and Russel Everett and partner Rob Frease opened Bainbridge Brewing. From the beginning Bainbridge was about perfecting the classics while embracing new styles and flavors. They must be doing something right because they now have two locations on the island; their Alehouse in downtown Winslow and the brewery and taproom located in Coppertop Park. Brewmaster Russel is a born and raised Bainbridge Island native, proud to be brewing and serving his community.
Bainbridge Brewing production facility and taproom 9415 Coppertop Loop Bainbridge Island WA
Bainbridge Brewing Alehouse 500 Winslow Way East Bainbridge Island WA
Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One)
As we conclude we might mention that there are some great places to drink beer throughout this region that don’t brew their own beer. Zog’s on Fox Island and HopPharm in Gig Harbor both come to mind. But our criteria was to explore places brewing their own label so that is what we did.
It took us a couple months to get through all of these….and I think we would return to pretty much all of them if we were in the neighborhood. We look forward to seeing more from some of those who are just getting started, and salute the commitment and efforts that are involved in creating a fine crafted beer. We are lucky to live in a place with such a wide selection of quality, hand-crafted brews by some of the finest brew masters in the nation. Breweries of Kitsap (Plus One). Time to have a pint. Salute.
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Let us know in the comments if you know of a brewery in our criteria area that we missed.