The Tri-Cities is famous for wine, for rippling rows of golden wheat, for three rolling rivers that swiftly merge into one and for the kaleidoscope of color each time the sun sinks into the vastness, turning the twinkling daylight into a deep blue, luminous dome. Known for the deeply rooted connection to the land, the heritage and the history of the area, the Tri-Cities is mixing things up on another bustling landscape. Breweries, brewmasters and award-winning beers have made their way to the Tri-Cities scene and the impact is arching out and creating an entirely unique motley of flavors, tastes and swagger all told through the many styles of fine, handcrafted beer.
Ice Harbor Brewery
Operations were set up in historic downtown Kennewick, and the location is quaint and inviting. Visiting the brewery is truly an authentic and rewarding experience and along with the award-winning beers, there’s a full pub menu with standouts like beer battered cod, chicken gizzards, fried pickles, giant pub pretzels and an array of satisfying burgers, sandwiches, wraps and more.
Three years after the brewery opened, Ice Harbor at the Marina opened on Clover Island, offering unbeatable Tri-Cities views of the iconic lighthouse, marina and Cable Bridge. Also offering a full menu, the marina restaurant is bustling with energy and the natural light of the island rays that shine brightly through the many windows.
Most importantly, both Ice Harbor locations are all about the beer. Classics include the Runaway Red, an amber ale rich and full bodied, but balanced nicely with a soft sweetness that will delight beer lovers near and far. Another classic includes the award-winning Harvest Pale Ale. Golden and malty, this ale is distinct and refreshing. Another award winner is the Lighthouse Lager, crisp with a toasty, malt flavor sure to please the palates of many.
Giving nod to the mighty sternwheeler that trudges stoically along the Columbia River, the Sternwheeler Stout’s deep, dark color is reminiscent of the midnight black waters of the river at the darkest hour. Chocolatey, malty and rich, the Sternwheeler Stout is a crowd pleaser.
Ice Harbor offers many other brews, including seasonal options and award winners. Whether it’s a trip into historic downtown or a visit to the stunning and peaceful Clover Island, Ice Harbor beers will be waiting, a beaming and bright beacon to all levels of beer connoisseurs.
Bombing Range Brewing Company
Located in north Richland, Bombing Range Brewing Company has quickly become a neighborhood staple. Customers come and go to fill their growlers and the dog-friendly patio buzzes with laughter and smiling, happy dogs. A full bar clatters with a regular crowd who have come together in the name of good food and even better beer.
With a full menu that includes a wide variety of wood-fired pizzas and pub-style foods, it’s worth a trip to Bombing Range just for the food! The pizzas are perfectly handcrafted and pair ideally with any of their distinct brews. Using fine, local northwest ingredients, along with premium malts imported from Belgium and Germany, Mike and Dashia Hopp are kicking out some serious libations.
Embracing the area’s rich history and the role the community played to bring an end to WWII, the Day’s Pay IPA, an easy drinking golden IPA, was named after the B-17 bomber that was funded after Hanford workers donated a “day’s pay” and ultimately, financed the construction of the bomber. Another must-try is the Range Finder IPA. Distinct citrusy and tropical flavors that mingle perfectly with a slight bitterness make the Range Finder a standout on the BRBC menu. More bombs abound in the M.O.A.B., which is described as a true “hop bomb” and the “mother of all beers” on the BRBC menu. At 7.62% ABV, the M.O.A.B. is a bomb worth risking.
Located directly next door to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park tour headquarters, Bombing Range Brewing Company is the perfect place to visit after an incredible day touring the Hanford site or the B Reactor. The tour is unbelievably riveting and completely awe-inspiring. A pint of the Day’s Pay will mean so much more than just a cold beer after touring such a significant piece of history, not to mention, the perfect pairing for the pondering that is sure to follow a day spent exploring the beginnings of the atomic age.
Sage Brewing Company
New on the scene, Sage Brewing Company opened in December 2019 in one of Pasco’s newest and quickly growing neighborhoods. Centrally located on the newly lengthened Chapel Hill Boulevard, Sage Brewing Company’s facility is expansive and impressive with exposed beams, large glass garage doors, stainless steel brewing barrels and a massive concrete bar the owner, himself, constructed.
Partners, Ben Grogan and Tyson Crudup share the simple passion for good and honest beer and decided to combine forces and follow their dreams of owning a brewery. Both have quickly displayed that they’ve got that special kind of swagger the brew making business is all about. Self-taught and self-trained brewmaster, Tyson has an insatiable drive for the brewing process. Describing brewing as a formula involving half science and half art, Tyson has learned to trust his intuition, along with tirelessly testing what works and what doesn’t.
With a fully-stocked “workshop” that includes five hulking steel barrels, Tyson spends much of his time perfecting his recipes, experimenting and testing. The passion is evident in the gleam of his eye and the saffron swirl of one of his many masterpieces.
Offering five beers on tap presently, Tyson and Ben plan to introduce new beers along the way. All five are pint-worthy and refreshing to any beer lover’s thirsty pallet. The Snow Day Porter, with a gentle undertone of a heavily roasted chocolate coffee brew goes down like a smooth, delectable treat. The Hefeweizen, aptly named Hydro Hef, is a German wheat beer recipe with an essence of clove and banana that are woven in expertly and on the periphery of each exhilarating swig. This is a Hefeweizen to remember and come back for.
The Sage Brewing Co. IPA is an impressive blend of citrus and floral, but with that distinct IPA taste that any beer lover will savor and nod eagerly for a refill. The Broadmoor Blonde is the easiest drinker on the menu, going down cold, crisp and refreshing, it’s sure to please any thirsty crowd. Last up is the Pale Ale, golden and thirst-quenching with a light balance of malt and sweet. The Pale Ale is utterly faultless.
Deeply committed to community, Tyson and Ben are eager to connect, collaborate and engage. The large space is booked for an upcoming fundraising event, beer and yoga sessions and on Friday and Saturdays, The Ciao Wagon food truck joins the fun and offers gyros, pastas and specialty sandwiches. A 220-inch screen awaits the next big game or the next Xbox tournament direct from the Sage Brewing lounge.
Sage Brewing Company is positioned to become the central hub of Pasco, the heartbeat, the pulse and the backbone. Each handcrafted masterpiece is solidifying its stance with a hearty and supportive “Cheers!”
Brewery Hopping in the Tri-Cities
There are many more breweries and brewpubs to visit in the Tri-Cities, including Atomic Ale Brewpub & Eatery, Barley’s BrewHub, Brews Taphouse & Growler Fills, Copper Top Taphouse & Growler Fills, Paper Street Brewing Co., Moonshot Brewery and White Bluffs Brewing just to name a few. All are uniquely distinct, yet unmistakably connected to the community they serve.
There are endless reasons to visit the Tri-Cities, the beer just makes it so much better.
Photo credit: Summers Miya, Bombing Range Brewing Company and Ice Harbor Brewery.