Earlier this summer, I had the chance to finally visit Arlington, Washington. I have only lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2012, and while I did visit just outside of Arlington last year for a work-related leadership retreat at the Jim Creek Recreation Area, I was excited to check out this adorable city in northern Snohomish County.
The drive from Seattle was not as long as I thought it would be, only about an hour on a Saturday morning. I’m not sure why I was expecting it to take a long time, I guess I’m turning into one of those that thinks anything north of Everett is basically the equivalent of driving to the Canadian border? Anyways, Seattle friends – it’s an hour. And while I was only in Arlington for about 24 hours, I discovered something extraordinary.
Arlington-natives already know. And they probably don’t want me to shout this from the blogging rooftops – but I fell in love with Skookum Brewery.
Skookum Brewery came highly recommend by a few of my friends who live in Arlington, and I love a good craft beer – especially if I can help support a local business. As any good blogger would do, I emailed Skookum to say, “Hey, I’m coming to town, can I meet you and take a tour?” And lo and behold, the founder himself, Ron Walcher, emailed me back and said sure, just give him a heads up when we were about 30 minutes out. He also told me he would let Angel know – a big guy with a big beard and personality to match, but who was a true teddy bear at heart. Needless to say, I was more than ready for my trip to the north.
With two of my tall guy friends, Kyle and Greg, in tow (they are brothers and both over 6’4 in height, and I stand way below them at 5’8, I’m sure we were a sight to be seen walking into the massive brewery). It was a beautiful sunny evening in the Pacific Northwest. Many patrons sat outside getting some much needed Vitamin D, while many others sat inside, enjoying the variety of brews on tap, as well as good conversation. As I had told Ron to expect a blonde gal flanked by two tall guys, he recognized us immediately and said hello. The teddy bear of a man, Angel, also shook our hands and Ron took us for a tour of the brewhouse system.
Skookum is truly a Washington-based craft brewery. Ron and his wife, Jackie, opened the 10-barrel brewery in 2007 out of their farm and moved to their current location by the Arlington Airport in 2012. They have a mad scientist at the helm behind the flavors, Hollis Wood, who was practically born with the natural talent to combine flavors and brewing techniques. The brews and the equipment are sourced locally as much as possible as well. Skookum has since received many awards including those bestowed at the Washington Brewers Festival.
Their year round beers on tap include Murder of Crows, Amber’s Hot Friend and Jackass IPA with ten rotating taps all year long. The full line-up, which is updated regularly, can be found here.
As a lover of porters and stouts, the first beer I wanted to try was Murder of Crows, a big, roasty, American Stout, brewed with a plethora (does anybody else think of the 1986 Three Amigos movie when you see the word plethora or is it just me showing my age?) of specialty malts and finished on old crow whiskey oak cubes. The taste is that of bitter chocolate, oak, dark fruit and a subtle smoky char. I relished every sip and have added Murder of Crows to my internal list of favorite stouts.
I also had to try Amber’s Hot Friend, their Amber ale brewed with a shapely malt body and enough hops to keep it feisty. The flavors include caramel, mild citrus and a clean, balanced finish. I know I probably should have had this before my stout, but it was the perfect, lighter ending to my evening at Skookum and I thoroughly enjoyed her.
I am sure the IPA’s were wonderful, but you’ll have to read a different beer blog to get reviews of those ones, this girl does not particularly enjoy IPA’s. 😉
I highly recommend making the drive up to Arlington to visit the cute downtown area and definitely try out Skookum Brewery. If you love true craft beer and teddy bear’s like Angel (literally, the nicest guy you will EVER meet), you will have a blast at Skookum. It’s worth the drive and worth the stay and I can’t wait to visit again to try what is in their current rotation!
17925A 59th Ave NE
Arlington, WA 98223
Ph. (360) 403-7094
Lesley is the founder and editor of What’s Up NW. Prior to creating WhatsUpNW.com, she was the Seattle city editor for AskMissA.com. For both publications, Lesley has covered fashion shows, openings, and local charity events. She has written numerous articles shining the light on local businesses, encouraging readers to always shop local.