Wednesday 10th of August 2011 09:43:49 PM link
Riverport Brewingβs tasting room is right in the brewery itself. In fact, the fermentation and brewing vessels are just to the left as you enter, and are separated from the seating area only by a short wood topped corrugated metal wall that doubles as a drinking counter with a row of bar stools. Pallets of empty kegs and shelves loaded with stacks of grain bags are at the far end of the room in the opposite corner.
The remainder of the good-sized room has a wooden bar with unique hand-carved bar stools, a few similar carved wooden tables with matching stools, and quite a few simple round tables and chairs with padded seats. The tasting room/brewery is one of the low-rise buildings in a warehouse complex a bit off the beaten track in Clarkston. The walls are corrugated metal, the floor is concrete, and there are a few slide-up garage doors at the back that let in daylight and fresh air. Also, out in back is a deck with nice black metal mesh tables and chairs and a great view of the hills overlooking Clarkston - but also tractor-trailer trucks and a gravel parking lot.
The atmosphere is welcoming, low-key, and local. We ended up in varied conversations with other patrons as well as the brewer and new assistant brewer just by sitting at the bar. And the beers are quite special. Both of the IPAs and the new Black IPA were delicious. The full list on our visit was: Blonde Moment, River Rat Red, Cedar Rock Pale, Old Man River Oatmeal Stout, Bambalam Black IPA, Grande Ronde Rye, Seven Devils IPA, Bedrock Bock, and Bullseye PA.
Parking is available on the gravel lot and you can get a growler filled. There is no food available beyond the complimentary pretzels.
Selection: 5 |
Atmosphere: 4.5 |
Service: 5 |
Thursday 10th of September 2009 01:53:33 PM link
Traveling through Eastern Washington State, you'll find many references on the roadway to Lewis and Clark. Signs showing two silouettes, standing men, one pointing outward at something in the distance. You look and see -- well, not much of anything. These are historical markers that, should you decide to get off the "beaten path", will take you to a spot where those two explorers camped or met with Indians or killed a wild squirrel.
Go far enough and you'll come to the end of the road in Washington: Clarkston. One mile away, across the Snake River is Lewiston, Idaho. Well, I suppose for the risks involved, the work of trudging through eleventy-five feet of winter snow and 195-degree summer heat, having to subsist on squirrel meat for 18 months, naming a town after you is the least a community can do.
Too bad they didn't have any beer...'cause the stuff at Riverport Brewing would have made their travels oh so much more tolerable.
Marv Eveland, wife Karen and friend Pete Boyles are the care-takers here. Marv met Pete in 1976; he was the 3rd teacher in as many months at a tough little 4th grade class in tiny Pierce. The other two had been run off by the students who's gang-leader was, yep - you guessed it; Pete Boyles. But Marv knew that kind of tough farm life having grown up on one himself in nearby Moscow, Idaho where he started brewing beer at 17. He got so good that other home brewers came to his farm for the fresh spring water available and wound up staying to brew rather than trudge back home.
That kind of attitude permeates Riverport now where customers come in, Marv or Karen call them by name and they respond in kind. Beers are offered and the community endures.
Well, that's the way it's supposed to be, isn't it.
Having terrific beer is the chips and dip in this scenario...and that's appropo because Riverport is located in an warehouse shared with and the home of Frito-Lay. Son Lewis said it best: "Chips and beer at the same place. What could be better." Indeed.
Once the head brewer at M.J. Barleyhopper's in Lewiston, he has 4 beers on tap all the time with a coupla of seasonals. Wife Persimmon, sons Lewis & Clark and I were treated to his Blonde Moment, Hellsgate Hefeweizen, Cedar Rock Pale, River Rat Red, Old Man River Oatmeal Stout, 7 Devils IPA and a Bedrock Bock - all with full flavors and distinct character. From the chocolate and caramel notes of the Bock to the mossy tang of the Red, these brews do not disappoint. "They are," says Marv, "about as fresh as you can get. 3 weeks after brewing, I put 'em on tap." And if someone doesn't like the beer, that's OK too. They aim to please.
"A woman came in once," tells Marv, "and asked 'Do you have Coors Lite?' I told her 'Sure', filled a glass full of water, spritzed in a bit Blonde (and came up with the name for the beer right there!) and gave it to her. 3rd time in, I said - 'Bet you want a Coors Lite?' 'No', she answered, 'I just want that Blonde.'"
Good beer, free popcorn, great people and laughter...what more could you ask for?
If I were you, not a Coors Light.
Selection: 4 |
Atmosphere: 4.25 |
Service: 4.25 |