Whitstran Brewing Company
1427 Wine Country Rd
Visited on September 5, 2009
It pains me not to include Whitstran on my Top 10 list (forthcoming). I enjoyed the food and absolutely loved the beer in this tiny, assuming brewery in a tiny, unassuming town in the southeastern Washinton. The beer was yeasty and malty, each having a thick, complex taste without the need for a ton of hops to lend flavor. It’s just not what you typically find in breweries these days.
However, it falls short just a little bit on location and food. I don’t remember anymore what I ate, and I was never impressed with the interior of the pub. But I still highly recommend stopping here if you’re ever in the area, as it was the only brewpub in the Yakima region that I every truly enjoyed visiting.
Whitstran Brewing just recently opened their restaurant location within the past couple of years and it is definitely the local place to be. The restaurant is not large. I’d say there were less than 15 tables that could support maybe 50 guests total as well as a bar for six to ten more. There was a patio as well, but I didn’t get to see how many could fit there. There is a television to watch the game, which is nice. It’s clean, simple, not many decorations. But it had a nice feel to it.
They serve standard brewpub food, but all of it is freshly made in the back. No prepackaged onion rings or fish and chips from this joint! They also have a dinner menu that features steaks, salmon, halibut and other fancier options. I opted for the fish and chips. The batter was a bit thinner and crispier than I am accustomed. The onion rings were obviously homemade and very well done. It was top-notch pub fare.
Absolutely outstanding beer. The owner loves heavy malts and every beer had a different taste to the body. He obviously knows what he’s doing. And being so close to the biggest hop fields in the country, you know there were plenty of those to go around. But they merely balanced the malts. None of the beers were hop-features. No really strong up-front bitterness. I liked it a lot.
My favorites were the regular 11th Hour Pale as well as the Over the Edge Pale, which is the former but dry-hopped. But then again, I love a pale ale with a strong malt character. The porter and stout were also very, very good. In fact, the stout was the 3rd pint I ordered after putting down the giant sampler. I stayed here a long time because I loved the beer so much.
They were swamped when I came in with only two servers to take care of a whole ton of people, including pouring drinks, doing dishes, running food and wiping tables. One was the wife of the owner, and within a half hour of me sitting down, the owner came in to help. They were busy, busy, busy, but still managed to find time for me. Which is why you sit at the bar! And they were happy to converse during their flight of the bumble bee run. Really nice folks.