Palouse Falls was just getting started in Pullman, Washington when I headed back east to Michigan to live. It didn’t look like I was missing too much. Indeed, they closed just two years later. They had four beers on tap, three of which were pretty thin and a bit short on the flavor side. The fourth was acceptable mainly because it was an IPA with enough malt to stand up to the hops. It’s hard to make an IPA that sucks.
Palouse Falls Brewing Company is a new start-up in Pullman, Washington, land of plenty of beer-loving college kids and zero microbreweries. It was about time. Although they do not serve food outside of a bowl of pretzels, the place does have a pretty nice tap room. It is located in an old brick warehouse complete with giant garage doors for easy access to the brewing facility. They’ve made a front room by putting up some dry wall to section off about a quarter of the building. Two bathrooms take up some of that space, as does a small alcove with a desk in front of it for the office operations. The rest belongs to an L-shaped bar with a refrigerator behind it, four tables for four, and one larger six-person table. The floor has been nicely redone. A giant banner hangs in front of the garage door and inexplicably features a logo that is not that of Palouse Falls Brewing.
Anyways, most of the beer is pretty average, and one is even good.
The Vandal Gold is light bodied, nearly transparent, with foam clinging to the side of the glass, but with a taste that is not unlike water. There is little to no hop aroma or flavor. The only difference from water is a subtle sweetness. I’m not even sure non-beer drinkers could stomach this.
The Crimson Pride is a pleasant surprise after the tasteless Gold. It tastes of a single malty, copper tone with a few different hop notes nudging their way in. It isn’t terrible, and definitely a step in the right direction.
The Winter Seasonal is smooth yet hoppy with subtle notes of spice and perhaps molasses, though I can’t tell for sure. The spices are so low I can’t really tell what is in there, but it sucks a little less than the Crimson Pride.
The Steptoe Stout has a good body and mouthfeel with great upfront taste that quickly slides away before barely hanging on to the palette for a minute. It is a good balance of sweet, dry, and chocolate. I’d rate it between average and solid.
Finally, the IPA doesn’t suck at all. At 6.5 percent alcohol, there are plenty of hops to balance the malty goodness. And it isn’t just bitterness. It is the full flavor profile of a continuously hopped brew that leaves one craving more.
Overall, the new brewery has some work to do. With one drinkable beer and a couple of good starts, I’d say they should at least be able to sell to college kids.
Total: 61 (of 80)