Back on the road: Hittin’ up Yakima Valley for tasty beer

One of the perks of my day job, before viruses and stay-at-home orders, was getting to wander around the great state of Washington for work. While out and about, I’ve been known to stop by a few breweries in my travels for a flight or two and some cans for when I get back home.

Obviously, the world is a little different now. But I finally got to go to work again this week and was sent to Yakima, where a number of breweries were offering beer to go. While there were no flights this time around, there were plenty of cans for back home. And even a new tin sign. I brought a cooler bag not intending to fill it up, but what can you do?

When you drive all the way out to Yakima, you may as well head another 40 minutes to Sunnyside to check out Varietal Beer Company. It’s a few miles further down the road but is 100% worth the trip. I started my beer quest with four-packs of the Mighty Juice hazy IPA, Keep on the Sunnyside Pale Ale and a crowler of Peach Yo’ Self milkshake IPA.

All were amazing. The Mighty Juice is super drinkable, the Keep on the Sunnyside is a collaboration with the Pink Boots Society and has one of the coolest can designs I’ve seen and the Peach Yo’ Self is like dessert in a can. If you like beer and peaches, I can confidently say this will be a winner for you. The cherry on top of the Peach Yo’ Self was adding another sign to the Tin Man’s collection.

After heading to Varietal, I got back to Yakima and had to put my dress shoes on and work for a few minutes. Fortunately, my work travels took me to within a few blocks of Hop Capital Brewing (formerly Yakima Craft Brewing Company). It looks like they recently revamped the brand but the beer is as tasty as ever. I went with a four-pack of the All Together NEIPA, a hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with Other Half Brewing from New York City to support hospitality workers. I’m a sucker for drinking for a good cause. And a good hazy IPA. This beer checked off both boxes.

Formerly known as Yakima Craft Brewing, Hop Capital Brewing may have changed its name but the beer remains great.

At this point the cooler bag was pretty full and it was about time to head back to the west side of the state. I had hoped to visit other beer spots, like Bale Breaker and Single Hill Brewing, but they hadn’t opened yet for the day (or, unfortunately, weren’t going to be open that day) and my road trip buddy/wife was ready to get back home. Fortunately, the beer gods smiled upon us one more time. As we were leaving Hop Capital we noticed a sign for another brewery: Valley Brewing Company. I pulled in, promising I’d only be a minute, unsure of what I’d find. The employee there was super nice, walked me through all of their amazing-sounding beers, and then, it happened.

Just released that day was Fruituristic: Strawberry Banana, a milkshake IPA that he couldn’t stop talking about. That is apparently contagious, because I tried one when I got home and have not stopped talking about it since either. It tastes like a smoothie, so I feel like it’s definitely a healthy beer choice! It is incredible. One of my all-time favorite beers. The only bad part about it is I only bought a four-pack, which is now running dangerously low. I may never forgive myself for this mistake.

Yakima Beers

Peach Yo Self

Milkshake IPA that drinks like dessert in a can!

All Together IPA

A hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with Other Half Brewing from New York City to support hospitality workers

Futuristic: Strawberry Banana

A smoothie IPA with big fruit flavors.

| Photography courtesy of David Krueger