Drink in the Cascades: Leavenworth’s Top Stops
Once upon a time, Leavenworth, Washington, was a hamlet built around logging and railroad operation. After a rail reroute took the trains out of town, the once-bustling mountain community’s tourism came to a slow roll nearing its final halt. The town leaders rallied together and decided the best option would be to reevaluate their natural resources and re-brand. And, roughly 60 years ago, that is how the picturesque, alpine Leavenworth became Northwest’s Bavaria. Today, the town itself might be the main attraction, but the restaurants, shops, festivals, bars, geocaching, snowshoeing and beverage producers continue to flesh out the robust activities. All within walking distance, these seven drinks producers are worth adding to the itinerary.
Blewett Brewing Co.
After merging with neighboring pizza hotspot Idlewild, this young brewpub now pours pints while slinging some serious flatbreads. Cheese lovers rejoice with the Delancey (aged and fresh mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan and fresh garlic), which fits quite comfortably on the patio with a glass of the Crikside Citrus IPA.
Blue Spirits Distilling
No need to put the lime in the tequila, this Chelan, Washington, distillery does it for you at its Front Street tasting room in the center of the village. In addition to the lime tequila, the micro-distillery also bottles whiskey, rum, vodka and gin, for whatever your sipping desires might be.
If you can’t get out to the appointment-only winery in the woods — across a rickety bridge that will hold your car, despite appearances — visit the downtown tasting room that shares space with the charming Inside and Out boutique. Don’t miss the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon when it’s open.
Cup and Kettle
Tea upon tea upon tea. And then some with spices and rubs, but this small shop is heaven for the tea fanatic, and a leaf-learning academy for those who are not. Sniff, sample and discover from over 140 types of loose-leaf tea, plus serving and preparing equipment to brew the best cup you can brew.
Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards
Another Chelan producer to open up in Washington’s Bavaria, tongue-and-cheek makes the rules for the names, labels and story behind this whimsy maker. The wines have fun but are serious in their own right: like the sumptuous Shameless Hussy Red, a juicy blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Primitivo.
Icicle Brewing Co.
Leavenworth’s original craft maker, this brewery was the only game in town when it first opened in 2011. The heated patio is bumping year round, and for good reason: multi-award-winning beers flow like water, including the Dark Persuasion, a drinkable German chocolate cake, and the Crosscut pilsner which pays homage to the area’s logging history.
Roosted on a wildflower-coated hillside above the Wenatchee River Valley, the five-acre estate is located on the eastern side of Leavenworth outside of the village and worth the extra mileage for the ambience alone. Try the latest releases of the bold Cabernet Franc and honeyed Chenin Blanc.