Okay, okay. I tricked you. Darrington, WA only has one craft brewery.
But I promise, even if there was a choice, I’d still pick River Time Brewing. It’s got laid-back vibes, easy going patrons and two, two IPAs on tap. And after all, hops are happiness.
The beer business in Darrington is good, but part-owner Neil shares a laugh about humbler beginnings. “I took equity instead of payment for like, the first eight months. Now, I have a hard enough time keeping up with demand in here. We normally have a really great jalapeno kolsch.”
It’s a good problem to have.
River Time brews were born in a garage, raised in a cabin, and perfected on the Stilly. Well, almost. “Our stout is terrible. It’s back before I really knew what I was doing. There were a lot of growing pains” Neil admits. He nods at a pair of regulars shored up at the tap room’s handsome live-edge bar. “I’m lucky I have faithful locals who will drink terrible beer no matter what!” he teases.
“It’s all good Neil!” the man shouts back.
Neil’s earnest self-depreciation is in jest. I gladly drink the stout like a true Darringtonian – which, I am informed, takes three generations to become – because I admire Neil’s entrepreneurial moxy. His pursuit is one of home-grown passion and I can’t fault him for a malty misstep along the way.
It’s five o’clock when Neil queries us about where our night will take us. “Well, we were recommended the Red Top” I joke.
Neil guffaws. “If you girls go in there you will be the attention of the Red Top. Why? Because I don’t think they’ve had five girls in there in a decade. You probably won’t pay for a beer. I already know what’s going to happen. No one will say anything to you guys initially, but they’ll like, glance. And then someone will say something along the lines of, ‘You ain’t from around here.’ That’s always the icebreaker.”
It almost sounds tempting and Neil offers to personally escort us, but not everyone in our party of five is convinced.
With that, I drain my flight, the girls finish their pints (kolsch, a current cider from a guest brewer and a root beer), and I order a growler of Hammer IPA for the road.
Location: 660 Emens Ave N, Darrington
Have you enjoyed a pint at River Time Brewing? Drop me a line – comment below!