Beer lovers rejoice! As covered in previous articles in this series, our region is famous for its viticulture and unique wines. We’ve given props to several of the area’s most famous wineries, and you can read more about them here. A slightly more well-kept secret is the cultivation of hops from the Yakima valley. These little green flowers (also sometimes referred to as seed cones) are an imperative component of beer, responsible for the bittering and flavoring of the delicious liquid gold.
Recent estimates claim that up to 73% of the nation’s hops are produced in Yakima county. Impressive, right? On top of that, nearly half of the world’s hops come from our neck of the woods here in eastern Washington State (46% as of 2019). That means that beers throughout the world have a high likelihood of containing the little green buds from our home region. All the more reason to be proud of the area that we call home.
Though the spread of the COVID-19 virus throughout 2020 has left many of our local breweries operating at reduced capacity, many are still up and running. Businesses have adapted to the changing landscape during this pandemic, and restaurants/breweries/wineries have been at the forefront of this effort. Indoor dining has been ruled out entirely over the past few months, meaning that many local eateries have been tasked with implementing outdoor dining options, a goal which has been difficult to meet during the coldest months of the year. This struggle has made it all the more difficult for these businesses to stay afloat, and many are at risk of closing their doors permanently. We wanted to take this opportunity to point to several local watering holes where you can taste the famed Yakima Valley hops while remaining safe and socially distanced.
Bombing Range Brewing Company
This small local brewery is located just off of Highway 240 in Richland. They’ve always offered outdoor dining options but have recently expanded their patio and added heaters to keep customers warm and comfortable while sitting outside. Just next door, The Dive (owned and operated by the same folks behind Bombing Range) offers an expansive grass lawn outfitted with picnic-style bench seating and open fireplaces. Both are excellent options to stop and relax for a few minutes after work, and you certainly won’t be sorry after trying some of the best beers in the area.
White Bluffs Brewing LLC
Just around the corner and to the north of Bombing Range sits a lesser-known gem of the Tri-Cities. White Bluffs Brewing is the new kid on the block (relatively speaking) and offers an array of unique beverages that are well suited for the beer connoisseur. With a covered outdoor patio and rotating menu provided by local food carts, it’s hard to go wrong during with anything you order here.
Ice Harbor Brewing Company
With two locations just blocks from one another in Kennewick, Ice Harbor is the largest and most well-known brewery in the Tri-Cities – and for good reason. The locally famous brewhouse is home to numerous drinks that play to the strengths of our regions hop crop. Complimented by a comforting menu with a wide selection of classic bar fare and seafood from the Columbia River, it’s easy to see why Ice Harbor has made a name for itself in our corner of the state.