Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest
A Book Review
It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is home to exceptional hiking and excellent craft beers. The territory from Oregon, through Washington, and up into British Columbia, offers up great opportunities for trails and an after-hike visit to a local craft brewery. Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest has made enjoying this combination easy by pairing together 50 hikes and brew locations throughout the PNW.
A Wonderful Hiking & Beer Pairing Book
Roughly three years ago we became acquainted with Brandon Fralic and Rachel Wood. Their website, Beers at the Bottom, was a frequent resource for planning our outdoor excursions. We were really excited to hear that a book by these two was in the works. And now we’re thrilled to have the book in hand and to have taken it out on the trail with us and to a local brewery!
Before getting into the hikes, the book’s first section starts out with an introduction of the authors and goes into detail about its history, defining the Pacific Northwest region, safety tips, and more. The second section explains how the book's system works and provides an example of what each beer/hike combo will show you - hike difficulty, location, etc. (Speaking of difficulty, the hikes range from tough mountain hiking down to leisurely walking. You can find them sorted by difficulty toward the back of the book in the index.) Once you know how it works, you’re all set for the third section, which is to pick a hike.
As we browsed the provided map, we noticed hikes we’ve done in the past and hikes we’ve had on our to-do list. One such hike on our list was Icicle Ridge in Leavenworth, Washington. We always planned on getting back to this Bavarian town after our Octoberfest trip about four years ago. We were aware of many hiking opportunities in the area and were enticed by the chance to go back and explore.
Each hike in the book has a short subtitle to give you a quick overview of what you’ll experience. For Icicle Ridge this was, “Switchback your way up through pine forest and summer wildflowers to a high point overlooking the Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth and icy-waters of Icicle Creek below.” This descriptor is followed by a photo capturing the peaks in the distance from atop the ridge. These descriptions certainly grabbed our attention, and we began to read more.
Every destination in the book provides you with all the critical information you’ll need. Included are the starting/ending points, difficulty, duration in hours and miles, elevation gain, relevant map, pass required, and most importantly, its craft beer pairing with a description of the said beer. For this particular trek, the book suggested Dark Persuasion, a German chocolate cake ale from Icicle Brewing Company located in town.
There is a description of the route with a map of its tracks and six paragraphs that go into more depth of what you can expect. Following this are directions to get to each the trailhead and brewery with contact information for both of them along with other contact recommendations like the forest service, a local restaurant, accommodations, and the Leavenworth Visitor Center. It’s safe to say that this book provided a one-stop location to gather all the information we needed before hitting the road.
Each listing within the book provides just as much wealth of detail as the Icicle Ridge inclusion does. The provided map makes it quick to locate a hike near you or near a region you want to visit. For instance, let’s say you want to visit the coast of Oregon. The map clearly shows five hikes on the Oregon coast, each with a number that provides you with a way to jump straight to their listings.
We had all the information we needed for our trip, and we headed to Leavenworth. As expected, once on the trail we encountered plenty of wildflowers and spectacular views from the top. The book also mentioned lizards for this particular hike. Sure enough, on our return trip, a lizard was resting on a large rock posing for us. Upon completion, we made the short drive into town and headed to the brewery to quench our thirst on this hot day. If you want to read our full write-up of this trip, be sure to check out our post, Hiking Icicle Ridge in Leavenworth, Washington.
This was our first trip planned solely on the recommendations from this book. We’re already preparing for more hiking and beer pairings like Ira Spring Trail and Dru Brew; Mount Beljica and Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery; and Cape Lookout and de Garde Brewing to name a few. With so much to explore, Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest should keep us busy throughout the summer!
If you enjoy hiking the PNW and a good beer afterward, this is the book for you. The layout is user-friendly, the font and graphics are pleasing to the eye, and the information is thorough yet concise. This thoughtful compilation is your perfect guidebook. There’s something in here for everyone. We genuinely send a hearty "cheers and congrats for a job well done" to Rachel and Brandon!
You can get your copy of Beer Hiking Pacific Northwest from Amazon, REI, Bartell's, and other retailers. Keep up to date with Rachel and Brandon by following them on Twitter, Instagram, and their website. Cheers and Happy Trails!
Follow along on our wanderings around the Pacific Northwest.
The only thing better would be being there yourself!
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