Review: Loowit Brewing Co., Vancouver, WA During one of our Tuesday ‘happy hour’ adventures, we started in Vancouver and found ourselves at one of the more established breweries, Loowit Brewing Company. Opened in 2012, Loowit has been producing, and more recently (past few years) bottling, and distributing a few of their beers widely across the SW Washington and NW Oregon regions (you can find them at grocery stores). Their brewery/taproom has a definate local vibe they do offer a decent line-up of house beers, which you can get to go in growlers during normal operating hours, the location is just a taproom, they don’t offer any food.
As shown, they have a small seating area at the front, along with the bar seating and a back room where the brewing production takes place along with a few picnic tables, and high-tables. They usually have local sports teams on their TVs (Timbers, Sounders, Blazers, Seahawks, etc.) when games are on. Since they don’t offer any food (except some bar snacks), you are welcome to bring something in and enjoy something with their beers. They do have a mug-club and weekend specials on their beers, so it’s a good place to stop if you’re making the rounds. They are also dog friendly, so if you’ve got a 4 legged friend along, feel free to bring them in. Kids can sit in the front and back rooms, but not at the bar, so be prepared to have the occasional rug-rat running around. They have plenty of artwork up on the walls for sale from local artists, as well as lots of Loowit Brewing swag opposite the bar.
They also have a couple of video games to play in the back room and a steel tip a dart board you can use for free so you can get your game on if you’re looking for a distraction. I would have to say that after having visited Loowit during slow-hours (when they open), as well as when they are packed (during a Seahawks game), the service and staff have always been welcoming and friendly and you usually don’t have to wait that long to get a beer. Their brewers hang out there quite a bit and if you’re there during the week, you might be able to chat with them about their upcomming releases.
I did have a chance the last time I was there to talk with the bartender a bit about their recent shift of their most popular beer, the ‘Shadow Ninja IPA’, which is now called the ‘Shadow Shinobi IPA’. Same beer, different name…and with the re-release it, they has a full line of marketing that goes with it including a comic books and stuff. It’s interesting that they shifted the name of this beer after it’s local popularity grew, but there’s a number of reasons they did the name change it seems.
So, onto the beer reviews. They offered up seven beers the day we stopped in, which are showin the picture there. Reviews go back to front, left to right. They’ve always had at least one or two decent/solid beers available, including the ‘Shadow Ninja IPA’, which they’ve used in a few different beers as a base (barrel aged, imperial, etc.). A few years ago when they were one of the only breweries in downtown Vancouver, they had the corner on the market and what my friends would call ‘just average’ beers, back then were considered to be ‘a lot better than others’. Now days they have to bring their A-game and most of their one-offs are decent enough, but I’d have to say that they need to revisit their beers and get back to basics.
Loowit Brewing Co. • IPA • IBU: 75 • ABV: 7.2% • SRM: 8
Appearance: Clear orange draft with a large bubbly and frothy white head, plenty of retention and lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Pineapple, grapefruit pith/rind, fresh biscuit, some pine.
Taste: Strong hop forward grapefruit bitterness, citrus and acidic notes to the mid. Sweet chewy bread backs it on the mid to back with some mild alcoholic hits on the tongue.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, mild carbonation.
Overall: Classic NW IPA with tons of grapefruit and citrus notes, enough sweet breads in the malt build to hold it together.
Loowit Brewing Co. • Sour – Berliner Weisse • IBU: 17 • ABV: 4.7% • SRM: 8
Appearance: Light orange hue, cloudy and soft white frothy head, mild retention and spidery small lacing.
Smell/Aroma: Sweet oranges and yeasty sour funkness.
Taste: Lots of sour and tart on the front, mild yeasty and crackery malts on the mid/back. Orange and mild vanilla rounded on the back through the sharp tartness. Zero hops.
Mouthfeel: Tingles on the tongue from the sharp acidic sourness.
Overall: This is a decent sour Berliner Weisse, it needs a bit more sweet/syrup profile to hold back the amount of sourness that overpowers everything else.
Loowit Brewing Co. • Red Ale • IBU: 23 • ABV: 5% • SRM: 20
Appearance: Dark red, slight cloudy and off-white colored head that had low retention, but left solid lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Lots of dark bread crust, dried crumbs, some hits of sweetness and earthiness to pine aromas on the back.
Taste: Has a strong malt forward and sweet caramel/chewy bread vibe. Lots of complex bitterness balances the sweet towards the back with hints of herbal and pine hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, lots of rounded soft action on the tongue, low carbonation.
Overall: This has a lot of flavors going on, plenty of malt character against the shallower hop resins and dried leafs.
Loowit Brewing Co. • Cream Ale (nitro) • IBU: 20 • ABV: 5.25% • SRM: 10
Appearance: Clear, slight amber/orange hue, soft pillowy creamy white head, tons of lacing and retention.
Smell/Aroma: Subtle hints of wet grass on top of a solid blanket of toasted grains.
Taste: Sweet up front, shallow grains, soft hops of wet grass and resins. Dries a little bit on the back.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and thin bodied.
Overall: This is a great lower ABV cream ale based on an Irish export style.
|Flat Track™ Blonde
Loowit Brewing Co. • Blonde Ale • IBU: 32 • ABV: 4.2% • SRM: 4
Appearance: Clear golden draft, shallow head, no retention, minimal lacing on the rim.
Smell/Aroma: Sweet wet grains, some mild yeast and herbal hops.
Taste: Shallow hop presence that runs herbal to wet grass, pilsner like grain build drop off quickly.
Mouthfeel: Some thin watery presence with minimal carbonation.
Overall: This is a mild blonde ale with some hops that show up on the mid, overall a quaffable beer.
|Super Ninja IIIPA
Loowit Brewing Co. • IPA – Triple • IBU: 100 • ABV: 11% • SRM: 18
Appearance: Dark orange/red to copper draft, thin lighter tan head with lots of large bubbles and retention.
Smell/Aroma: Sweet wet cereal grains, hints of citrus.
Taste: Stronger alcohol forward, sweet hits of rye bread and dried grains, notes of dank hop cone (wet hop vibe) and resins show on the back a bit.
Mouthfeel: Creamy and wet on the tongue, dries towards the back, strong flavors, strong alcohol presence.
Overall: This is a strong IIIPA with a ton of sweet and overpowering alcohol on the tongue.
|MacManus Irish Dry Stout
Loowit Brewing Co. • Stout – Irish Dry (nitro) • IBU: 30 • ABV: 4.3% • SRM: 40
Appearance: Jet black with a tan creamy head, lots of lacing, mild retention.
Smell/Aroma: Coffee grounds, dried cacao, biscut and burned sugars, mild vanilla.
Taste: Sweet burned sugars present on the front, followed by tons of burned/charred bread and wood. Slight coffee hints on the back.
Mouthfeel: Dries front to back with a creamy hit on the tongue.
Overall: This is a classic Irish Dry Stout, has enough alcohol and carbonation to hold it to the mild hop and sharper burned bitterness profiles.