The Weird World and Wonderful Brews of Leavenworth

The wintry Bavarian getaway has a lot to offer beer lovers.

This is the final in a four-part summer series in which we’ll travel to nearby and not-so-nearby Washington towns to check out the beer scenefrom Bellingham to Port Townsend, Anacortes to Leavenworth, we have your beer-inspired weekend trips covered!

There are thousands of Mongolian Grills around the country—you know, those buffet spots where you fill a bowl with ingredients and cooks behind the counter heat the contents on a giant circular grill top. But there is likely only one that offers, among its vast array of options to add to your snap peas and rice noodles, German bratwurst. And that’s the Mongolian Grill in beautiful Leavenworth.

Leavenworth, of course, is full of contradictions. It’s the wintry, German-themed town in the middle of eastern Washington. It’s also home to a mini-golf course manicured by goats and a pizzeria that serves even more German sausages. And, during the summer, wintry Leavenworth is teeming with people looking to enjoy an ice-cream cone or a frosty drink. Really, with all the wine-tasting, distillery options, and beer-drinking, the town is as much a bar paradise as a winter wonderland.

When you venture to Leavenworth, you’re likely going for two things: nature and beer. (Since this is a beer column, we’ll forgo the nature.) Any conversation about Leavenworth beer has to begin with Icicle Brewing Company (935 Front St., 509-548-2739), founded in April 2010 and located on the west end of the main drag. Its popularity is made clear by the line out the door. The brewery has four regular taps for an IPA, pilsner, a desserty chocolate-cake beer, and an amber, which was perhaps the most surprising brew on my recent visit. Normally ambers are thick and syrupy, but Icicle’s is a touch hoppy and mild. Of the rotators, the standout was the raspberry wheat, a subtle, summery beer that would brighten any day-drinking session.

Leavenworth’s little downtown is packed with other places to visit. Stop by the Post Office Lounge (213 Ninth St.), a dive bar converted from the town’s former post office, with pool tables and the Mariners on every TV. It’s one of those spots where you scratch off a lottery ticket while you reminisce about Ken Griffey Jr. as you drink an Icicle Brewing Bootjack IPA.

Another local favorite is The Loft (843 Front St., 509-888-0231), an upstairs watering hole where you might find a group of young men and women pregaming before one of the many weddings that take place in town in the summer. Try the Georgetown L.A. Woman, a light and effervescent kolsch, and sneak into one of the many rounds of shots being taken by the merry revelers.

But if you want a nice dinner, something classy, I recommend Mozart’s (829 Front St., 509-548-0600), an upstairs piano bar with high-end entrées and a small but well-curated draft list, which included, on my visit, Pfriem’s delicious IPA. On the menu, you must try the spätzle, a German-style noodle dish with cheese. Or go for the mouthwatering filet mignon, the aroma of which fills the dining room.

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