Silver City Brewery proclaims there's "an all-inclusive Northwest craft beer adventure in every pint."

Those words appeared to be marketing spin until I tasted the Washington brewery's sour cherry beer and Octoberfest Lager. Only the words "medal winners" came to mind.

"Our fruited sour series has been a labor of love for nearly a decade," says Scott Houmes, the owner of Silver City, which is located in Bremerton, about a 60-minute slow ferry ride from Seattle. "Brewing a world-class sour beer is quite a lengthy process because of the experiential factor and the time it takes to develop a sour culture that achieves what you set out to create."

Washington's Silver City Brewing produced 25.500 barrels of beer last year and has won numerous ... [+] awards for its brews.

Oktoberfest Lager has been a "fan favorite" for many years, says Houmes, whose brother Steve runs the Silver City Restaurant & Alehouse at a separate location about eight miles north of the brewery.

"Lagers are notoriously difficult to execute because of the longer fermentation process and attention to detail required, so we take a lot of pride in ensuring that we execute well on every step of the process," Houmes says. "Adjustments to the recipe over time have centered on drinkability. We want to provide the uniquely grainy aromatic experience that traditional German fest beers are known for with a delicateness that allows one to enjoy a liter stein without overwhelming the palate."

Silver City has won numerous awards since its inception in 1996. At the craft beer industry's Super Bowl, the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, Silver City was named Mid-Size Brewery of the Year in 2019, and its beers have won 16 medals at the annual event since the brewery's startup in 1996.

Beer sales are currently only in Washington and northern Idaho, but plans are underway to expand distribution next year to other Idaho areas, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii.

Silver City brewed 25,500 barrels last year but expects to brew less this year, Houmes says, because of "COVID-19 ramifications." He recalls the brewery's early days in the mid-1990s, when it brewed less than 1,000 barrels annually.

"In 1996, craft beer was just going through its second wave," he says. "My brother Steve and I were raving fans of craft beer and jumped into the industry, utilizing our restaurant and business backgrounds. Our original mission was to ensure that every person who entered our doors would leave happy. That included our line cooks, our bartenders, our dishwashers and the delivery drivers.

"We wanted a win-win experience," Houmes adds, "and we wanted to ensure we built our community one face at a time. Twenty-four-plus years later, our brewery’s mission is 'Beer for one, beer for all: Together we create something for everyone.' We are all about creating community, and we know that our community likes a broad range of beers."

Silver City's best-selling beer is Tropic Haze IPA.

"With today’s popularity of hazy IPAs, it’s strange to remember that when Tropic Haze debuted in early 2017, the hazy IPA style was still fairly uncommon on the West Coast," Houmes says. "With Tropic, we took the characteristics we appreciated about the New England-style IPAs and interpreted them with a West Coast hopping style. The strata hop — which was so new at the time that it didn’t even have a proper name — imparted the unique pineapple and mango character that the beer is known for."

With so many great craft breweries in the Seattle area and the entire state, though, how do Silver City's beers stand out from the competition?

"We aim for approachability," Houmes says. "Craft beer can be intimidating, and we try to make beers that are accessible and friendly, while maintaining the excitement, diversity of styles and the highest technical quality that craft beer has to offer.

"You don’t have to know what a strata hop is to enjoy a Tropic Haze IPA," he says. "You don’t have to know anything about traditional German beer to get down with some Oktoberfest Lager. Yet, these elements can be enjoyed and appreciated by the casual beer fan, as well as the enthusiast."

In mid-September, Silver City released a new seasonal beer, Mystic Mojo IPA, in six-pack cans.

"It incorporates what we’ve learned about the hazy IPA style the past few years and leans on the soft, pillowy texture characteristics," Houmes says. "It features traditional Pacific Northwest hops for vibrant citrus and pine character with a kiss of milk sugar to give the impression of a hop smoothie."

Many Silver City beers, including Mystic Mojo IPA, Ride the Spiral Pineapple Orange Double IPA and Sun Glitter Peach IPA, resulted from the lessons learned from developing Tropic Haze IPA.

"Each of those three beers are unlike anything that existed in our market before 2017," Houmes says. "That spirit of innovation drives us every day to continuously look for new and exciting ingredients, processes and flavors to tinker with."