Chances are you’re not from Dayton, WA, rather passing through on the way to some outdoor recreational activity of fishing, hiking, biking or even headed to the nearby ski resort. Dayton itself is a small town of 2500 people situated in middle of agriculture country about 30 miles NE of Walla Walla. Chief Spring’s Fire and Irons Brewpub was the 79th visit on my bucket list of Washington breweries and the forth stop on my five-day Washington beer-cation road trip.
The brewpub is named after retired Fire Chief, Mike Springs, who worked in the Tri-Cities area for nearly 40 years. Chief Springs is the owner of both the brewpub and the adjacent pizzeria. He brings many years of home brewing experience to this business.
The interior provides a 10-seater bar and plenty of tables. While lightly decorated with fire fighting memorabilia, the location is spacious with a high ceiling, an exposed brick accent wall, hard wood floors, a spiral staircase leading to the basement and additional wood treatments, with much of the handy-work done by Chief Springs himself. Pretty impressive if you ask me. The actual brewery is housed downstairs in the basement and currently supports a 3.5-barrel system and 3 fermenters. There is also an outdoor patio providing additional seating.
The tagline says it best – “Great beer, good food and old friends.” Chief Spring’s came over to say hi after seeing me taking notes on all the beers. Talking with Chief Springs really highlighted my experience. We chatted for quite some time, allowing me to ask many questions and learn the entire story of how the brewpub came to be. Even after our conversation ended, I found myself chatting with various patrons. Expect friendly small town vibes here. If you enjoy meeting new friends over beers, you’ll appreciate Chief Springs Fire & Irons Brewpub.
It’s important to note, that you’re in Keystone and Coors Light country. While the west side of the state may love their hops that is certainly not the case out in Dayton. You’re in American lager territory! Of the nine beers on tap, almost all were low ABV, and the single IPA had just enough hops to qualify as the style. Expect mild, easy drinking beer yet still flavorful. Another benefit of being in a farming community, you have access to fresh ingredients. Chief Spring’s uses only locally sourced wheat, grains and honey. As usual, I tried all 9 beers on tap.
- Fire Line Amber – Pours a clear amber in color. Aroma is a moderate caramel malt character. Flavors are slightly sweet caramel malt with a light nut finish. Medium body and carbonation. Pretty standard amber ale. ABV: 6%; IBU: Unknown
- Pike Pole Honey Wheat – Brewed with local wheat and honey. This beer surprised me. I was expecting sweeter due to the name but very well balanced. Listed as a pale wheat ale, it drinks just like it sounds. Pours a slightly hazy gold in color with light malt wheat flavors. Medium to light body with a slight creaminess to the finish. ABV: 5.2% ; IBU: 28
- Wind Wheat Farm – Seasonal – Pours a straw gold in color. Sweet malt aroma with moderate banana and clove flavors. Medium body and mouthful, high carbonation with a dry finish. Pretty textbook hef. ABV: 4.6% ; IBU: Unknown
- Hooligan Red – This Irish Red Ale pours a clear amber in color with a low off-white head that fades. Lightly sweet caramel malt flavor with an earthy hop flavor that is more prominent than the malts. Medium dry finish. Normally for an Irish Red I would expect the balance to be more malt forward, but in this case I would say more hop forward. Nice flavor overall. ABV: 6.0%, IBU: Unknown
- Ladder Dog IPA – Pours a clear gold in color. Listed as an “English IPA” and noted as “mild.” Citrus on the nose but with herbal and floral light hop character. I would describe this as a “session” beer or even a pale ale. This is incredibly light for an IPA with low to moderate bitterness. Great flavor and easy drinking. ABV: 5.35% ; IBU: Unknown
- Honey Hef – Pours a clear gold in color with a nice white foamy head. This beer reminds me of the other honey wheat beer they had on tap, only sweeter. ABV: 5.2% ; IBU: Unknown
- Backfire Stout – Pours an opaque dark brown in color, almost black with a tan head that fades. Aroma is roasty grains and coffee. Flavors are similar with a hint of chocolate and oatmeal sweetness.Full body with a dry finish. ABV: 7% ; IBU: Unknown
- 2-Track Brown – Pours a clear dark amber in color. Light aroma, sweet caramel malt profile with a very light nutty finish. Virtually no hop bitterness. Definitely malt forward. ABV: 6% ; IBU: 24
- Bagpiper Scottish Ale – Pours a dark brown in color. It’s dark and smooth. Flavor is caramel sweetness, but not overly sweet and has a slightly smoky finish. The light smoke and higher ABV would have had me thinking this was a Wee Heavy as opposed to a Scotch Ale, but it’s still tasty. Probably one of their best beers on tap. Complex and enjoyable with a medium-dry finish. ABV: 7.25% ; IBU: 15
Chief Spring’s Fire & Irons Brewpub
Address: 148 E. Main Street, Dayton, WA 99382
Telephone: (509) 382-4677