Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery was the 80th visit on my bucket list of Washington breweries and the fifth stop on my five-day Washington beer-cation road trip. This brewery was recommended after my stop at Chief Spring’s Fire & Irons Brewpub.
Shrub Steppe, founded in 2012, is a brewery and family-friendly venue specializing in southern- style smoked BBQ. The name is a nod to the local landscape / ecosystem that once covered most of Eastern Washington. The brewery is located in a business park with indoor and outdoor seating, which consists of a decent sized grassy fenced-off patio at the entrance. Just a few doors down is another brewery, White Bluff’s and interestingly enough, the Manhattan Project B Reactor Hanford Headquarters / Visitor Center is in the same complex. If you’re looking for something unique to do in the Tri-Cities area, the Visitor Center offers tours to and from the actual B Reactor during certain times of the year.
Once inside Shrub Steppe’s interior is an “L” shape with a long rectangular pub table leading to the bar and a small corner area with additional seating off to the side. The atmosphere is not anything special. It definitely feel like a restaurant that also brews beer. They have a full brewery on site and pour local guest taps as well, with 12 total taps available.
The menu describes the BBQ as being generously dry rubbed then slowly smoked for 12 hours over hickory, mesquite and alder woods. The selection includes brisket, pulled pork, smoked sausage, chili dogs, nachos, wings, and an assortment of sides. I arrived for lunch and chose the “meat sampler” platter which included 4 different meats and topped it off with a flight of all six of their brews. While I would say they focus more on food than beer, both were great!
- Bad Kitty Red Lager – Amber Kellerbier – Pours a clear copper color with a thin white head. This beer is along the same vein as a Vienna lager. Slightly sweet malt profile and all around easy drinking everyday-kind-of-beer. ABV: 4.2%; IBU: 23
- Hoppicat IPA – Pours a clear medium copper in color. High hop character as expected. Earthy pine and resin in both flavor and aroma. Medium body and carbonation with smooth texture and clean finish. This was a solid IPA brewed with Yakima Valley hops. ABV: 6.0% ; IBU: 90
- Puma Pilsner – Pours a clear light gold in color. Low grainy sweet malt character, in fact not as sweet as I was expecting. Crisp, clean, refreshing. Pretty standard. ABV: 6.1% ; IBU: 39
- Black Tail Jack Porter – Pour nearly black in color with a small tan head. Strong dark malt aroma with some roasty coffee and chocolate character. Flavor is similar with more coffee on the palate and a dry dark malt finish. Medium to full bodied and well balanced. Pretty solid porter. ABV: 5.2%, IBU: 38
- Timber Ghost Spring IPA –Pours a clear yellow in color with a small white head. Aroma was slight citrus on the nose with a more piney flavors and a floral finish. This IPA had a lot of flavors and aromas going on. Very drinkable with smooth texture and finish. ABV: 56.2% ; IBU: 90
- Vanilla Black Tail Jack Porter – Very similar to the Black Tail Jack Porter described above with LOTS of Vanilla! It was an overwhelming amount of vanilla. ABV: 5.2% ; IBU: 30
Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery
Address: 2000 Logston Blvd., Richland, WA
Telephone: (509) 375-9092